Iowa

Too Soon? Divining Democrats With the ‘It’ Factor for 2020
Democrats are gravitating toward ‘star’ personalities to eclipse the president, but his ego already blocks out the sun

Neither the racist tropes of being “angry” nor her elite Ivy League credentials defined Michelle Obama. No wonder Democrats are dreaming of her name on the ticket, right next to Oprah Winfrey’s, Curtis writes. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

OPINION — A die-hard Democrat said to me at the gym, “Somebody has to MAKE Michelle Obama run for president.” This was after Obama’s appearance in a television interview, in which she reminded the world what it’s been missing.

Sorry to let that educated, suburban woman in workout clothes down, but in the former first lady’s own words, she has no wish to be president. Besides, she has already done her time under the microscope, making history along with her husband. It’s someone else’s turn now.

Eager for Lame Duck Win, Trump Backs Prison Reform Bill
Members of both parties, Jared Kushner negotiated plan for months

President Donald Trump has thrown his weight behind a measure to reform the prison system that has bipartisan support. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Eager for a legislative win in the lame duck session, President Donald Trump on Wednesday endorsed legislation that would alter prison and sentencing policies as he tries to show he can push bipartisan bills through Congress.

Trump had been reluctant for months about whether to endorse the bill, which would include criminal justice changes backed by members of both parties in the House and Senate. His son-in-law and White House adviser, Jared Kushner, has been working with members of both parties to craft the measure and scored a big win with the presidential endorsement.

Here’s the List of Senate Republican and Democratic Leaders
Status quo reigns (mostly)

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., prepares to address the media after the Senate Policy lunches in the Capitol on March 20. Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., center, and Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., also appear. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Fist Bumps and Bagels in 40-Degree Weather: The Next Congress Has Arrived
Members-elect take line up for their traditional class photograph as part of New Member Orientation

Members-elect from left, Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., and Chrissy Houlahan, D-Pa., take a selfie after the freshman class photo on the East Front of the Capitol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Freshly elected members of Congress from warmer climates got their first taste of D.C. winters on Wednesday.

But chilly November temperatures couldn’t derail their first class photo — a ritual in which dozens of newcomers squeeze onto risers as the Capitol looms in the background.

House Democrats Initiate Probe into Whitaker’s Business Entanglements
Acting attorney general was on advisory board of company that FTC says scammed inventors

Then-Department of Justice Chief of Staff Matt Whitaker participates in a roundtable event with the Joint Interagency Task Force in August. On Wednesday, House Democrats said they were looking into the now acting attorney general’s involvement in a Miami company that agreed to a $26 million settlement over what the Federal Trade Commission called an “invention-promotion scam.” (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

House Democrats took the first steps toward launching an investigation into acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker for his involvement in a Miami marketing company that allegedly scammed millions of dollars from people looking to sell their inventions.

Reps. Jerrold Nadler, Elijah Cummings, Adam Schiff, and Frank Pallone Jr., the top Democrats on the House Judiciary, Oversight, Intelligence, and Energy and Commerce Committees, sent letters to Whitaker, his former business partner and five other federal and non-federal groups requesting documents and information about the alleged scheme.

Election in the Rearview, Iowa Governor Gives Steve King an Ultimatum
Kim Reynolds joined King for a campaign rally on the eve of Election Day

A conservative publication recently released audio recording of Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King referring to immigrants as “dirt.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Days after a narrowly securing her seat, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds issued her first harsh words for Rep. Steve King — who has been denounced by anti-racism activists and Jewish congregations in Iowa for his sympathies to white nationalists — in the form of an ultimatum. 

“I think that Steve King needs to make a decision if he wants to represent the people and the values of the 4th District or do something else, and I think he needs to take a look at that,” the Republican governor said in a gaggle with reporters on Tuesday.

How House Majority PAC Helped Deliver a Democratic Majority
Super PAC led coordination efforts among Democratic IE groups

Charlie Kelly, the executive director of House Majority PAC, oversaw coordination among outside Democratic groups spending on House races this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the dog days of summer, before many Americans were tuning into the midterm elections, the leading Democratic super PAC dedicated to winning the House convened a giant meeting with dozens of outside groups.

That laid the foundation for an unprecedented coordination effort among Democratic independent expenditure groups that spent over $200 million in more than 70 House races, overwhelming Republicans and helping deliver a Democratic majority.

On Health Care, Dems Go From Running to Baby Steps
Incremental measures will dominate action on the health law in a largely gridlocked Congress

House Democrats plan to bring administration officials to Capitol Hill to explain what critics call “sabotage” of the law’s insurance exchanges. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The midterm elections all but ended the Republican push to repeal the 2010 law known as Obamacare, but as a defining issue for Democrats in their takeover of the House, health care will likely remain near the top of lawmakers’ policy and political agenda.

Newly emboldened Democrats are expected to not only push legislation through the House, but use their majority control of key committees to press Trump administration officials on the implementation of the health law, Medicaid work requirements, and insurance that does not have to comply with Obamacare rules.

A Father Drops Off His Son for Congress’ Freshman Orientation
Andy Levin, who will succeed his father in the House, was one of dozens of new members in Washington to learn the ropes

Members-elect from left, Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., Colin Allred, D-Texas, and Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., arrive for New Member Orientation at the Courtyard Marriott in Southeast Washington on Nov. 13. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Retiring Rep. Sander M. Levin drove away from the Courtyard Marriott in Southeast Washington, leaving his son on the curb in front of the hotel.

It was a true first day of school moment for Michigan Rep.-elect Andy Levin, who will be succeeding his father. As the Democrat made his way into the lobby around 9 a.m. Tuesday morning, the official orientation for new members of Congress was just getting started.

With Divided Congress, Health Care Action Hightails It to the States
Medicaid expansion was the biggest winner in last week’s elections

As health care debates raged over the last few years, Congress was smack dab in the middle. After Tuesday’s elections, most of the action moves to the states. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Newly-elected leaders in the states will be in a stronger position than those in Washington to steer significant shifts in health care policy over the next couple of years as a divided Congress struggles with gridlock.

State Medicaid work requirements, prescription drug prices, insurance exchanges and short-term health plans are among the areas with the potential for substantial change. Some states with new Democratic leaders may also withdraw from a multistate lawsuit aimed at killing the 2010 health care law or look for ways to curb Trump administration policies.