Oklahoma

Markwayne Mullin Says He’ll Fight Avenatti
Oklahoma congressman responds to Trump antagonist’s challenge to Donald Trump Jr.

Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., said he’s ready to climb into the cage with lawyer Michael Avenatti after he challenged Donald Trump Jr. to a mixed martial arts fight. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Rep. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma, a former professional mixed martial arts fighter, challenged Democratic lawyer Michael Avenatti to “meet him on the mat.”

Avenatti and Donald Trump Jr. have sparred on Twitter in recent weeks over special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation and Avenatti’s rumored presidential ambitions. The rivalry took a surreal turn last week, when Avenatti challenged Trump Jr. to a “three-round mixed martial arts fight” with the proceeds going to charity. 

Their Districts Are at Risk. But They Still Vote ‘No’ on Climate Action
High waters and toxic blooms haven’t scared these lawmakers

Storm surge and waves from Hurricane Michael batter homes in the Florida Panhandle community of Shell Point Beach on Oct. 10. (Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)

He lives just half a mile away from the beach in Sarasota, Florida, but Len Seligman, a local musician, has barely enjoyed the sun and sand by the waterside recently, discouraged by the stench of dead fish and other marine animals washed ashore, poisoned by toxic algal blooms.

“In the last few months, there have only been a few days that it’s been tolerable,” the 63-year-old retired computer researcher said. “You just can’t breathe when the red tide is bad.”

Elizabeth Warren’s DNA Results Show Native American Heritage
Democratic senator derisively called ‘Pocahontas’ by doubting Trump

In a video released Monday, Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren tells her family’s story with the help of her older brothers and other family members. (Elizabeth Warren via YouTube)

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren released the results of a genetic test showing her Native American ancestry dating back “six to ten generations” ahead of a possible 2020 presidential run.

“In the senator’s genome, we did find five segments of Native American ancestry with very high confidence where we believe the error rate is less than one in a thousand,” said Carlos Bustamante, a professor of genetics at Stanford, who conducted the test.

GOP Sen. James Lankford Equivocates on Trump Claim that China Is Interfering in US Elections
President: ‘We have evidence’

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., addressed the potential for China to interfere in U.S. elections in broad strokes. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican Sen. James Lankford, a member of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, equivocated in an interview this week on the question of whether the Chinese government is seeking to influence the midterm elections as the president has claimed.

President Donald Trump said at the United Nations Security Council in September that “regrettably, we found that China has been attempting to interfere in our upcoming 2018 election coming up in November against my administration.”

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. 

From Adams to Pence: Long History of Memorable VP Tie-Breakers
If Kavanaugh vote is deadlocked, vice president would put him on Supreme Court

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh (left) walks up the Capitol's Senate steps with Vice President Mike Pence for a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on July 10. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump face a high-stakes Saturday showdown with a handful of key senators that will decide whether the Supreme Court tilts to the right — perhaps for decades to come. But it might fall to Vice President Mike Pence to put him on the highest bench in the land.

After the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh — who has faced multiple sexual assault allegations and criticism for his angry rebuttal that included sharp criticism of Senate Democrats — cleared a procedural hurdle Friday morning, McConnell and Trump needed to secure 50 GOP votes.

Floor Charts for the Floor Show
Our favorite garish visual aids from a month of congressional floor-watching

(Courtesy of @FloorCharts screenshot of C-SPAN)

Guilty headshots, crumb debates and George Washington’s face— watching the action on the House and Senate floors can be a thankless task. But the floor charts make it all worthwhile.

Lawmakers like these oversized and sometimes garish visual aids because they help them get their points across. The Twitter handle @FloorCharts posts some of the daily highlights, and Roll Call now provides a monthly roundup of the best of the best.

House Democrats, Republicans Unite Behind Opioids Bill
Bipartisan measure now heads to the Senate

Oxycodone pain pills prescribed for a patient with chronic pain lie on display in Norwich, Conn. (John Moore/Getty Images)

The House passed consensus legislation, 393-8, on Friday intended to help combat the opioid crisis. The legislative compromise was finalized earlier this week, and now heads to the Senate for a final vote.

The two chambers came to an agreement on Tuesday, but made additional changes to the bill after the Congressional Budget Office initially estimated that the bill would increase the deficit by $44 million over the next 10 years.

Justice Department Issues Indictment for 2013 Congressional Trip to Azerbaijan
Feds allege nonprofit concealed that trip was funded by foreign government

A 2013 congressional delegation trip to Azerbaijan has resulted in an indictment being handed down to the head of the nonprofit, whom the government alleges concealed the source of funding for the journey. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Justice Department has issued an indictment of former non-profit head Kevin Oksuz for his role in a plot to hide the fact that a 2013 congressional delegation trip to Azerbaijan was funded by that country’s government.

According to the indictment, which was unsealed Monday, Kevin, also known as Kemal, Oksuz allegedly lied on disclosure forms filed with the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ethics prior to, and following, a privately sponsored congressional trip to Azerbaijan. Oksuz ran a Houston based nonprofit that he is accused of using to funnel money to fund the congressional trip from an oil company controlled by the Azerbaijan government.

Republicans Push Back Against States Seen as Too Pro-Regulation
GOP favors independence by state governments unless they don’t like a state’s decision

Chairman John Barrasso of Wyoming and ranking Democrat Tom Carper of Delaware talk before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hears from acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in August. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler appeared before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in early August, the energy and environment community was watching.

It was Wheeler’s first appearance since his predecessor, Scott Pruitt, resigned after months of ethical, spending and personnel scandals. Washington was eager to see how Wheeler would right the agency.