Maine

Women on the Verge of a Breakthrough on House Appropriations
One-two punch on the panel would be the first since women led the House Beauty Shop Committee

Texas Rep. Kay Granger is one of five Republicans — and the only Republican woman — competing for the top spot on the Appropriations Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House of Representatives hasn’t had two women lead a committee since the Select Committee on the House Beauty Shop was eliminated in 1977.

All of that could change in January.

Zombie Zumwalt: The Ship Program That Never Dies
Two ships have been ‘delivered’ but don’t exactly work as planned

The US Navy’s new guided missile destroyer DDG 1000 USS Zumwalt is moored to a dock on October 13, 2016, in Baltimore, Maryland. The Zumwalt is the lead ship of a class of next-generation multi-mission surface combatants and is named for Adm. Elmo R. Zumwalt, former chief of naval operations. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

In 2006, Congress started funding construction of the first of three Navy destroyers named after the late famed Navy chief Adm. Elmo Zumwalt. But nearly a dozen years later, none of the Zumwalt ships is ready to fight.

None will be for years. And hundreds of millions more dollars will be required to get there. The ships, known as DDG 1000s, may yet become capable and, with enough additional money, they may even become warships of unprecedented lethality. But the extent of the program’s problems to date — and the remaining cost to make things right — has not been fully appreciated even among many defense experts.

Senate Democrats Claim Small Victory on Net Neutrality
Will be taking the debate to the ballot box

Sen. Edward J. Markey has led the charge on the resolution that would effectively bring back net neutrality rules. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Democrats won’t be scoring many legislative victories this year. So Wednesday’s win on a joint resolution that would upend the effort by the Federal Communications Commission to reverse Obama-era regulations on net neutrality was cause for mild celebration.

“A key question for anyone on the campaign trail in 2018 now will be: Do you support net neutrality?” Sen. Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts said at a news conference with House and Senate Democratic leaders on the effort to block the Trump administration from rolling back the regulations.

Liberal Group Targets Swing Districts Over Tax Overhaul
Six-figure ad campaign airs in Iowa, Maine and Washington districts

Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., is having an ad in her district criticizing the new tax law for which she voted. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A liberal outside group is targeting incumbent Republicans for their vote in support of the tax legislation that was passed last year.

Tax March, a liberal group critical of the law, said the ad was part of a six-figure ad campaign.

Gina Haspel Performs Well but Raises More Questions During Hearing
Suggests she has handled declassification decisions about her own background

Gina Haspel, nominee to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency, is sworn in before testifying during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Nothing Gina Haspel said during the open portion of her Senate confirmation hearing seemed likely to derail her nomination to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, and she picked up some needed Democratic support along the way. 

Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, who serves on the Intelligence panel, was the first Democrat out of the gate to support Haspel.

Frozen, Canned Fruit Could Become Norm for Fresh Produce Program
Measure to ease restrictions on processed goods included in House farm bill

Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, is championing a proposal in the new House farm bill that would include frozen and canned fruit in the federal Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the House GOP wrestles with whether to overhaul the food stamp program and tie it to work in the new farm bill that passed the Agriculture Committee in April, other small changes to the previous law stand out that could markedly affect longstanding federal nutrition programs.

Some lawmakers want to add frozen, canned, pureed and dried produce to the menus of the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for schoolchildren.

Republicans Warming to $15 Billion Cuts Package
Dispute remains over whether proposal is protected from filibuster

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not rule out his chamber considering a proposal to cut spending already authorized, as long as it passes the House. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans appear ready to advance the White House’s $15.4 billion rescissions request through both chambers of Congress, after the administration dropped the idea — for now — of canceling funds provided in the fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill enacted in March.

“If the House is able to pass the rescissions package, we’ll take a look at it,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday, noting that the so-called special message “does not breach the bipartisan agreement we reached in the caps deal.”

Judicial, CIA Nominations Highlight May Congressional Agenda
House and Senate committees working on appropriations and defense policy bills

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer will likely be right back to work debating how to process judicial nominations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Congress returns this week for a work period that stretches to Memorial Day, the legislative agenda on the floors faces long odds of enactment even as broader issues surrounding the president’s judicial and executive nominees, as well as the annual Pentagon policy bill, compete for attention. 

Senators arrive in Washington on Monday evening for a three-week run highlighted by yet another batch of federal appeals court nominations.

Trump More Like Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader, Liberal Polling Group Asks
Question included as part of larger health care poll

U.S. President Donald J. Trump delivers the State of the Union address. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

A liberal polling outlet celebrated Star Wars Day by asking if President Donald Trump is more like Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader.

Public Policy Polling, a liberal polling outlet based in North Carolina, conducted the surveys for the Health Care Voter coalition for a number of crucial races.

White House Calls Haspel Hearing Key to Her Confirmation as CIA Director
GOP Sens. Susan Collins and Rand Paul could prove particularly important

Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King came together in 2014 to announce their support for declassification of findings from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report.. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A pair of Republican senators could be critical to the confirmation of Gina Haspel as CIA director. 

White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short said he expected next week’s confirmation hearing for Haspel, currently the agency’s acting director, to be more crucial than such hearings have been for other high-level nominees.