Kansas

Security Boost in House Legislative Branch Bill Approved
More funding for Capitol Police and sergeant-at-arms, among others

Capitol Police would get a boost from the Legislative Branch spending bill being considered in the House. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

House appropriators have approved a fiscal 2018 Legislative Branch spending bill that would boost security both at the Capitol and in members’ districts.

The House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee at a brief meeting on Friday approved by voice vote the $3.58 billion fiscal 2018 Legislative Branch measure. No amendments were offered.

Lawmakers Want Trump’s Tax Returns, but Won’t Release Their Own
Only a handful willing to release documents to Roll Call

New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján has called on President Donald Trump to release his tax returns. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Ben Ray Luján — like many in Congress — wants President Donald Trump to release his tax returns.

Transparency, the New Mexico Democrat said recently in a Facebook post, “is a cornerstone of democracy.”

The Senate at a Deliberative Crossroads
Health care debacle challenges unique traditions, process

Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune highlighted bipartisan work ongoing at the Commerce Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The release of the Senate Republicans’ draft health care measure, coming on the heels of the demise of the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, provoked a spasm of hard feelings in the chamber and questions about whether senators could restore its now-quaint reputation as the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body. 

“This is not the role model in my world, but I also understand that when the Democrats say, ‘We’re not going to vote for anything,’ that limits the options,” said Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican. “But, I would love to see a Senate that functions, in which all hundred senators have the opportunity to present ideas, amendments and take votes.”

Photos of the Week: House Officially Adds a Member, Georgia Stays Red and Senate Health Care Unveiled
The week of June 19 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., his wife Susan, and family, arrive for a swearing in ceremony in the Capitol with Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., before the actual event on the House floor on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

BY BILL CLARK and TOM WILLIAMS

A busy week in politics was capped off with the unveiling on Thursday of the Republican's plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. Roll Call's photographers captured the scrums of reporters surrounding senators for reactions as they made their way through the Capitol.

House Republicans Bolster Member Security Funding
Funding will extend to lawmakers’ districts

Members will get a boost in security as part of a deal reached between appropriators and the House Administration Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Pelosi Blows Off Calls to Step Down
‘It's not up to them,’ she says of Democrats calling for new leadership

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi dismissed calls on Thursday for her to step down. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Describing herself as “worth the trouble,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Thursday blew off calls from some chamber Democrats for her to step down from leadership in the wake of special election losses this year and a failure to win a House majority in four straight national elections. 

“It’s not up to them,” the California Democrat said of members calling for her to let someone else give it a try, before calling herself a “master legislator.”

Rural Areas Brace for Health Care Bill Impact
Senate GOP bill could undermine health insurance coverage

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is concerned her state's residents could lose out on health insurance safeguards. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate historically has paid special attention to the needs of rural areas, but as the chamber readies its health care bill, there are concerns that the bill would undermine coverage in those places more than anywhere else.

While the exact text of the Senate bill is not yet posted publicly, all signs point to somewhat similar language to the House bill (HR 1628), which would reduce funding for Medicaid compared to current law and impose caps on Medicaid funding. Under the House bill, older people also would face higher premiums — and rural areas tend to be home to a large number of older Americans.

Republicans Are 4-0 Defending Seats, but Could Still Be in Trouble
In each of the contested special elections, Democrats performed better than they had in years

Karen Handel gives her victory speech Tuesday night in Georgia after winning the 6th District special election. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

Wednesday was a day for Republicans to rest easy. After winning the Georgia and South Carolina special elections Tuesday, the party avoided losing any congressional seats vacated by members who entered President Donald Trump’s administration.

But it’s not all good news for the GOP (or bad news for Democrats). In each of the four races where Republicans were defending seats — Kansas’ 4th, Montana’s at large seat, South Carolina’s 5th and Georgia’s 6th — Democrats did better than they had in any of those districts’ congressional elections since at least 2010.

11 Things I Think I Think After the Special Elections
Lessons from the Georgia and South Carolina races

Jon Ossoff supporters at the Georgia Democrat’s election night watch party are stunned as CNN calls the state’s 6th District race for Republican Karen Handel on Tuesday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

One of the best parts about covering elections is that there is a final result. What seems like an endless stream of campaigning and ads and analysis finally comes to an end every time with vote tallies to digest until the next round.

President Donald Trump and the Republicans continue to play with electoral fire, but the GOP pulled off two more special election victories; this time in Georgia’s 6th District and South Carolina’s 5th District. As with the previous results in Kansas and Montana, there are enough tidbits in each result to formulate whatever conclusion helps you sleep better at night.

Take Five: Roger Marshall
Kansas Republican fell right in with others in the ‘doc caucus’

Kansas Rep. Roger Marshall meets with other doctors in Congress every Wednesday morning. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Freshman Rep. Roger Marshall, 56, a Kansas Republican, talks about his background as an OB-GYN, his alliance with doctors in Congress and Kansas State football.

Q: What has surprised you about Congress so far?