Grassley Opens Door to Lame Duck Action on SCOTUS Nominee
Senate Republicans have so far blocked a hearing or vote on Merrick Garland

Iowa Sen. Charles E. Grassley has hinted that he might be open to a hearing and confirmation vote for Judge Merrick Garland during the lame duck session after Election Day. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley signaled that he is open to possibly acting on President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee after the November elections.

Republican leaders have pledged not to take up the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, though a few senators have raised the possibility of a hearing or confirmation vote during a lame duck session between Election Day and when the new Congress is seated in January.

Senators Return to D.C. For Brief Sessions
Brief pro forma sessions block prospect of presidential recess appointments.

Lankford is one senator who gaveled in the brief session. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

On Tuesday morning, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito opened a Senate session that lasted just 30 seconds.

The West Virginia Republican is one of several GOP senators who have returned to the nation's capital during the summer to gavel the chamber in and out -- essentially a procedural gambit to block President Barack Obama from making any appointments while the Senate is out of town.

Challenger's Poll Shows Statistical Dead Heat With Issa
Issa's campaign dismisses poll, predicts incumbent is well-positioned to win

California Rep. Darrell Issa won his last election with more than 60 percent of the vote. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An internal poll conducted for California Rep. Darrell Issa's Democratic opponent shows Doug Applegate within three percentage points of the long-time Republican lawmaker.

The Strategies 360 Research Poll released Monday by Applegate's campaign, showed 45 percent saying they would vote for Issa, while 42 percent said they favored Applegate and 13 percent were undecided.

New DSCC Ad Targets Heck Over Wall Street, Social Security
Nevada Senate seat is the only plausible pickup opportunity for the GOP

Republican Rep. Joe Heck is locked in a tight Nevada Senate race with Democratic opponent Catherine Cortez Masto. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A new ad from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is accusing Nevada GOP Senate candidate Joe Heck of supporting a Wall Street-favored plan to privatize Social Security. 

"Wall Street invested over a half million dollars in Congressman Heck's campaigns," a narrator says. "And Heck supports their agenda, privatizing Social Security."

Democratic Super PAC Delaying Strickland Ads
DSCC on Monday reduced its own ad buy in the race

Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland has struggled to raise money against the well-funded incumbent Sen. Rob Portman. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Majority PAC is delaying by two weeks a planned TV ad campaign in support of Ted Strickland, the Ohio Senate Democratic nominee whose campaign has unexpectedly struggled to gain traction against Republican Sen. Rob Portman. 

The news, confirmed by two sources tracking ad buys, comes on the heels of a decision from the independent expenditure arm of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to delay by one week its own ad buy. 

Reid Cites Ties to Trump Campaign in Election System Hacks
Senate minority leader writes letter to FBI director asking for investigation

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is concerned about Russian influence in the election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In a letter to the FBI, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid expressed concern about a direct link between Russia and the Donald Trump campaign.

The Nevada Democrat wrote to FBI Director James B. Comey that he had learned of video evidence of an individual with ties to Trump and his top aides claiming to be in communication with WikiLeaks, which posted numerous documents that Reid said had been obtained by Russia.

Todd Young Dithers on Trump and Nukes
Indiana Senate candidate says Clinton has disqualified herself for security clearance

Rep. Todd Young said he is "comfortable" with a foreign policy change and "the Republican nominee" offers that. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Todd Young would not say whether he thought Donald Trump should have access to nuclear codes, even though he got several chances to offer an opinion.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Monday, Young, who is running for the Senate in Indiana against Democrat Evan Bayh, was asked the question multiple times.

Portman Hits Strickland on Coal in New TV Ad
Senate incumbent has used coal mining as an issue in previous ads

In a new ad that will run in parts of Ohio until Election Day, coal miners say they will vote for Sen. Rob Portman because Democratic opponent Ted Strickland "turned his back on us." (Courtesy Ron Portman for U.S. Senate)

Sen. Rob Portman is appealing to Ohio coal miners in a new ad released Tuesday.

