Maine

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.

House Appropriators Back Indefinite Detention of Migrant Kids
DeLauro: ‘It creates a false choice: Either we take the kids away or we jail everyone together’

Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, joined all the Appropriation Committee’s Republicans in backing language overturning the Flores agreement in a Wednesday markup. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant families at the southern border dominated the first few hours of Wednesday’s House Appropriations Committee markup of a spending bill for the Labor, Education and Health and Human Services departments.

As of midafternoon, committee members had gotten through only eight of up to 50 expected amendments to the fiscal 2019 $177.1 billion spending measure.

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.

Abortion Not Focus of Trump’s SCOTUS Search, Key Adviser Says
Leo breaks with McConnell, says all four finalists would be confirmed by Senate

Pro-life protesters outside of the U.S. Supreme Court in March 2016. A key adviser to President Donald Trump says that abortion rights have not been the focus of interviews with Supreme Court candidates. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Abortion rights have not been the focus of interviews with Supreme Court candidates or internal White House debates about whom to nominate, says a key adviser to President Donald Trump who claims each of the four finalists would be confirmed by the Senate.

On the latter point, Leonard Leo, an executive with the conservative Federalist Society who is advising Trump on his second high court pick, broke with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The Kentucky Republican reportedly told Trump and White House counsel Donald McGahn last week that Judges Thomas Hardiman and Raymond Kethledge could be confirmed more easily than Judges Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

Outside Groups Ready for Supreme Court Fight
Organizations from both sides are already rallying supporters, hitting the airwaves

Liberal groups, worried about the future of federal abortion rights, have already begun piling on the pressure on Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, left, and Susan Collins of Maine.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The outside advertising deluge began well before President Donald Trump formally named his choice to replace retiring Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

With federal abortion rights potentially in the balance, television viewers in Alaska and Maine were already seeing commercials from the liberal group Demand Justice featuring a March 30, 2016, exchange between candidate Trump and MSNBC host Chris Matthews at an event in Wisconsin.

Collins Says It’s Fair to Ask Supreme Court Nominees About Roe v. Wade Precedent
Their personal views on abortion won’t be part of her decision, Maine Republican says

Sen. Susan Collins is facing pressure back home in Maine over the upcoming Supreme Court debate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Susan Collins said Wednesday it would be entirely within bounds to ask President Donald Trump’s upcoming Supreme Court nominee whether the landmark Roe v. Wade decision on abortion is “settled law.”

“Absolutely,” Collins said during an interview with News Center Maine. “And I’m glad you asked that question because it’s been a lot of misunderstanding.”

Funding for National Parks Gaining Momentum
GOP Senators with competing bills reach a compromise

Parts of a bill from Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, was included in a compromise bill that would fund national park maintenance. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican senators with competing bills to tackle the National Park Service’s $12 billion deferred maintenance backlog, which has been identified as a top priority for the Trump administration, reached a compromise Friday on a single measure.

The bill from Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., takes pieces from each of the senators’ previous bills to create a new trust fund to pay for national park improvements with revenue from energy production on federal lands.

High Court Shift May Make Abortion Illegal In Some States, Trump Says
POTUS: Matter could be decided on state-by-state basis ‘at some point’

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters last month outside the White House. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump suggested his coming Supreme Court pick could trigger decisions that would make abortion illegal in some states, and said Republicans want to pass more tax cuts aimed at the middle class just weeks before voters will decide which party controls the House and Senate.

As an increasing number of congressional Democrats, including some expected 2020 presidential candidates, call for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to be abolished or substantially overhauled, Trump made clear he intends to make that a major midterm campaign issue.

Trump Talks Supreme Court Picks With Democrats Who Voted for Neil Gorsuch
Donnelly, Heitkamp and Manchin among White House invitees Thursday evening

Sens. Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Donnelly, seen here at a Senate Banking meeting last year, were among the attendees at a Thursday White House meeting in which the upcoming Supreme Court vacancy was discussed. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Wednesday night, President Donald Trump was visiting North Dakota, attacking its junior senator, Democrat Heidi Heitkamp, in the most recent of his campaign-style rallies ahead of the midterms.

“Heidi will vote ‘no’ on any pick we make,” the president said of Heitkamp’s vote on the next Supreme Court nominee to replace the retiring Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.