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Red-State Democrats Zero In on Opioid Epidemic
Issue could buoy vulnerable incumbents in West Virginia, Missouri

Sens. Claire McCaskill and Joe Manchin III are two vulnerable Democrats looking to highlight their work on opioids. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Vulnerable red-state Democrats are highlighting their work to address the opioid crisis in an effort to hold on to their congressional seats, even as it remains unclear whether the Senate will take key action before the midterm elections.

While the opioid epidemic is a priority for much of Congress, candidates in especially hard-hit states, such as West Virginia, have made it a core issue in their re-election bids.

At the Races: O-H-I-O
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter by subscribing here. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. —Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman

Wyden to Delay Treasury Nominee Amid Tax and Oversight Fights
Oregon Democrat wants information on Trump lawyer Cohen and Russian operatives

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., is holding up the nomination of Justin Muzinich to be deputy Treasury secretary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Ron Wyden said Wednesday he will place a hold on President Donald Trump’s nominee for a top Treasury Department post because Democrats have been stymied by the department in their oversight efforts.

The Oregon Democrat, ranking member on Senate Finance, said at a committee meeting that he’ll hold up the nomination of Justin Muzinich, tapped for deputy Treasury secretary, but he will support Michael Desmond’s nomination for chief counsel at the IRS and assistant general counsel at Treasury.

Senate Passes Spending Package, Rejects Trump’s Proposed Cuts
Chamber has now passed seven of the 12 annual spending bills

Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., has shepherded a largely bipartisan appropriations process, pushing forward a four-package spending measure on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate approved a $154.2 billion, four-bill fiscal 2019 spending package Wednesday as a continuing bipartisan effort in the chamber pushed it ahead of the House in the appropriations process.

The vote was 92-6. Republicans cast the opposing votes: Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania.

House Candidate Calls First Lady ‘Hoebag’
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy wants Mark Roberts banned from Twitter

First lady Melania Trump listens as President Donald Trump welcomes recently freed American detainees from North Korea back to the U.S. in May. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is calling for Twitter to ban an independent congressional candidate for making sexist slurs against first lady Melania Trump.

Mark Roberts, who is challenging Oregon Republican Rep. Greg Walden for his seat, was responding to a tweet from Turning Point USA founder Charley Kirk, who pointed out that the first lady has a much smaller staff than her predecessor Michelle Obama. Kirk said there are only five White House staffers as opposed to the 44 who worked for Obama.

Senate Honors Trailblazing Women in Computer Science
Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper recognized by chamber

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., joined with his colleague Deb Fischer, R-Neb., to honor the two computer science pioneers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Tucked away amid the back and forth of appropriations debate last week, the Senate honored two female trailblazers in math and computer science, adopting resolutions recognizing Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper.

Sponsored by Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden and Nebraska Republican Deb Fischer, the measures would designate Oct. 9, 2018, as “National Ada Lovelace Day” and honor the life and legacy of Hopper.

Lawmakers Renew Efforts to Pass Family Separation Bill
But with House already out for recess, no legislative solution possible until September

A girl participates in a rally at Freedom Plaza in downtown Washington on June 27 to to protest the Trump administration policy that separated migrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers say they are renewing efforts to find what has been elusive legislation to keep families together at the U.S.-Mexico border, as the Trump administration announced it would meet the latest court deadline for reuniting more than 1,400 children it had separated from their immigrant parents.

Department of Homeland Security officials said they expected to complete all “eligible” reunifications by midnight Thursday, Pacific time. Beyond those, 711 children remain in custody because they’re not “eligible” for reunification, according to the department. Of those, 431 have a parent who was deported from the U.S. without them, officials said.

Tech Fellowship Expands After Embarrassing Facebook Hearing
TechCongress hopes to place 10 fellows in 2019

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s April testimony exposed a lack of technical knowledge in Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Among the complex problems that Facebook poses to Congress, at least one has an easy solution: Most lawmakers don’t understand technology. So they need to hire more people who do.

That’s according to Travis Moore, a former staffer whose nonprofit aims to increase tech savvy on the Hill. TechCongress, a fellowship program his organization started with two recipients in 2015, is expanding and accepting applications for a class of up to ten to be placed in congressional offices in January.

Withdrawn Nomination Gives Democrats Hope in Brett Kavanaugh Fight
Small margin in Senate provides little wiggle room for Supreme Court nominee

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will continue to meet with senators this week, even though Democrats want to see documents from his time working in the White House for George W. Bush. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The last-minute White House withdrawal of an appeals court nominee on the Senate floor Thursday underscores just how thin of a margin Republicans have on the looming fight over President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court.

Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the Senate’s lone black Republican, planned to vote Thursday against the nomination of Ryan Bounds of Oregon to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, based on some writings by Bounds in college. Republicans have only 50 votes right now because Sen. John McCain of Arizona is battling brain cancer at home.

Maria Butina in Mind, Democratic Senators Want Treasury Documents About Russian Ties to NRA
Finance Committee members renew request in aftermath of arrest

Sen. Ron Wyden is seeking documents from the Treasury about potential connections between the NRA and Russia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Ron Wyden is again pushing the Treasury Department to hand over documents about Russians possibly funneling money to the National Rifle Association.

It’s a renewal of a request the Oregon Democrat first sent to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at the beginning of February. And now, joined by fellow Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the query is expanding.