Missouri

You’d Think Samuel Beckett Was In Charge of Our Health Care
Finding a path forward for the Affordable Care Act has been like waiting for Godot

Estragon and Vladimir — above as portrayed in a 1978 French production of Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” — were stuck in limbo. After waiting on Congress to act on health care, we all know how they feel, Hoagland writes. (Fernand Michaud/Gallica Digital Library)

OPINION — Finding bipartisan agreement in Congress on a path forward for the Affordable Care Act has been like waiting for Godot. Polls tracking Americans’ views have consistently shown an evenly divided public. No single public policy issue captures the country’s polarization better than the debate that has surrounded this law.

That doesn’t mean we have to settle for “nothing to be done.” Improving health insurance markets is a goal worth pursuing, and Republicans and Democrats at the state level are already showing us the way.

Two Elections: Democrats’ Chance of Taking the Senate Fading, House Likely to Flip
Senate results in midterms crucial for GOP and Democratic prospects in 2020

The North Dakota Senate race looks all but over for Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, Rothenberg writes.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — The Democrats’ chances of netting at least two Senate seats always seemed like a long shot. But a month ago, the stars looked to be aligning for them. Today, those stars tell a different story.

With the Republican challenger, Rep. Kevin Cramer, opening up a clear lead over Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp, the North Dakota Senate race looks all but over now, according to multiple insiders. That means Democrats will need to swipe at least three GOP seats to take back the Senate — an outcome that currently appears somewhere between unlikely and impossible.

Words and Deeds Can Come Back to Haunt Incumbents in Tight Races
Yoder, McCaskill and others face attacks on past votes, policy positions

Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., now finds himself in a “Tilts Democratic” race in Kansas’ 3rd District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Incumbency comes with benefits, but in a throw-the-bums-out kind of year, it also offers sitting lawmakers one potential major disadvantage on the campaign trail: a voting record on Capitol Hill.

Political opponents can, and do, weaponize one vote, one position on a hot-button policy such as health care, tax or immigration. They might target a pattern of partisanship or, more importantly this year, support for an unpopular president.

Thin Line for DC’s Newest Museum
Congress’ former cops will wait till after the midterms to visit National Law Enforcement Museum

Rep. Steve Knight, R-Calif., left, at his police academy graduation on Sept. 10, 1990, with his father, Pete Knight. (Courtesy Steve Knight)

When D.C.’s newest museum opens this weekend, former cops in Congress will be watching.

The “joys and pains of the thin blue line” will be on display at the National Law Enforcement Museum, said Rep. Val B. Demings. And that can only help “the relationship between law enforcement and the community.”

Trump Largely Focuses on Own Re-Election at Iowa Rally for GOP Incumbents
President wants to find out if Elizabeth Warren really ‘has Indian blood’

President Donald Trump, here in July, was in Iowa on Tuesday night for a campaign rally for two vulnerable House Republicans. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)

Very much in re-election mode even before next month’s midterms, President Donald Trump took jabs at potential Democratic candidates at an Iowa rally Tuesday night, calling their party “an angry mob.”

“You don’t hand matches to an arsonists. And you don’t hand power to an angry mob,” he told rallygoers in Council Bluffs, Iowa. “If you want to defeat the swamp, you’ll have to elect Republicans.”

Mitch McConnell Sees Electoral Gains From Fight Over Brett Kavanaugh
Interview with Roll Call came ahead of confirmation vote

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell makes his way through the Capitol for a TV interview before the vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Saturday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As Brett Kavanaugh was on the verge of confirmation Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was sounding sure the Supreme Court battle will prove a benefit to Senate Republicans at the polls in November.

In an interview with Roll Call a month ahead of Election Day, the Kentucky Republican said the debate was really driving up base enthusiasm for the 2018 mid-terms.

There’s Life Beyond the Hill but When Do You Explore It?
Former staffers share why they left

John Jones of Nareit just left his post as a House chief of staff for the private sector. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

John Jones was working on Iran sanctions legislation five years ago, when his boss, New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer, turned to Arizona Sen. John McCain and said, “Look, I’m for it, but you have to convince Jones.”

The exchange left Jones “stunned,” he recalled, but also empowered, as the weight of his responsibilities as Schumer’s national security director dawned on him.

The 10 Most Vulnerable Senators: Cruz, Menendez Make the List
One month before Election Day, Casey and Brown drop off

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has been added to the list of vulnerable senators. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For the first time this cycle, the senators on the list of most vulnerable incumbents have changed.

Operatives in both parties agree Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania are favored to win re-election even though they are running in states that backed President Donald Trump in 2016. Texas Republican Ted Cruz and New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez replace them on the list.

It’s Baaaccck! Health Care Law Again Front and Center in Midterms
As voters worry about health care, Dems flip the pre-existing script

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., speaks at a July 19 press conference in the Capitol on pre-existing conditions. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Missouri Democratic senator Claire McCaskill is taking an approach in her fight for re-election that would have been unthinkable in her race six years ago — she’s defending the health care law.

The two-term, red-state senator has attacked her opponent, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, for joining a suit brought by conservative state officials seeking to overturn the law and has rebuked the Trump administration for undercutting its protections.

Lindsey Graham Has a Fallback Plan if Kavanaugh Goes Down
GOP senator challenges vulnerable Senate Democrats in states that Trump won on their vote on nominee

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina  points at Democrats as he defends Judge Brett Kavanaugh during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing looking into allegations of sexual abuse. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/POOL)

Sen. Lindsey Graham has a Plan B if the Senate fails to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh: Let’s run this back and take it to voters in the midterms.

In an interview with Fox News Monday night, the South Carolina Republican all but dared his red-state Democratic colleagues to vote against Kavanaugh, who he called a “good man” who “should not be destroyed.”