Washington

Opinion: Trump Needs to Reread ‘The Art of the Comeback’
The president’s political embrace and his threats are both equally empty

President Donald Trump waves to the crowd after addressing a joint session of Congress in the Capitol's House Chamber, February 28, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

After just nine weeks in the Oval Office, Donald Trump is already forced to resort to his third book, “The Art of the Comeback.”

From James Comey’s artfully cloaked shiv in last Monday’s congressional testimony to the head-for-the-lifeboats abandonment of Trumpcare on Friday, it is hard to recall a president who has had a worse week without someone being indicted.

Opinion: The GOP’s Big Health Care Winner — Mitch McConnell
House in flames but crisis avoided in the Senate

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell remains untarnished by the GOP effort to repeal the 2010 health care law, Allen writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

There’s exactly one big winner in the Republican leadership right now: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

The Kentucky Republican, long known for his sixth-sense acumen as a political and legislative strategist, completely avoided the direct and collateral damage of the GOP health care debacle of 2017.

Republicans Cancel Vote on Health Care Bill
Democrats chant ‘Vote, vote, vote’

Vice President Mike Pence and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price leave their meeting with members of the House Freedom Caucus at the Capitol Hill Club. A failed final effort to secure the votes necessary to pass legislation repealing and replacing the 2010 health care law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House on Friday canceled a scheduled vote on the Republican bill to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, in what could be a catastrophic blow to the party’s seven-year campaign against the law.

Cheers could be heard from the House Democratic cloakroom as the news spread.

Jimmy Panetta Takes a Hard Line on Military Spending
Son of Defense secretary represents Monterey County

Rep. Jimmy Panetta, left, was sworn in to Congress alongside his father, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, also a former member of the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When the House approved the $577.9 billion fiscal 2017 defense spending bill on March 8, only 48 members — including four freshmen — voted against it. It’s politically difficult to vote against a measure that pays for the weapons U.S. forces need and supplies the funds for a 2.1 percent pay increase for Americans in uniform.

One of the freshmen was Jimmy Panetta, the youngest of former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s three children. He explained that he opposed the bill because it did not spend enough. “It could have done more to help my area on the central coast of California,” Panetta says.

Rep. LoBiondo: Stop Calling My Office Over Health Care Bill
N.J. Republican says his mind is made up, constituents can’t get through for services

Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J., is asking people to stop calling his office hourly about health care legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Frank LoBiondo is asking people to stop calling his office hourly to convince him to vote for the Republican plan to replace the 2010 health care law.

Lawmakers have reported huge increases of calls to their offices — many from outside their districts — both in D.C. and in their districts over the health carebill. And number of Republican members have seen protests in front of their district offices.

The Latest on Republican Health Care Bill Vote
With Republicans unable to corral enough votes, bill is pulled from the floor

Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., center, and other members and staff make their way to a procedural vote in the Capitol before the vote on the American Health Care Act later in the day. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans on Friday pulled their health care bill from the floor on Friday when it became clear they didn’t have the votes to pass the measure, dealing a major setback to their efforts to repeal the 2010 health care law that was the centerpiece achievement of President Donald Trump’s predecessor.

The announcement came after a frenzied two days of lobbying when major divisions emerged between leadership and its conservative and moderate blocs.

Word on the Hill: Happy Friday
Books, restaurants and trees

This week was taken up with debate over the Republican repeal and replace health care effort. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After a busy week on the Hill, there’s a lot to do off the Hill this weekend to chill out.

Temperatures are supposed to reach 75 degrees in the District on Saturday, so it will be a great time to check out what’s left of the Cherry Blossoms on the Tidal Basin.

Plea Deal Reveals Stockman Accused of Stealing $775,000
Former staffer testifies that former congressman scammed two charitable organizations

Court documents in a plea deal for a onetime staffer for former Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, claims the former congressman scammed nearly $800,000 from two charitable organizations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Testimony in a plea deal from a onetime aide to former Texas Rep. Steve Stockman puts the total of money he is accused of taking from charitable contributions close to $800,000.

Stockman was arrested last week as he was getting on a plane in Houston and charged with campaign funds violations. He was later released on $25,000 bond and forced to surrender his passport.

Indiana Headed for Another Member-on-Member Senate Primary
Messer close to announcing a bid and Rokita expected to follow

Indiana Rep. Luke Messer is assumed to be running for Senate, but he could be joined by another member of the Indiana delegation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hoosier politicos call it the “Wabash mafia.” And now two graduates of the tiny, all-male college in Indiana are likely to face off in the Republican primary to take on Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in 2018.

GOP Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita graduated from Wabash College just one year apart. And while neither has officially entered the race, they’re both making moves that suggest this cycle’s primary could again feature member-on-member theatrics.

Opinion: Art as Soul Food – A Tough Yet Essential Case to Make
President Trump’s proposed budget cuts are ill-advised

Funding for humanities programs, such as the National Endowment for the Arts, is only a fraction of the federal budget and should not be cut, Curtis writes. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)

Most critics expressing outrage at President Donald Trump’s proposed budget have focused on cuts to the Community Development Block Grant program that funnels money to Meals on Wheels. And who can blame them? 

If you’re looking for allies for your cause, that’s the narrative you want — one that sets up clear-cut heroes and villains, especially with budget director Mick Mulvaney, sent from central casting and all but twirling a mustache as he says, “We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good,” or “There’s no demonstrable evidence” that after-school programs that also feed children are actually “helping kids do better at school.”