Illinois

Rep. King falsely claims he was misquoted on ‘rape and incest’ abortion comment
Iowa Republican demands an apology from the media and his own party

Rep. Steve King talks with reporters at the Iowa State Fairlast week. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call).

Rep. Steve King demanded an apology over the weekend from GOP leaders and media outlets that criticized him for speculating that humankind may not exist without our species’ history of rape and incest.

The embattled Iowa Republican claimed, misleadingly, that he was misquoted in a Des Moines Register article — later picked up by The Associated Press — about comments he made defending his view that abortion should be illegal in all cases, including in instances of rape and incest.

So much Iowa, so little time
Snapshots of a state that will be a big deal politically for a while

Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg talks with attendees at a campaign event in Fairfield, Iowa, on Thursday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

DES MOINES, Iowa — It is difficult for some people to accept that Iowa, a relatively small state in the middle of the country, has such an outsize role in determining the next president. But the Hawkeye State is more of a microcosm of U.S. politics and the country than it might first appear.

Iowa’s population of roughly 3 million people is tiny compared to mega-states like California, Texas and Florida, and it has a lack of racial diversity (it is about 87 percent white, according to the U.S. Census Bureau). But its voting patterns and political infrastructure make it a valuable barometer. 

Democrats go on defense in crucial heartland House race in Iowa
GOP has sights on Iowa’s 2nd District, which backed Trump in 2016

Former Iowa state Sen. Rita Hart is running for the Democratic nomination for Iowa’s 2nd District after Democratic incumbent Dave Loebsack opted against reelection. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

WHEATLAND, Iowa — Republicans sense an opportunity in the rolling corn and soybean fields in southeastern Iowa. But Democrats won’t be giving up their hold on this heartland district without a fight.

Republicans’ path to the House majority runs through the 31 Democrat-held districts that President Donald Trump won in 2016. And one of them, Iowa’s 2nd District, ranks among the GOP’s best pickup opportunities next year because it’s the only one of the 31 without an incumbent defending the seat.

Democrats seek info on CFPB official’s ties to Christian group
Paul Watkins spent three years at the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other Democrats want documents from the CFPB on the hiring of Paul Watkins as director of the Office of Innovation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated | A group of Democrats, including presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, are continuing to pressure the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over a senior official’s ties to a conservative Christian group.

In a letter sent Wednesday to CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger, Warren — along with Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois, Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts and Katie Porter of California — demanded documents related to hiring Paul Watkins as director of the Office of Innovation, which has the power to grant fintech firms limited immunity from consumer protection laws.

Ken Cuccinelli wants to be a poet. First he needs a history lesson
It’s easier to rewrite Emma Lazarus than face up to the past

Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, has spent his week revising poetry — and evading history, Curtis writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — It happened like clockwork. Every few weeks, especially in the winter months, when snowbirds traveled to my then-home in Tucson, Arizona, from parts north that included Michigan and Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois, a letter to the editor would turn up at the paper where I worked. With slight changes, it would go something like: “I stopped in a store and overheard some people speaking Spanish. Why don’t they speak English?”

It took a little bit of time and a lot of convincing to explain that the families of many of these folks had been on the land the new arrivals so expansively and immediately claimed for generations, in the state since before it was a state, which Arizona didn’t become until 1912. It also has the greatest percentage of its acreage designated as Indian tribal land in the United States. And would it hurt you to know a word or two of Spanish?

Census Bureau defends ‘efficiency’ changes ahead of 2020 count
Avoids details on gathering citizenship data through administrative records

Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham, prepares to testify during his 2018 Senate confirmation hearing (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call )

Census officials on Monday defended plans for next year’s count that they said would make it the “most efficient ever," as Democrats pressed the bureau to do more to ensure hard-to-count populations are not overlooked.

The latest salvo from Democrats came from members of the Illinois congressional delegation, led by Richard J. Durbin, the Senate minority whip, and Sen. Tammy Duckworth, along with the rest of the state’s Democratic representatives. In a letter, they urged greater investment in outreach like Questionnaire Assistance Centers to avoid missing minorities, children, rural residents and the urban poor.

Champion of US agriculture, former Illinois Rep. Paul Findley dies at 98
Republican congressman drew attention for his criticism of U.S. policy on Palestine

Illinois Rep. Paul Findley works in his Capitol Hill office in 1976. (CQ/Roll Call file photo)

Former Rep. Paul Findley, who represented his Springfield-based district for 22 years, died Friday at the age of 98. 

The Illinois Republican was commemorated by the man who succeeded him — Democrat Richard J. Durbin, now the state’s senior senator — as an “exceptional public servant” and friend.

The Iowa State Fair: Our proactive primer on politics, pork and public officials
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 85

Politicians love to hang out at the Iowa State Fair, so that is where Political Theater will relocate next week to cover all the political races — for president, Senate and House — as well as various foods served on a stick. Here, Republican Rep. Steve King and future Sen. Joni Ernst hang out amid the pork at the Pork Tent in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Political Theater is heading to the Iowa State Fair to check out how the 2020 races for president and Senate and four competitive House contests are shaping up in this bellwether state. Why Iowa? Because that’s where the candidates are.

Bridget Bowman, our senior political writer, and Leah Askarinam of Inside Elections lay it all out for us on the latest episode of Political Theater. 

GOP Rep. King gets rematch against J.D. Scholten, who he narrowly defeated in 2018
King defeated Scholten by 3 percent in 2018 in a district Trump won by 27 points in 2016

J.D. Scholten, Democratic candidate for Iowa's 4th congressional district, is interviewed by CQ Roll Call at their D.C. office, July 27, 2018. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrat J.D. Scholten announced Monday that he will once again challenge controversial GOP Rep. Steve King in Iowa’s 4th District. He had also been considering entering the Democratic primary to take on Republican Sen. Joni Ernst, who is up for reelection in 2020.

King eeked out a 3-point victory over Scholten in the 2018 midterm elections, even though President Donald Trump carried the 4th District by 27 points in 2016. His reelection prevented Iowa’s entire four-seat House delegation from going blue in 2018, after Republicans controlled all but one seat the previous Congress.

Senate Democrats push repeal of state and local tax rule
The $10,000 state tax deduction limit was a key feature of the 2017 tax code overhaul

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., answers questions following a vote on the budget agreement on Thursday, August 1, 2019. Senate Democrats will push to repeal a Treasury Department and IRS rule, which goes into effect Aug. 11. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats will push to repeal a Treasury Department and IRS rule, which goes into effect Aug. 11, that they say would “block critical state workarounds” to the $10,000 limitation on state and local tax deductions.

The $10,000 deduction limit was a key feature of the 2017 tax code overhaul, and has been the subject of hearings in the House Ways and Means Committee where Democratic members are urging a repeal of that provision.