Will Hurd

Republican group launches PAC to increase GOP diversity
Catalyst PAC will promote non-white, LGBTQ, or religious or ethnic minority candidates

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., attended a kickoff event for a new PAC seeking to support more diverse Republican candidates. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans seeking to increase their party’s diversity in Congress and challenge a media portrayal of the conservative movement as “bigoted” launched a PAC on Monday to support candidates “as diverse as our nation.”

That’s the goal that Catalyst PAC describes on a website soliciting contributions to support candidates who “look a little different from what’s thought of as the ‘traditional’ Republican.”

These 8 Republicans voted for the Equality Act
3 House Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination did not vote

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., shown applauding during President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address in February, was one of eight House Republicans to vote for the Equality Act on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Eight House Republicans voted Friday with their Democratic counterparts for the Equality Act, which would broaden the definition of protected classes to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

The bill, a Democratic priority, passed 236-173 amid passionate speeches from both Republicans and Democrats. Debate over the bill was partisan, and at times, tense. 

Hey Congress, there’s an app for that!
Students swarm Capitol Hill, showcase computer science skills

IMG_7684

#HouseOfCode, a Computer Science Festival on Capitol Hill, welcomed 232 students from 129 congressional districts who all assembled in a packed room inside Rayburn. These high-tech middle and high schoolers wore their “congressional app challenge” cotton tees with pride, favoring computer applications over the typical D.C. attire. The task was to showcase their contributions to computer science and, once I showed up, explain “coding.”

“Coding ... is a language where you’re trying to write an application,” high school senior Ryan Lee began explaining before his galactic-themed game, “Space Exploration,” caught my attention. (I’m a sucker for space and, full disclosure, he lost me at “language.”)

House Republicans identify vulnerable members for 2020
NRCC announces initial eight members of Patriot Program

The NRCC has added New York Rep. Lee Zeldin to its Patriot Program for the 2020 cycle. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Eight House Republicans, including the three from districts won by Hillary Clinton in 2016, have been named to the National Republican Congressional Committee’s list of incumbents expected to face tough re-elections. 

Members of the Patriot Program typically benefit from fundraising and organizational assistance. The list can be a signal to donors to direct checks to members in need.

Democrats launch Tax Day ad attack aimed at GOP overhaul
Effort on Facebook signals 2018 messaging on tax law is here to stay for 2020

The DCCC is attacking Texas Rep. Pete Olson in its latest round of digital ads (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

To coincide with Tax Day, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is rolling out digital ads on Monday attacking 12 Republicans for the GOP tax plan that passed during the 115th Congress.

The new Facebook ads, obtained first by Roll Call, signal Democrats will continue to use the 2017 tax overhaul, which passed with only Republican votes, as a key part of their economic message heading into 2020, when the party will be trying to protect their midterm gains and expand the map by investing heavily in such places as Texas.

Here are the 8 Republicans who broke with their party on Obamacare lawsuit
Democrats sought to put GOP colleagues on record with symbolic vote

Freshman Minnesota GOP Rep. Pete Stauber broke with his party on a vote related to the Obamacare lawsuit. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic congressional campaigns have already made health care an early focus of their 2020 messaging, and House Democrats bolstered that effort Wednesday with a symbolic vote that sought to once again put Republicans on record on the issue.

Eight Republicans sided with Democrats on the nonbinding resolution, which the House adopted, 240-186. The measure condemned the Trump administration’s support for invalidating the 2010 health care law in its entirety. The Department of Justice, in a new filing last week, backed a Texas judge’s decision to strike down the law. 

House passes gender pay gap bill, a top Democratic priority
Most Republicans oppose measure, say there are better ways to get pay parity without lawsuits

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., has been introducing the Paycheck Fairness Act since 1997 in an effort to help close the gender pay gap. The House on Wednesday passed her bill, one of the new Democratic majority’s top priorities. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats on Wednesday passed another one of their top party priorities, a bill called the Paycheck Fairness Act that is designed to help close the gender pay gap. 

HR 7 passed, 242-187, with only seven Republican votes. Those included New Jersey’s Christopher H. Smith, an original cosponsor of the bill, Florida’s Mario Diaz-Balart, Idaho’s Mike Simpson, New York’s Tom Reed, Texas’ Will Hurd, Pennsylvania’s Brian Fitzpatrick and Illinois’ Rodney Davis. All 235 House Democrats voted for the measure. 

‘The River and the Wall,’ a journey down the wall’s path
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 62

Ben Masters, director of "The River and the Wall," right, discusses his movie about the Rio Grande and the immigration and border issues around it with Political Theater Podcast host Jason Dick. (Nathan Ouellette/CQ Roll Call)

Initial 2020 House race ratings are here
Republicans are on the offense but also running against history

Reps. Max Rose of New York, second from left, and Joe Cunnigham of South Carolina, second from right, here with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy at the State of the Union, are among 31 Democrats holding seats the president carried in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After losing a net of 40 House seats in last year’s midterms, Republicans have plenty of offensive opportunities in 2020. But winning back the majority will not be easy.

On paper, the path back to 218 may look simple for Team GOP because it winds through favorable territory. There are 31 Democrats who currently represent districts that President Donald Trump carried in 2016, and Republicans need to gain 18 or 19 seats to regain House control (depending on the outcome in North Carolina’s 9th District).

Republicans have concerns about Trump’s emergency declaration, too
Congressional Republicans raised concerns, but didn't denounce Trump's radical maneuver

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said in a statement Friday that the president's national emergency declaration defies the Founders. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Some in the president’s party are wringing their hands about how the emergency declaration for a border wall might set a reckless precedent.

While Congressional Republicans have raised concerns, most held off on denouncing the president’s radical maneuver to circumvent Article I of the Constitution and devote federal funds to a border wall without their approval.