Democrats Tell Trump to Withdraw Clovis Nomination for USDA
Schumer, Schatz cite nominee’s “extremist views” on race, homosexuality

Sam Clovis Jr. is President Donald Trump’s nominee for undersecretary for research, education and economics at the Agriculture Department. (Courtesy Alex Hanson/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0)

Senate Democrats said Wednesday they would “vehemently oppose” the appointment of Sam Clovis Jr., President Donald Trump’s nominee for a top scientific post at the Department of Agriculture, potentially dovetailing with unrelated reservations already expressed by a key Senate Republican.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York and Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii cited Clovis’ rejection of climate science and his “extremist views” on race and homosexuality in a press release. They called for the immediate withdrawal of his nomination as USDA undersecretary for research, education and economics.

McConnell Quells Report of Strains With Trump
Kentucky Republican vows teams are working together

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., listens as Senate GOP leaders speak following the vote on the motion to proceed on health care legislation on Tuesday, July 25, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday disavowed the notion of increasing tensions between himself and President Donald Trump in response to a report that indicated their relationship had “disintegrated.”

The New York Times reported Tuesday that McConnell and Trump had grown so mutually irritated that neither had spoken to each other since an Aug. 9 phone call that ended with both men fuming.

Legislative Agenda Takes Back Seat to Trump’s ‘Beautiful Apartment’
Former Jeb Bush aide: ‘One step forward, one step back’

President Donald Trump opted against selling his legislative agenda in an address to supporters in Phoenix on Tuesday. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump roared, blamed, boasted, omitted and obfuscated Tuesday night at a campaign rally in Phoenix, but there was one thing he decided against doing: selling his stalled legislative agenda.

A night after delivering a measured and somewhat-detailed prime-time address that laid out his new counterterrorism-focused Afghanistan strategy, Trump’s criticism of the news media, his increasingly visible insecurities and his fixation on his political base took over just minutes into his remarks in the Valley of the Sun.

Podcast: Jeff Flake Feels the Heat
The Big Story, Episode 68

Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake talk before the start of the Senate Foreign Relations hearing to debate the authorization for use of military force in Syria on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Jeff Flake's path to re-election is complicated. The Arizona Republican was potentially vulnerable even before President Donald Trump touched down in Phoenix to criticize him at a campaign style rally.

Now Flake, who has argued for more civility in politics, finds himself in a big fight in both the GOP primary and, if he gets past that, a compressed general election. Roll Call elections analyst Nathan Gonzales discusses the 2018 Senate race in Arizona with Roll Call leadership editor Jason Dick on the Big Story Podcast.

Ryan: Shutdown Unnecessary but Continuing Resolution Is Needed
Speaker anticipates Senate lag in processing of appropriations bills

Speaker Paul D.. Ryan, R-Wis., said a short-term continuing resolution will likely be needed to keep the government open. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Wednesday that a government shutdown is unnecessary but that a short-term continuing resolution will likely be needed to keep the government open beyond Sept. 30. 

“I think that will probably be necessary, yes, because I can’t imagine the Senate will be able to process the appropriations bills as quickly as the House is,” the Wisconsin Republican said during a press conference at Intel in Portland, Oregon. 

GOP Senator Predicts Tax Overhaul on Christmas Eve
Heller expects debate on tax code rewrite will run into December

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller predicts some December arm-twisting on tax legislation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Republican member of the Senate Finance Committee thinks an overhaul of the tax code will pass this year — on Christmas Eve.

“So, here’s my prediction: This is best case scenario, all right? I believe we’re going to pass tax reform on Dec. 24th,” Nevada Sen. Dean Heller said Wednesday. “I believe leadership is going to tell us you’re not going home for the holidays until you pass tax reform.”

Rating Change: Democratic Prospects Improve in Kansas House Race
Republican incumbent Lynn Jenkins not seeking re-election

In former state House Minority Leader Paul Davis, Democrats have a credible contender in Kansas’ 2nd District, Gonzales writes. (Courtesy Paul Davis Facebook page)

President Donald Trump won Kansas’ 2nd District by nearly 20 points last fall, but Democrats have Republicans on the defensive in the open seat race.

GOP Rep. Lynn Jenkins is not seeking re-election to a sixth term in the eastern Kansas district, retiring from public office altogether. Republicans normally wouldn’t have to worry about the seat falling into Democratic hands. Trump topped Hillary Clinton last year, 56 percent to 37 percent, according to calculations by Daily Kos Elections, while Jenkins won 61 percent to 33 percent.

Fact Check: What Trump Stretched, Omitted and Ignored in Phoenix
President used his own version of events to fire up a friendly crowd

On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump uttered a string of false and questionable statements during a campaign rally in Phoenix. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s volatile Tuesday campaign rally in Phoenix was full of misleading statements, from his handling of the Charlottesville, Virginia, racial unrest and media coverage of his presidency to Revolutionary War- and Confederate-era statues and the Senate’s rules.

The omissions, exaggerations and stretching of the truth ranged from the trivial to outright misrepresentations. Some aspects of the speech might even complicate the pursuit of his own legislative agenda.

Report: Alabama Senate Candidate Moore Questioned Obama’s Birthplace Last Year
Came three months after Donald Trump laid to rest his questions about Obama’s birth certificate

Senate candidate Roy Moore has questioned the birthplace of former President Barack Obama as recently as December. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice and Senate candidate Roy Moore has espoused that former President Barack Obama is not an American citizen as late as December 2016.

Video obtained by CNN’s KFile shows Moore telling a meeting of the Constitution Party that he did not believe that Obama qualified as a natural-born citizen.

GOP Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick Can’t Escape Trump Back Home
What happens when a Republican in swing district faces his constituents

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., talks with guests during a town hall meeting in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

BENSALEM TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick was not surprised by the first question at his town hall meeting here Tuesday night.

“I’m shocked to get a Donald Trump question tonight,” the Pennsylvania Republican joked, eliciting laughter from the crowd gathered in the Bensalem Township’s Council meeting room prior to the president’s speech in Phoenix