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Yarmuth says effort to unseat McConnell could be national marquee battle next year
Kentucky Democrat says challengers face long odds against Senate GOP leader, however

Retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath is one of Rep. John Yarmuth’s top picks to challenge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell next year. (Jason Davis/Getty Images file photo)

Kentucky Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth said Friday his two top picks to challenge Mitch McConnell in 2020 are Amy McGrath, a retired Marine fighter pilot whose unsuccessful House race last year caught national attention, and sports radio talk show host Matt Jones.

Yarmuth admitted, however, that either candidate would face long odds in the Bluegrass State.

Maloney has sharp Father’s Day message for gay adoption critics
The New York Democrat is raising two daughters with his husband

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney takes a selfie with his daughters Daley, right, and Essie in New York in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sean Patrick Maloney doesn’t have any elaborate plans for Father’s Day.

“I’m gonna sit my butt in a lawn chair and hang out with my kids, something I don’t do very often,” he says. “Playing catch with my daughter, who’s a softball player, or going for a swim.”

Homeland, Judiciary Democrat asks Pelosi to form election security task force
Rep. Lou Correa cites Mueller's findings as a need for a group to help head off future attacks

Rep. Lou Correa, D-Calif., is asking Speaker Nancy Pelosi to form a select committee that would examine election security proposals. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Lou Correa is asking Speaker Nancy Pelosi to form a task force to examine proposals for combating foreign influence and ensuring U.S. electoral systems are secure, according to a letter obtained by CQ Roll Call.

The House Homeland Security and Judiciary Committee member wrote to his fellow California Democrat citing Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s findings that foreign actors compromised U.S. election security as reason such a group is needed.

Texas Democrat Henry Cuellar gets primary challenger
Immigration lawyer Jessica Cisneros interned for Cuellar in 2014

Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, one of the more conservative Democrats of Congress, is getting a primary challenge from the left. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Texas Rep. Henry Cueller, one of the more conservative Democrats in Congress, is getting a primary challenger who has support from the progressive group that backed New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her bid for office.

Immigration and human rights lawyer Jessica Cisneros, 26, who was an intern for Cuellar five years ago, announced her primary campaign Thursday to unseat the eight-term incumbent in Texas’ 28th District that stretches along the southern border with Mexico and reaches north into San Antonio.

Democrats spar with State official over arms sales maneuver

Rep. David Cicilline accused a senior State Department official of gas-lighting Congress in his assertions about why the administration needed to subvert Congress on arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A senior State Department official on Wednesday appeared to blame Democrats for the administration’s decision last month to declare a state of emergency over Iran to avoid congressional review of billions of dollars of weapon sales to Arab Gulf states.

R. Clarke Cooper, assistant secretary of State for political-military affairs, attributed the emergency order to holds placed in spring 2018 by Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Robert Menendez on $2 billion in proposed precision-guided missile sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Menendez, D-N.J., placed the holds in response to the many civilian casualties in the Yemen civil war, in which the two Gulf nations are fighting against Iranian-backed Houthi insurgents.

Fresno city officials keep Ocasio-Cortez baseball video controversy alive
Minor league baseball team showed video on Memorial Day equating New York Democrat to Fidel Castro, Kim Jong-Un

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., through no fault of her own, has been mired in a controversy in Fresno, California, surrounding a video played by a minor league baseball team comparing her to Fidel Castro and Kim Jong Un. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The controversy involving a video that a California minor league baseball team played at its Memorial Day game equating Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with despots Fidel Castro and Kim Jong Un just won’t fade, through no fault of the congresswoman.

Fresno City Councilmember Garry Bredefeld denounced two of his Democratic colleagues for spending taxpayer money on a trip to Washington, D.C., where they apologized to Ocasio-Cortez for the incident.

‘Cadillac tax’ repeal could get floor action, thanks to Pelosi’s new rule
The tax is aimed at high-cost health care plans

Speaker Nancy Pelosi ushered in a new way to bring bills to the floor. Now members of her party want to use it to repeal the so-called “Cadillac Tax.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Moderate Democrats in the House won a major victory last year when incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi supported a new rule that can force her to bring to the floor bills with at least 290 co-sponsors.

Ironically, one of the first to benefit from the process could be a bill to repeal a feature of the 2010 health care law. The provision imposed a tax on high-cost health care plans in order to pay for the law’s new spending. Health care economists supported the tax as a way of suppressing rising health costs, but labor unions — which often negotiate generous insurance benefits for their members — don’t like it.

Getting rid of an agency isn’t easy
‘I would keep OPM,’ says Trump’s original pick

Virginia’s Mark Warner, left, and Tim Kaine are among the Democratic senators who worry that the president’s push to reorganize OPM could politicize the civil service. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump’s plan to shutter the White House Office of Personnel Management has stirred opposition from employee unions and Democrats in Congress. It is also opposed by the first person Trump nominated to run the agency, George Nesterczuk.

Trump chose Nesterczuk in May 2017 to lead OPM, which oversees government pay, benefits and performance management, but Nesterczuk later withdrew under stiff opposition from the employee unions.

Rep. King’s ‘Diamond and Silk Act’ gets ripped by conservative pundits
Iowa Republican’s bill aimed at helping veterans, homeless was product of conversation with conservative YouTube personalities

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, will introduce the “Diamond and Silk Act” this week. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Conservative media pundits panned Rep. Steve King’s new bill aimed at providing aid and resources to veterans and homeless people as a politically motivated ploy that unnecessarily involves the controversial conservative YouTube personalities known as “Diamond and Silk.”

“I understand the need for cheap shots in politics. But really, at the expense of the homeless and veterans?” Washington Examiner opinion columnist Becket Adams wrote in an article Monday titled, “Rep. Steve King makes a mockery of homelessness, veterans issues.”

Prayers up for Big Papi
Lawmakers issue well wishes to former Red Sox slugger David Ortiz after shooting

David Ortiz makes a surprise appearance at Fenway Park in October. New England lawmakers sent messages of support after Ortiz was shot this weekend. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images file photo)

Lawmakers all across Red Sox Nation are chiming in with their well wishes for retired slugger David “Big Papi” Ortiz, who is recovering from a gunshot wound suffered in his native Dominican Republic.

Everyone from Boston’s Ayanna Pressley to Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island is offering praise and hopes of a speedy recovery for the ailing Red Sox legend. Even former president Barack Obama shared a photo of Ortiz’s White House visit to celebrate the team’s 2013 World Series victory.