Politics

Michael Flynn Gets Another Chance From Intelligence Committee
Panel seems ready to hold him in contempt of Congress

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., want to give Michael Flynn one more chance to cooperate with their probe. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate Intelligence Committee is giving former national security adviser Michael Flynn another chance to produce documents about his interactions with Russian officials, even as the panel’s leaders are sending signals that they are unafraid to hold him in contempt of Congress.

The committee leadership has now sent a letter questioning the claim by Flynn and his lawyers that he can use the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination to avoid producing documents subpoenaed by the panel.

Rep. Lamar Smith Out of Touch With Science, Challenger Says
Aerospace engineer — a veteran — is taking on Science committee chairman

Lamar Smith chairs the House Science Space and Technology Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

GOP Rep. Lamar Smith, the chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, is getting a Democratic challenger who says Smith is out of touch with science and his constituents.

Joseph Kopser announced Tuesday that he is taking on Smith, who is running for re-election for a 17th term in Congress in the solidly Republican central Texas district. Kopser, a combat veteran who served in Iraq and earned a Bronze Star, is one of a slew of candidates in science and technology fields running for elected office as political outsiders.

Trey Gowdy’s Path to Oversight Gavel Gets Smoother
Steering Committee will pick next Oversight chairman after break

Rep. Trey Gowdy wants the chairmanship of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and after Rep. Jason Chaffetz leaves Congress, he has a good chance to get it. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Trey Gowdy’s bid to be the next chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee keeps getting easier as a key potential rival says he won’t run and predicted the South Carolina Republican is likely to wield the gavel, even as the deadline to make a bid draws near.

Any serious bid to challenge Gowdy will need to get under way soon, as Speaker Paul D. Ryan is giving members interested in the post until June 1 to let the House Republican Steering Committee know, according to a Ryan spokeswoman. The Steering Committee is on track to vote on the next chairman the week following the Memorial Day recess.

Health Care Backlash Prompts MacArthur to Resign as Co-Chair of Tuesday Group
‘Clearly, our group is divided’

Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., walks through Statuary Hall on his way to the House floor in the Capitol for the votes on repeal and replace of Obamacare on Thursday, May 4, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Trump Budget Request Rolls Out to a Quarreling Congress
Selling deep cuts aimed at poor and middle class could be rough going

Eric Ueland, Republican Staff Director for the Senate Budget Committee, hands out copies of President Donald Trump's fiscal 2018 Budget in the Dirksen Building on May 23, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The ambitious fiscal blueprint now heads to a bitterly divided Congress, which has the authority to adopt or reject the White House spending plans. Trump’s budget chief, Mick Mulvaney, will visit the Capitol this week to try to sell the $4.1 trillion outline to top budget writers in the House and Senate.

Those hearings will officially kick off the fiscal 2018 budget and appropriations cycle in Congress, a process that has been on hold for months as lawmakers waited for Trump’s full budget proposal and as they finished up last year’s spending work.

Health Care Leaks Get the Clampdown From McConnell
Obamacare repeal working group now open to all GOP senators

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly expressed annoyance at the number of leaks regarding the health care working group’s private discussions. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

BY JOE WILLIAMS AND ERIN MERSHON

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sent a warning to staffers last week amid growing frustration at the amount of information leaking from private Republican discussions on repealing the 2010 health care law.

Giffords Shooting Memorial Has Become ‘Politicized,’ Barber says
After Arizona House approved funding, attempt stalled in Senate

Former Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., was among those wounded in the shooting at a constituent event for then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in 2011. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Attempts to build a memorial at the site of the shooting of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords stalled because they became “politicized,” former Arizona Rep. Ron Barber said.

Survivors of the January 2011 shooting that killed six and severely injured Giffords and 12 others have raised more than $5 million to create a memorial in downtown Tucson.

Poll: Ossoff Leads Handel by 7 Points in Georgia House Runoff
Majority of voters surveyed disapprove of President Donald Trump

Jon Ossoff, Democratic candidate for the Georgia 6th Congressional District, leads Republican opponent Karen Handel in a new poll released a month before their runoff. ( Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A new poll shows Democrat Jon Ossoff with a 7-point lead against Republican Karen Handel ahead of the runoff election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.

