health care

Could Negative Campaigning in California Primaries Dampen Democratic Energy?
Hard feelings hit crowded Golden State contests two weeks out from the primary

Dave Min and Katie Porter, both Democrats running for California’s 45th District, participate in the DEMOC PAC’s candidate forum in Irvine on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

IRVINE, Calif. — When some volunteers and organizers arrived Tuesday night at the University Synagogue, they found some orange and red pieces of paper on the chairs in the auditorium.

“NEGATIVE CAMPAIGN ALERT” read the paper in bold black letters. “The Dave Min campaign is running attack ads against multiple other Democrats! IS THIS WHAT ORANGE COUNTY WANTS?”

Ernst Only New Face on Congressional Softball Game Roster
Check out the members and media rosters ahead of the June 20 game

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pose with the members team before the 2017 Congressional Women’s Softball game. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The rosters for the 10th annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game on June 20 are out and include one new face on the members team: Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa.

The members team will battle it out against the women of the Washington press corps, known as the Bad News Babes, who are the reigning champs after winning, 2-1, last year.

‘That Danger Is Real’ — Democrats’ Final Push to Avoid Shutout in Key California Races
Democrats are especially concerned about being locked out in three key races

Democrat Harley Rouda, who’s running in the 48th District, speaks with supporters during his campaign rally in Laguna Beach, California, on Sunday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. — As supporters for Democrat Harley Rouda chanted while cars drove by on the South Coast Highway on Sunday, Carol Nohra Crane could be heard sharing a concern with her friend: that two Republicans would advance past the June 5 primary in the 48th District.

“I think it’s all about getting the vote out, because there is a valid concern because it is a Republican district, typically,” said Crane, 54, a friend of Rouda’s who’s volunteering with the campaign. “So we just have to get out of the top two.”

House GOP Immigration and Leadership Battles Entwined
Results of June attempt to pass immigration legislation will affect current GOP leaders, future candidates

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks alongside Speaker Paul Ryan at the House Republican Leadership Press Conference on Tuesday morning. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans are on the precipice of a major win or an embarrassing loss on immigration. Either outcome will have lasting impacts for the current leadership team and future contenders for those jobs.

But the prospect of an immediate backlash against Paul D. Ryan’s speakership over anything that could be perceived as an immigration failure appears minimal at best. The House is preparing to take up sweeping immigration legislation the third week of June for the first time since Republicans took control of the chamber eight years ago.

Bipartisan Breakout Gives Vulnerable Senators Wins Ahead of Recess
VA and banking bills headline measures heading to President Donald Trump

Sen. Jon Tester is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Some of the Senate’s most vulnerable incumbents will be scoring big legislative victories just in time for the Memorial Day parades.

The most timely outbreak of bipartisanship will come with passage, expected Wednesday afternoon, of a bill designed to improve health care access and options for veterans, known as the VA MISSION Act.

The Blue Dogs Are Barking Again
Moderate Democrats, nearly wiped out in 2010, have hopes for a comeback this year

Current Blue Dog Democrats include, from left, Reps. Daniel Lipinski, D-Ill., Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, Mike Thompson, D-Calif., Jim Costa, D-Calif., Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., and  Brad Schneider, D-Ill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Brendan Kelly is running in a district in southern Illinois that went for Donald Trump by nearly 15 points in 2016, so his message shouldn’t come as a surprise.

“We see a system that is rigged for a powerful few,” he said in a voice full of gravel. He rails against “elites on the coasts” and understands why many are “frustrated” and “angry” over low-paying jobs and high health care costs.

End of an Era on Senate Finance as Longtime Staffer Departs
Mark Prater was figure in major tax debates dating to the 1990s

Mark Prater, chief tax counsel for the Senate Finance Committee and a veteran of major tax debates for decades, is retiring. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Mark Prater, a fixture in GOP tax policymaking on Capitol Hill, is leaving his post as chief tax counsel for the Senate Finance Committee.

“Mark has played a vital role in every major tax debate in the last quarter century,” Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch announced Tuesday in a statement, noting Prater’s work on last year’s tax code overhaul, the Bush-era tax cuts and more. He joined the Finance Committee in January 1990. Tuesday was his last day with the panel.

Amy McGrath Wins Democratic Nod in Kentucky
Marine veteran will take on GOP Rep. Andy Barr in November

Marine veteran Amy McGrath, here at a conference in Los Angeles in February, won the Democratic nomination in Kentucky’s 6th District. (Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for MAKERS file photo)

Marine veteran Amy McGrath won the Democratic nomination in Kentucky’s 6th District on Tuesday and will take on Republican Rep. Andy Barr in November. 

With 95 percent of precincts reporting, McGrath led Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, 49 percent to 41 percent, when The Associated Press called the race. 

Rescissions Package On Hold While GOP Deliberates
GAO delivers relatively good news, even as schedule slips

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and his leadership team face a deadline next month to consider the rescissions package before procedural protections expire. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional auditors delivered some good news for the White House and House GOP leaders on Tuesday, saying in a report that President Donald Trump’s $15.2 billion spending cuts proposal mostly meets tests laid out in the 1974 statute establishing the “rescissions” process — even as leaders decided to put off consideration of the package until next month. 

The Government Accountability Office found that two Transportation Department accounts slated for $134 million in cuts can’t legally be “impounded,” or blocked by the administration during the initial 45-day period after submission of the requests to Congress. The rest of the cuts, including rescissions from mandatory spending accounts like the Children’s Health Insurance Program, are allowed to go forward under the 1974 law establishing the modern rescissions process, according to the GAO.

Who’s Going to Challenge Karen Handel Without Jon Ossoff?
Georgia’s 6th District primary is on Tuesday

GOP Rep. Karen Handel is running for her first full term, but there won’t be a rematch of last year’s special election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Georgia’s 6th District was in the news nonstop this time last year when the special election to fill former Republican Rep. Tom Price’s seat became the most expensive House race in history.

GOP nominee Karen Handel, the former Georgia secretary of state, ended up defeating big-spending Democrat Jon Ossoff by 4 points (with plenty of help from outside Republican groups). She is now running for her first full term.