Politics

NRCC Launches Digital Ads Targeting Democrats After Shutdown
The Facebook ads will target 10 Democrats

Iowa Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack, center, is targeted in the NRCC’s new ads. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee is not letting Democrats forget about the three-day government shutdown and is launching digital ads on Tuesday that target 10 House Democrats.

The ads, which will run on Facebook for one week, are part of a “five figure buy” and target 10 Democrats up for re-election, according to details provided first to Roll Call. Five of those Democrats represent districts that President Donald Trump won in 2016.

Senate PSA: Be Nice or Get Rule 19'd
Sherrod Brown was read the decorum rule, and questioned why

Sen. Sherrod Brown, center, was reminded of decorum rules on Sunday, but questioned why. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate prides itself on being the world’s greatest deliberative body, but that doesn’t mean one can say just anything. In fact, if you say something out of bounds, a colleague can invoke a rule that forces you to sit down and be quiet. 

This dynamic came into focus over the weekend; as shutdown tensions ran high, Rule 19 was pulled out for a fresh reading as a reminder about the chamber’s standards for decorum.

After 2016 Failures, Facebook Faces New Test in 2018 Midterms
Social media giant accused of being too passive on foreign interference in 2016 elections

Executives from Facebook, Twitter, and Google, are sworn into a Senate Judiciary Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee hearing on “Extremist Content and Russian Disinformation Online: Working with Tech to Find Solutions” in  October. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Just a few months out from the 2018 midterm primaries and less than a year away from general elections, Facebook appears determined to stamp out foreign interference.

The tech and social media giant was the subject of intense criticism after the 2016 election cycle for failing to curb the spread of misinformation and break down so-called echo chambers of news-sharing and political discourse.

Kristin Gaspar is the Latest Republican to Run for Issa’s Seat
Comes after a slew of Republicans jump in.

Kristin Gaspar said she met with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan last week in Washington before getting into the race for Rep. Darrell Issa’s seat. (Supervisor Kristin Gaspar via Facebook)

San Diego County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar is the latest Republican to jump into California’s 49th District race to replace departing Rep. Darrell Issa.

Gaspar’s decision comes a week after visiting Washington, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported, following Issa’s announcement that he would not seek re-election.

Renacci Says Trump and Pence Will Campaign for Him
Ohio Republican challenging Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown

Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, said President Donald Trump's team convinced him to run for the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Rep. Jim Renacci said both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will campaign for him in Ohio in his Senate race.

Renacci, who announced he would challenge Democratic incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown, told the Vindicator that he initially did not want to run for Senate and was running for governor.

Democratic Challengers Join Picketers Outside Meehan’s District Office
Ethics Committee taking up sexual harassment case at congressman’s request

Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., has asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate a sexual harassment settlement he reached with an employee over a 2016 case. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As traffic rushed by Rep. Patrick Meehan’s district office in Springfield, Pennsylvania, on Monday, two Democratic candidates hoping to unseat the GOP congressman stood alongside 50 or so picketers calling for him to step down.

“If he doesn’t resign, they should take away his committee assignments,” Daniel Muroff, a former chief of staff on Capitol Hill who has raised the most money of any Democratic challenger still in the race, said of Meehan, in an interview with the Delaware County Daily Times News.

Corrine Brown Loses Bid to Stay Out of Jail
Two courts reject former congresswoman’s request to delay start of sentence while appeal is pending

Former Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., was denied a request to delay her reporting to prison. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Florida Rep. Brown lost her bid to stay out of jail while she appeals her conviction on fraud charges. 

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta rejected her request to delay the start of her jail time by another month on Monday after federal judge Timothy Corrigan directed the request there, the Florida Times-Union reported.

Trump Celebrates Democratic ‘Cave’ on Shutdown
President vows to meet lawmakers at ‘negotiating table’ for DACA bill

President Donald Trump signs a three-week stopgap funding bill that ended a government shutdown in the Treaty Room at the White House on Monday night. He later took a victory lap on Twitter, saying Democrats caved. (Joyce N. Boghosian/White House photo)

Add Donald Trump to the manifest of Republicans who have jumped aboard what might be called The Democrats Caved Train.

While lawmakers and sources say he was not heavily involved, the president was in full celebratory mode after Senate Democrats on Monday ended a government shutdown they forced over objections to immigration policy after just three days. Even though public opinion polls showed voters placed more blame on Trump and Republicans (48 percent) than Democrats (35 percent) over the shutdown, Trump’s tweets show he is sounding a message of victory.

Senate’s Radical Reasonable Caucus Finds Its Moment
Will a group of 20 senators be able to gain influence?

