Politics

Poliquin Sues to Stop Maine’s Ranked Choice Voting
Poliquin could lose his narrow lead under new system

Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin is suing to stop the state’s ranked-choice voting system from going forward in his 2nd District re-election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin has sued state Attorney General Matthew Dunlap seeking an injunction to stop the tabulation of ballots under the state’s ranked-choice voting system, which is being used in his race against Democrat Jared Golden in the 2nd District.

Since no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote, the state’s ranked-choice voting system kicked in last week. This year is the first time it’s being used at the federal level in Maine, and the 2nd District will likely be the first House race in the country to be decided under this process.

Ocasio-Cortez Joins Protesters at Pelosi’s Office
Environment groups want commitment from Democratic to take urgent action on climate change

Democratic Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined about 100 protesters who took over Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi’s office over climate change. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images file photo)

Protesters, joined by Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, took over Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office Tuesday and staged a sit-in calling for her to commit to urgent action on climate change.

The group of more than 100 people was organized by the environmental group Sunrise and Justice Democrats.

U.S. Aware of All North Korea Nuclear Work, Trump Says Despite Report
President responds to report about alleged deception by Kim Jong Un

South Koreans watch on a screen reporting on the U.S. President Trump meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the Seoul Railway Station on June 12. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday denied that North Korea is moving ahead with its nuclear weapons program despite a pledge from Kim Jong Un to freeze all such work.

Citing satellite images, the New York Times reported Monday that Kim is continuing work at sites he promised to Trump would cease while the two leaders — and, sometimes, their staffs — try to strike a denuclearization deal.

Mark Warner Welcomes Amazon, But Warns Big Tech
Top Democrat on Senate Intelligence wants to see more data transparency from Facebook, others

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., is welcoming Amazon to Arlington County. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

One of the Senate’s most tech-savvy members is applauding Amazon’s decision to locate half of HQ2 in Crystal City, but he had some strong language for the technology industry at large when it comes to data privacy.

Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat who resides not far from the part of Northern Virginia that is now slated for investment and redevelopment as an Amazon campus with 25,000 jobs, said he hoped the move would further catalyze a regional technology industry boom.

In Appropriations Endgame, All Roads Lead to Border Wall
Dec. 7 funding deadline fast approaching

Border Patrol vehicles stand guard along the United States-Mexico border fence in on Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014. The fence runs through the cities of Calexico, Calif., and Mexicali on the Mexico side. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sooner or later, President Donald Trump will have to confront the political reality that Congress is extremely unlikely to provide the $5 billion he wants to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

That realization has to occur in less than a month, with the House and Senate both in session for only 12 legislative days before the current stopgap funding measure expires Dec. 7.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger ‘Disgusted’ By Trump Mocking Unseated Republicans
‘Some of them lost because people, frankly, were voting against the president,’ GOP congressman says

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger said some Republicans suffered losses on Election Day because of backlash to the president. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As President Donald Trump the day after Election Day read off a list of defeated Republicans whose losses he attributed to not embracing his endorsement on the campaign trail, Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger watched in disgust.

“I wish the president had shown some more grace in that and said ‘Thank you for your service,’ instead of ‘It’s because you didn’t back me,’” the 16th District congressman said in an interview with CNN Tuesday. “I was very disgusted when I heard that.” 

10 House Races, 1 Senate Race Still Uncalled One Week After Elections
Meanwhile, recount in Florida Senate race goes on

Florida Gov. Rick Scott addresses his election night party in Naples, where he declared victory in the Florida Senate race with incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson on Nov. 6. Scott and Nelson are now locked in a recount a week after Election Day. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A week after the midterm elections, officials have yet to determine the winners in one Senate contest and 10 House races.

If the 2000 presidential race is an indication, we could be waiting weeks for the outcome of the Florida Senate race as state election personnel recount votes for Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, who trailed in the initial tally by less than 15,000 votes to his challenger, GOP Gov. Rick Scott.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Will ‘Relish’ Time in New York Before DC Move
Mark Pocan to incoming members with DC housing concerns: ‘She and everyone is welcome to crash at my place’

In recent days conservative media’s criticism of New York Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has centered on a more parochial subject than most political dustups: her rent. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Incoming New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress last week, but she is in no hurry to move to the nation’s capital. 