Of the 700 voters interviewed in the SurveyUSA poll conducted for Atlanta TV station WXIA, Ossoff leads with 51 percent compared to Handel’s 44 percent. Six percent of respondents were undecided and the margin of error was 4.3 percent.

East Jerusalem Should Be Palestinian Capital, Abbas Insists
Israelis reject that notion showing Trump how tough a peace pact will be

Demonstrators hold posters during a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump next to the American consulate on Monday night in Jerusalem. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

Updated at 7:44 a.m. President Donald Trump continued to press for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal during a stop in Bethlehem, but comments by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas showed just how difficult such a pact will be.

As Trump said Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu have assured him they want to “work towards that goal in good faith,” the Palestinian leader laid down a key marker for potential talks that his Israeli counterparts have rejected in the past.

GOP Group Launches Health Care Ad Ahead of CBO Score
American Action Network spending additional $2 million to promote bill

California Rep. Jeff Denham is one of the 21 lawmakers whose districts are the targets of a new ad campaign by the American Action Network. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A conservative issue advocacy organization is spending an additional $2 million on a nationwide television ad campaign to promote the Republicans’ health care plan ahead of the release of the Congressional Budget Office score, which is expected Wednesday. 

The American Action Network, which has close ties to House GOP leadership, is debuting the campaign on Tuesday morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” The ad will also air in 21 congressional districts.

Trump Budget’s Chilly Reception Will Be Nothing New
Congress routinely rebuffed Obama budgets too

OMB Director Mick Mulvaney, center, and GPO Director Davita Vance-Cooks, right, reviewed production of the fiscal 208 budget proposal at the Government Publishing Office’s plant on North Capitol Street last week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s budget request finally gets its full release Tuesday morning, but the stories of its inevitable rejection on Capitol Hill could have been written weeks ago.

There has been ample bipartisan skepticism of the proposed cuts to domestic programs coming out of Trump’s budget office for fiscal 2018, but overall, the reaction and follow through on it will not likely be much different than it ever was under President Barack Obama.

2018 Senate Recruitment: Too Early to Talk About It?
Challengers in tight races typically take their time to announce

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the 2018 midterm elections about 18 months away, attention is shifting to the battle for the Senate — and who could emerge as potential challengers.

But history shows that prospective contenders have a few more months before they typically announce their candidacies.

Tax Overhaul Challenges Unified Republican Government
Contentious House provisions spark interest in bipartisan Senate plan

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had planned to pass a tax overhaul by August, a timeline that has slipped amid intraparty divisions. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

BY LINDSEY MCPHERSON AND JOE WILLIAMS

Republican leaders are applying a lesson learned from health care to the tax overhaul debate: build consensus before releasing a bill.

Lawmakers React to Latest Trump-Russia Bombshell: ‘What Now?!’
Report: President asked two top intel officials to deny collusion with Moscow

President Donald Trump speaks during a joint statment with Israel's President Reuven Rivlin at the President's House on May 22, 2017 in Jerusalem, Israel. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

BY JOHN T. BENNETT, LINDSEY McPHERSON AND REMA RAHMAN

Lawmakers on Monday evening seemed resigned to yet another bombshell report suggesting President Donald Trump attempted to interfere with a federal investigation aimed at, in part, determining whether there was collusion between his campaign and the Russia government.

Democrats Expanding Battlefield Into Trump Country
DCCC adds 20 more GOP seats to its target list

The DCCC is targeting California Rep. Devin Nunes in 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Monday added 20 seats to its target list for 2018. The House Democrats’ campaign arm is now going after 79 Republican-held seats in the midterms.

President Donald Trump won these newly targeted seats by anywhere from 6 to 49 points. The first round of 59 targets, announced in January, included the 23 GOP-held seats that Hillary Clinton carried last fall. But it also included plenty of red districts, including at least eight districts that Trump carried by 15 points or more.