Jeanne Shaheen

‘Medicare for All’ keeps defining 2020 political landscape
Progressive health care plan could become point of contention as campaign heats up

From left, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., at an event Wednesday to introduce the “Medicare for All Act of 2019.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The “Medicare for All” bill that presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders released Wednesday is more likely to be litigated on the campaign trail than in the halls of Congress. And it highlights a rare political divide among Democrats on one of their marquee issues even as the party seeks to appear unified.

Supporters of the Vermont independent are vying with Democrats who prefer to expand and protect the 2010 health care law. Those differences have recently been overshadowed by larger fights between the two parties after the Trump administration broadened its position in a high-profile lawsuit by calling to strike down the entire 2010 law.

Did you say ‘spying?’ Barr walks back testimony after making a stir
Barr clears up his Senate testimony after cable news and social media buzz over one of his word choices

Attorney General William Barr testifies before a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Tuesday. Lee J. Lofthus, assistant attorney general for administration, appears at left. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Attorney General William Barr sought to “please add one point of clarification” at the end of his testimony Wednesday before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee — and the veteran law enforcement official needed it.

Cable news and social media were abuzz with one of Barr’s earlier word choices, when he told senators that he would look into the work of U.S. intelligence agencies directed at the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election because “spying did occur.”

Bernie Sanders’ new Medicare for All bill would cover some long-term care

Renelsa Caudill, a nurse at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, is greeted by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., after speaking at an event to introduce the “Medicare for All Act of 2019,” in Dirksen Building on Wednesday, April 10, 2019. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., are also pictured. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Wednesday released an updated bill to implement a single-payer health insurance system, a politically divisive hallmark of his White House bid.

The unnumbered Senate bill would transition the U.S. health care system to a single-payer system over a four-year transition and eliminate nearly all premiums, co-pays and deductibles. The legislation largely mirrors Sanders’ 2017 proposal, but the new plan also would cover home and community-based long-term care services through an expanded Medicare program, according to a summary. The earlier version would have maintained those services through existing Medicaid benefits.

House panel questions an empty chair because Wilbur Ross doesn’t show up
The made-for-CSPAN moment occurred after Ross canceled with a House Appropriations panel

A news photographer takes a shot of the empty witness chair set for Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing Wednesday. Ross did not attend. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

One congressional subcommittee decided to shirk the typically mundane, policy-focused nature of its hearings on Wednesday by questioning an empty chair.

The made-for-C-SPAN moment came after Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross canceled his appearance in front of the House Appropriations panel that determines how much funding his department receives and how they can spend it.

Can Republicans make up any ground in New England in 2020?
Only real pickup opportunities for party are in Maine and New Hampshire

Maine Sen. Susan Collins, right, is the only New England Republican left in Congress. Republicans could pick up another seat by defeating New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in 2020. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The prospects for a Republican rebirth in New England in 2020 are dim.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins, the only New England Republican left in Congress, is likely facing her most competitive re-election next year.

Senators unveil new plan to counter Vladimir Putin’s energy influence in Eastern Europe
Chris Murphy and Ron Johnson leading bipartisan effort to improve energy infrastructure

Sen. Christopher S. Murphy is introducing a new effort to counter Vladimir Putin’s influence in Eastern Europe. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Bipartisan lawmakers are unveiling Thursday the latest Capitol Hill effort to counter Vladimir Putin’s energy activities in Eastern Europe.

This time, a contingent of senators led by Democratic Sen. Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut and Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is introducing a bill that would authorize as much as $1 billion in financing for the next few years for energy sector projects in Europe.

Tom Udall and Susan Collins introduce Senate disapproval of Trump’s border security emergency
Encourage fellow senators to defend the congressional power of the purse

Democratic Sen. Tom Udall is leading the joint resolution to terminate President Donald Trump’s border security national emergency. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sens. Susan Collins and Tom Udall have teamed up on the Senate version of legislation disapproving of President Trump’s border security national emergency.

Udall, a Democrat from New Mexico and an appropriator, said the resolution to terminate the national emergency isn’t really even about the proposed border wall itself, saying on the Senate floor this is a matter of “standing up for the Constitution.”

Lawmakers want to boost Pentagon input on tariffs
A proposal gives the Pentagon a lead role on deciding whether tariffs are needed to protect national security

Vice chair Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., left, and chairman Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., talk before the start of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee hearing on "Worldwide Threats" on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As the trade war with China drags on, a bipartisan group of lawmakers in both chambers is pushing to give the Defense Department the lead role in analyzing whether tariffs are needed to protect national security.

The draft legislation, released Wednesday in both the House and Senate, marks a significant revision of Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, which gave the Commerce Department the authority to analyze the tariffs and ultimately make a recommendation to the president on whether to invoke national security.

Senate GOP unveils omnibus bill to fund wall, reopen government
The 1,301-page draft bill includes parts outlined by Trump in his Saturday speech

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence arrive to the Capitol to attend the Senate Republican policy luncheons on January 9, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans have released a $354.5 billion fiscal 2019 spending package that includes $5.7 billion for border wall construction as well as temporary relief for enrollees in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and immigrants receiving Temporary Protected Status.

The 1,301-page draft bill was released Monday night, and it includes parts outlined by President Donald Trump in his Saturday speech. It is expected to receive a vote in the Senate this week.

Three things to watch in Trump’s border wall Oval Office address
Democrats expect more false, misleading statements as shutdown drags on

President Trump speaks in the Oval Office in February 2017 before Vice President Mike Pence swore in now-former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (left). (John T. Bennett/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s first Oval Office prime-time address will put the border wall — his signature campaign promise — center stage as he considers declaring a national emergency at the southern border and aims to shift public opinion about the government shutdown.

Senior administration officials on Monday did not rule out the president making what would be a contentious announcement during his Tuesday address. Vice President Mike Pence was one of those officials, and he made clear in a television interview that aired Tuesday morning that Trump could make a move that Democrats already are panning.