Jeff Fortenberry

Lawmakers put funding ban on human embryo gene editing research in Ag. bill
The rider bars the Food and Drug Administration from approving research that involves gene-editing of human embryos

From left, Reps. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., and Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., attend a House Appropriations Committee markup of the FY 2019 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill in Rayburn Building on July 25, 2018. By voice vote, the House Appropriations Committee adopted an amendment by Rep. Robert B. Aderholt, R-Ala., to put back language banning the funding of research involving the gene editing of human embryos, which has been in the spending bill since fiscal 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Appropriators did some soul searching Tuesday before deciding to include a policy rider in the fiscal 2020 Agriculture spending bill that would bar the Food and Drug Administration from approving research that involves gene-editing of human embryos.

By voice vote, the House Appropriations Committee adopted an amendment by Rep. Robert B. Aderholt, R-Ala., to put back language that had been in the spending bill since fiscal 2016 but was omitted in the draft bill approved on May 23 by the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee.

Democrats look to defend Obamacare with disaster aid amendment

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., is looking to put Obamacare and Democrats' defense of it front and center. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 6:08 p.m. | Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on Wednesday said Democrats would propose an amendment to a $13.45 billion disaster aid package that would block the Justice Department from carrying out President Donald Trump’s push for a court ruling invalidating the 2010 health care law.

The move is another threat to consensus on a supplemental spending bill that leaders hoped could be negotiated in a bipartisan manner, but talks have until now been weighed down by disagreement over the package’s size and scope. Senate Democrats’ strategy introduces a new hurdle and is part of a broader push by Democrats to steer public attention toward health care.

It’s Not Too Early to Start Looking at the 2020 Senate Map
The fight for the Senate should once again be a prime battle.

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., is up for re-election in 2020 in a state carried by both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The votes haven’t all been counted in the 2018 Senate elections, but we know the size of the incoming majority will be critical, because the 2020 Senate map offers limited initial takeover opportunities for both parties.

Of course, it’s too early to tell what the presidential race will look like, how voters will feel about the economy and direction of the country, and whether they’ll believe more Democrats are needed in Washington.

Feud Over Professor’s Facebook ‘Like’ Prompts Complaint Against Fortenberry Chief of Staff
Staffer not amused by ‘Fartenberry’ prank

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., participates in the news conference on a bill to repeal certain provisions on the Affordable Care Act in 2012. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Ethics Committee received a complaint this week about the chief of staff of Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry. The staffer has hounded a political science professor in recent days for liking a Facebook post mocking Fortenberry, according to the Lincoln Journal Star.

The Facebook post shows a photo of a manipulated campaign sign. Vandals added googly eyes to the congressman’s photo and changed the wording to read, “Jeff Fartenberry: Strong Families, Strong Communities, Strong Odor.”

One Foot in Congress, the Other in Grad School
Staffers starting your higher education, you’re in good company

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., received his law degree from Georgetown University. Here he is addressing the law center in 2012. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As orientation kicks off for graduate school programs, staffers who are going part time and keeping their Capitol Hill jobs begin the balancing act.

Those higher knowledge-seekers are not alone. It’s common for staffers to get degrees on top of work.

Fight Over Food Stamps Among Big Hurdles Facing Farm Bill
As a fall deadline looms, Congress keeps stewing and squabbling

A sprinkler irrigates farmland in Palmdale, Calif., on May 26. Lawmakers have two options as the farm bill nears expiration: reach a compromise or extend current law through an expected lame-duck session in late fall or into 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If everything goes according to plan this month, House leaders will round up the necessary Republican votes to pass the chamber’s 2018 farm bill after an unexpected defeat on the floor put the legislation on hold.

The failed May 18 vote marked the second time in five years that a farm bill ran into obstacles in the House. In the Senate, meanwhile, leaders have indicated they want to pass the bipartisan legislation by the July Fourth recess.

House GOP Immigration and Leadership Battles Entwined
Results of June attempt to pass immigration legislation will affect current GOP leaders, future candidates

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks alongside Speaker Paul Ryan at the House Republican Leadership Press Conference on Tuesday morning. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans are on the precipice of a major win or an embarrassing loss on immigration. Either outcome will have lasting impacts for the current leadership team and future contenders for those jobs.

But the prospect of an immediate backlash against Paul D. Ryan’s speakership over anything that could be perceived as an immigration failure appears minimal at best. The House is preparing to take up sweeping immigration legislation the third week of June for the first time since Republicans took control of the chamber eight years ago.

Ryan Disputes Assertions He Fired House Chaplain Over Prayer
Speaker addresses controversy over ouster of Rev. Patrick Conroy to Republican conference

Rep. Mark Amoedi said Speaker Paul Ryan told the Republican conference that he asked House chaplain Rev. Patrick Conroy to resign because people were saying “their pastoral needs weren’t being met.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan told the House Republican Conference on Friday that he did not come to the decision to fire House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy lightly and disputed assertions that it was related to a prayer the Jesuit priest gave during the tax overhaul debate.

“He assured us that had nothing to do with it,” Rep. Mia Love of Utah said.

Let Us Now Praise President Donald Trump
Republicans describe their rally with president

President Donald Trump makes a brief statement to the media as Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left, and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, right, look on, after a meeting with the House Republican Conference in the Capitol to discuss the GOP’s tax reform bill on November 16, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“Unbelievably engaging.”Mark Meadows, N.C.

Word on the Hill: Kaine and Alexander’s Bipartisan Jam
Free fries, and kickball for Harvey recovery

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, left, and Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander have a concert on Friday. (Courtesy bristolrhythm.com)

Music lovers can catch Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., on the harmonica and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., on the piano this Friday night.

Their band The Amateurs are performing at the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, a music festival this weekend in Bristol, a community that straddles the Virginia-Tennessee state line. The dynamic duo goes on stage at 5 p.m.