Maine

You’d Think Samuel Beckett Was In Charge of Our Health Care
Finding a path forward for the Affordable Care Act has been like waiting for Godot

Estragon and Vladimir — above as portrayed in a 1978 French production of Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” — were stuck in limbo. After waiting on Congress to act on health care, we all know how they feel, Hoagland writes. (Fernand Michaud/Gallica Digital Library)

OPINION — Finding bipartisan agreement in Congress on a path forward for the Affordable Care Act has been like waiting for Godot. Polls tracking Americans’ views have consistently shown an evenly divided public. No single public policy issue captures the country’s polarization better than the debate that has surrounded this law.

That doesn’t mean we have to settle for “nothing to be done.” Improving health insurance markets is a goal worth pursuing, and Republicans and Democrats at the state level are already showing us the way.

They Channel Out-of-Town Outrage
‘Herd on the Hill’ lives vicariously, delivering letters for people in far-away states

Herd on the Hill delivered over a thousand letters to Sen. Susan Collin, R-Maine, in October. (Courtesy Herd on the Hill)

The president of Herd on the Hill went into a planning meeting and announced the name of her group.

Others gasped and grumbled. No press were allowed in the room.

Two Elections: Democrats’ Chance of Taking the Senate Fading, House Likely to Flip
Senate results in midterms crucial for GOP and Democratic prospects in 2020

The North Dakota Senate race looks all but over for Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, Rothenberg writes.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — The Democrats’ chances of netting at least two Senate seats always seemed like a long shot. But a month ago, the stars looked to be aligning for them. Today, those stars tell a different story.

With the Republican challenger, Rep. Kevin Cramer, opening up a clear lead over Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp, the North Dakota Senate race looks all but over now, according to multiple insiders. That means Democrats will need to swipe at least three GOP seats to take back the Senate — an outcome that currently appears somewhere between unlikely and impossible.

GOP Poll Puts Morrisey and Manchin Almost Even After Kavanaugh Vote
Manchin led Morrisey by 1 point in a poll conducted for the NRSC and Morrisey campaign

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey trailed Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin by 1 point in an NRSC and Morrisey campaign poll of the race. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A new Republican poll of the West Virginia Senate race shows a tighter race between Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

Manchin led Morrisey 41 to 40 percent in the survey conducted for the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Morrisey’s campaign and obtained first by Roll Call. 

Grassley Wants to Raise $3 Million for Collins Amid Kavanaugh Backlash
Three progressive groups have raised more than $4 million in what Collins calls ‘quid pro quo’ for her vote

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, wants to raise $3 million to help re-elect Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, the Judiciary chairman who helped guide new associate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh through his confirmation process, wants to raise $3 million to support the 2020 re-election campaign of the decisive Republican swing voter, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.

Collins’ re-election is a far way off considering voters are still roughly a month away from heading to the polls for the 2018 midterms. But a cadre of progressive groups has already crowdsourced more than $4.4 million to bolster Collins’ Democratic opponent in 2020, money it would have used to back Collins had she voted against Kavanaugh, who was confirmed on Saturday on a mostly party line vote, 50-48.

Senate Dems Want Republicans to Take a Position on ‘Junk’
Baldwin hopes to force a vote to overturn Trump administration rule on short-term health care plans

Sen. Tammy Baldwin is leading the charge to reverse the Trump administration’s rule on short-term health insurance plans — or at least to get Republicans on the record. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Democrats are planning to force a vote this week on a resolution that would overturn the Trump administration’s expansion of short-term health insurance plans.

Critics call them “junk” plans, since they’re not required to comply with all the regulations of the 2010 health care law.

Trump Stokes Tribal Fury in Kavanaugh Ceremony
President accuses Senate Dems of ‘campaign of political and personal destruction’

Protesters opposed to then-Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh take over the atrium of the Hart Senatre Office Building on Oct. 4. Capitol Police were on the scene arresting protesters. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS | Donald Trump’s remarks Monday night during a ceremonial swearing-in of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was more than partisan. It personified how the president often fuels America’s increasingly tribal politics.

Washington and the country are trying to recover from several gut-wrenching weeks that included multiple sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh and the emotional testimony of the then-nominee and one of his accusers, Christine Blasey Ford. But the president, during a ceremony in the ornate East Room, did not try to use his office to heal a grieving — and feuding — country.

After the Kavanaugh Trauma, the Senate Needs an MRI
Senators, on both sides, must stop assuming the worst of colleagues’ motives

Maine Sen. Susan Collins’ defense of Sen. Dianne Feinstein in her floor speech Friday, she offered her colleagues one way forward to fix the stalemate they find themsleves in, Murphy writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — The Brett Kavanaugh confirmation saga is over, but the worry I hear most around the Senate is that the damage done to the institution during his nomination battle may be permanent.

How does the institution go on after a mess like that? How do colleagues, especially on the Judiciary Committee, work together after the accusations, attacks and name-calling that went on? How can they fix a Senate that looks so broken right now?

Midterm Elections Hold Ultimate Verdict on Kavanaugh
McConnell asserts confirmation process driving up Republican enthusiasm

The final verdict on President Donald Trump’s nomination of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh may be delivered in the midterm elections. (POOL PHOTO/SAUL LOEB/AFP)

Even before Saturday’s Senate vote made Brett Kavanaugh a Supreme Court justice, senators from both parties said voters soon would deliver the final verdict on President Donald Trump’s divisive appointment.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in an interview with Roll Call a month ahead of Election Day, said the contentious debate about the confirmation process was driving up base enthusiasm for the 2018 midterm elections.

Final Kavanaugh Vote Comes With a Whimper, Not a Bang
Somber mood pervades Senate as Supreme Court nominee is confirmed

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., holds a press conference in the Capitol after the vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the end, for as long, drawn out and acrid as the fight over Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination was, the actual confirmation vote itself was brief, to the point and relatively somber.

Senators, seated to take their votes in the chamber during the rare Saturday session, rose at the calls of their names, saying “yes” and “no.” When Vice President Mike Pence announced the 50-48 vote and that Kavanaugh had been confirmed, he did so flatly, with none of the flourish or emotion that usually comes with such hard-fought victories.