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Three States Get Ready to Vote on Abortion
Oregon, Alabama and West Virginia have measures on the ballot

Students protest abortion outside the Supreme Court in June. When voters in three states go to the polls this November, they’ll see abortion initiatives on the ballot. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Oregon, Alabama and West Virginia voters will face separate ballot initiatives next month aimed at restricting abortion access in those states.

These initiatives fit into a larger fight over abortion that continues to heat up. Anti-abortion advocates hope that changes at the state level can be used as test cases and later implemented more broadly, while abortion rights advocates hope to defeat them. A particularly contentious ballot initiative can be used as a messaging move to drive voters to the polls in tight elections such as this fall’s West Virginia Senate race.

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.

Tax Break for Electric Vehicles in the Crosshairs
Barrasso: ‘Wealthiest Americans’ benefit at the expense of taxpayers

Tesla vehicles stand outside of a Brooklyn showroom and service center in August. Legislation unveiled Tuesday would end a tax incentive for electric vehicles. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images file photo)

The chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unveiled legislation Tuesday to end the $7,500 tax incentive for electric vehicles.

The yet-unnumbered bill comes as a United Nations report on climate change, released over the weekend, outlined dire consequences for the planet in the absence of global action to drastically reduce carbon output over the next decade.

Trump Keeps Rosenstein Despite Reported Recording, Removal Talk
‘I have a very good relationship’ with deputy AG, president says

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein leaves the Capitol on May 19, 2017. He is still in his job despite reported remarks about secretly recording President Trump with the goal of removing him from office. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rod Rosenstein, despite reports he discussed secretly taping President Donald Trump with the goal or removing him from office, is still the deputy attorney general after the two men spoke aboard Air Force One.

The senior Justice Department official joined Trump on the executive jet on the way to Orlando, where the president is addressing law enforcement officials. White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told reporters traveling with Trump that the duo talked for 30 minutes during the flight to Florida.

House Democrats, Republicans Unite Behind Opioids Bill
Bipartisan measure now heads to the Senate

Oxycodone pain pills prescribed for a patient with chronic pain lie on display in Norwich, Conn. (John Moore/Getty Images)

The House passed consensus legislation, 393-8, on Friday intended to help combat the opioid crisis. The legislative compromise was finalized earlier this week, and now heads to the Senate for a final vote.

The two chambers came to an agreement on Tuesday, but made additional changes to the bill after the Congressional Budget Office initially estimated that the bill would increase the deficit by $44 million over the next 10 years.

House Democratic Women Join Kavanaugh Protest at Senate Offices
Members went to shore up Senate colleagues on day of panel confirmation vote

Members of the House of Representatives, who oppose the nomination of the Supreme Court associate justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh, wait to enter the Senate Judiciary Committee vote in Dirksen Senate Office Building on his nomination on September 28, 2018. From left are, Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore., Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich., and Julia Brownley, D-Calif. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democratic women marched over to the other side of the Capitol on Friday to join their Senate colleagues in registering their opposition to the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.

As Democratic senators left the Judiciary Committee hearing room in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, their House colleagues assembled in a show of support. 

Two Tree Words Stump Congressmen
Alexandra Petri of The Washington Post wins bee with ‘gallica’

Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., was the last politician standing at the National Press Club Spelling Bee. Trees were his downfall. (Alex Gangitano/ CQ Roll Call)

Not everyone in Congress was glued to cable news on Thursday night. Some were spelling.

“Do we have team names? We thought we could be ‘The Representatives,’ and they could be ‘The Enemies of the People,’” said Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, one of four lawmakers to compete in the the National Press Club Spelling Bee. The annual event pits politicians against members of the media.

House Democrats Briefly Consider Upping Speakership Vote Threshold, Drop Proposal for Now
Idea expected to be raised again in the caucus after Nov. 6

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., faces potential backlash from her caucus should her party win back the House in November. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats on Wednesday briefly discussed a proposal to require their candidate for speaker — in case they win the chamber in November — to secure 218 votes in the caucus vote instead of a simple majority. The proposal was dropped, for now.

A shift from a simple majority to a 218-vote threshold would align the caucus rules with House rules that require a speaker to be elected by a majority of the full House.

Road Ahead: McConnell and Kavanaugh Set the Tone for the Week
Funding, authorization deadlines must work around Supreme Court chaos

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., exits the senators-only elevator as he arrives in the Capitol on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The dissonance in Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s speech opening the Senate floor Monday set the tone for the week on Capitol Hill.

On the one hand, Republicans and Democrats will be at each other’s throats over how they’re handling the growing number of sexual assault allegations directed at Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. On the other hand, they need to reach out for each other’s hands to ensure they get deals to fund the government past the end of the Sept. 30 fiscal year and meet other important deadlines. 

Russians Targeting Senate, Staff Personal Emails, Sen. Ron Wyden Warns
And the Senate sergeant-at-arms can do nothing to stop the cyber attacks — for now

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., told colleagues that Russian hackers have been targeting senators’ and aides’ personal accounts and devices. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Ron Wyden implored his colleagues to enact legislation that would allow the Senate sergeant-at-arms to provide cyber protections to senators and staffers for their personal devices and accounts.

The Oregon Democrat warned Senate leaders that the state-backed Russian group responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee before the 2016 election, “Fancy Bear,” has also tried infiltrating the personal communications networks of senators and their staffers, including Wyden’s own aides.