Politics

Democrats Hope for ‘Perfect Storm’ in Alabama Senate Race
Doug Jones touted as party’s strongest candidate in years

Doug Jones chats with attendees before a Democratic Senate candidate forum in Decatur, Ala., on Aug. 3. (Jeronimo Nisa/The Decatur Daily via AP, File Photo)

As Republicans gear up for a grueling primary runoff in the Alabama special election Senate race, Democratic candidate Doug Jones has the race to himself. And Democrats see Jones as their best hope for victory in a ruby-red state.

But that’s a tall order for Jones.

Trump Threatens Shutdown, Attacks GOP Senators During Angry Rally
President on Sen. Flake: ‘Nobody knows who the hell he is’

Protesters chant and wave signs across the street from the Phoenix Convention Center as President Donald Trump holds a rally inside on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

An angry and defiant President Donald Trump used a Tuesday campaign rally to threaten a government shutdown, slam two Republican senators in their home state, and pour rhetorical gasoline on racial tensions he has twice stoked since the deadly Charlottesville, Virginia, white supremacist protests.

Trump stuck to his staff’s script at the start of a rally in Phoenix, reading prepared remarks from a teleprompter just as he did during a stoic speech the night before to announce his Afghanistan policy. But it didn’t last, with the president appearing to put even more distance between himself and mainstream Republicans and even some members of his own Cabinet.

Senate Health Panel Will Hear From Governors, Insurance Leaders

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and ranking member Patty Murray, D-Wash., will hear from a range of policy figures in constructing a bill to stabilize the health insurance markets. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate’s key health care panel announced plans to hear from governors and state insurance commissioners early next month about ways to rein in rising prices for medical insurance purchased directly by consumers.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Tuesday set a hearing Sept. 6 with state insurance commissioners and another on Sept. 7 with governors. The committee, which has not yet said who will appear at the hearings, is also expected to announce additional sessions.

There’s a Good Reason Trump Will Rally Supporters in Phoenix
After a rough few weeks, president could use a boost from friendly crowd

Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to a crowd of supporters during a campaign rally in June 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona. Trump campaigned seven times in Arizona before Election Day last year. (Ralph Freso/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump on Monday gave a somber address about his strategy in America’s longest-running war in Afghanistan. But that tone will likely change as he holds a campaign-style rally Tuesday night in Phoenix — where Trump has tossed out some of his more visceral rhetoric — and feeds supporters samples of what made them love him in the first place.

It could be a pep rally for Trump after the criticism he got last week from many Republicans for the way he appeared to give a nod to white supremacists after the racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. The president has also come under heavy criticism for the disarray in the White House that has led resignations and firings in his team’s top tier, and for having no major legislative accomplishments to show for his seven months in office.

Flake Brushes off Trump’s Criticism as President Lands in His Backyard
Trump often critical of Arizona senator, who faces tough re-election challenge from both sides

en. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., is trying not to sweat President Donald Trump's criticisms of him. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Despite Donald Trump’s disparaging comments about him, Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake said he isn’t sweating the president’s visit to Phoenix on Tuesday. 

“I don’t worry about it at all,” Flake said at an event Monday in the Phoenix suburbs, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Judge Gives Gianforte Until Sept. 15 to Have Mugshot Taken
Democrats can’t wait to see it

Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., pled guilty to assaulting a reporter on the eve of his special election win. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A judge ordered that Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte be fingerprinted and photographed by Sept. 15 in relation to his assault of a journalist earlier this year. 

Judge Rick West ordered that the Republican report to a jail in Bozeman to be booked for his assault charge, The Associated Press reported.

Analysis: Why Recent Tax Overhaul Efforts Failed and This One May, Too
Republicans taking tax message on the road this week without details

House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, second from right, and Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, third from right, speak with executives at an appliance store in Lawrence, N.J., during a stop on their 2013 tour to promote their tax overhaul effort. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The last time Republican tax writers unveiled legislation for overhauling the tax code, it elicited this telling response from the speaker of the House: “Blah, blah, blah, blah.”

It was Feb. 26, 2014, and the House Ways and Means Committee had just unveiled a tax overhaul discussion draft, with full legislative text and both dynamic and static scores from the Congressional Budget Office.

Campaigns Aren’t Equipped to Vet Donors
Contributions from white supremacists have slipped through in the past

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign donated to charity money it received from a white supremacist leader in 2015. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As the past week has reaffirmed, most congressional candidates don’t want to be associated with white supremacists.

