Mitch McConnell

Republicans Head Into Alabama Senate Race Homestretch
Campaigns zero in on turning out supporters

Alabama Sen. Luther Strange is counting on visits by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to carry him to victory on Sept. 26. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The biggest names in the Republican Party — from President Donald Trump to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin —  will be heading south as the GOP primary runoff in the Alabama Senate race enters the homestretch. 

Sen. Luther Strange and former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore have been fighting for the GOP nod to fill the remaining term of former Sen. Jeff Sessions, now Trump’s attorney general. As the top two contenders in the August primary, they advanced to the runoff, which in some ways has turned into a proxy battle within the Republican Party.

Analysis: Why Ryan Has Stepped Into the Senate Health Care Debate
Speaker has typically steered clear of offering advice or taking on other chamber

Speaker Paul D. Ryan has signaled the Graham-Cassidy health care measure in the Senate will get a House floor vote. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan doesn’t like to meddle in Senate affairs — except when he does.

Throughout July when the Senate was working through various proposals to partially repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, Ryan frequently declined to comment on what the other chamber was considering.

GOP Primaries Could Hamper Plans on Taxes
Vulnerable Republican incumbents pose a challenge for McConnell

Alabama Sen. Luther Strange faces former Judge Roy Moore in a crucial Senate primary runoff next week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican hopes for moving an ambitious tax package in a closely divided Senate may hinge on a number of incumbents on the ballot, including Luther Strange of Alabama, who faces a tough primary runoff on Sept. 26.

The vulnerability of Republican incumbents like Strange underscores the challenges facing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as he tries to hold together at least 50 votes in his 52-member conference to pass a partisan tax plan under a filibuster-proof reconciliation bill.

Opinion: In Reaching for Deals, Will Parties Overlook Certain American Voices?
Lawmakers shouldn’t ignore divisive or unpleasant issues of justice and race

Protesters and police officers clashed in St. Louis on Sept. 17. In their recent dealings with President Donald Trump, Democratic lawmakers have shied away from social justice and race issues, Curtis writes. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

“He likes us,” Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer said of his fellow New Yorker Donald Trump last week. This was after “Chuck” joined “Nancy” — House Democratic leader Pelosi from California — in a White House gathering that resulted in a deal on DACA reform, unless it didn’t.

Whatever the interpretation of what happened during that chummy get-together, and there was a different one for every person who attended or heard about it first, second or thirdhand, the president reportedly reveled in the relief of positive headlines that followed.

Capitol Ink | Daredevil Senators

Capitol-Ink-09-21-17

McConnell Opens Door to Health Care Vote Next Week

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is pushing hard on his legislation to rework the U.S. health insurance system. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate leaders are preparing to hold a vote on an alternative to the 2010 health care law next week, although 50 Republicans have not confirmed they would vote for the proposal.

“It is the Leader’s intention to consider Graham-Cassidy on the floor next week,” Don Stewart, a spokesman for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said Wednesday in an email.

Poll: North Korea Is Biggest Threat to U.S.
Economist/YouGov survey finds Americans consider regime to be top enemy

A majority of those polled in the latest Economist/YouGov survey said they want to see President Donald Trump and members of Congress compromise instead of sticking purely to political party. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Nearly three-fourths of Americans surveyed in the latest Economist/YouGov poll believe North Korea is the country’s biggest enemy as President Donald Trump continues to issue threats to Kim Jung Un’s government on a near-daily basis.

Before the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump said the United States was prepared to “totally destroy” North Korea if the regime does not give up its nuclear arms and missile program.

Trump Endorses Graham-Cassidy, Knocks Rand Paul
In morning tweet, president calls legislation ‘GREAT!’

Sen. Lindsey Graham, right, speaks at a news conference Wednesday to discuss a bill he and Sen. Bill Cassidy, far left, are pushing to overhaul the health care system. Sen. Dean Heller, Sen. Ron Johnson and former Sen. Rick Santorum look on. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump formally threw his weight behind a health care overhaul sponsored by Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy, and criticized another high-profile Republican for opposing it.

Trump used a pair of Wednesday morning tweets to call the bill “GREAT!” and touted its plan to provide federal “Money direct to States!”

Opinion: The Fatal Flaw for Republicans in Graham-Cassidy
Bill’s passage would make health care dominant issue in 2018 midterms

The Republicans’ latest attempt to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law is reminiscent of “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Shapiro writes. (Painting by Richard Caton Woodville/Wikimedia Commons)

The Republicans’ latest drive to repeal Obamacare is reminiscent of a poetry fragment from Tennyson’s “The Charge of the Light Brigade”: “Theirs not to make reply, theirs not to reason why.”

Whatever happens with the bill likely slated to reach the Senate floor next week, it is hard to escape the feeling that this wild charge will end badly for the Republicans.

Bipartisan Health Care Talks Shut Down Amid Rush to Repeal
Talks by Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray sidelined

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., has halted a bipartisan effort to stabilize the health insurance market as Senate Republicans aggressively seek to repeal the 2010 health care law. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A bipartisan effort to stabilize the health insurance markets suffered a potentially fatal blow Tuesday as Senate Republicans kicked into high gear their attempt to repeal the 2010 health care law.

Facing a Sept. 30 deadline to utilize the 2017 budget reconciliation process that would allow passage of the health care legislation without having to worry about the filibuster, GOP leaders and Vice President Mike Pence lobbied their rank and file to pass legislation spearheaded by Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. It would repeal the 2010 law’s mandates for coverage, curtail the Medicaid program and block-grant money to the states to construct their own health care programs.