Politics

All Eyes in Congress on the Hurricane, and Beto and Willie

Religion, mother nature cut week short in Washington, so it’s back to the campaign trail

First Ted Cruz had to deal with Beto O’Rourke. Now he has to deal with Willie Nelson. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our newsletter here.

Acts of God

Thanks to the weather and religion, Congress had one short work week. Due to Rosh Hashanah, neither chamber was in Monday or Tuesday, and didn’t get back into town until Wednesday afternoon. Then Hurricane Florence’s approach to the Atlantic seaboard brought with it worries of flight cancellations.

So the Senate made sure to confirm the new IRS commissioner and approve a conference report on a three-bill spending package within a couple of hours and cut everyone loose Wednesday evening. The House was originally set to be in town until Friday, but they saw the gale-force winds on the wall and wrapped things up Thursday.

It’s not like they didn’t get anything done. Pushing spending bills over the finish line before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30 is a goal Congress finds ways to fall short of year in, year out. But a two-day week in D.C. seems like a waste of a lot of jet fuel, with the cost dumped on taxpayers.

Willie, Beto and the boys

First Ted Cruz had to contend with Rep. Beto O’Rourke. Now he has to contend with Willie Nelson.

The Highwaymen’s ranks have thinned over the years, with Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash departing for the big stage in the sky, leaving Willie and Kris Kristofferson to fend for themselves. So Nelson’s decision to headline a Sept. 29 rally in Austin, Texas, for O’Rourke might not just provide some juice for the Democrat’s quest to beat Republican Ted Cruz in November. Because who knows? Maybe Willie and Beto will leave afterward for Luckenbach, pick up a hitchhiking Kristofferson, swing by Kinky Friedman’s ranch and cut an album. Dare to dream.

And in case you missed our latest Political Theater podcast, Nathan L. Gonzales and I discuss O’Rourke’s political rise, a little career context for the El Paso congressman who has shaken up the Texas Senate race and so, so many newsrooms who want to chronicle it. Here ’tis:

Primary colors

The primary season is over! Long live the general election! Yep. Every congressional matchup is set, with New Hampshire and Rhode Island rounding out the primaries this week. 

Here are a few helpful bookmarks for you in the run-up to Nov. 6. 

The Kicker

The Secret Service is buying a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, despite the president calling for a boycott. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Let the market decide: When the president calls for a boycott of Harley-Davidson but the Secret Service puts in an order anyway. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.