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F-Bombs and C-Word Prompted Cotton Cease and Desist Letters
Recipients of letters argue they can use coarse language if they want

The office of Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., sent a number of cease and desist letters after a slew of calls from constituents using coarse language. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Incessant phone calls and abusive language prompted Sen. Tom Cotton’s office to mail cease and desist letters to members of the liberal activist group Ozark Indivisible, in October.

One of those constituents, Stacey Lane of Fayetteville, Arkansas, told ArkansasOnline that she received the ultimatum after “an f-bomb or two” during phone conversations with Cotton staffers.

With Shutdown Looming, Trump Doubts Dems Will Keep Lights On
President: Dems want ‘illegal immigration and weak borders’

As the possibility of a government shutdown was growing Friday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted, “We need more Republican victories in 2018!” (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

With just hours to go before his government will shut down, President Donald Trump started the day by using that prospect to make the case for Republican candidates in November’s midterm elections.

And he teased the possibility of a shutdown in his showman style — “Shutdown coming?”

Senate Republicans Steamroll Judicial Process
‘Advice’ dwindles in the GOP’s rush for judges

(iStock)

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans hardly could have done more last year to help President Donald Trump reshape the nation’s federal courts with conservative appointees.

They put Justice Neil Gorsuch in a Supreme Court seat, one they blocked Barack Obama from filling during his last year in the White House. Then they approved a dozen Trump picks for the influential appeals courts that have the final say on the vast majority of the nation’s legal disputes — a record number for a president’s first year in office.

House Lawmakers Ready to Carve Some Pork
Optimistic chatter around earmarks draws cheers, cringes

Alaska Rep. Don Young still defends the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere.” The bridge “should have been built,” he said at a Rules subcommittee hearing Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The U.S. House of Representatives appears ready to welcome back earmarks with open, bipartisan arms.

During a Rules subcommittee hearing Wednesday, lawmakers sounded optimistic that Congress will wrestle back a portion of its spending authority from the executive branch — though there was some discord over when and how earmarks should return.

Omaha Man Pleads Guilty to Plotting to Kill Joni Ernst
Suspect believed Iowa Republican was connected to ISIS

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, was the target of a potential plot on her life last July. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An Omaha man pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to threatening the life of Sen. Joni Ernst, who he believed was in cahoots with Islamic State terrorists.

Robert W. Simet, 64, told employees at a motorcycle shop near the Nebraska-Iowa border last July that he might kill the Iowa Republican at a speech she was scheduled to deliver there, according to court documents obtained by The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Analysis: It’s a Blue House Wave, but Not Yet a Senate One
Rural, Trump-friendly states make for a formidable map for Democrats

Sens. Jon Tester of Montana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota are among the Democrats’ many vulnerable incumbents this cycle, which complicates the party’s efforts to retake the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo.)

“The odds are greater than half we will take back the Senate.” — Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” on Monday night 

Democrats ought to temper their optimism about the fight for the Senate this year.

Poll: More Adults Without Health Insurance After Record Low
1.3 percent uptick in 2017

People rally in favor of single-payer healthcare for all Californians as the US Senate prepares to vote on the Senate GOP health care bill, outside the office of California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, June 27, 2017 in South Gate, California. Rendon announced last week that Senate Bill SB 562 - the high-profile effort to establish a single-payer healthcare system in California - would be shelved, saying it was "incomplete." (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

The percentage of adults without health insurance coverage rose 1.3 percent in 2017, from a record low during the previous year, a new Gallup poll shows. Last year’s rise marked the largest single-year increase since Gallup began tracking the statistic in 2008.

The uninsured rate rose to 12.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to 10.9 percent in 2016, according to the survey. That translates to an additional 3.2 million Americans who became uninsured last year.

Soto Takes Heat for Telling Puerto Rican Evacuees to Say They’re Staying
Evacuees should say they’re staying in Florida to access Medicare or Medicaid, South Florida Democrat says

Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., made waves over the weekend for comments to Puerto Rico hurricane evacuees. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Florida Democrat caught heat over the weekend for telling a group of newly arrived hurricane evacuees from Puerto Rico to say they intend to stay in the state so that they can access health care benefits.

If the evacuees do not check that box on a federal form for Medicare and Medicaid, they will be ineligible to be recipients of those programs.

Joe Arpaio Senate Candidacy ‘Won't Last Long,’ Flake Says
Former sheriff fires back, saying Flake didn’t have the ‘guts’ to run again

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., has been critical of his own party for nominating controversial conservative candidates for high office. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Outgoing Sen. Jeff Flake on Wednesday dismissed Joe Arpaio’s bid for his Arizona Senate seat in 2018, laughing off the controversial former sheriff as a fringe candidate whose campaign will quickly fizzle.

“You’d better write about it and talk about it fast because it won’t last long,” Flake said in an interview with CNN.

Whiplashed Planners Fear GOP Swerve on Infrastructure
After close call on public-private financing tool, all eyes on 2018

Private activity bonds, or PABs, are fueling a multibillion-dollar expansion of Los Angeles International Airport. (Courtesy LAXDevelopment.org)

Los Angeles has gained national notice for a series of ambitious projects affecting all facets of southern California’s transportation network, from the city’s light rail system to Los Angeles International Airport.

Many of the projects — a multibillion dollar expansion of the airport, work on roads leading to and from the busy ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and a new light rail line, among others — were or will be financed with a tool called private activity bonds.