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McConnell In Difficult Spot With Latest Health Care Push
Senate majority leader tasked with shepherding bill he had no role in writing

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is in an unfamiliar position of pushing a health care repeal bill that he had little role in crafting. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is counting on an 11th-hour attempt to repeal the 2010 health care law and change directions on a disappointing year for Republicans.

Having put health care on the back burner after lacking the votes this summer, McConnell has thrown his weight behind a proposal from GOP Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Dean Heller of Nevada.

LGBTQ Women Balance Opportunity, Possible Extinction in Congress
Close calls, impossible races, and evolving bench contribute to low numbers

If Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema vacates her 9th District seat to run for Senate, there could be no LGBTQ women in the House in the next Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s been almost 20 years since Tammy Baldwin’s historic election, yet just one woman has followed her through the LGBTQ glass ceiling. And if both women lose competitive races in 2018, the next Congress could be without any LGBTQ women.

While the lack of LGBTQ women in Congress is inextricably linked to the dearth of women on Capitol Hill, the story of lesbian candidates includes some close calls, quixotic races, and a movement still evolving to position more qualified LGBTQ women to run for higher office.

After Storms’ Devastation, No Change in Hill Climate Debate
“I don’t think there is going to be some big ‘come to Jesus’ moment”

Inhofe said attempts to connect recent extreme events to climate change are a ploy to drum up support for the climate change movement. (Tom Williams, CQ Roll Call)

Florida, parts of Texas and the U.S. Virgin Island are facing months or years of recovery after hurricanes Irma and Harvey pummeled communities, turned streets into rivers and upended lives, but it does not appear that the catastrophic storms have changed the conversation about climate change in Washington.

GOP lawmakers skeptical of climate science didn’t announce new views or a sense of urgency in addressing the global warming that scientists say exacerbated the impact of the storms.

Senators Could Lose ‘Blue Slip’ Input on Circuit Judges
President would have less reason to consult with lawmakers

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley has signaled he might end a tradition that gives senators a de facto veto power over nominees to federal appeals courts. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A looming showdown over a Senate tradition could strip senators of a de facto veto power over nominees to federal appeals courts — and give President Donald Trump less reason to consult with senators about which judges should be appointed.

The Judiciary Committee’s “blue slip” process has required senators to return a blue slip of paper before the committee schedules hearings and markups of nominees for federal judgeships from their home states. No slip, no hearing. That has made it essential for the White House to get a senator’s buy-in on a nomination.

Governors Ask Congress to Help Stabilize Health Care Market
Chief executives add voice to congressional debate

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, is among the state chief executives calling on Congress to pass a bipartisan measure to stabilize the individual health insurance markets. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Governors are calling for multiyear funding for cost-sharing payments and for federal assistance to launch reinsurance programs as part of a bipartisan measure to stabilize the individual insurance market.

The conversation among governors and senators in a Sept. 7 hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee echoed what insurance commissioners told the same panel earlier in the week about how to bring stability to the individual insurance market before the fifth open enrollment period.

Closed-Door Process Might Threaten Tax Timeline in Senate
Lack of consensus on budget could push back tax overhaul deadline

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson is among the Republicans calling for more information about the tax overhaul effort. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The closed-door process under which Republican congressional leaders and the Trump administration are crafting an overhaul of the United States tax code could impede the Senate’s timeline for the effort.

Lawmakers say they have yet to receive key details, making it difficult to craft a fiscal 2018 budget resolution that will ultimately serve as the vehicle to advance the tax bill.

Trump Reaches Out to Centrist Democrats on Taxes
Trump’s team has ‘some optimism’ that Heitkamp will support coming overhaul package

President Donald Trump is making overtures to centrist Democrats like Sens. Jon Tester and Heidi Heitkamp, who will accompany him on Air Force One on Wednesday to her home state of North Dakota. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump is sending mixed messages to incumbent Senate Democrats up for re-election in red states as he and GOP leaders try to woo bipartisan support for a major tax overhaul package. 

With his public calls for centrist Democrats to support an emerging GOP tax plan, Trump has underscored his desire to cement a legislative victory before the 2018 midterm elections. But Democrats wonder if he is sincere or if he simply intends to attack them, as he did last week by calling out Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, during a tax speech in her home state. 

GOP Super PAC Expands Field Presence to 17 Districts
Congressional Leadership Fund opens offices in six more districts

Congressional Leadership Fund is opening a field office in New Jersey Rep. Leonard Lance’s district. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Republican super PAC backed by House leadership is expanding its field program by opening new offices in six GOP-held districts. 

Congressional Leadership Fund now has a 17 field offices across the country.

Governors Push for Fast Action on Health Coverage
Kasich, Hickenlooper et. al. call for hasty stabilization

Presidential candidate Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks at the American Conservative Union's CPAC conference at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md., on Friday, March 4, 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A bipartisan group of eight governors, led by Ohio’s John Kasich and Colorado’s John Hickenlooper, submitted a health care proposal to congressional leaders this week that urges them to move quickly to stabilize the individual insurance market and to promote participation on the federal exchanges from both consumers and issuers.

Their suggestions come as the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is gearing up for a set of September hearings on market stabilization, one that will include Hickenlooper, with hopes of advancing legislation to strengthen the exchanges ahead of the open enrollment period that begins in November. 

Guardian Reporter Says Gianforte Reneged on Promised Interview
Ben Jacobs says at least efforts to ‘avoid answering any questions from me have been non-violent’

Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., during a swearing in ceremony in the Capitol before the actual event on the House floor in June. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)