Texas

Key GOP Negotiators Doubt Immigration Deal Materializes This Week

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a key negotiator on immigration talks, doubts there will be some sort of deal this week, despite Democrats' saying they won't support a funding bill if it does not contain immigration provisions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A key Senate negotiator and White House official on Tuesday expressed little hope for an immigration deal this week but nonetheless predicted that Congress can avoid a government shutdown.

“I think we’re optimistic that we’ll get a deal. I think this week would be fairly Herculean,” White House legislative affairs director Marc Short told reporters Tuesday after a meeting with staff of the No. 2 congressional leaders.

GOP Leaders Under the Gun to Avert Partial Shutdown
As hope for DACA deal shrivels, Republicans stare down Friday deadline

The fate of the DACA program is one of many issues affecting the shutdown talks. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 6:05 p.m. | Congress began the week with growing uncertainty about the effort to pass another temporary spending bill, even as the prospect of a partial government shutdown loomed.

No budget talks were held over the long weekend after the breakdown in negotiations last week, people familiar with them said. Talks had stalled over the fate of roughly 690,000 “Dreamers” — young adults brought to the United States illegally as children who are currently shielded from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

Illinois House Primaries Will Be Early Testing Ground for Democrats
Democrats have several pickup opportunities, but they need viable candidates first

Democrats are confident they’ll have a general election nominee who can take on Illinois GOP Rep. Peter Roskam. The primary is on March 20. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With early voting starting in less than a month, Illinois will be a testing ground for Democrats’ ability to nominate general election candidates they think can win out of crowded primaries. 

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is targeting four Republican-held districts, but the committee is not explicitly picking favorites in all those primaries. 

Why Democrats Don’t Want to Talk About Legalizing Marijuana
Still stinging from being called soft on drugs a generation ago

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., is one of a few Democrats in the Senate who vocally support legalizing marijuana. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the Trump administration begins to crack down on states that legalized marijuana, advocates for legalization hope Democrats will take their side.

But many Democrats are still squeamish about fully embracing the drug. 

Texas Redistricting Case Heads to Supreme Court
Lower court ruling found vote dilution and racial gerrymandering

Shirley Connuck of Falls Church, Virginia, right, holds up a sign representing a district in Texas as protesters demonstrate outside the Supreme Court on Oct. 3, 2017, as the court was hearing a case on partisan gerrymandering. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether Texas must redraw its congressional maps because of gerrymanders, in a case that could have major implications for this year’s elections in the Lone Star State.

The justices announced Friday they will review an August ruling from a panel of three federal judges that the current map needs to be changed because it has intentional vote dilution in the 27th District and racial gerrymandering in the 35th District. Those districts are currently held by Republican Blake Farenthold and Democrat Lloyd Doggett, respectively.

Arizona Senate Primary Battle Officially Kicks Off
Martha McSally joins Joe Arpaio and Kelli Ward in likely drawn-out primary

Rep. Martha McSally kicked off her bid for the open Arizona Senate seat on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Arizona Senate primary officially kicked off Friday, and it’s going to be a battle — with war planes and all. 

Republican Rep. Martha McSally launched her Senate run at the Tucson Jet Center on Friday morning and will travel to other areas of the state later in the day. She donned a blue flight suit to fly in a World War II-era AT-6 trainer to Phoenix, and then to Prescott. McSally, of course, is piloting the plane herself. 

Spending, Immigration Talks Entangled
Ahead of Jan. 19 deadline, little progress has been made on either

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer confer after the Senate policy lunches in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Despite Republican leaders’ best efforts to decouple spending and immigration negotiations, the two issues have become intertwined. And with five legislative days before the Jan. 19 government funding deadline, little progress has been made.

Lawmakers have acknowledged that a fourth stopgap spending measure is needed to keep the government open while broader talks about fiscal 2018 spending and a legislative replacement for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, continue. House Republicans will huddle Thursday morning to discuss both issues.

Opinion: The Women Who Could Take Back the House for Democrats
Trump presidency a catalyst for action

Pediatrician Mai Khanh Tran is vying to replace Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., who is not seeking re-election. (Courtesy Dr. Tran for Congress)

In a typical election cycle, EMILY’S List hears from 900 or so women who are interested in running for political office. As of this week, less than a year after President Donald Trump took office, more than 25,000 women have reached out to the group, whose goal is to help elect pro-choice Democratic women to office.

That unprecedented number tracks with what I’ve seen covering special elections for the House and Senate in 2017. Particularly in Alabama and Georgia, I kept seeing female voters showing up in huge numbers to work for Democratic candidates, even when the women themselves weren’t Democrats, or had never been particularly political at all.

U.S. Needs More ‘Idiot Control,’ Not Gun Control, Kennedy Says
Louisiana senator pans bipartisan bill to strengthen background check system

Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy could be the lone opponent to a bill aimed at strengthening enforcement of national background check system policies. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. John Kennedy on Tuesday took a stand against bureaucratic incompetence in the name of the Second Amendment.

“I don’t think we need more gun control; I think we need more idiot control,” the Louisiana Republican told NOLA.com, blasting a new bipartisan gun control bill that appears to be aimed at preventing more of those so-called idiots from purchasing firearms.

Sherrod Brown, Black Lawmakers Back Voters in Ohio Purge Case
Democrats argue Buckeye State is disenfranchising legitimate voters

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, enlisted McDonald’s in his voter registration efforts when he was Ohio’s secretary of state. He is arguing that the high court should reject the state’s efforts to purge voters from the registration rolls. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court hears oral arguments Wednesday about Ohio’s effort to remove voters from its registration rolls, and some members of Congress have told the justices that the Buckeye State’s process violates federal laws meant to protect voters.

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus filed separate briefs in the case siding with groups that challenged Ohio’s law. The state’s “supplemental process” uses a list of people who haven’t voted in recent elections to trigger steps that could remove them from the voter rolls.