But when it comes to campaign donations, candidates have little control over who supports them. It’s easy enough for politicians to donate to charity or refund contributions from controversial sources. The hard part is finding them.

Puerto Rico Pressing On in Its Quest for Statehood
Island’s governor swore in its would-be congressional delegation last week

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló arrives for a news conference about the June 11 vote in favor of U.S. statehood at the National Press Club in Washington on June 15. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló recently swore in his dream team for political representation — two senators and five representatives to match the commonwealth’s population.

They are expected to travel to Washington soon and ask lawmakers to be seated as the official congressional delegation for Puerto Rico. 

On Afghanistan, Trump Bets On Generals He Once Criticized
President says ‘my original instinct was to pull out’

U.S. Army Gen. John Nicholson (right) shakes hands with troops ahead of a handover ceremony at Leatherneck Camp in Lashkar Gah in the Afghan province of Helmand on April 29, 2017. (Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images)

Candidate Donald Trump often said he knew more when it came to the country’s foes than America’s top military leaders. But by siding with retired and current four-star generals on Afghanistan, Trump placed a big bet on a group he once believed had been “reduced to rubble.”

Trump announced Monday night at Joint Base Fort Myer Hamilton Hall in Arlington, Va., he will keep thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan despite his long-held disdain for the operation there. The president’s decision came after a months-long review by his national security team, and reports indicate he will raise the American military presence there to around 12,000.

Lawmakers Watch Eclipse From Back Home
With Congress on recess, members watched the show with friends, family, and constituents

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas,  watches Monday’s eclipse from San Antonio, where he was visiting the Chamber of Commerce. (Sen. Ted Cruz via Twitter)

Unlike President Donald Trump, many lawmakers listened to the warnings and wore solar eclipse glasses to look at the sun on Monday.

The president briefly looked skyward before putting on his protective glasses when he and first lady Melania Trump joined millions of Americans to view the solar eclipse.

Eclipse Day in Photos: D.C. and N.C. Residents Look Up to the Sun
An eclipse was on the minds of most American residents on this Monday

The moon passes in front of the sun during the solar eclipse in Sylva, N.C. on Monday. The town lies in the path of totality. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Roll Call’s photographers caught the eclipse and the event’s spectators in two different locations on Monday. Tom Williams traveled to Sylva, N.C.,  in the path of totality. And Bill Clark stuck close to Roll Call’s home and captured moments as congressmen, reporters, congressional staffers and other Hill personnel ventured out on the Capitol steps and plaza to catch a glimpse of the historic event. 

Here’s the day in photos:

Perlmutter Changes Mind, Decides to Run for Re-Election
Colorado Democratic congressman says he has had time to ‘regroup and recharge’

Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., has decided to run for re-election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Ed Perlmutter reversed course Monday, announcing his decision to run for re-election, shaking up the Democratic primary for his House seat and prompting two candidates to end their campaigns.

The Colorado Democrat had previously said he would not run for re-election after ending his gubernatorial campaign. But Perlmutter changed his mind, saying in a statement that he had decided to run for a 7th term.

Beefing Up Afghan Troop Level Would Be Major Shift for Trump
In 2012, he called conflict ‘complete waste,’ adding, ‘Time to come home!’

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Melissa Fusco gives candy to an Afghan boy on the streets in Logar Province in Afghanistan in 2009. President Donald Trump will address the nation Monday night on his plan for U.S. military operations there. (Courtesy Spc. Richard Jones/Wikimedia Commons)

President Donald Trump is expected to announce Monday night that he is sending thousands more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, breaking with his yearslong disdain for the nearly 16-year-old conflict there.

As a candidate, Trump rarely talked about the Afghanistan War and stability operation other than to disparage it. He used it as an example of why his nationalistic approach would be better than any of his Republican or Democratic foes, arguing the George W. Bush and Obama administrations had wasted billions of dollars there for little strategic gain.

Poll: Majority Disapprove of Trump in Rust Belt States That Helped Elect Him
But support stays strong among those who supported him last year

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence held a “Make America Great Again Rally” in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to celebrate their first 100 days in office. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

A new poll shows a majority in three Rust Belt states that helped propel Donald Trump to the White House disapprove of the job he’s doing.

The Marist/NBC News poll released Monday found 55 percent of residents in Michigan disapprove of Trump’s job performance while 36 percent said they approve. In Pennsylvania, 52 percent say they disapprove while 33 percent approve. And in Wisconsin, Trump’s disapproval rate was at 56 while approval was 33.