Virginia

Health Care: Four Make or Break Senators We’re Watching
Capito, Collins, Murkowski and Heller

Left to right: Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Susan Collins, R-Maine, Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. (Photos by Tom Williams and Bill Clark, composite by Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

UPDATE 2:28 p.m., July 25 | Sens. Shelly Moore Capito, R-W.Va. and Dean Heller, R-Nev., have both announced they plan to vote to proceed with the health care bill. Their ayes clear the 50 vote threshold required to proceed, but questions about the package as a whole remain with Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough’s Friday ruling that budget reconciliation rules would be violated in the bill’s current state.

With Sen. John McCain en route to cast a critical health care vote just one week after announcing a brain cancer diagnosis, here are four senators to watch and what they’ve said leading up to Tuesday’s vote:

Sessions on the Cusp of Martyrdom or Oblivion
If he’s fired, will former Senate GOP colleagues draw a line against Trump?

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been the target of almost daily taunting from President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When Jeff Sessions was preparing last fall to begin a third decade in the Senate, his future as a rock-ribbed conservative legislative force looked limitless, but just three seasons later, he’s been pushed to the precipice of his career.

The almost daily taunting he’s taking from President Donald Trump points toward one of two probably quick endings to his brief run as attorney general, quitting or getting canned.

House GOP Push to Reverse Course on Spending Strategy Fails

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., don’t appear to have the votes to pursue a 12-bill omnibus spending package. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House GOP appropriators’ and other rank-and-file members’ last-minute push to vote on a full 12-bill spending package before the August recess has failed to garner enough support for leadership to reverse course.

The now twice-made decision to proceed with a four-bill minibus package of national security-related appropriations bills instead of a 12-bill omnibus is a blow to those in the Republican Conference who saw pursuing a 12-bill strategy a win.

Rodney Davis Loses One Democratic Challenger, Gains Another
State legislator Carroll Ammons passed on running

Erik Jones worked as counsel for the House Oversight Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee before moving back to Illinois. (Erik Jones for Congress via Facebook)

One Illinois Democrat passed on running to challenge Republican Rep. Rodney Davis on Monday while another jumped into the race.

State Rep. Caroll Ammons announced she would not run to challenge the Republican congressman in Illinois 13th Congressional District.

Trump Slams Sessions Amid Talk of Firing Him
Asked if Trump wants Sessions gone, Scaramucci says, ‘Yeah, you’re probably right’

President Donald Trump has referred to Attorney General Jeff Sessions as “beleaguered.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump took aim at Attorney General Jeff Sessions Tuesday in an early morning tweet amid reports that the president has consulted his advisers about firing him.

And his newly appointed communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, acknowledged later Tuesday that Trump wants Sessions out.

Opinion: Democrats Cut the Cards in Search of a Better Deal
Sending a message to Joe Sixpack

From left, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen, New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner and Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos at the congressional Democrats’ rally in Berryville, Va., on Monday to unveil their new economic agenda. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Under the bright sun in Berryville, Virginia, Monday afternoon, the congressional Democrats demonstrated that they can change. Or, at least, they can paper over their differences.

At the beginning of an hourlong rollout of their 2018 economic agenda, “A Better Deal,” Chuck Schumer labeled as a “false choice” the debate over “whether Democrats should spend all our energy focusing on the diverse Obama coalition or the blue-collar Americans in the heartland who voted for Trump.”

Word on the Hill: Staffer Corrects 200-Year Mistake
Religion, soccer, cats and dogs as sharks

Staffer Ryan Martin and his family check out the Utah flag before it goes up in the Kennedy Center's Hall of States. (Kennedy Center)

House staffer Ryan Martin noticed at The Kennedy Center that the Utah flag in the Hall of States display wasn’t quite right. A manufacturing error on the flag showed 1647 as the year Mormon pioneers settled in the state, 200 years off from the actual year.

Martin informed the center and a new flag was ordered. The new flag, with the correct year, was raised Monday at a ceremony in the Hall of States. 

McCain to Return to Senate for Key Health Care Vote
Pentagon policy bill debate also awaits Arizona Republican

Sen. John McCain with a friend identified as Joe Harper in Oak Creek, Arizona. (Courtesy McCain’s Twitter page)

By JOE WILLIAMS and JOHN M. DONNELLYUpdated 10:10 p.m. | Sen. John McCain will return to the Senate chamber Tuesday in time for a key procedural vote on the Republican legislation to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, his office confirmed Monday evening.

The Arizona Republican announced last week he was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an often fatal form of brain cancer.

Steve Scalise Still in Hospital, But Calling In

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., called into the Monday whip meeting. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is still in the hospital, but strong enough that he called in to the weekly whip team on Monday.

The Louisiana Republican was patched in “to thank the whips for their hard work and let them know he is looking forward to working through the rehab process and returning to the Capitol once he is ready,” a Scalise spokeswoman said.

Farenthold: It’s ‘Repugnant’ Female Senators Holding Up Health Care Bill
Says if it was a guy from Texas, they would be settling it ’Aaron Burr-style’

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Wednesday, May 13, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold said it was “absolutely repugnant” that “some female senators from the Northeast” have been a roadblock to the GOP passing a health care bill.

“If it was a guy from south Texas, I might ask him to step outside and settle this Aaron Burr-style,” Fahrenthold told Texas radio station KEYS, The Associated Press reported.