EMPL

Federal court strikes down Michigan districts drawn by GOP
State legislature gets Aug. 1 deadline to enact new maps for 2020

Plaintiffs argued that it was impossible to elect a Democrat in Michigan’s 8th District, even though Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin flipped the district last fall.  (By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A three-judge panel on Thursday ruled that Michigan must use new congressional and legislative maps in 2020, potentially setting up a more favorable battlefield for House Democrats, who flipped two seats in the state last fall. 

The federal court invalidated portions of the existing maps, drawn by the GOP-controlled legislature in 2011, pointing to an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander that violates the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of voters.

Hoyer outlines House schedule, legislative agenda for coming work period
Health care, climate change and equal rights will figure prominently

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., outlined the House schedule for legislation for the coming work period. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House will vote on at least three of Democrats’ top priorities in May, as the chamber takes up legislation on health care, climate change and equal rights.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer sent a “Dear Colleague” letter Thursday informing Democrats of the planned floor schedule for the four-week legislative work period that will begin next week. Congress will be coming off its two-week Easter recess, with the next district work period occurring the week of Memorial Day.

3 things about Congress buried in the Mueller report
Chris Christie warned Trump firing Comey would erode his GOP support on Capitol Hill

Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III, here testifying as FBI director, revealed a Trump team heavily focused on congressional investigations and sometimes-false testimony to committees. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

From President Donald Trump’s signals to his former fixer about his upcoming — and false — congressional testimony to questions about whether senior administration officials committed perjury, Congress is repeatedly at the center of key parts of the Mueller report.

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and his team, after poring over reams of documents and conducting hours upon hours of interviews, did not find that Trump tried to withhold information from congressional investigators. What’s more, the report repeatedly describes the president and top aides as concerned with the committees that were investigating them and collaborating on how to approach dealing with those panels.

Biden’s nascent campaign racks up congressional endorsements
Backing from senators, House members likely to raise tensions with progressives seeking fresh leadership

Former Vice President Joe Biden reacts in front of a Stop & Shop following a speech in support of striking union workers earlier this month. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images file photo)

Within hours of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s long-awaited announcement early Thursday that he would wage his third presidential campaign, he had already received endorsements from a raft of members of Congress.

By early afternoon, nods had come from Sens. Bob Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania and Doug Jones of Alabama, as well as Reps. Tom Suozzi of New York and Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania.  

Trump administration swayed by GOP think tank on abortion, LGBT decisions, group says
Ties between administration and The Heritage Foundation correlate with several health policy decisions, liberal watchdog group says

HHS Office of Civil Rights Director Roger Severino speaks at a news conference at the Department of Health and Human Services on January 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. Severino, a former director of The Heritage Foundation’s DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society, joined HHS as the director of OCR in late March 2017. Close ties between the administration foundation correlate with several Trump administration health policy decisions, a liberal think tank says. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Close ties between the administration and a prominent conservative think tank correlate with several Trump administration health policy decisions, according to new information from a liberal government watchdog group shared exclusively with CQ Roll Call.

The 35-page Equity Forward report says that The Heritage Foundation’s influence plays a large role in decisions related to abortion, fetal tissue research, contraception and protections for same-sex couples.

Facebook feud: GOP Rep. Peter King, faces lawsuit threat over blocking constituents
The New York Civil Liberties Union said it plans to sue King if he does not unblock roughly 70 people

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., has blocked about 70 people from commenting on his campaign committee’s Facebook page, a civil rights organization said. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When Rep. Peter King congratulated former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson on his appointment to secretary of state on Facebook, a constituent responded by posting a link to donations the oil company made to King and other federal lawmakers.

“Money talks, anyone wondering why [t]he Congressman is not expressing any concern or doubt need look no further,” the constituent wrote.

Trump to ‘Sleepy Joe’ Biden: ‘I will see you at the Starting Gate!’
POTUS warns former VP that Democratic primary will be a ‘nasty’ fight

Then-Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Georgetown Law School in Washington on March 23, 2016. He announced his third White House bid on Thursday. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump has challenged former Vice President Joe Biden to a general election race, telling the former vice president hours after his presidential campaign announcement,“I will see you at the Starting Gate!”

The president appears to see Biden as a legitimate threat and has predicted that he and Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders will end up clashing for the Democratic nomination.

In 2020, Biden experience could turn out to be baggage
Former vice president may have to answer for positions now out of favor in party moving further left

Former Vice President Joe Biden announced he is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

Joe Biden entered the 2020 race for president Thursday at the top of the polls, with universal name recognition and the still-fresh sheen of his time as a popular vice president to Barack Obama.

In a video posted to his social media platforms, Biden characterized the race as a “battle for the soul of this nation.”