Afghanistan

Senate to Weigh Large Cuts to Military Aid
Cuts target foreign militaries and militias trained to fight terrorists on U.S. behalf

Iraqi Kurdish fighters, also known as peshmerga, are seen driving along the frontline in October 2017 outside the town of Altun Kubri, Iraq. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The Senate will soon take up a Defense spending bill that would cut nearly $2.5 billion in military aid to foreign fighting forces, an unusually large budget subtraction some say reflects a fundamental change in lawmakers’ security priorities. 

At issue is the $675 billion fiscal 2019 Defense money bill, which Senate Appropriations approved late last month and which the chamber may take up later this month. 

McConnell Gets Personal Discussing Polio
Majority leader makes argument for disease eradication programs

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell discussed his own history with battling polio, as well as the value of U.S. polio eradication efforts. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s main fight for the next few months will be to get President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee out of the Senate. But the same morning that the effort to confirm Brett Kavanaugh truly kicked off, the Kentucky Republican took time to discuss a more personal battle: his childhood struggle with polio.

Speaking at a conference on polio eradication at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, McConnell affirmed United States financial support for the effort to vaccinate children and track the few remaining cases worldwide.

Connecticut Democrat Switches Parties Because of Blumenthal’s Son
Said he was forced out of state House race by state party after senator’s son announced candidacy

Matt Blumenthal, the son of Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, is running for a seat in the Connecticut state legislature. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A Democratic candidate for Connecticut’s state legislature switched parties after he said the state party favored Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s son in the primary.

Anzelmo Graziosi told the Stamford Advocate that he filed to run for the House seat in February, but when Blumenthal’s son Matt Blumenthal announced he would run the following month, the state party stopped returning his calls.

Jared Golden Wins Democratic Nod to Take On Bruce Poliquin
Ranked-choice voting put Marine vet over the top a week after primary

Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin will face state House Assistant Majority Leader Jared Golden in the fall. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

More than a week after voters went to the polls, the Maine secretary of state on Wednesday night declared state House Assistant Majority Leader Jared Golden the winner of the Democratic nomination in the 2nd District.

Golden will now challenge two-term Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin in November in a traditionally Democratic district that voted for President Donald Trump in 2016.

Analysis: Migrants, ‘Rocket Man’ and Trump’s Ever-Changing Mind
Executive order another contradictory move in an ever-changing presidency

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters as he arrives at the Capitol for a meeting on immigration with House Republicans on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump is a hardliner. Until he’s not. Donald Trump is open to compromise. Until he’s not.

The president — yet again — on Thursday reversed himself on a major issue by ending his administration’s practice of separating migrant families. In doing so, he bowed to all kinds of pressure: from his wife and daughter, from human rights groups, from Democratic members — and even from his fellow Republicans.

Democrats Look for a Mainer to Take on Poliquin
Tuesday’s primary will be held under ranked choice voting system

Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin has attracted three Democratic challengers, who will face off in Tuesday’s primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin has proved an elusive target, but with a new candidate this year, Democrats will have another to chance to defeat the well-funded Republican.

Three Democrats are competing in Tuesday’s primary in Maine’s 2nd District, which will use ranked-choice voting for the first time.

He Said, She Said on UK Prime Minister, Trump Phone Call
Brits say May criticized tariffs, while White House does not mention any tough talk

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s office says she had tough words for President Donald Trump about his trade policies during a Monday telephone call. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The White House and 10 Downing Street have very different versions of a Monday telephone chat between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Theresa May, the latest example of growing tensions between the longtime allies.

The British government issued its summary of the call first, contending May “raised the U.S. decision to apply tariffs to EU steel and aluminium imports.” Such “readouts” typically feature ample diplomat-speak, but this one insisted the British leader told Trump she believes the import fees are “unjustified and deeply disappointing.”

VA Faces Scrutiny as It Gears Up for Health Overhaul
Bipartisan bill expected to be signed by president this week

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Robert Wilkie after nominating him to be the next Veterans Affairs secretary during an event at the White House on May 18. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

The Department of Veterans Affairs will face heavy scrutiny as it implements a major overhaul to its health care programs that President Donald Trump is expected to sign into law this week.

The bill, which moved through both chambers by wide bipartisan margins, would combine the VA’s seven programs for private medical care into one to streamline and simplify costs and access for veterans. The legislation would also extend the so-called Veterans Choice Program for one year, allowing veterans to seek care outside the VA under certain circumstances in the meantime.

Republicans to Replace Tom Garrett on Ballot Saturday
Virginia congressman announced this week he would retire at end of term to deal with his alcoholism

The Virginia 5th District Republican Committee will replace retiring Rep. Tom Garrett on the ballot this Saturday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans in Virginia’s 5th District will pick a nominee on Saturday to replace Rep. Tom Garrett on the ballot this November after he announced this week he would retire to deal with his alcoholism.

The 5th District Republican Committee voted 19-14 to meet Saturday to select Garrett’s replacement, The Roanoke Times reported, and will choose from a long list of candidates who have expressed interest, including state Sens. Bill Stanley and Bryce Reeves, state Del. Michael Webert, and a handful of people who work in the private sector.

Helmer Internal Poll Shows Democrat Beating Comstock
Comes as the primary approaches next month

Virginia Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock is considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An internal poll by Democratic candidate Dan Helmer in Virginia’s 10th District shows him beating vulnerable Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock in a head-to-head matchup.

Helmer’s campaign released the poll conducted by Public Policy Polling showing him with an 8-point lead over the incumbent. The survey showed Helmer, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, leading with 48 percent of voters.