Alaska

Senate Democrats Likely to Oppose Push to Block Health Insurance Mandate
Desire to keep contentious amendments off spending bills might prevail

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., chairs the Appropriations subcommittee where any amendment on the D.C. health insurance mandate might come up first in the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A Republican amendment to a House-passed spending package that would ban the District of Columbia from implementing an individual health insurance coverage requirement is unlikely to gain steam as the Senate prepares to take up a similar measure.

It’s not clear yet if any Senate Republicans will introduce a similar amendment when the Financial Services and Interior-Environment package reaches the Senate floor, but it would likely face fierce minority opposition in the chamber, where Democrats are defending the 2010 health care law at every opportunity.

The Great Outdoors Threatened by a Funding Battle
Congress is divided on reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund

Stony Man Trail, part of the Appalachian Trail, winds through Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The $887 billion outdoor recreational economy is a massive economic engine for rural areas. (Courtesy National Park Service)

Sen. Richard M. Burr’s sinking of the $14 billion rescissions package last month was not about saving the Energy Department loan guarantee program or children’s health care contingency funding — which represented the vast majority of the money on the chopping block.

The North Carolina Republican voted against the package because it would rescind $16 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund — which represented approximately 0.1 percent of all the funding in the bill.

Democratic Staff of Most Powerful Senate Committees Have the Least Racial Diversity
But Senate Republicans have not published their own statistics

Senate Appropriations ranking member Patrick Leahy appears in the Capitol last year. Three of the four Senate committees with the least diverse Democratic staffs this year are also the most powerful. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate committees with the whitest Democratic staffs are also some of the chamber’s most powerful.

Appropriations, Finance and Armed Services are three of the four least diverse panels, according to a Roll Call analysis of data released by the Senate Democrats. Just 5 percent, 6 percent and 13 percent of their respective staffs are non-Caucasian.

Vulnerable Senate Democrats Have Another Thing to Worry About: Diversity on Their Staffs
Conference voluntarily released data on its diversity statistics for the second year

Vulnerable Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin III, left, and Jon Tester have offices that are 93 percent and 92 percent white, an analysis of data released by Senate Democrats found. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic senators gearing up for competitive re-elections tend to have whiter staffs, according to a Roll Call analysis of data released by Senate Democrats.

Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, who finds himself in a race rated Tilts Democratic by Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales, has a staff that is 93 percent white. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III, also in a Tilts Democratic contest, was just behind him, at 92 percent.

Lawmakers Across the Aisle Fight Canadian Newsprint Tariffs
Import tax on paper is hurting local news, members tell International Trade Commission

Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., speaks with Roll Call in the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Nineteen members of Congress spoke Tuesday against the Commerce Department’s tariffs on Canadian newsprint, telling the U.S. International Trade Commission the import tax hurt local newspapers.

The bipartisan group of legislators asked the ITC to reverse tariffs the Commerce Department imposed on Canadian newsprint imports. Opponents of the tariffs say they would deal a major blow to local newspapers, which already struggle to stay afloat, by increasing the cost of newsprint.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio the Latest Politician to Admit Falling for Sacha Baron Cohen’s Act
British entertainer interviewed Arizona Senate candidate as a ‘Finnish comedian’

Joe Arpaio, who is running for the GOP nomination in Arizona’s Senate race, was interviewed by British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen for his upcoming Showtime series. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Joe Arpaio, the former Pheonix-area sheriff who is running for Arizona’s open Senate seat this fall, is the latest in a line of conservative American political figures to admit being duped by British entertainer Sacha Baron Cohen and agreeing to one of his famous interviews.

Cohen is well-known for conducting interviews with unwitting suspects while he role-plays as foreign characters with controversial views on race, politics, and sexuality.

Photos of the Week: Kavanaugh Hits the Hill and Strzok Strikes Back at House
The week of July 9 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Make-A-Wish recipient and “U.S. Senator For a Day” Thomas Stephenson and Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., ride the Senate Subway on Tuesday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

It’s almost the middle of July, but there’s no summer slowdown on Capitol Hill. The president’s Supreme Court pick was in the Capitol on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as senators consider his nomination to replace Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

But the joint committee in the House that heard testimony from Peter Strzok on Thursday possibly stole the show for this week on the Hill as sparks flew between members and the FBI agent Peter Strzok.

Trump Taps Senate’s Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms for NASA Post
Morhard to be nominated to be deputy administrator of the space agency

Deputy Senate Sergeant at Arms James W. Morhard is interviewed by Roll Call in the Capitol, January 9, 2015. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The deputy sergeant-at-arms of the Senate has been picked by President Donald Trump to be the deputy administrator of NASA.

James W. Morhard, who has been deputy SAA since Republicans took over the Senate majority in 2015, has largely focused on the various administrative functions of the Senate.

Analysis: Brett Kavanaugh and the Midterm Effect
Three scenarios provide mixed bag on effect of tight Senate races

Reporters swarm Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, as she arrives in the Capitol on Tuesday, the day after President Donald Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Murkowski, who supported Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, is an expected to be a key vote on the current nomination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The selection of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court will have less of an impact on November’s midterms than you think. Sure, depending how the confirmation process develops, it’s possible the nomination could affect a handful of races, but the most likely scenario will not change the overall trajectory of the November elections.

The most likely outcome of the Kavanaugh nomination involves all 50 Republican senators voting to confirm him to the Supreme Court (with John McCain not voting).

Kavanaugh Confirmation Fight Promises to Be Intense — and Expensive
Outside advocacy groups on both sides are already coming out swinging

President Donald Trump nominates Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy at an announcement ceremony in the White House on Monday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Outside advocacy groups began making hefty down payments overnight in the multimillion-dollar fight over President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, but the cash is unlikely to determine the fate of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

The fierce fundraising appeals and grass-roots mobilization from both sides, including advertising buys in pivotal states, show the high stakes as senators prepare to weigh the potential successor to retiring Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.