Michigan

Obama and Trump: Two Presidents, Same God
Mixing politics and religion is a longtime tradition

If some faith leaders see the hand of God in Donald Trump’s victory last November, how do they explain President Barack Obama’s two previous, more decisive wins? Mary C. Curtis asks. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

If Franklin Graham did not actually endorse Donald Trump’s bid for the presidency, he stepped right up to the line — the one separating church and state. Graham was absolutely giddy post-election, when he gave credit to a force greater than the electorate. The evangelist and president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse credited the “God factor” for Trump’s poll-defying win.

You might be seeing a lot of Graham, starting at Friday’s inauguration where he is one of the faith leaders invited to offer a prayer for America’s new president. It marks a resurgence of a familiar name when it comes to mingling politics and religion, and a continuation of a tradition in a country that doesn’t have an official faith but celebrates a National Day of Prayer and seems most comfortable with leaders who praise a higher power.

Gwen Moore to Attend Inauguration as 'The Resistance'
Moore's decision comes as the list of Democrats skipping the festivities grows

Rep. Gwen Moore says she is attending the Inauguration as the face of opposition to President-elect Dona'd Trump's "repugnant" policies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Many Democrats are planning to skip Friday’s inaugural activities over their objections to President-elect Donald Trump, but not Wisconsin Rep. Gwen Moore.

“As a proud Democrat, I want President-elect Trump to see me front and center as he’s sworn in,” Moore said in a statement Wednesday. “I want him to see exactly what his opposition looks like. When he sees me, I want him to see The Resistance.”

More Republicans Face Contentious Town Hall Meetings
Amash, Duffy hear criticism over Obamacare repeal

Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., faced criticism when he said states would bear the responsibility for replacing the Affordable Care Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican House members heard from more constituents in town hall meetings on Tuesday about GOP plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

In Grand Rapids, Mich., the Gerald R. Ford Museum was packed at capacity of 250 people for a town hall meeting with Rep. Justin Amash, MLive reported. Dozens more were outside and a security guard had to push the doors closed.

Steve Israel Finds New Platform
Former DCCC chairman, former Sen. Rick Santorum to join CNN as contributors

Former Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., talks with reporters in the Capitol Visitor Center after a meeting with House Democrats in June 2016. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former New York Democratic Rep. Steve Israel, an eight-term veteran of the House, is joining CNN as a contributor to its political coverage.

CNN anchor and media correspondent Brian Stelter tweeted Tuesday morning that the former chairman of the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee and former chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will join the network.

Republican Members Hear from Obamacare Supporters
Democrats hold rallies to defend Obama’s signature law

Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., called a swarm of Obamacare supporters at a constituent event "partisan activists." (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican members of Congress heard from constituents supportive of the Affordable Care Act over the three-day Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend as they take steps to repeal the law.

Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., saw hundreds of people at a constituent meeting event at a library in Aurora, according to one eyewitness account to 9News.

Zinke, DeVos Kick Off Week of Senate Hearings
Senate is also voting on a bill relating to the GAO

Betsy DeVos, nominee for Education secretary, has her confirmation hearing Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Preparations for the incoming administration will likely dominate the Senate this week with hearings each day leading up to President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration Friday. Two of his nominees are facing Senate committees Tuesday. 

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold its confirmation hearing at 2:15 p.m. for Montana Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke to be the next Interior secretary.

Staff Mourns Loss of Veteran Democratic Staffer Tim Mitchell
Mitchell served as a Senate staffer for 25 years

Reid said Mitchell was "an institution" and key to passing major legislation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate staffers are mourning the loss of longtime Democratic staffer Tim Mitchell, who passed away Saturday night after a battle with brain cancer.

“My dear friend Tim Mitchell was an institution,” former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., wrote in a Facebook post. “He helped make the Senate function appropriately, and he was integral in helping us pass many pieces of legislation. He was fair and was never pushed around. I will always remember all the good he did for me and the country.”

Democrats, Donors Turn Focus to State Legislative Races
Republicans say their foes have tried before but still came up short

Former Attorney General Eric Holder’s National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which is backed by President Obama, will focus prominently on state legislative races. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate map is chock-full of deep red states, the House map skews Republican, and the presidential race doesn’t start for at least two more years. 

If Democrats and their donors want to find ways to win in 2018, they might need to refocus down the ballot — way down the ballot.

Mixed Bag of Republicans Vote Against Obamacare Repeal Vehicle
GOP defectors cite deficit, lack of replacement

Dent voted against the budget resolution because of concerns about the GOP rushing to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans on Friday passed a bare-bones fiscal 2017 budget resolution with few intraparty defections, as most GOP members saw the unbalanced and long-delayed spending plan as a necessary means to an end of repealing the 2010 health care law.

The nine Republicans who voted against the measure raised concerns about either the budget not balancing, a key priority for fiscal conservatives, or the aggressive timeline of repealing the Affordable Care Act, given that the GOP has yet to present a replacement plan. The final vote was 227-198. 

Photos of the Week: Confirmation Hearing Frenzy on Capitol Hill
The week of Jan. 9 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, and Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, prepare for Sessions’ Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Russell Building’s Kennedy Caucus Room on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A total of seven confirmation hearings for President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks kicked off on the Hill this week. Meanwhile, a back-and-forth erupted between the parties over a student painting being taken down from the Cannon House Office Building.