The minute-long television ad will go on the air in southeast Ohio from now until Election Day, according to Portman's campaign. The ad is part of a $14 million statewide ad reservation that the Ohio Republican's campaign announced in May.

Florida GOP Primaries Will Shape Next Year's Conference
Five of the state's 8 open seats are safe for Republicans

Mary Thomas, Republican candidate for Florida's 2nd District, has the support of the House Freedom Fund. (JM Rieger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With a third of Florida's delegation retiring at the end of this term, open-seat races dot the Sunshine State's redistricted congressional map.

Five of the open eight House seats are in Safe Republican districts, which means the winners of Tuesday's primaries will likely be the next members of Congress.

The 5 Most Bonkers Things Alan Grayson Has Said
A look at Florida Democratic firebrand on the day of his Senate primary

Florida Rep. Alan Grayson, right, faces a tough battle in Tuesday's Senate primary against Rep. Patrick Murphy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Alan Grayson will face the biggest fight of his political career as he runs for the Democratic nomination for Senate in Florida on Tuesday.

He's earned the reputation of being so difficult in Congress that establishment Democrats like Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada have actively said they want him to lose his race against Rep. Patrick Murphy. Recent polls give Murphy a solid lead in the primary. 

Murphy, Rubio, McCain Enter Tuesday's Primaries as Heavy Favorites
The establishment in both parties is expected to win big, yet again

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is heavily favored to win his Republican primary contest against Carlos Beruff on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Leaders in the Republican and Democratic parties are expected to get their way Tuesday in a trio of marquee Senate primaries, each of which features an establishment-backed candidate who — by nearly all indications — will defeat a longshot challenger. 

In Arizona, Republican Sen. John McCain faces former state Sen. Kelli Ward in a race that pitted the longtime incumbent against a conservative firebrand. The veteran lawmaker appears to have a sizable advantage: A CNN/ORC poll released last week found McCain leading Ward 55 percent to 29 percent.

Nevada's Cresent Hardy Hospitalized for 'Minor Heart Attack'
Spokesman says he expects Hardy to return to Washington for votes next week

Nevada Rep. Cresent Hardy suffered a minor heart attack, his office said. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Nevada Republican Rep. Cresent Hardy was hospitalized for a "minor heart attack," according to a spokesman's statement on Monday and several Las Vegas news outlets.

He has "undergone a routine medical procedure" after the attack, the statement said, adding that he remains under observation by doctors.

Report: DSCC Delays Strickland Ad Buy
Democrats nervous that Portman has built an insurmountable lead in Ohio

Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The independent expenditure arm of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is delaying a planned ad buy on behalf of Ohio Senate candidate Ted Strickland, according to a report, fueling concerns among Democrats that the former governor's race against Republican Sen. Rob Portman is in danger of slipping away.

The news was first reported by The Washington Post, which said the committee had canceled a weeklong, $500,000 buy scheduled to start in the middle of September. The newspaper also reported that the DSCC arm still planned to start a new buy, just later in the month.

Emmer's District Partially Explains His Support for Trump
Congressman's conservative district is among the least diverse in Minnesota

Minnesota Republican Rep. Tom Emmer, left talks with Minnesota Democrats Rep. Rick Nolan and Sen. Al Franken at annual Minnesota Congressional Delegation Hotdish Competition in May. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer is one of the few members of Congress who says he is all-in for Donald Trump, but that's likely a reflection of the district he represents.

Emmer said he is "incredibly comfortable" with his decision to back the Republican presidential nominee, the Star Tribune reported.

Pennsylvania Senate Race Could Come Down to Guns
Toomey might be the 'lesser of two evils' for gun owners

Pennsylvania Sen. Patrick J. Toomey had the support of the National Rifle Association before he backed background check legislation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Despite his support for background checks, for many gun owners in Pennsylvania, Republican Sen. Patrick J. Toomey might be "the lesser of two evils" in his race against Democrat Katie McGinty.

Toomey previously had the support of the National Rifle Association in his Senate run in 2010. But after the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Toomey teamed up with Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, another senator who previously had the NRA's support, to push legislation on background checks.