Politics

White House Joins GOP Line That Keeping Alabama Seat Matters Most
Sanders: Trump wants candidates elected ‘who support his policies’

The White House will not denounce embattled GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The White House on Monday joined a growing chorus of Republicans declining to formally back embattled Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore but stressing the GOP-held seat is too important to lose.

The president and senior White House officials have declined publicly calling for Moore to drop out of the race or giving him an official endorsement. But a GOP talking point has emerged in recent days that was repeated in various forms.

Special Election Kicks Off for Tim Murphy’s Seat
Murphy resigned his seat amid a sex scandal

Democrat Conor Lamb, left, and Republican Rick Saccone are competing for Pennsylvania’s open 18th District seat. (Courtesy Conor Lamb/Rick Saccone/Facebook)

The special election for former Pennsylvania Rep. Tim Murphy’s seat is kicking into gear now that each party has its candidate. Democrat Conor Lamb, a former Marine and federal prosecutor, will face Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone, a former Air Force special agent, in the March 13 election.

Murphy, a Republican, resigned his 18th District seat in the wake of a scandal that included an extramarital affair.

Trump Adds N. Korea to Terror List, Readies ‘Very Large’ Sanction
President: Kim government is ‘a murderous regime’

A North Korean ballistic missile during “Victory Day” parade in 2013. President Donald Trump will add North Korea back to the U.S. government’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

President Donald Trump announced Monday that he is putting North Korea back on the U.S. government’s list of state sponsors of terrorism and plans to slap a “very large” sanction on Pyongyang.

Trump has mulling whether to put North Korea back on the list  for weeks. He and his senior aides decided to hold off until after his 12-day Asia swing, which ended last Wednesday. It was removed under a 2008 deal struck by the George W. Bush administration.

Second Woman Says Franken Inappropriately Touched Her
Alleged incident took place in 2010, Franken’s second year in office

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., has been accused of sexual harassment by two women in the last week . (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A second woman has accused Sen. Al Franken of inappropriate contact with her. The alleged incident took place in 2010, when the Minnesota Democrat was in his second year as a senator.

It is the first such accusation of inappropriate touching against Franken as a sitting senator.

White House Unlikely to Trash Roy Moore
Senior RNC and pro-Trump PAC adviser says voters in Alabama should decide

Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore is facing allegations of sexual misconduct. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House isn’t likely to try to push Republican Roy Moore out of the Alabama Senate race.

That is according to a senior adviser to America First Policies, an outside spending group pushing for President Donald Trump’s legislative agenda.

States Face Children’s Health Coverage Uncertainty
Federal funding could soon run out

Oregon governor Kate Brown recently wrote to her state’s two Democratic senators warning that federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program will  run out in December. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

About two months after federal funding lapsed for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, state officials still don’t know exactly when they’ll run out of money or when Congress will renew funding — leaving families that depend on the program increasingly anxious about their benefits.

At least a few states say that they could exhaust funds as soon as next month. States are growing more concerned about the program with just a few days left on the congressional calendar until December and no signs that lawmakers plan in the immediate future to renew funding. 

Give Trump a Chance, Alexander Says
Tennessee Republican strikes tone of harmony as Senate GOP tries to pass tax code overhaul

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said he would continue working with the Trump administration to advance the GOP agenda. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump was elected by the American people to navigate the U.S. through uncertain times, Sen. Lamar Alexander said Monday, and lawmakers should “give the president a chance.”

The Tennessee Republican told CNBC that while Trump “does things and says things that I don’t do, and that I don’t approve of,” he is the person that Americans “entrusted with the presidency, and I’m going to try to help him succeed.”

Klobuchar Assumes Sponsorship of Franken Sexual Assault Bill
Franken’s office had worked on bill with rape victim

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., has taken over a bill from Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., that would provide grants to law enforcement to train them how to question victims of sexual assault and other abuse. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Amy Klobuchar has assumed the sponsorship of a bill set to be introduced by fellow Minnesota Democrat Sen. Al Franken that would provide training grants for law enforcement personnel that questions victims of sexual assault and other abuse.

Franken’s office worked with 22-year-old Abby Honold to craft the bill. In 2014, Honold was raped by another student at the University of Minnesota, Daniel Drill-Mellum, a one-time intern for Franken.

