Kansas

Road Ahead: House Ready for Recess. Senate? Not So Much
Defense authorization, more spending bills among the week's highlights

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy hopes to get the defense authorization wrapped up this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

This is the last week the House is in session before members depart for the August recess — expect senators to be grumbling about that.

But the House does have a fairly sizable legislative agenda before heading home through Labor Day. The highlighted legislation includes Republican-led efforts to expand and update health savings accounts and to roll back some of the taxes levied under the 2010 health care law.

What You Should Know About Bob Dole at 95
Combat veteran, longtime lawmaker and former presidential candidate

Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan., right, and Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., introduce CIA Director Mike Pompeo, nominee for secretary of State, during his Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing in April. Dole turned 95 Sunday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Sen. Bob Dole turned 95 Sunday. The Kansas Republican — a decorated veteran who was grievously wounded in World War II —  served in Congress for more than 35 years and was his party’s presidential nominee in 1996.

Here are a few facts about one of the nation’s legendary lawmakers:

Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez Bring Democratic Socialist Message to Kansas
Vermont, New York politicians will headline two rallies for Democrats in deep-red state

Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., above, and congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., will headline two rallies in Kansas this weekend. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Two of the most prominent Democratic socialists in the country see an opportunity to exert their influence in an unlikely place: deep-red Kansas.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, the 76-year-old senator from Vermont, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old Democratic candidate from the Bronx who knocked off longtime Rep. Joe Crowley in their New York primary last month, are headed to the western Kansas City suburbs Friday to rally Democrats ahead of the state's August 7 primaries.

Clarke Knows the ‘Tricks of the Trade’ From Her Internship
New York Democrat interned in the mid-1980s for her predecessor

Rep. Yvette D. Clarke, D-N.Y., got to work on trade issues affecting the Caribbean region during her Hill internship. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Former New York Rep. Major R. Owens may not have known he had an intern who was going places when he assigned college student Yvette D. Clarke to work on trade legislation in the mid-1980s.

Clarke was studying government and public policy at Oberlin College and was eager to learn more about the mechanics of Congress. About two decades later, she ended up challenging Owens in a 2004 Democratic primary — and lost. When Owens retired two years later, Clarke ran again — and won.

House Set to Start Farm Bill Talks With Senate Before Recess
Senate version does not include new work requirements

Rep. K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, says he is ready to go to conference on the farm bill with the Senate, but work requirements for food stamps are shaping up to be a sticking point. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House is expected to trigger farm bill negotiations Wednesday, raising the House Agriculture Committee chairman’s hopes that public pressure in support of expanded work requirements for food stamp recipients could help move Senate negotiators toward accepting the House legislation.

House Agriculture Chairman K. Michael Conaway said he is ready to go to conference on the farm bill with the Senate. The Texas Republican said the House will vote Wednesday afternoon to launch negotiations with the Senate that will resolve differences between the chambers on a new five-year farm bill. The most contentious divide between the chambers is the scope of work requirements for food stamp recipients.

Podcast: Two Senators on How They Got a Bipartisan Farm Bill
CQ on Congress, Episode 111

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., center, and ranking member Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., prepare for a podcast with CQ editor Shawn Zeller in Hart Building on July 12, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

"I'm all for principles, but I'm not an ideologue," says Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas in explaining why he wrote a farm bill that doesn't add new work requirements to the food stamps program. He and the Agriculture panel's ranking Democrat, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, explain their bipartisan approach as they prepare for a fight with the House conservatives pushing the food stamp changes.

 

Mitch McConnell Casts 11,000th Vote
Kentucky Republican was first elected in 1984

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cast his 11,000th vote as a senator on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Maybe because it was the final vote of the Senate’s week, there was not much fanfare when Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky came to the floor Thursday afternoon to cast his 11,000th vote.

The real tributes came earlier in 2018, when he surpassed Bob Dole of Kansas to become the longest-serving Republican leader in the chamber’s history.

Trump Shifts Tone on NATO, But Says He Could Pull Out Without Congress
Trump says he convinced allies to up spending, but NATO secretary-general stops short of agreeing with that

President Donald Trump, here at the Capitol last month, changed his tone about NATO as he was leaving a summit in Belgium. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump was in damage control mode Thursday morning, declaring a tense NATO summit a success even while saying he could withdraw the United States from the alliance without the consent of Congress.

The U.S. commander in chief spent Wednesday and Thursday morning lambasting other NATO members — especially Germany — and turned the annual alliance meeting into a spectacle of ill will amid whispers, including from some GOP lawmakers, that he was working to undermine it. But by midday Thursday in Brussels, Belgium, he was taking credit for allegedly securing pledges from the other leaders to pay more into NATO’s coffers.

Republicans Back From Russia Have Advice for Trump Before Putin Summit
President needs to be prepared and perhaps not alone

Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., led a congressional delegation to Russia recently, and he and his colleagues have some serious concerns about how the Russians will approach the upcoming summit with Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican senators who recently returned from Moscow have some advice for President Donald Trump ahead of his meeting Monday in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin: Be prepared, be careful and try not to be alone.

“He better know the right Russian psyche,” said Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby. “All he’s got to do is start with Stalin and come on up and see what’s changed.”

The Dizzying Life of Midcycle Newbies
For arrivals in the middle of a Congress, it can be tough to hit the ground running

Conor Lamb waits for Speaker Paul D. Ryan to arrive for a mock swearing-in ceremony in April. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In April, just a few days after being sworn in following his stunning special election win in Pennsylvania, Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb strode into the Capitol, hand clutching a coffee cup, as he made his way to the House floor for a vote. But before he could make it inside, a guard abruptly stopped him. Beverages in the chamber, she explained, are strictly forbidden. “You can go through the cloakroom,” she helpfully suggested. Lamb gave a blank stare. “It’s around the corner,” she said, pointing down the hall.

The first few days and weeks for new lawmakers can prove a disorienting adjustment, especially for winners of special elections.