Abortion

Education Funding, Eaten Up by Pell Grants, Once Again on Menu
Senate hasn’t debated education appropriations for 11 years. Since then, a lot has changed

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos isn’t seeing eye to eye with Senate appropriators on education priorities. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While military and health care costs have received plenty of airtime in recent years, the federal education budget hasn’t gotten a thorough vetting on the Senate floor since 2007. That will change if the Senate takes up later this week a massive $856.9 billion spending bill for the departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and a smattering of smaller agencies.

In the 11-year stretch since the full Senate last debated education appropriations, the Great Recession came and went, exploding the number of students either finding themselves out of work or in need of retraining.

Democrats Continue Camera Shy Ways With Brett Kavanaugh
Senate courtesy meetings continue, but with nary a photo op

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh arrives to meet with Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., in the Hart Senate Office Building on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic senators have, at least from Republican states, started meeting with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but they are mostly avoiding the press when doing so. 

With senators back in town, meetings with President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court resumed Wednesday, with a pair of Democrats on the agenda.

Kavanaugh Makes Strategic Stops on His Senate Tour as Chamber Returns
Heitkamp, Donnelly and other swing votes are on his schedule

Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., are among those expected to meet with Trump’s Supreme Court pick. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will ramp up his behind-the-scenes preparation over the next three weeks for his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, starting with more one-on-one meetings Wednesday with senators whose votes could prove pivotal.

Kavanaugh, who is more used to asking questions from the dais as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for the past 12 years, has been going through mock hearings that last several hours with questions from people assigned to the role of different senators, a White House official said.

Kim Schrier Secures Democratic Nod in Hotly Contested Washington Race
8th District, a longtime Republican bastion, is a top target for Democrats

Dino Rossi is the Republican nominee in Washington's 8th congressional district (D.A. Banks/CQ Roll Call file photo).

Democratic pediatrician Kim Schrier secured the second-place spot to take on Republican Dino Rossi in Washington’s 8th District, which could be one of the most competitive races in the country. 

Schrier declared victory Wednesday morning, more than a week after the primary in Washington. The combination of a crowded Democratic field and mail-in ballots left the race in limbo as ballots were still being counted a week after the election. 

McMorris Rodgers Narrowly Secures Top Spot in Washington Primary
Democrat Lisa Brown was close behind in second place

Washington GOP Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is a Democratic target. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers narrowly secured the top spot in her primary in Washington on Tuesday, which could embolden Democrats looking to unseat the only woman in GOP leadership.

Under Washington’s top-two primary system, all candidates run on the same ballot and the two with the most votes, regardless of party, advance to November. 

Margaret Heckler, Through the Years With Bikes, Bread and Cake
Former congresswoman, HHS secretary, ambassador to Ireland dies at 87

Rep. Margaret M. Heckler, R-Mass. and Rep. Robert C. Eckhardt, D-Texas, ride bikes in front of Capitol Hill. (Mickey Senko/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Rep. Margaret M. Heckler, a Massachusetts Republican who went on to become Health and Human Services secretary and later ambassador to Ireland, died Monday at the age of 87, but not before leaving behind some indelibly light-hearted images from her Capitol Hill days using some pedal power — with various foodstuffs. 

Heckler, born on June 21, 1931, was first elected to Congress in 1966, and did it in dramatic fashion before even getting to the general election. She defeated Massachusetts Rep. Joseph W. Martin Jr., the former speaker of the House, in a  Republican primary.

Florida Candidate Goes All-In on Impeachment Message
David Richardson hopes to stand out against Donna Shalala in 27th District primary

Florida state Rep. David Richardson is making impeaching the president a big focus of his message ahead of the Aug. 28 Democratic primary. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While national Democrats are urging candidates to steer clear of talking about impeaching President Donald Trump, Florida state Rep. David Richardson is going all-in on that very message ahead of the Democratic primary later this month in the open 27th District. 

In a new ad released Monday, Richardson touts his introduction of an impeachment resolution in the state Legislature and calls out his top Democratic opponent, Donna Shalala, for not talking about the issue. 

Washington Could Be Key Battleground for Women in Both Parties
Female Democrats could emerge as challengers in all four GOP-held House seats

House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers is a Democratic target this year in Washington’s 5th District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With a surge of female House candidates across the country, Washington is emerging as a key battleground for women on both sides of the aisle. 

All four of the state’s Republican-held districts could have female Democratic challengers following next week’s primary. And two of those Republican targets are women. 

House Conservatives Could Tank a Quick Fall Spending Push
Pre-election passage could leave them without bargaining chips in lame-duck immigration fight, they fear

Republicans backing Jim Jordan for speaker may dig in against leadership appropriations strategy. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republican conservatives are mulling a plan to try to sink passage of a combined spending package for the Pentagon, education, health care and worker assistance programs before the elections.

They fear enactment of the Defense and Labor-HHS-Education measures — the two largest appropriations bills with the highest priority programs for Republicans and Democrats, respectively — would leave conservatives with little leverage in a lame-duck session fight over immigration and border security.

Primary Threat Targets One of Two Jewish Republicans in the House
Tennessee‘s David Kustoff is being outspent more than 2-to-1

Tennessee Rep. David Kustoff, above, is facing a primary from perennial candidate George Flinn in the 8th District on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The next test of President Donald Trump’s endorsement power will come in Tennessee, where a little-known freshman — one of two Jewish Republicans in the House —  is being outspent more than 2-to-1 ahead of Thursday’s primary. 

Rep. David Kustoff earned the president’s backing in a tweet Friday — less than a week before the 8th District primary against perennial GOP candidate George Flinn, a radiologist and radio station owner who’s almost entirely self-funding his campaign. (A third candidate dropped out and endorsed Flinn, but her name will still appear on the primary ballot.)