Flake Fires Back at Trump to Dispute Tax Vote Prediction
Another defection would put GOP bill in jeopardy as president seeks first big win

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and President Donald Trump are trading barbs again, this time over the Senate GOP tax plan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump and perhaps his top congressional Republican critic are sparring again, this time with Sen. Jeff Flake’s office disputing the commander in chief’s claim that the Arizona Republican plans to oppose the party’s tax overhaul plan.

Trump started the duo’s latest back-and-forth with a Sunday evening tweet predicting the retiring Flake — whom he mocked by referring to him as “Flake(y)” — will “be a NO on tax cuts because his political career anyway is ‘toast.’”

For Murkowski, Tax Overhaul Isn’t Just Business. It’s Personal
Inclusion of ANWR drilling could put her in new Alaska league

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski faces a conundrum with a clash between two of her key policy goals — drilling in ANWR and protecting access to health care back home. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Twelve years ago, Sen. Lisa Murkowski sat at the breakfast table with her youngest son, who was in junior high school at the time. It was a big day. The chamber was set to vote on opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling, a priority of Alaska lawmakers for the previous three decades.

“My son looks up at me and he says, ‘Mom, I thought grandpa passed ANWR years ago,”’ the Republican senator recalled recently in her Hart Building office, referencing her father, former Sen. Frank H. Murkowski. “You have to kind of say, ‘Well, yeah, they kinda passed it, but it didn’t really pass. And so it’s back before us again and we’re going at it.’”

Franking Fracas Hits Open Enrollment Ads
House Democrats accuse commission of playing politics

Democrats have asked Franking Commission Chairman Rodney Davis, shown here in 2014, to address complaints that the commission is unfairly blocking ads. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Attempts by House Democrats to promote open enrollment in the health care marketplaces are running up against arcane rules and what they call partisan politics. Lawmakers are seeking to compensate for reduced marketing on the part of the Trump administration with their own taxpayer-funded ads.

The Department of Health and Human Services earlier this year slashed advertising for HealthCare.gov by 90 percent, prompting cries of “sabotage” from Democrats and consumer advocates. House Democrats are trying to fill that gap through their own ads on social media and other outlets, but are being thwarted by Republicans on the Franking Commission who say the advertisements do not comply with congressional rules.

Tax Cut Bills Face Increasing Partisanship: Recent Tax Votes in One Chart
Democrats more likely to oppose Republican presidents’ tax plans

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise embrace during a news conference in the Capitol after the House passed the the GOP’s tax overhaul bill Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House on Thursday passed a bill to answer President Donald Trump’s call for a big tax cut without the support of a single Democrat.

Tax cut votes have historically been bipartisan affairs, with both parties supporting cuts signed by presidents Eisenhower, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton and Obama.

New $44 Billion Disaster Aid Request Paltry, Lawmakers Say
Extensive offsets could also prove controversial

Rep. John Culberson of Texas said the White House’s most recent aid request “would sabotage what has been an incredible response by President Trump to Hurricane Harvey up to this point.” (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In its third emergency aid request since August, the White House on Friday asked Congress to approve $44 billion for ongoing hurricane recovery efforts, a figure seen as insufficient on both sides of the aisle. 

At the same time, the White House asked lawmakers to consider a lengthy list of offsets, noting in a letter that the administration “believes it is prudent to offset new spending.”

DCCC Launches Digital Ads Over GOP Tax Vote
Seven Republicans who voted against the tax plan are also targeted

Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock speaks with reporters as she leaves the Capitol after voting for the GOP’s tax plan Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Seizing on the House’s passage of the Republican tax plan Thursday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is launching digital ads in more than 40 GOP-held districts, including against Republicans who voted against the plan.

The ads, provided first to Roll Call, will run on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The committee is also rolling out a website, TaxCutsandJobsAct.com, that allows voters to submit their own video testimonials about the tax plan. The site will be promoted in Google search ads.

Gillibrand PAC Endorses Lipinski Primary Challenger in Illinois
Marie Newman is challenging the anti-abortion Democrat

Marie Newman is challenging Rep. Daniel Lipinski in the Democratic primary in Illinois’ 3rd District. (Courtesy Marie Newman/Twitter)

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s political action committee has endorsed a primary challenger to an incumbent Democratic congressman. 

Off the Sidelines PAC backed marketing consultant Marie Newman, who’s running against Rep. Daniel Lipinski in Illinois’ 3rd District.