Politics

Steve Israel Finds New Platform
Former DCCC chairman, former Sen. Rick Santorum to join CNN as contributors

Former Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., talks with reporters in the Capitol Visitor Center after a meeting with House Democrats in June 2016. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former New York Democratic Rep. Steve Israel, an eight-term veteran of the House, is joining CNN as a contributor to its political coverage.

CNN anchor and media correspondent Brian Stelter tweeted Tuesday morning that the former chairman of the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee and former chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will join the network.

Lewis Backs Out of Inauguration Ban Claim
Georgia Democrat acknowledges Trump won’t be first swearing-in he refused to attend

Rep. John Lewis testifies against the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions,  President-elect Trump’s nominee for attorney general. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. John Lewis’ office is walking back comments he made Sunday about boycotting the presidential inauguration for the first time after he was blasted by Donald Trump about not attending the swearing-in of former President George W. Bush.

Citing a 2001 Washington Post article, Trump tweeted Tuesday that Lewis had also skipped the inauguration of the 43rd president because “he thought it would be hypocritical to attend Bush’s swearing-in because he doesn’t believe Bush is the true elected president.”

Rep. Meeks Undecided on Trump Inauguration Attendance
‘If I go, it’s not there to celebrate’

Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus PAC, conducts a news conference at the DNC where members of the CBC PAC endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, February 11, 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

More than 40 Democratic lawmakers plan to boycott the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump. But Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., hasn’t made a decision.

“I am not decided yet.” Meeks said Tuesday morning in an interview on CNN’s “New Day”.

Low Approval Ratings Could Speed Possible Trump-GOP Clash
President-elect at 40 percent in 2 polls, around half of Obama’s 2009 rating

President-elect Donald Trump tweeted that the opinion polls that show him with a lower transition rating than his predecessors were “rigged.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President-elect Donald Trump tried to cast doubts Tuesday on his low approval ratings, but the numbers — around half of those of his predecessor in 2009 — could accelerate an emerging collision with his own party. 

Two new polls put Trump’s approval rating at 40 percent just three days before he will be sworn in as the 45th president. At the same point in President Barack Obama’s transition period eight years ago, one of those polls, conducted by CNN/ORC International, had his approval rating at 84 percent.

Former Congressman to Host Pro-Trump TV Show
Fossella left office after a drunk driving rap

Former Rep. Vito Fossella, right, resigned after it was revealed he had a second family. (Newsmax)

Disgraced former Rep. Vito Fossella is now co-hosting a pro-Donald Trump television show on Newsmax.

According to the New York Post, Fossella left his consulting job at former Sen. Al D’Amato Park Strategies Firm to co-host “Table Talk” on Newsmax.

Court Nixes Key Spot on Parade Route for Anti-Trump Protest
Group holds permit for demonstration at Navy Memorial

An anti-Trump protest group lost its court battle for a key spot on Pennsylvania Avenue. (AFP/Getty Images File Photo)

Protesters won’t get to displace bleachers at a key inauguration parade spot on Pennsylvania Avenue so they can stage an anti-Donald Trump demonstration, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday. 

Act Now to Stop War and End Racism Coalition, known as ANSWER, had pressed a lawsuit seeking access to Freedom Plaza with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. A three-judge panel ruled that the government has the authority to restrict demonstrations in the public space located between 13th and 14th Streets on Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest.

Republican Members Hear from Obamacare Supporters
Democrats hold rallies to defend Obama’s signature law

Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., called a swarm of Obamacare supporters at a constituent event "partisan activists." (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican members of Congress heard from constituents supportive of the Affordable Care Act over the three-day Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend as they take steps to repeal the law.

Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., saw hundreds of people at a constituent meeting event at a library in Aurora, according to one eyewitness account to 9News.

Here Are the Democrats Skipping Trump’s Inauguration
Nearly 50 Democratic House members won’t attend Friday’s swearing-in

California Rep. Barbara Lee was one of the first members of Congress to announce that she wouldn’t attend the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Even before President-elect Donald Trump attacked Georgia Rep. John Lewis on Twitter over the weekend, a handful of Democratic lawmakers had planned to boycott Trump's inauguration on Friday.

But by the end of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday on Monday night, that group had ballooned. Nearly 50 Democrats in the House have now said they will not attend. No Democratic senators have announced similar intentions.

Crisis Averted but Future Is Still Unclear for House Watchdog
Republicans promise bipartisan review of Office of Congressional Ethics

Massachusetts Rep. Michael Capuano, who chaired the committee that recommended the creation of the Office of Congressional Ethics, says he would welcome looking at potential revisions to the office. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republicans might have ditched a plan to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics. But the future of Congress’ only outside ethics review board is far from guaranteed.

The Office of Congressional Ethics, or OCE, has been under fire from both parties since it was created eight years ago. Now the House GOP majority is promising to revisit a potential overhaul before the end of this session, possibly as early as August.

Democrats, Donors Turn Focus to State Legislative Races
Republicans say their foes have tried before but still came up short

Former Attorney General Eric Holder’s National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which is backed by President Obama, will focus prominently on state legislative races. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate map is chock-full of deep red states, the House map skews Republican, and the presidential race doesn’t start for at least two more years. 

If Democrats and their donors want to find ways to win in 2018, they might need to refocus down the ballot — way down the ballot.

Obama Doubts Trump Can Govern Via Twitter, Admits Some Missteps
Outgoing president: Bitter partisanship means ‘we’re weakening ourselves’

President Obama, Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., arrive in the Capitol Visitor Center on Jan. 4 for the meeting of House and Senate Democrats to discuss Obamacare. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama used his final national television interview to express doubts that Donald Trump will be able to effectively govern by firing off tweets and offered some advice about the president-elect’s feud with the intelligence community.

In a lengthy interview that aired Sunday evening on CBS’s “60 Minutes” news program, Obama also acknowledged some mistakes — a rarity for the outgoing chief executive. Among them were missteps he made in dealing with Congress.

Mixed Bag of Republicans Vote Against Obamacare Repeal Vehicle
GOP defectors cite deficit, lack of replacement

Dent voted against the budget resolution because of concerns about the GOP rushing to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans on Friday passed a bare-bones fiscal 2017 budget resolution with few intraparty defections, as most GOP members saw the unbalanced and long-delayed spending plan as a necessary means to an end of repealing the 2010 health care law.

The nine Republicans who voted against the measure raised concerns about either the budget not balancing, a key priority for fiscal conservatives, or the aggressive timeline of repealing the Affordable Care Act, given that the GOP has yet to present a replacement plan. The final vote was 227-198. 

Ep. 36: Spooked by Russia
The Week Ahead

CQ Roll Call’s intelligence reporter Ryan Lucas separates fact from fiction on all the Russia-related reports that have thrown the nation’s capital into a tizzy. 

John Lewis to Skip Trump Inauguration
Says Trump is not a legitimate president

Rep. John Lewis, seen testifying at the confirmation hearing of Jeff Sessions for attorney general, is boycotting Trump’s inauguration. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis will not attend President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, charging that Trump’s presidency is illegitimate. 

“I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president,” the Georgia Democrat told NBC’s “Meet the Press with Chuck Todd” in an interview to air this Sunday. “I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.”

Photos of the Week: Confirmation Hearing Frenzy on Capitol Hill
The week of Jan. 9 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, and Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, prepare for Sessions’ Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Russell Building’s Kennedy Caucus Room on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A total of seven confirmation hearings for President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks kicked off on the Hill this week. Meanwhile, a back-and-forth erupted between the parties over a student painting being taken down from the Cannon House Office Building.