“I don’t need to move to DC until work starts anyway, and I am really taking this time to relish the last couple of months that I have full time with my communities in the Bronx and Queens,” Ocasio-Cortez said Monday at a news conference held by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Reuters reported.

Trump-Macron Bromance Shows More Signs of Fading
U.S. president offers French counterpart mocking lecture on securing Europe

President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron head for Marine One following a tree-planting ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in April. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

Are President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron headed for a Trans-Atlantic breakup?

After Trump’s rocky and controversial visit to Paris, which included some less-than-warm body language toward his younger French counterpart, the unlikely bromance appears to have hit choppy waters. Many U.S. lawmakers — Republican and Democrat — have warned Trump to avoid alienating close allies and want him to end a nasty trade flap with the EU. 

Coast Guard Bill Returns ‘Delta Queen’ Steamboat to Spotlight
Senate reauthorization measure would exempt boat from safety regulations

A provision in the Senate’s Coast Guard authorization bill would allow the Delta Queen, a wooden steamboat, to operate as an overnight cruise ship despite safety concerns. (Al Behrman/AP file photo)

Senate votes this week will help determine whether a 91-year-old wooden steamboat can be revived as an overnight river cruise ship — even though the Department of Homeland Security calls that prospect an “unacceptable” fire risk.

A provision buried deep in a recently modified version of the Senate’s Coast Guard authorization bill would exempt the Delta Queen paddle wheel boat from federal law and Coast Guard regulations that require vessels with overnight accommodations for 50 or more passengers to be made of fireproof materials. The boat’s owner envisions the vessel as a Mississippi River cruise vessel for up to 174 passengers.

Most House Democrats Will Be in Majority for First Time Ever
In contrast, most House Republicans have never been in the minority

New York Reps. Hakeem Jeffries and Grace Meng have never served in the majority, with both first elected in 2012. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Most House Democrats in the next Congress will be new to the majority and an overwhelming majority of Republicans will be new to the minority — a dynamic that could create a steep learning curve for members as they grapple with party strategy and messaging changes under the new power structure.

Even more significant is that a majority of leadership candidates for both parties have not served in a Democrat-led House.

House Democratic Factions All See Gains After Midterms
Progressive Caucus, New Democrats, Blue Dogs tout their expanding ranks

Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairman Mark Pocan expects his group to see a net gain of 13 members, not counting the uncalled races. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The two largest ideology-based Democratic factions in the House — the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the New Democrat Coalition — are both projecting they’ll have more than 90 members next year after the party picked up over 30 seats in last week’s midterms.

The growth comes at a time when numbers will matter for these groups, more than they have for the past eight years when their party has been in the minority. With the House in their hands next year, Democrats will get to set the legislative agenda and control what bills come to the floor.

New Members of Congress Hit the Books in DC
It’s just like college, but with more catering

Newly elected members of the 116th Congress arrive in Washington today for new member orientation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Freshly elected faces will descend on Washington on Tuesday for the start of their congressional orientation, including a new session on workplace rights on Capitol Hill. If past years are any indication, they’ll be eating tens of thousands of dollars of food.

Lunches, tours and briefings will pack the agenda, and winners from around the country will mix and mingle like freshmen on a college campus. It will be their first taste of life as a member of Congress, from interacting with media to forging relationships with their future colleagues.

Trump Predicts ‘Deal-Making,’ Many Fights Ahead With Democrats
First up, both sides face border funding test in lame-duck session

President Donald Trump talks to reporters Wednesday, the day after the midterm elections. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump appears ready to make some deals — except when he’s threatening Democrats with “warlike” tactics.

Despite losing the House and several governorships in states that could be key for Trump’s 2020 re-election prospects, the president used a press conference last week to send widely divergent messages to lawmakers about just how much he wants to get done in the lame-duck remainder of the 115th Congress and after the 116th is seated in early January.

What’s Going On in the Senate This Week
Chamber to take up Coast Guard reauthorization and Federal Reserve nominee

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., led negotiations on the Coast Guard bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators return to Washington on Tuesday with plenty of housekeeping to take care of before the 115th Congress comes to close.

Before getting to leadership elections and greeting incoming Senate colleagues, the current class has some legislating left to do. First up is a long-stalled reauthorization of the Coast Guard.