The Faces Behind the Bipartisan Fight Against Heroin


An NBA player who whose heart stopped for 30 seconds during an overdose, a daughter who discovered her father dead, a sister whose brother overdosed before she even knew he was taking drugs and a father whose son died after years in and out of rehab — these are the faces that lawmakers see as they work for passage of what could be this year's most bipartisan legislative push.  

Funding Cancer Moonshot 'Could Be a Problem'

Biden is heading up Obama's anti-cancer campaign. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his aides are leading the White House push to cure cancer, but it's officials in federal agencies who will dole out research dollars.  

In the just over a month since President Barack Obama announced the cancer “moonshot” effort during his final State of the Union address, Biden has been its public face. In the research committee, it's widely believed that his involvement — and that of his successor — do give the program a shot at achieving what previous tries at a government-led quest to cure cancer did not.  

As Biden Mulls Next Move, Fighting Cancer Looms Large

Biden participates in a discussion at George Washington University on Oct. 20. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is pledging to remain engaged in his “moonshot” effort to cure cancer after he leaves office -- but insiders say it’s too early to say whether he will focus exclusively on the disease.  

Biden took his high-profile initiative on the road last week, telling an audience of oncologists, public health officials, nurses and patient groups at Duke University that fighting cancer will be a “major component of what I do for the rest of my life.”  

On Unemployment Rate, Obama Spikes the Football

In this photo made using a teleconverter in-between two crop factors, President Barack Obama addresses a crowd of around 15,000 during a state arrival ceremony for Pope Francis on Sept. 23, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama on Friday took credit for the latest jobs report, saying the 4.9 percent rate shows his stewardship has made the U.S. economy the “strongest and most durable" in the world.  

The Labor Department on Friday released data that was a mixed bag for both American workers and the Obama administration. The numbers showed the lowest unemployment rate in eight years and rising wages; they also concluded that 151,000 new jobs were created in January, down from three consecutive months during which nearly 300,000 jobs were created per month.  

On Cancer 'Moonshot,' Time is Ticking for Biden

Biden is driving Obama's campaign to cure cancer. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Vice President Joseph R. Biden is widely seen as the engine behind the Obama administration’s “moonshot” anti-cancer push, raising questions about its fate once he leaves office next year.  

The White House on Thursday took the first tangible steps in its fight against cancer, formally establishing a task force first mentioned in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. Biden, who will lead the task force, sounded at times bold and cautious.  

In Detroit, Parallels With Obama's Broader Economy

Obama points to his Shinola watch, which he already owned, after visiting a Shinola store in Detroit. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama jetted Wednesday to an American city whose economic revival mirrors both the U.S. economic comeback under his watch and the often negative perception of it.  

Like the ongoing recovery in Detroit and across Michigan, the U.S. economy’s comeback often has been called sluggish and uneven. And like the revival of the Motor City and surrounding areas, economic recovery and healing in the nation has been called too slow. Speaking Wednesday at the annual auto show in Detroit, Obama declared the American auto industry “all the way back.” He hailed the automobiles that U.S. companies are producing, and said the sector’s comeback has slashed the area’s unemployment rate.  

Was There Ever an Obama-Ryan Honeymoon?

Ryan greets Obama as he arrives to deliver his final State of the Union address while Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. looks on. It was one of Ryan's few smiles of the evening. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama repeatedly had to raise his voice to be heard over cheering Democratic lawmakers during his State of the Union address on Jan. 12. But Speaker Paul D. Ryan sat motionless, his face frozen in a polite — but unimpressed — expression.  

Obama used part of his likely final address to a joint session of Congress to extol policy whims long pushed by Democrats like pre-kindergarten “for all” children and a government-led effort to “to make college affordable for every American.” He also called it a “basic fact” that the U.S. “has the strongest, most durable economy in the world,” saying the country is “in the middle of the longest streak of private-sector job creation in history.”  

Biden, McDonough Defend Obama's Last SOTU

Obama speaks during his final State of the Union to a joint session of Congress in the House Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday. Behind him, Biden and Ryan listen. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

President Obama deployed two of his closest advisers to defend his final State of the Union address, and they championed his shots at Donald Trump and calls for economic adjustments.  

During his likely final address to a joint session of Congress, Obama landed some not-so-subtle jabs on Trump’s chin. White House aides said the speech was not crafted as a political document meant to influence the presidential election cycle, but the president clearly wanted voters to hear an anti-Trump message from perhaps the most powerful bully pulpit in American politics.  

Obama Urges 'Better Politics' to Tackle Challenges

"Democracy does require basic bonds of trust between its citizens,” Obama told Congress and a nationwide audience. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama used his last State of the Union address to prod both Congress and the American people, saying America’s political system needs an overhaul if the country is to successfully tackle a list of “challenges.”  

In an unique address to a joint session of Congress, Obama laid out a mostly optimistic vision for a United States, one he said should be followed long after he leaves office to provide “prosperity and security for generations to come.”  

In Statuary Hall, Snapchats and Notorious RBG

Biden left, and McConnell lead the Senate procession to the House floor for Obama's State of the Union address. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

"I just did Snapchat," Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., exclaimed to Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. The two were walking through the gauntlet of press in Statuary Hall to the House chamber for President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address on Tuesday night. "Ten seconds! Ten seconds," he said, recounting the allotted time the app allows.  

Washington's "it" media events are few and far between. If the Inauguration is politics' World Cup, hyped for consumption but once every four years, then the State of the Union is Capitol Hill's Super Bowl, one of the few annual affairs that merits live network broadcasting and prods members of Congress to experiment with unfamiliar social media. Earlier in the day, Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Steve Daines, R-Mont., shared a bipartisan Snapchat moment , and hours later, Daines was still at it, Snapchatting in the breezeway between Statuary Hall and the Rotunda, shortly before senators started their trek from the Senate floor to the House for the speech.