A bipartisan group of Senators hold a new conference in the Capitol on Monday after they voted to end debate on a continuing resolution to reopen the government. From left, Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, Tim Kaine, Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Donnelly, Joe Manchin III, Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, Lisa Murkowski, Amy Klobuchar and Maggie Hassan. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In a Senate environment where party discipline has been the norm, a group of senators that lobbied leadership to accept a resolution to end the government shutdown Monday now has leverage, if they decide to use it.

“One of the good outcomes is that we had a group of 20 … that built a lot of trust with each other. So it could create an environment, at least over the next month or so, where some really positive things happen,” Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, a GOP partipant said Monday. “On the Democratic side, it was necessary to have a large group of Republicans [who] were committed to try and resolve these issues.”

Trump Takes Back Seat in Shutdown-Ending Talks
Despite past rhetoric and boasts of deal-making, president let Congress figure it out

President Donald Trump addresses staff at the White House on Saturday while lawmakers worked on an agreement to end the government shutdown. (Courtesy Joyce N. Boghosian/White House)

President Donald Trump on Saturday, amid a government shutdown that tarnished the anniversary of his first year in office, was surrounded by a room of people at the White House, apparently hanging on his every word. But these were his own staffers, not lawmakers working to turn the federal lights back on.

Trump and his top aides, even before the government went dark at 12 a.m. Saturday, tried to assign blame for the shutdown to Democrats as well as responsibility for ending it. Yet there is a sense in Washington that the president, who as a candidate said his business-world success made him uniquely qualified to cut deals with Congress, left the heavy lifting to others.

Supreme Court Hops Into Case About a Frog and Property Rights
But the justices will leave bearded seals alone

The dusky gopher frog has emerged as a touchstone for environmentalists and business groups feuding over property rights and government power. (Courtesy The Wildlife Society)

The Supreme Court jumped into a case about the government’s power to designate private land as critical habitat for an endangered frog species, but is staying out of another case seeking to protect the bearded seal from future threats of climate change. 

The justices announced Monday they will hear oral arguments about the dusky gopher frog and a 1,500-acre tract of Louisiana forestry land that could lose $34 million in development value because of the Fish and Wildlife Service designation under the 1973 endangered species law. The arguments will likely be scheduled for the next Supreme Court term that starts in October.

Shutdown Ended, but Democrats Still Have Leverage Over Budget Caps
Sequester-mandated cuts still have to be resolved

From left, Colorado Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Illinois Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez and Delaware Sen. Chris Coons talk in Russell Building on Monday after the Senate voted to end debate on a continuing resolution to reopen the government. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 9:20 p.m. | Even though Congress has voted to reopen the government after a brief shutdown, House Democratic leaders, who didn’t sign off on the deal their Senate counterparts helped negotiate, plan to continue their push on immigration and spending issues with a key leverage point: the budget caps.

The House on Monday evening quickly passed a stopgap funding bill that will reopen the government through Feb. 8 by a 266-150 vote, sending the bill to President Donald Trump, who signed the continuing resolution that night. 

Senate Passes Three-Week CR to Reopen Federal Government

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., leaves the Senate floor in the Capitol after the chamber passed a continuing resolution to reopen the government on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate voted 81-18 to pass a continuing resolution running through Feb. 8 on Monday afternoon, sending it back to the House as Day Three of the partial government shutdown dragged on.

The House is expected to clear the stopgap for President Donald Trump’s signature, ending the shutdown in time for federal workers to return to their offices Tuesday morning. A number of House Democrats appear likely to back the measure after opposing a previous version last week, and top Democrats predicted the CR would be passed this time.

Group Backed by Liberal George Soros Posts Uptick in Lobbying
Open Society Policy Center spent record $16.1 million in 2017

Billionaire George Soros, left, attends a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in November 2008. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Open Society Policy Center, the lobbying arm of liberal billionaire George Soros’ philanthropic network, reported spending a record sum to influence federal issues during the first year of the Trump administration.

The group disclosed spending a total of $16.1 million on federal lobbying in 2017, with the majority of that coming in the last three months of the year, according to a report filed with Congress. The Soros group disclosed spending $10.3 million in the fourth quarter.

Pa. Supreme Court Throws Out Congressional Map
Justices want a new map before the 2018 elections

GOP Rep. Ryan Costello’s district was named in the Pennsylvania redistricting lawsuit.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Monday that the state’s congressional map violated the state constitution and a new map must be in place for the 2018 elections.

The plaintiffs, including the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, argued the current map was improperly drawn to benefit Republicans. They alleged Democrats were largely packed into five congressional districts and the remaining Democrats were spread out among the rest. Republicans currently hold 12 of the state’s 18 House seats, with one GOP seat vacant.