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What’s a Senate Blue Slip and Why Is It Losing Power?
 Roll Call Decoder with David Hawkings, wonky explainers from a Capitol Hill expert

It’s a literal blue slip of paper that for decades meant a senator could block a president’s nominee to a federal judgeship in their home state. These days, however, the Senate’s blue slip might be becoming defunct. Senior editor David Hawkings explains.

Below is a transcript of the video:

Senate Energy-Water Bill Advanced Amid Nuclear Weapons Debate
Concerns raised about funding low-yield nuclear weapon

Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was the lone vote opposing a $43.8 billion draft Energy-Water fiscal 2019 spending measure that the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced Thursday.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Appropriations Committee advanced 30-1 Thursday a $43.8 billion draft Energy-Water fiscal 2019 spending measure before entering into a lengthy consideration of how to dispose of 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium and the development of new low-yield nuclear weapons.

The bill would boost spending for the Energy Department, Army Corps of Engineers and related programs by $566 million compared to fiscal 2018 enacted appropriations and is $7.2 billion more than the Trump administration requested. The House version would fund the same agencies at $44.7 billion.

Could Negative Campaigning in California Primaries Dampen Democratic Energy?
Hard feelings hit crowded Golden State contests two weeks out from the primary

Dave Min and Katie Porter, both Democrats running for California’s 45th District, participate in the DEMOC PAC’s candidate forum in Irvine on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

IRVINE, Calif. — When some volunteers and organizers arrived Tuesday night at the University Synagogue, they found some orange and red pieces of paper on the chairs in the auditorium.

“NEGATIVE CAMPAIGN ALERT” read the paper in bold black letters. “The Dave Min campaign is running attack ads against multiple other Democrats! IS THIS WHAT ORANGE COUNTY WANTS?”

Moulton Adds 3 More Veterans to Leadership PAC’s Endorsement List
Massachusetts congressman riding high after notching win in key Kentucky race

Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., has endorsed 19 veterans who are running for Congress for the first time in 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Seth Moulton is apparently riding high after a candidate he endorsed in a key Kentucky race won her Democratic primary Tuesday.

The Massachusetts Democrat added three more military veteran candidates to his Serve America leadership PAC endorsement list on Wednesday: a former Obama administration official in New Hampshire, a state senator in Nevada, and a retired Navy commander who was one of the first women in the Navy’s nuclear program.

‘That Danger Is Real’ — Democrats’ Final Push to Avoid Shutout in Key California Races
Democrats are especially concerned about being locked out in three key races

Democrat Harley Rouda, who’s running in the 48th District, speaks with supporters during his campaign rally in Laguna Beach, California, on Sunday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. — As supporters for Democrat Harley Rouda chanted while cars drove by on the South Coast Highway on Sunday, Carol Nohra Crane could be heard sharing a concern with her friend: that two Republicans would advance past the June 5 primary in the 48th District.

“I think it’s all about getting the vote out, because there is a valid concern because it is a Republican district, typically,” said Crane, 54, a friend of Rouda’s who’s volunteering with the campaign. “So we just have to get out of the top two.”

Opinion: A Not Entirely Unexpected Campaign Roadblock for Women of Color
Will suburban white women embrace them?

Stacey Abrams takes the stage in Atlanta on Tuesday to declare victory in the Georgia Democratic gubernatorial primary. If elected, she would become the first African-American female governor in the country. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

The women of color who are still standing in an electoral slog that ends in November know their road to continued success will be hard. This is the United States, and the fact that they are still pioneers for getting this far in 2018 is not just news-making but also a little depressing.

It is also true that they can’t always count on the support of some of the same feminists they may have joined — in marches, #MeToo protests and the ballot box.

New York Visit Drops Trump Into Contested GOP Primary
Long Island event provides president with chance to talk MS-13 again

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents serve an employment audit notice at a 7-Eleven convenience store Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Flanked by a trio of Republican congressmen, President Donald Trump ventured to his native New York on Wednesday to accuse Democrats of coddling violent gangs and being soft on immigration and provided one of the members with a photo-op as he fends off a tough primary foe. 

One week after a White House event led to an extensive back and forth of the president's use of the term “animals” to describe, depending on whom was interpreting, MS-13 gang members or undocumented immigrants writ large, the trio of New York House Republicans — Peter T. King, Dan Donovan, and Lee Zeldin — showed no reluctance to being seen with Trump as they participated in the Bethpage, N.Y., roundtable.

Memorial Day Means a Gas Price Event at Congressional Exxon
Schumer-led effort calls on Trump to push OPEC, oil executives to slash prices

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and Sen. Maria Cantwell were among the Democrats at an Exxon station at Massachusetts Avenue and Second Street Northeast on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

With Memorial Day weekend and summer driving season approaching, it was time once again for lawmakers to descend on a familiar Capitol Hill landmark.

This time, it was Senate Democrats making the pilgrimage to the Exxon station at the corner of Second Street and Massachusetts Avenue Northeast to decry policies behind rising gas prices.

Poll: Hunter Maintains Wide Lead Despite Federal Investigation
Next closest challenger, Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, more than 30 points behind

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., still leads in a poll despite being under federal investigation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Despite facing a federal investigation into questionable campaign spending, a new poll shows Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter holds a significant lead ahead of California’s 50th District June 5 primary.

The San Diego Union-Tribune and 10News poll showed 43 percent of respondents support Hunter. The closest competitor, former Obama administration staffer Ammar Campa-Najjar, had the support of 10 percent.

The Blue Dogs Are Barking Again
Moderate Democrats, nearly wiped out in 2010, have hopes for a comeback this year

Current Blue Dog Democrats include, from left, Reps. Daniel Lipinski, D-Ill., Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, Mike Thompson, D-Calif., Jim Costa, D-Calif., Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., and  Brad Schneider, D-Ill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Brendan Kelly is running in a district in southern Illinois that went for Donald Trump by nearly 15 points in 2016, so his message shouldn’t come as a surprise.

“We see a system that is rigged for a powerful few,” he said in a voice full of gravel. He rails against “elites on the coasts” and understands why many are “frustrated” and “angry” over low-paying jobs and high health care costs.