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All-day protest draws attention to opioid crisis, 'Medicare for All'
Liberal group makes rounds in lawmaker offices with personal stories

A demonstrator is arrested after protesting outside a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Wednesday, September 11, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

On an early morning in May, Freddie Henderson III’s heart stopped from a fentanyl overdose, a story his sister Jasmine shared Wednesday in the office of Republican Sen. Rob Portman, as part of a larger push by progressive activists to pressure lawmakers into supporting "Medicare for All" legislation and signing onto a separate measure that would inject $100 billion of federal funding to fight the opioid epidemic.

“My brother is now a statistic,” Henderson said. “And even though I do this work for a living, I couldn't save him. And that’s why I’m here.”

Trump orders end to flavored e-cigarette sales amid vaping-linked illnesses
Flavored e-cigarette makers will need to apply to the FDA for sales authorization

President Donald Trump speaks on the South Lawn of the White House in July. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration on Wednesday said it planned to halt the sales of flavored e-cigarettes amid a national outbreak of lung illnesses that may be linked to vaping devices.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the Food and Drug Administration will issue a new policy within several weeks that will require all flavored e-cigarettes to come off the market.

Democrats question lack of flu vaccines, quarantine procedures for migrant children
Senators, led by Elizabeth Warren, also ask about medical screenings

Senate Democrats want to know more about the decision to not give flu vaccines to migrant children in U.S. custody. (Jinitzail Hernández/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group of 13 members of the Senate Democratic caucus, led by Massachusetts' Elizabeth Warren, are expressing new concerns about a decision not to provide seasonal flu vaccines to migrants in U.S. detention.

“This dangerous decision not to administer vaccinations for a disease that has already proven fatal to migrant children in CBP’s custody is immoral and irresponsible, placing entire communities at risk of the flu and its associated complications,” the senators wrote to acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan and Health and Human Services Secretary Alexander Azar.

Illinois Republican John Shimkus not running for reelection in 2020
12-term lawmaker leaves behind a safe Republican seat

Illinois Rep. John Shimkus is the ninth Republican to announce plans to retire so far this cycle. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Rep. John Shimkus will not run for a 13th term in his southeastern Illinois district, vacating what will likely remain a safe Republican seat in 2020.

Shimkus announced his decision Friday afternoon, saying he wanted to make his plans known as candidates begin to circulate petitions for office next week. 

Democrats question Trump’s motives as Hurricane Dorian targets Florida
President’s decision to cancel Poland trip caught some aides off guard as polls turn bleak

President Donald Trump waves as he walks off Marine One at the White House on Friday. Trump said he canceled the trip to Poland so he could monitor Hurricane Dorian, but some Democrats see political motives. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump contends he canceled a diplomatic trip to Poland so he could monitor Hurricane Dorian as it churns toward Florida, but Democrats see political motives for the storm tracker in chief. And Trump started Friday clearly focused on other matters.

He claimed he was staying stateside “to ensure that all resources of the federal government are focused on the arriving storm,” and White House aides were eager to cast the president as laser-focused on the hurricane — even though his decision, yet again, caught some off guard.

Trump wants to reprogram DHS money for ICE detention operations
This is the fourth consecutive fiscal year in which DHS has diverted money for immigrant enforcement

A United States Custom and Border Protection in the Rio Grande Valley Sector of the U.S.-Mexico border. President Donald Trump wants to divert over $200 million from the Department of Homeland Security to pay for items that include more ICE detention beds and hearing locations for migrants told to remain in Mexico. (Jinitzail Hernández/CQ Roll Call)

Former Sen. Al Franken giving speech in Oregon in latest move to revamp public image
Minnesota Democrat has said he regrets resigning in 2018 following sexual misconduct allegations

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., is hosting a speaking event in Portland, Oregon, in October. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Sen. Al Franken is hosting a speaking event in Portland, Oregon, in October where he will share stories of his time in the Senate and as a cast member of  “Saturday Night Live.”

The former Democratic-Farmer-Labor senator from Minnesota has undertaken a series of moves in recent months to reenter the public eye, including launching a podcast and corresponding YouTube channel, creating a website with a collection of his writings and thoughts on the political landscape and now hosting paid speaking events.

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.

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.

Ugly Gerry wants you to know the ‘ugly’ truth about gerrymandering
Two guys in Chicago are drawing their weapons in D.C. politics

Gerrymandering activists gather on the steps of the Supreme Court as the court prepares to hear the Benisek v. Lamone case on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ben Doessel is “not a huge picture guy,” he told me when I asked if he had any photos with his creative partner — and the other guy behind Ugly Gerry — James Lee.

But pictures of oddly-shaped congressional districts? He has twenty-six of those.