Missouri

The ‘Emotional Space’ Inside High-Stakes Diplomacy
Looking back at Obama, looking square at Trump

Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama take time for reflecting in the new documentary “The Final Year.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Welcome back to Political Theater, Roll Call’s newsletter and podcast on the spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here

The civil war in Syria. Boko Haram. Russia. Climate change. American foreign policy operates in a high-stakes environment in a very public glare. And in 2016, in the midst of a contentious election year, President Barack Obama oversaw a team of players trying to solidify a legacy in his last year in office. Documentary filmmaker Greg Barker went along for the ride, from the cramped quarters of the West Wing to an emotional speech at Hiroshima, Japan for his new film, “The Final Year.”

Analysis: It’s a Blue House Wave, but Not Yet a Senate One
Rural, Trump-friendly states make for a formidable map for Democrats

Sens. Jon Tester of Montana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota are among the Democrats’ many vulnerable incumbents this cycle, which complicates the party’s efforts to retake the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo.)

“The odds are greater than half we will take back the Senate.” — Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” on Monday night 

Democrats ought to temper their optimism about the fight for the Senate this year.

Anti-Abortion Groups Look for Wins in 2018
Senate vote on a 20-week abortion ban is a top priority

Attendees gather near the Washington Monument on Jan. 27, 2017, during the speaking portion of the annual March for Life. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Anti-abortion groups, pursuing a list of priorities, hope to further capitalize on the Republican control of both chambers and the presidency in 2018.

Groups that oppose abortion scored a series of wins last year, including the appointment of several conservatives to top Department of Health and Human Services positions, the House passage of a late-term abortion ban bill and the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Questions Could Derail Confirmation of Trump’s Indian Health Nominee
Robert Weaver was already under scrutiny over his qualifications

Participants in a “Rock Your Mocs” fun walk/run in Shiprock, New Mexico, sponsored by the local Indian Health Service facility. (Courtesy Indian Health Service/Facebook)

President Donald Trump’s nominee to oversee health care services for two million Native Americans — who already faces questions about whether he is qualified — failed to disclose donations to the Trump campaign in his official Senate questionnaire, Roll Call has learned.

Robert Weaver, a health insurance salesman and consultant who was nominated in October to lead the $6.1-billion Indian Health Service, has been touted by the administration as “a staunch advocate of innovative programs to improve Native American health.” But some lawmakers are concerned that the administration inflated his qualifications. The questions surrounding his nomination raise the possibility that he might not have the votes to win confirmation.

Opinion: We’re a Long Way From White House Aides With a ‘Passion for Anonymity’
And what they’re saying about Trump isn’t pretty

One of the saddest aspects of President Donald Trump’s first year in office is the lack of interest by the Republican Congress in performing even the most rudimentary oversight of his presidency, Shapiro writes. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

Shortly after George Stephanopoulos published his critical 1999 memoir about the Clinton White House, “All Too Human,” I witnessed a fascinating impromptu debate about the propriety of a former aide dishing on an incumbent president.

The friendly antagonists were two towering figures from the Kennedy White House: Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Arthur Schlesinger and attorney Ted Sorensen, the greatest (“Ask not what your country can do for you ...”) presidential speechwriter in history.

GOP Candidates Shun Bannon After Trump ‘Treason’ Remarks
Former chief strategist praises POTUS after controversy

Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, aides to President Donald J. Trump, are seen on the West Front of the Capitol after Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States in 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The brigade of insurgent GOP candidates backed by former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon showed signs of disunity Wednesday after controversial remarks Bannon made for a book about links between the Russian government and some members of President Donald Trump’s campaign team.

“I strongly denounce the comments by Steve Bannon as quoted by Michael Wolff,” said Michael Grimm

Bill Shuster Won’t Run for Re-Election in 2018
Pennsylvania Republican term-limited as Transportation Committee chairman

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster will not seek re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:30 p.m. | Pennsylvania Rep. Bill Shuster, who is term-limited as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, will not seek a ninth full term in 2018, leaving behind a safe Republican seat. 

“Rather than focusing on a re-election campaign, I thought it wiser to spend my last year as Chairman focusing 100% on working with President Trump and my Republican and Democratic colleagues in both Chambers to pass a much needed infrastructure bill to rebuild America,” the GOP lawmaker said in a statement Tuesday. 

17 of 2017’s Most Popular Stories
A look back at a contentious year on the Hill

President Donald Trump arrives with Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for the Republican Senate Policy luncheon in the Capitol to discuss the GOP tax reform bill in November. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, Republicans had high hopes of pushing an ambitious agenda forward and making good on last year’s campaign promises.

But their long-held promise of repealing and replacing the 2010 health care law stalled in the Senate in one of the most dramatic moments of the year. Infighting derailed other agenda items that followed.

House Boots Anti-Harassment Legislation Into January, Too
‘We haven’t finished it yet; we’re still working through it’

Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., left (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As most major legislative issues Congress had hoped to address in December, the House punted into January its planned release of a bill updating sexual harassment policies.

“We haven’t finished it yet; we’re still working through it,” House Administration Chairman Gregg Harper said.

McConnell Puts Infrastructure Ahead of Entitlements in 2018
Says candidate recruitment continues, hopes Rick Scott runs in Florida

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is looking ahead to 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

With the tax code overhaul on its way to President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is looking ahead to 2018, in both politics and policy.

“I think that Democrats are not going to be interested in entitlement reform, so I would not expect to see that on the agenda,” McConnell said Thursday at an event hosted by Axios.