Rod Blum

Word on the Hill: Volunteers for Tiniest Opioid Victims
Smucker on Israel, and Murphy’s still walking

Ohio Rep. Michael R. Turner, center, is flanked by volunteers at a local hospital. (Courtesy Turner via Premier Health)

Rep. Michael R. Turner, R-Ohio, recently visited volunteers who cuddle with infants going through opiate withdrawal in Dayton. 

The volunteer Infant Cuddle Program at Miami Valley Hospital was launched recently and Turner got to thank the cuddlers last week.

Word on the Hill: Get Cultured in Rayburn
Yappy hour, and honoring the Mooch

A preview of the artwork from Asian-American artists on display in Rayburn today. (Courtesy Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation)

There are three different opportunities today to check out Asian-American artists and history in the Rayburn House Office Building.

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation is hosting an art exhibit “War and Refuge: Reflections on the Vietnamese Refugee Experience and Its Applicability to the Global Migration Crisis” from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the building’s foyer. The foundation works to educate people about the ideology, history, and legacy of communism in order to create “a world free from the false hope of communism.”

Word on the Hill: This Isn’t ‘House of Cards’
Girls Nation, tennis and whisleblowers

Actor Paul Sparks spoke about being diagnosed with diabetes at 28-years-old at a Senate Aging Committee hearing Wednesday. (Alex Gangitano/ CQ Roll Call)

The author writing a book about Frank and Claire Underwood in Netflix’s “House of Cards” was on Capitol Hill on Wednesday — well, the actor who plays him was.

Paul Sparks, who plays Tom Yates on the show and also stars on HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire,” testified before the Senate Aging Committee on diabetes research.

Word on the Hill: Week Ahead
Your social schedule for the week

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Republican Conference continue debate over health care this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Welcome back to another full legislative week.

It won’t be as hot as it has been after the temperature drops tonight, so you might actually want to get outside tomorrow.

Photos of the Year, So Far: 186 Days Into a New Washington
The first half of 2017 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

JANUARY 26: President Donald Trump shakes hands with Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., as he arrives on stage while Vice President Mike Pence looks on, at the GOP Congressional retreat in Philadelphia. House and Senate Republicans held their retreat there through Friday in Philadelphia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Pool)

BY BILL CLARK and TOM WILLIAMS

2017 is now more than halfway complete. That's right, this weekend was the six-month mark on a year that’s brought a great deal of change to the nation’s capital.

GOP Group Launches Health Care Ad Ahead of CBO Score
American Action Network spending additional $2 million to promote bill

California Rep. Jeff Denham is one of the 21 lawmakers whose districts are the targets of a new ad campaign by the American Action Network. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A conservative issue advocacy organization is spending an additional $2 million on a nationwide television ad campaign to promote the Republicans’ health care plan ahead of the release of the Congressional Budget Office score, which is expected Wednesday. 

The American Action Network, which has close ties to House GOP leadership, is debuting the campaign on Tuesday morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” The ad will also air in 21 congressional districts.

Republicans' Latest Health Care Challenge: Selling Their Bill
Only one major outside GOP group defending the plan on air

New Jersey Rep. Tom MacArthur says outside groups are “intentionally confusing people” about the GOP health care bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With the Republican health care plan continuing to earn negative headlines and unfavorable poll numbers, House GOP lawmakers returning to Washington this week have a public relations challenge of epic political proportions.

They succeeded — barely — at passing their health care bill. Now they need to sell it.

Lawmakers Get An Earful On Comey at Tuesday Town Halls
 

Following the White House’s stunning move to fire FBI Director James B. Comey, several Republican House members faced questions about the administration during recess town halls Tuesday evening.

[ House GOP Leadership Mum on Comey Firing ]

House GOP Leadership Mum on Comey Firing
Republican members offer tepid response to Trump firing FBI director

Former FBI Director James Comey was fired by President Donald Trump Tuesday over his handling of the Hillary Clinton investigation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republican leadership has so far kept quiet about President Donald Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey.

A spokeswoman for Speaker Paul D. Ryan said he is expected to address Comey’s firing during an evening appearance on Fox News and that no statements were expected before that.

Town Hall Outrage Turns From Health Care to Comey Firing
Lawmakers hear from constituents about Trump’s dismissal of FBI director

Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., told a town hall crowd that dynamics in Congress might change that could possibly lead to impeachment. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Town hall audiences on Tuesday shifted their outrage from the Republican health care bill to the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

Many of the questions were centered around health care and the vote last week by Republicans to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law and a number of Republicans had to defend the plan.