Politics

Pence Will be First to Use Reagan’s Bible for Swearing-in
It's traveling with a former Reagan staffer from Reagan Library in California

Traveling to Washington for Mike Pence’s swearing-in will be Ronald Reagan’s Bible’s first trip outside the Reagan Library. (Courtesy Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute)

Vice President-elect Mike Pence says it’s “humbling” to be sworn into office using President Ronald Reagan’s family Bible. Its caretaker says it took some courage to ask to use it.

“No one’s ever had the courage, I guess, until this point to make an ask for it,” John Heubusch, executive director of the Reagan Library, said Wednesday.

Confirmation Specualtion Swirls in the Senate
Leaders are negotiating whether Cabinet picks can be swiftly confirmed Friday

Defense Secretary nominee James Mattis could be one of the nominees confirmed on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

<strong>By BRIDGET BOWMAN AND NIELS LESNIEWSKI</strong><br> <strong>CQ Roll Call</strong>

Senators’ focus on President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees continued Wednesday afternoon, with some attention turning toward which nominees might be confirmed on Friday.

Barack Obama Has Left the Building, Or At Least the Brady Room
Obama's hope fades a bit: 'I think we’re going to be OK'

At his final news conference as president, Obama wished the press, and the country, luck. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In his final press conference as president, Barack Obama warned that economic and other forces could further divide Americans, and sent messages anew to Donald Trump, particularly that he could re-enter the political arena if “our core values may be at stake.”

Less than 48 hours before he will cede all powers of the presidency to Trump, the 55-year-old Obama, with more salt than pepper atop his head, showed flashes of the optimistic candidate who toppled both Hillary Clinton and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., during the 2008 presidential campaign. But by the end of the session, his concerns about the next four years appear to show through.

Gwen Moore to Attend Inauguration as 'The Resistance'
Moore's decision comes as the list of Democrats skipping the festivities grows

Rep. Gwen Moore says she is attending the Inauguration as the face of opposition to President-elect Dona'd Trump's "repugnant" policies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Many Democrats are planning to skip Friday’s inaugural activities over their objections to President-elect Donald Trump, but not Wisconsin Rep. Gwen Moore.

“As a proud Democrat, I want President-elect Trump to see me front and center as he’s sworn in,” Moore said in a statement Wednesday. “I want him to see exactly what his opposition looks like. When he sees me, I want him to see The Resistance.”

Sex Worker Solidarity Sparks More Controversy for Women’s March
Phrase ‘We stand in solidarity with sex workers’ rights movement‘ removed then reappears in platform

Just days before the Women's March on Washington, organizers are facing questions about their stance on the sex workers’ rights movement after  a supportive statement disappeared from their platform and then reappeared after criticism.

It’s not the first issue the march has faced in its short, tumultuous planning period. Controversy first erupted over the name “Million Woman March,” which some felt exploited a march of African-American women in 1997 and the fact that organizers were all white. Since plans to begin at the Lincoln Memorial fell apart, marchers will now gather at the Capitol at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning and march down Independence Avenue.

Disability Rights Advocates Concerned After DeVos’ Hearing
Came after cagey responses on integrated education

Disability rights advocates were concerned about DeVos' lack of understanding of law that governs education for students with disabilities (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call).

Disability rights advocates raised concerns after Education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos' confirmation hearing that she might not be committed to enforcing educational access for students with disabilities.

During the hearing for President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to run the Department of Education, Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., asked about whether schools that received federal money should have to comply with the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act.

More Republicans Face Contentious Town Hall Meetings
Amash, Duffy hear criticism over Obamacare repeal

Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., faced criticism when he said states would bear the responsibility for replacing the Affordable Care Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican House members heard from more constituents in town hall meetings on Tuesday about GOP plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

In Grand Rapids, Mich., the Gerald R. Ford Museum was packed at capacity of 250 people for a town hall meeting with Rep. Justin Amash, MLive reported. Dozens more were outside and a security guard had to push the doors closed.

Sparring Over Price Takes Center Stage
Has first of two confirmation hearings

Rep. Tom Price, seen here meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, faces his first confirmation hearing Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate chamber might be the quietest place in Washington this week (except for the House chamber).

The Senate’s keeping the floor lights dimmed until inauguration morning on Friday, and the Senate GOP is forgoing the usual weekly media stakeout by the Ohio Clock in the Capitol, citing extra access restrictions this week.

