Maine

Democrats condemn Trump’s racist tweets, congressional Republicans mostly silent
House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern calls his GOP colleagues ‘cowards’

Democratic Reps. Ayanna S. Pressley, from right, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Veronica Escobar  testify about their trip ICE detention facilities at the southern border last week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 5:59 p.m. | While Democrats were united in their condemnation of President Donald Trump’s call Sunday for four members of Congress to “go back” to “the crime infested countries from which they came,” Republicans on Monday were slow to publicly comment on the president’s tirade. 

On the Republican side of the aisle, condemnations of Trump for calling four of their colleagues unworthy to serve in Congress because of their non-European heritage were slow to materialize. Even as conservative pundits decried the president’s targeting of four progressive lawmakers — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan — as an ugly attack rooted in racism, not a political critique. 

Flatware gets its day in NDAA
House amendment would require Defense Department to buy from domestic manufacturers

Rep. Anthony Brindisi’s amendment is aimed at a flatware manufacturer in his upstate New York district. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the House slogs through more than 400 amendments to the annual Pentagon policy bill, debate has centered on the deployment of U.S. troops to the southern border, a potential ban on some lower-yield nuclear weapons, war authorizations and … flatware.

Yes, flatware. Cutlery. Knives and forks and spoons. One of the 439 amendments put forth would require the Defense Department to buy “stainless steel flatware” and “dinner ware” from domestic, rather than foreign, manufacturers.

Kentucky Senate: Seriously, are we doing this again?
Amy McGrath is giving Democrats hope. They should know better

Amy McGrath is running for Senate in Kentucky, hoping to topple Mitch McConnell. But the fundamentals of the state make it a difficult task for her. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — I understand Democrats’ frustration with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, as well as their desire to send him into retirement in the 2020 elections. But once again Democrats have gotten ahead of themselves in their optimism that they can defeat the Kentucky Republican.

Six years ago, Democrats and many in the national media gushed about the prospects of Alison Lundergan Grimes against McConnell. Grimes was young, articulate and personable, and she was the state’s sitting secretary of state.

No one told the New England delegation it was cafeteria lobster week
Mainer who brought us the lobster emoji misses out on crustacean grilled cheese

Sen. Angus King is the man who brought us the lobster emoji. But he was out of the lobster loop on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Maine independent Angus King did not try the lobster grilled cheese that was on the menu at the Dirksen Senate Office Building cafeteria this week.

“I didn’t even know about it. My staff will be severely reprimanded,” the senator told Heard on the Hill.

‘We are not going to be intimidated into making stupid decisions,’ Joint Chiefs pick says
At a confirmation hearing, senators expressed hope for steadiness and steeliness from the U.S. military’s top officer

Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, nominee for chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrives for his Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing in Dirksen Building on Thursday, July 11, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Armed Services members expressed hope Thursday for steadiness and steeliness from the U.S. military’s top officer, with the Pentagon beset by leadership chaos and the president reacting unconventionally to proliferating threats.

The occasion was a confirmation hearing for Gen. Mark Milley, the Army chief, who has been nominated to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Senators mount pressure on equal pay for World Cup champs
More lawmakers introduce measures pushing equal pay for U.S. women's soccer team

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., are leading an effort in the Senate to make salaries for the men’s and women’s national soccer teams equitable. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As the U.S. soccer women’s team embarks on a whirlwind victory lap from its recent World Cup domination, more lawmakers are joining the four-time champions in calling for pay equity.

A group of senators led by Robert Menendez, Susan Collins and Dianne Feinstein introduced a resolution congratulating the team for winning the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup and asking U.S. Soccer to provide the players with pay comparable to their counterparts on the men’s team.

Sen. Susan Collins dismissed Republican’s effort to scrap Kavanaugh after accuser’s testimony, new book says
Maine Republican wanted to hear Supreme Court justice nominee’s side of the story before moving on from him

Sen. Susan Collins delivered what is considered the decisive vote that sent Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Susan Collins declined to back a Republican colleague’s effort to desert then-Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh after a woman who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her gave an emotional account of the alleged incident and the effect it has had on her life, according to a new book.

Collins was confronted by an unnamed Republican senator who had devised a proposal to withdraw his support of Kavanaugh, who was seen as a flawed nominee amid sexual misconduct allegations. In exchange, he would promise to support whomever President Donald Trump nominated in Kavanaugh's place, according to conservative writers Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino, who detailed the story of the newest Supreme Court Justice's confirmation in their new book “Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court.”

End Citizens United names first 12 Republican targets for 2020
Liberal PAC is going after GOP incumbents in House and Senate

End Citizens United has named Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, left, and Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, right, as two of initial targets for 2020. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

End Citizens United, a liberal PAC that was a major player in last year’s midterms, announced Wednesday its top targets for 2020. 

The initial list of targets, dubbed the “Big Money 20” and obtained first by CQ Roll Call, includes 12 Republican incumbents — five senators and seven House members. 

Senate Republicans tiptoe around Acosta, largely defer on his future
Labor secretary's role in cutting deal with Jeffrey Epstein

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says he’ll defer to the president on Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta’s future. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Some Republicans in Congress are looking for more answers about Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta’s conduct as U.S. attorney, but they’re  not joining calls by Democrats that he step down because of a generous plea deal he cut with accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

One Republican member of the Judiciary Committee said Tuesday that Acosta should explain his handling of the plea agreement with Epstein.

Amid Epstein child sex scandal, Trump doesn’t rule out firing Secretary Acosta
About 2007 plea deal, president says he will ‘look at it very carefully’

Alex Acosta, center, then-nominee for secretary of Labor, talks with Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., left, and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, after the senators introduced him during his Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions confirmation hearing in March 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday left open the possibility that he might fire Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta over a plea deal he struck last decade with accused child sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein after top congressional Democrats called for his ouster.

Acosta has been an “excellent secretary of Labor,” Trump said. But the president stopped short of saying Acosta would remain a part of his Cabinet as yet another scandal has engulfed his administration.