Keystone XL Pipeline

Analysis: On This Episode of The Trump Show ...
Undermines party, contradicts staff before campaign-style rally

President Donald Trump introduces Ken Wilson, an employee of H&K Equipment, to supporters at a rally at the rental and sales company in Coraopolis, Pa., on Thursday. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

Donald Trump is no longer on “The Apprentice,” but on days like Thursday, the president of the United States produces, writes and stars in a White House-based reality show, “The Trump Show,” complete with a boss who undermines his senior staff and congressional allies, prompting them to explain away the antics or ignore them.

The commander in chief started the day by torpedoing with a tweet a key GOP talking point and saying, on his way into the Pentagon for a briefing, that a government shutdown “could very well be.”

The Next Special Election in the Heart of Trump Country
President will travel to Pennsylvania’s 18th District on Thursday

Democrats see Conor Lamb’s moderate profile and background as a Marine and federal prosecutor as an advantage in Pennsylvania’s 18th District. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

It’s no accident that President Donald Trump will travel Thursday to an equipment manufacturing plant outside of Pittsburgh. And it’s no accident that Pennsylvania Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone will be there too. 

The visit is an official one, but with a political backdrop. H&K Equipment is located in Pennsylvania’s 18th District, where Saccone will face Democrat Conor Lamb on March 13, the first special election of the year.  

White House Won't Discuss Tillerson's Future Beyond Year's End
Trump 'seems to take step after step to undercut diplomacy,' Sen. Kaine says

Then-Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson arrives for his Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing earlier this year. The panel could soon be holding another such hearing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House that routinely labels as fake any news it does not like is studiously withholding such phraseology when it comes to media reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is a short-timer. 

White House officials have developed plans to replace the long-embattled Tillerson, who fell out of favor with the president months ago, with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, according to The New York Times. Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton would move into Pompeo’s position, the news outlet reported, citing senior administration officials.

GOP Knocks Casey for Supporting Assault Weapons Ban
Casey is running for re-election in a state Trump narrowly won

Sen. Bob Casey, Jr., D-Pa., is co-sponsoring a bill banning assault weapons. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Bob Casey was the only Democrat in a competitive 2018 race to sign onto a bill banning assault weapons, and Republicans wasted no time criticizing the move. 

The Pennsylvania Democrat has evolved on gun control issues since he was first elected in 2006. And Republicans are accusing him of misleading Pennsylvania voters.

Murphy Will Not Seek Re-Election Following Affair Revelations
Pennsylvania Republican announced his decision Wednesday

Pennsylvania Rep. Tim Murphy announced Wednesday he would not run for re-election after revelations about his affair. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Tim Murphy announced Wednesday that he would not seek re-election, following revelations that he urged a woman with whom he had an affair to get an abortion.

The Pennsylvania Republican said in a statement that he would not run for a ninth term in Congress. He said there was still work to be done and he would serve out the remainder of his term.

Rating Change: Dent Retirement Puts Seat in Play
Pennsylvania Republican says seventh term will be his last

Just days ago, it looked like Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Charlie Dent was preparing to fight it out for an eighth term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent capped a tumultuous week for Republicans on the Hill by announcing he would not seek re-election in 2018, leaving his 15th District open and vulnerable to a Democratic takeover.

Dent’s decision is the biggest news to come out of Allentown since earlier this summer when Philadelphia Phillies rookie slugger Rhys Hoskins was called up to the major leagues and hit home runs at a faster initial pace than any player in history, after batting 29 home runs with 91 RBIs for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

Why Democrats and Republicans See Opportunity in One House Race
Brian Fitzpatrick is a Democratic target, but Republicans say he is in a strong position

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., talks with guests during a town hall meeting in Bensalem, Pa. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

BENSALEM, Pa. — Republicans like Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick who have bucked their party will likely have to answer the question he faced after a town hall meeting here: What do you say to President Donald Trump’s supporters who are upset with you?

“It’s very easy. You call balls and strikes individually with every issue that comes up,” Fitzpatrick said. “It shouldn’t matter whether the president supports it or opposes it, whether Nancy Pelosi supports it or opposes it.”

Congress Is Broken, and Staff Members Know Why
Survey reveals dissatisfaction with key performance measures

Staff members rated key areas of congressional dysfunction in a survey released Tuesday, including the low level of staff experience, a lack of time for members to focus on important issues and a paucity of access to nonpartisan reports. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Members of Congress will return in September to a glut of complex and technically challenging tasks, including tax policy, the debt ceiling, and Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

But they won’t have the staff expertise, time or outside resources to do the job.

How the Courts Could Upend Gerrymandering
Democrats and voter rights groups pin hopes on high court case

A new, mathematical approach to proving partisan gerrymandering will be tested at the Supreme Court this fall in a case about Wisconsin’s state Assembly district lines. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

By RANDY LEONARD and TODD RUGER

Congressional maps in key battleground states such as Pennsylvania have shifted the political balance of Congress toward Republicans — but that could soon change.

Energy Pipeline Permitting Bills Passed by House

Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., authored a bill that would transfer pipeline permit authority from states to the federal government. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As Republicans rush to join the Trump administration’s efforts to boost oil and gas production, the House pushed two measures on Wednesday aimed at easing the permitting process for pipelines that cross state and international lines.

Lawmakers voted, 254-175, to pass a bill by Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., which would transfer authority to issue permits for pipelines and power transmission lines that cross international borders from the State Department to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Mullin and other Republicans argued the measure is necessary to keep politics out of the pipeline permitting process.