Former President George H.W. Bush Hospitalized

Former President George H. W. Bush, shown here with President Barack Obama in 2013 celebrating the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award winner, is expected to be discharged from the hospital in the next few days. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

Former President George H.W. Bush was admitted to Houston Methodist Hospital, but is expected to be released in the next few days.

Bush’s Chief of Staff Jean Becker said doctors have a few theories about his condition but he is responding to treatment, the Houston Chronicle reported.

44 Sitting Members of Congress Have Accepted Donations From Trump
Group includes prominent lawmakers from both parties

Arizona Sen. John McCain, whom President-elect Donald Trump once criticized, has received the most donations of any current lawmaker from Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Much has been said about how Vice President-elect Mike Pence, with his 12 years as a congressman, could be incoming President Donald Trump’s bridge to Congress. But Trump has his own ties to the Hill, in the form of nearly two decades worth of political contributions to sitting members of the House and Senate on both sides of the aisle.

Trump has donated to the campaigns of 44 current members of Congress, according to a Roll Call review of Federal Election Commission electronic records that are available since 1997. Nineteen of those members are in the Senate, and 25 are in the House.

Senators to Watch as Trump Era Begins
Rank-and-file senators likely to be key players in 115th Congress

Georgia Sen. David Perdue, left, and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III are both senators to watch. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans may have full control in Washington, but the Senate remains the Senate, which means it’s the place where rank-and-file Democrats and Republicans retain the most clout and potential for influence. Here are the key senators from outside of the top echelons of the leadership structures to watch as the 115th Congress gets underway.

The moderate from Maine will be the first person to watch on any contentious votes, particularly on budget reconciliation votes that aim to repeal parts of the 2010 health care law. She has, for instance, been among the small number of Republicans opposing efforts to tie the GOP health care plans to stopping federal funding of Planned Parenthood.

The House Version of ‘Law and Order’
A sentencing, some commutations and other House news

Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson speaks with New York Rep. Louise M. Slaughter during a press conference by House Democrats in November 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Bennie Thompson’s chief of staff was sentenced Tuesday to four months in prison for failing to file income tax returns.

Issac Lanier Avant was also ordered to pay $149,962 to the IRS for failing to file tax returns from 2009 to 2013 after he had assumed the role of Democratic director for the House Homeland Security Committee, earning more than $165,000, the Justice Department said in a statement.

House Freshmen to Watch
115th Congress provides a platform for ambitious new members

Kihuen, left, comes to Congress with a record of success in Nevada, and the blessing of former Sen. Harry Reid. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Not all freshmen are created equal.

While there is always a learning curve for new members of the House, some of the newly elected come to the institution with an enhanced profile. This could be because they are former statewide officeholders, or perhaps scored a big one for the team by knocking off a longtime incumbent. Maybe they are natural leaders or their ambitions are such that they are already looking at other federal offices. 

Mike Pence Tells Mayors Infrastructure Bill Will Be ‘Big’
Obama commutations draw a crowd

Vice President-elect Mike Pence, pictured here with House GOP leaders, on Tuesday let a group of U.S. mayors know the incoming Trump administration plans to push a “big” infrastucture bill. How to pay for the measure, however, will be a major hurdle. (Photo by Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President-elect Donald Trump wanted a group of U.S. mayors gathered in Washington to know his administration will be a “friend” starting Friday, when he will be sworn in.

So he instructed his vice president-in-waiting, Mike Pence, to deliver a message to them on Tuesday when he addressed their conference: “Tell ‘em we’re going to do an infrastructure bill, and it’s going to be big,” the Republican president-elect said during a phone conversation with Pence.

Democrats Use CBO Report to Message Against Obamacare Repeal
Number of House Democrats skipping Trump’s inauguration continues to grow

Pelosi, right, and other Democrats are using a new CBO report to message against Republican plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats gained a useful messaging tool Tuesday in their efforts to thwart the GOP’s plan to dismantle the 2010 health care law, as the Congressional Budget Office released a report saying up to 32 million people would lose their insurance under a previous Republican proposal.

The CBO also estimated that marketplace premiums would nearly double under the GOP repeal legislation President Barack Obama vetoed last year. Republicans are using that prior budget reconciliation bill as a model for legislation they are drafting. Speaker Paul D. Ryan has said the new legislation will include some pieces of replacement policy as well.