Missouri

Democrats target state elections with focus on election security
Supporting secretaries of state offices in Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi in effort to expand voting rights

Democrats are supporting secretaries of state offices across the country to try to win a majority of those offices nationwide. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats on Thursday launched a campaign to win secretaries of state races in Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi this November by pointing to their focus on boosting election security and expanding voting rights, compared with Republican officials.

“The office of the secretary of State is more important than ever,” Alex Padilla, the secretary of state for California and president of the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State, told CQ Roll Call. “Every election cycle is an opportunity to elect Democratic secretaries of State, but also to ensure security and accessibility” for voters.

Criminal justice reform had a bipartisan minute. Then 2020 reared its head
Republicans are falling in line and reverting to their ‘law and order’ past

In a recent speech, Attorney General William Barr took a partisan blowtorch to the legitimacy of duly elected prosecutors, Curtis writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — That didn’t last long.

For a while, it looked as though the distance between the parties had narrowed on the issue of criminal justice reform. Bipartisan cooperation passed the First Step Act, a small step indeed toward remedying America’s mass incarceration crisis that disproportionately, in a historically skewed system, burdens minorities and the poor in everything from arrests to sentencing. Increasingly, though, the rhetoric resembles a partisan return to form.

Planned Parenthood exits Title X program over gag rule
It left the program over a new rule prohibiting clinics receiving Title X funds from discussing abortions with patients

The exterior of a Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services Center is seen on May 31, 2019, in St Louis, Missouri. The nation’s largest provider of reproductive health services will exit the federal family planning program over the Trump administration’s “domestic gag rule.” (Michael Thomas/Getty Images)

The nation’s largest provider of reproductive health services, including abortions, will exit the federal family planning program over the Trump administration’s “domestic gag rule,” which prohibits clinics receiving Title X funds from discussing abortions with patients.

Alexis McGill Johnson, Planned Parenthood Federation of America acting president and CEO, told reporters Monday that its clinics receiving Title X grants would begin submitting notices of withdrawal. The Department of Health and Human Services is requiring clinics to submit compliance plans by the end of the day.

Merdon out at AOC, Thomas Carroll named new acting architect
Search continues for permanent Architect of the Capitol

Acting Architect of the Capitol Christine Merdon resigned, and Thomas J. Carroll has been named to lead the agency. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Christine Merdon is out as acting Architect of the Capitol, and Thomas J. Carroll has been named to lead the agency on an acting basis as the search for a permanent AOC continues.

In an internal notice to AOC employees, Merdon said she had accepted a job outside of the agency.

Roy Blunt pitches Negro League coin idea
Congress has authorized more than 150 commemorative coins since 1892. Will this be the next?

Sen. Roy Blunt pushed for a new commemorative coin as he visited the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in his home state of Missouri this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Roy Blunt wants a commemorative coin to honor Negro League Baseball when it celebrates its 100 year anniversary in 2020.

The Missouri Republican talked about his coin push during a tour of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, this week.

GOP will need more than promoting their preferred opponent to affect Democratic primaries
Republicans appear to be taking a page from Democrat Claire McCaskill’s winning 2012 Senate campaign

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill ran ads during her 2012 reelection campaign that called Republican Todd Akin’s stances too conservative. But the spots were designed to help him win the GOP nomination because she considered him a weaker challenger. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Democratic state senator bragged this week about drawing the attention of national Republicans in the competitive race for U.S. Senate in North Carolina. But Erica Smith shouldn’t wear the attacks as a badge of honor. And if Republicans really want to make an impact, they’re going to have to spend a lot more money.

“The @NRSC has purchased a billboard attacking me in Raleigh — calling me ‘too liberal,’” Smith tweeted Monday, referring to the National Republican Senatorial Committee effort. “I am the only candidate that they are spending money against — it shows you who @ThomTillis is worried about. Can’t attack @CalforNC bc no one knows what he stands for.”

Gun research funding push faces challenge in Senate even after shootings
House-passed bill would be first time in decades Congress allocated funding specifically for gun violence research

Sen. Roy Blunt, chairman of the subcommittee that oversees health research funding, signaled he wouldn't support new funds for research on gun violence. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats in Congress are amplifying their calls to fund more research on gun violence after the recent mass shootings in Ohio and Texas, but Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Chairman Roy Blunt suggested Thursday he wouldn’t support new funding in that area.

The dispute over $50 million for gun violence prevention research could pose an additional challenge in the effort to avoid a government shutdown this fall.

Scalia, skilled at upending rules, may soon write them at Labor
Trump’s Labor secretary choice, Eugene Scalia, built his reputation by upending regulations on behalf of business

Eugene Scalia, left, pictured with then-Sen. Christopher S. Bond, R-Mo., at his 2001 confirmation hearing to be solicitor of the Labor Department, has a record of defeating labor regulations in court. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

With three major regulations on the launching pad at the Labor Department, the Trump administration may have found the man with the right stuff to issue air-tight rules that can withstand legal challenges.

The president’s new choice for Labor secretary, Eugene Scalia, built a reputation as a skilled litigator by upending regulations on behalf of the business community, from worker injury cases under 1990 disabilities legislation to an Obama-era rule requiring financial advisers to put clients’ interests first.

Grassroots groups prepare for a post-Roe v. Wade America
January D.C. conference will train abortion opponents on policies and activism strategies

Anti-abortion groups are looking at training advocates on policies and activism strategies under the assumption that the Supreme Court will eventually expand states’ authority over abortion. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Advocates, state lawmakers and legal organizations are setting up the infrastructure to prepare for potential changes to the landmark 1973 abortion rights case Roe v. Wade.

Four major conservative advocacy groups will host an event next January that will train abortion opponents on policies and activism strategies to implement under the assumption that the Supreme Court eventually may change its precedent and expand states’ authority over abortion.

McConnell bristles at ‘hyperventilating hacks’ criticizing his blocking of election security legislation
Senate majority leader calls critiques ‘modern-day McCarthyism’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., fought back Monday against criticism of his handling of election security legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did something Monday he rarely does — he got riled up and responded directly to criticism as he defended his decision to block election security bills last week that Democrats attempted to bring to the floor by unanimous consent.

He took particular aim at a recent Washington Post opinion item by Dana Milbank titled “Mitch McConnell is a Russian asset,” calling it a “smear.”