Virginia

Senators Silent After Meeting With FBI Director Comey
Friday afternoon meeting came after votes finished for recess

Senators were not in a talkative mood after meeting with FBI Director James B. Comey on Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Not much can get between senators and a recess. Except, perhaps, FBI Director James B. Comey. 

Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, along with ex-officio member and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, huddled for a total of more than two hours on Friday with Comey.

Despite Email Flap, Scott Pruitt Confirmed to Head EPA
Court order unsealing records prompted calls to postpone vote

Scott Pruitt was confirmed Friday as the new administrator of the EPA. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate continued powering through its march on Cabinet confirmations, approving on Friday the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA, despite questions surrounding the appropriateness of his contacts with the fossil fuel industry.

Senators voted 52-46 to confirm Pruitt.

DCCC Announces Vice Chairmen
Party hopes members will help make inroads to majority

California Rep. Ted Lieu is one of five new regional vice chairmen at the DCCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Thursday announced the election of its five new regional vice chairmen, completing a months-long process of the House Democrats’ expansion of their leadership circle to include more perspectives after the 2016 election disappointment.

Some Democrats have pointed to the DCCC as one of the reasons the party’s messaging last year failed to win them as many House seats as they had been projecting. They’ve said the campaign arm did not do enough to reach voters in middle America, particularly Rust Belt areas where jobs are a primary concern. 

Like Democrats Before Them, GOP Dismisses Town Hall Threat
There’s little data to gauge electoral threat protests pose for 2018

New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen says he’ll be sticking with tele-town halls for the near future. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ask Republican lawmakers about the specter of protests in their districts next week, and they’ll likely shrug off constituent outbursts as “manufactured” or “scripted.” 

The GOP is largely adopting the Democratic posture from the summer of 2009 that angry voices at town halls don’t represent a political threat. That may be true. The question is how Republicans now, and Democrats back then, arrived at that conclusion. 

Republicans Identify Vulnerable Members for 2018
NRCC announces initial round of Patriot Program

Minnesota freshman Rep. Jason Lewis is part of the NRCC’s initial Patriot Program. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee has named 10 members to its Patriot Program for incumbents who are expected to face tough re-election races in 2018.

“Our Patriots are a group of battle-tested members who won hard-fought races in 2016 and are ready to win once again,” Rep. Steve Stivers, the NRCC chairman, said in a statement Wednesday. 

It’s not ‘Astroturf’ if the Anger is real
Politicians should pay attention to protesters

Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz says he “absolutely” believes that disruptions at a recent town hall meeting in his district were orchestrated by paid protesters. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

To town hall or not to town hall? That is the question Republicans are struggling with this week as they’re putting their recess schedules together. 

If they hold town hall meetings, they could risk a “Chaffetz,” like the moment last week when an angry crowd shouted Rep. Jason Chaffetz down in his Utah district with news cameras on hand. But refusing to hold town hall meetings could make a member look out of touch or scared to meet with their own voters. A “tele-town hall” feels like a happy medium, right? Members can say they’ve met with constituents, without actually having to meet with constituents.

Take Five: Brian Mast
Florida Republican recalls waking up in Walter Reed after losing his legs

Florida Rep. Brian Mast finds the lack of truth in emotions the hardest thing to get used to in Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Freshman Republican Rep. Brian Mast of Florida, 36, talks to HOH about how he lost his legs, why he decided to fight with the Israeli military, and advice he received from his father.

Q: Tell me about the day you got injured.

Harris Was Only 2016 Senate Democratic Candidate to Get Cash From Mnuchin
And she voted against him for Treasury secretary

California Sen. Kamala Harris received a $2,000 campaign contribution from Steven Mnuchin last year, but voted against confirming him as Treasury secretary on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the 2016 election cycle, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin donated to only one Democratic Senate candidate. 

But it wasn’t Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, the only Democrat who voted to confirm him for the position Monday night and who is up for re-election next year. It was freshman Sen. Kamala Harris of California, who has her own history with the new Cabinet official and voted against Mnuchin’s nomination.

No Party Line for GOP on Flynn Fallout
Members left to guess about next steps in inquiry

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks with reporters as he heads to a briefing in the Capitol Visitor Center on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans were swarmed on Tuesday with questions about what President Donald Trump knew and when did he know about former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s questionable interactions with Russian authorities. But there was little consensus on the best venue for getting to the bottom of it.

“I think it’s good for the American people to understand, in a fulsome way, everything that’s happened. And to get it behind us,” Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker said. “This is going to go on forever if we don’t address it somehow.”

Year-End Coffers Pad the Two-Year Fundraising Sprint
Some senators started 2018 cycle with millions; others with much less

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown’s campaign committee ended 2016 with $3.2 million in cash on hand, ahead of what is likely to be very competitive re-election for the two-term senator next year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With the 2018 election cycle underway, incumbents gearing up for re-election will begin fundraising in full force this spring.

It helps to have a stockpile of cash already in the bank, but not everyone starts with an equally comfortable cushion.