Iraq

Budget and Appropriations Members Rack Up Travel Time
Boots on the ground or paid vacation?

Staff travel makes up a significant chuck of the amounts spent on travel by the Appropriations and Budget committees. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Members of the Budget and Appropriations committees have spent about $2 million on foreign travel since the start of 2016, including trips to Argentina, Tanzania, Italy and the United Kingdom, according to an analysis of congressional records.

Appropriations Committee members far outpace their colleagues on the Budget Committee in the number of trips and how much they've spent on travel outside the United States. From Jan. 1, 2016 through March 31, 2017, Appropriations Committee members and staff spent $1.9 million on foreign travel and Budget Committee members and staff spent $36,000.

Brooks Declines to Endorse Moore or Strange After Conceding Defeat
Congressman announces he will seek re-election after finishing third in Senate race

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., finished third after receiving 20 percent of the vote in the Republican primary Tuesday for Alabama's special election to the U.S. Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Mo Brooks is moving on after a distant third-place finish in the Republican primary on Tuesday for the Alabama Senate special election.

And Brooks is doing that without endorsing either of the two men, Judge Roy Moore and appointed Sen. Luther Strange, who beat him to enter a runoff on Sept. 26 to decide the GOP nominee.

3 Things to Watch in Alabama Senate Primary
GOP candidates face off Tuesday

Republican Roy Moore exits the building after a Senate candidate forum in Pelham, Ala., on Aug. 4. ( Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican candidates in the Alabama Senate primary are facing off Tuesday in the special election for the remaining term of former Sen. Jeff Sessions.

If none of the nine candidates garner more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two contenders will head to a Sept. 26 runoff. The top three candidates who have been polling ahead of the rest of the field are the incumbent Sen. Luther Strange, who was appointed to the seat in February after Sessions resigned to become attorney general; Roy Moore, the former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice; and Rep. Mo Brooks of the 5th District.

Opinion: Stuck on the Back Bench? Why Not Run for President
Last House member to win presidency was in 1880 — it was an accident

An engraving of President James A. Garfield’s assassination. Not since Garfield has a sitting House member so much as won an electoral vote in a presidential election. (Engraving from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper)

No sitting House member has won an electoral vote for president since 1880, when Ohio’s James A. Garfield captured the White House — and he didn’t even mean to run for the job.

In fact, the Ohio legislature had just voted to appoint Garfield to a Senate term — for which he would have been seated in March 1881 — when the GOP met in Chicago to pick its nominee for the presidency in the summer of 1880.

Transgender Military Ban Lawsuit Could Turn on Trump Tweet
Suit claims White House turned Trump’s Twitter posts into official guidance for DOD

(Ted Eytan/CC BY 2.0)

Five transgender service members filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s apparent decision to reinstate a ban on transgender people serving in the military — a case that could turn on whether official policy can be announced on Twitter.

Lawyers for GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders and the National Center for Lesbian Rights represent plaintiffs who are in the Air Force, the Coast Guard and the Army and served from three years to two decades, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. The plaintiffs are not named in the lawsuit filed Wednesday.

Moulton Wants to Change Status Quo by Electing More Vets
Massachusetts Democrat announces new vet endorsements

Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton is a Marine Corps veteran. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Seth Moulton hopes to make two dozen or so endorsements of military veterans challenging Republican House members this cycle.

The Massachusetts Democrat, himself a former Marine who served in Iraq, announced Wednesday he was backing Democratic military vets running for Congress in Minnesota, Kentucky, and West Virginia, joining the eight other endorsements he’s made so far this year.

Obama Alumni Jump Into Congressional Races Across the Country
Many motivated by Trump’s election and desire to move ex-boss’ policies forward

Democrat Sam Jammal is challenging California Rep. Ed Royce in the 39th District. (Sam Jammal for Congress Facebook page)

Alumni of the Obama administration are heeding their former boss’ call to get in the game themselves and run for office in response the election of President Donald Trump and to continue what the former president started.

Sam Jammal, an Obama appointee in the Commerce Department who is running in California’s 39th District against Republican Rep. Ed Royce, said he was heeding those words.

Opinion: Trump’s Ratings Hold Steady, but Is He Losing Key Groups He Needs to Stay on Top?
Military, law enforcement and GOP stalwarts now questioning the star

Leaders of groups President Donald Trump depends on — from the military to law enforcement to an increasing number of Republicans — are breaking ranks, Curtis writes. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“You’re fired!” was the reality show refrain of the now president of the United States, Donald Trump. So when, on the campaign trail, candidate Trump said, “I alone can fix it,” with “it” meaning whatever was ailing the country and each one of its citizens, it was easy to for someone looking for answers to transfer his my-way-or-the-highway TV decisiveness to Oval Office success.

Could “The Apprentice” boss have bought into his own hype on the way to the White House, forgetting the behind-the-scenes writers and producers, and the reality of life after the director yells, “Cut”?

Opinion: Question for Congress, What Did You Do During the Trump Reign of Error?
History will judge lawmakers by their behavior during the Trump years

“Oh, I just went along. It seemed more convenient,” won’t appeal to the history books, Shapiro writes. (George LeVines/CQ Roll Call)

I like to imagine that the next president — regardless of party — will reassure the nation in words similar to Jerry Ford’s memorable line after Richard Nixon’s resignation: “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.”

I do not have the temerity to predict the timetable for the transfer of power. But I have long nurtured the fantasy that on the morning of Jan. 20, 2021, Donald Trump (whose popularity will have slipped below Chris Christie levels) will be alone in the Oval Office screaming at his TV set as even “Fox & Friends” has turned against him.

Opinion: Despite Pressure, John McCain Chose Honor
Arizona Republican stood tall on health care vote

Arizona Sen. John McCain, flanked by Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, left, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, stands as a champion for millions of Americans who would have been harmed by the Senate GOP health care bill, Allen writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Way back in 2004, when America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were still in their infancy, Arizona Sen. John McCain recommended that his Republican colleagues in Washington back away from tax cuts as a sign of national sacrifice for the war efforts.

His words infuriated House Republicans, many of whom saw him as insufficiently patriotic to the GOP cause and some of whom liked to whisper that his ordeal as a prisoner of war in Vietnam wasn’t all that bad.