Science

Congress Passes Two-Week Funding Extension to Avert Shutdown
House, Senate sent stopgap measure to president for signature

The House and Senate have passed a two-week extension of government funding, sending it to President Donald Trump for his signature. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

An extension of temporary appropriations for nine Cabinet departments and dozens of smaller agencies through Dec. 21 is on its way to the president’s desk after the House and Senate passed the measure Thursday.

The legislation would extend current funding levels for two weeks and buy time to reach final agreement on outstanding spending issues, including President Donald Trump’s $5 billion southern border wall funding request. It also extends a number of expiring authorizations including Violence Against Women Act programs, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the National Flood Insurance Program for the duration of the stopgap measure.

Wisconsin GOP’s Lame-Duck Play: ‘A New Philosophy of Governing’
Democrats’ wins do not prevent late play to curtail their authority in new year

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, center, lost his bid for re-election in November, but the Republican Legislature has passed legislation curtailing the authority of his Democratic successor and the incoming Democratic attorney general.  (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Scott Walker era in Wisconsin is ending much as it began: With a controversial effort to weaken his political opponents that attracted protests and a national spotlight to Madison.

Tuesday, protestors continued to disrupt an extraordinary session of the state Legislature but didn’t change the outcome as both chambers moved to approve a GOP bill to enhance the Legislature’s power at the expense of Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers, who defeated Walker in the Republican’s attempt at winning a third term last month, and Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul. Republicans maintained control of both legislative chambers in the Nov. 6 elections.

How Climate Cause Could Boost Future Democrats
Pollsters find local environmental issues proved winning midterm strategy in Montana, New Jersey and California

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., shown here at a parade at Crow Fair in Crow Agency, Mont., campaigned on promises to protect public land. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic candidates who focused on local environmental issues were able to sway swing voters and pull ahead in several key midterm races, according to an analysis released Tuesday by a group of left-leaning pollsters and strategists.

“The top takeaway from 2018 is quite simple: that the environmental message works and is politically salient,” said Joe Bonfiglio during a briefing of research from Global Strategy Group, a consulting group that works with Democratic campaigns. Bonfiglio is the president of EDF Action, the advocacy arm of the Environmental Defense Fund.

Representing Is Hard. Online Town Halls Can Help
We invited citizens to connect with their lawmakers. Our findings were both startling and heartening

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., conducts a town hall meeting in 2017. Lawmakers can’t possibly meet with every constituent in person — but they can turn to some of the same communication tools already in use in the private sector, the authors write. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — At the end of the movie “The Candidate,” Robert Redford’s character wins a Senate seat, and then immediately pulls aside his most trusted adviser and asks, “What do we now?” After the divisive election of 2018, we imagine that many newly elected members of Congress are pondering the same question.

Our suggestion, based on over a decade of research: Go beyond business as usual. Make special efforts to connect with your constituents, not just interest groups and your most vocal supporters. These interactions can’t simply be infomercials, but must offer genuine, two-way engagement.

Granger Selected as New Top Republican on House Appropriations
With Nita Lowey expected to chair, panel is set for historic all-female leadership duo

Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, is expected to be the ranking member on House Appropriations next Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Texas Rep. Kay Granger will likely take over as the House Republicans’ lead appropriator in January after the GOP Steering Committee recommended her on Thursday.

The full House GOP Conference is expected to ratify the decision Friday. While it’s possible the conference could overrule the Steering panel recommendation, conference approval is typically a formality.

Not Even Lame Duckery Can Break the Lockstep of the GOP
It is hard to find evidence that congressional Republicans feel chastened by the midterm verdict

Defeat left Rep. Mia Love feeling “unleashed.” If only other lame-duck Republicans felt the same, Shapiro writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — In theory (and the emphasis here is on the word “theory”), the lame-duck session of Congress after a cataclysmic midterm election should be a fruitful time for bipartisanship.

With nearly 90 members of the House and eight senators not returning for the 116th Congress, old rigidities might give way to last-gasp attempts at legislating. The nothing-left-to-lose freedom of the defeated was best expressed by Mia Love, who said at her concession news conference, “Now, I am unleashed, I am untethered and I am unshackled, and I can say exactly what’s on my mind.”

‘Unfortunate Activities’ Delays North Carolina 9th District Results
Baptist minister Mark Harris has not yet been certified the winner over Democrat Dan McCready

Baptist minister Mark Harris (left), who is seeking election in North Carolina’s 9th district, and Rep. Ted Budd , R-N.C., are introduced by President Donald Trump during an October campaign rally in Charlotte. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images file photo)

The state elections board in North Carolina has delayed ratifying Baptist minister Mark Harris’ victory over Democrat Dan McCready in the 9th District, citing “unfortunate activities” in one county.

Harris defeated McCready by less than 1,000 votes in the tally as it now stands.

The Road to a Spending Showdown Is Paved With Cigars, Guns and Horses
Here’s a rundown of some of the funding disputes bubbling under the radar

it’s not just the headline-grabbing clashes over funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall that could sabotage a deal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers returned to the Capitol this week without an agreement on a year-end spending package that would wrap up seven unfinished bills for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1.

Reaching a deal would require a lot of work in a very short period of time. Both chambers are scheduled to be in session for only eight legislative days before a stopgap funding law runs dry on Dec. 7. If no new package is passed by then, Congress would need another continuing resolution to avoid a partial government shutdown.

So You Think You Want to Run for President …
A handy checklist for the 2020 Democratic hopefuls

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., are said to be contemplating presidential runs in 2020. If they do, Shapiro writes, they’d better be ready to answer a simple question: “Why do you want to be president?” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — In most over-stuffed and over-sweet-potatoed families during Thanksgiving week, dinner table conversation revolves around new jobs, new children and grandchildren and vacation plans. But this holiday season in maybe two-dozen homes across America, the new-job talk is about someone in the family running for Democratic nomination for president.

Not every would-be presidential candidate is as methodical as Mitt Romneywho presided over a family roll-call vote in December 2010 about the merits of a 2012 presidential campaign. (The verdict was overwhelmingly “no,” but Ann Romney cast the decisive “yes” vote.) But just about everyone contemplating a White House run traditionally spends the weeks after the midterm elections debating the pros and cons with family and longtime friends.

Cracks on Display as Democrats Plan for Climate Action
Tension has caught the attention of House Republicans, who are already using it to paint the Democrats as a party of disunity

Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., spent time during freshman orientation at Nancy Pelosi’s office. What was she doing? Protesting. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats agree they want to act on climate change, but even before they take charge of the House, they are signs of cracks in their coalition over how to advance the cause.

On Tuesday, while in Washington for new member orientations, the most prominent of newly-elected Democrats, New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, joined climate demonstrators at the office of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to demand more aggressive action on greenhouse gases.