State

Free Press Gets a Boost With Senate Resolution Declaring It Is Not the Enemy
Action comes on same day newspapers coordinate on free press message

Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii is leading a resolution to defend press freedoms. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate on Thursday went on record declaring “that the press is not the enemy of the people” — a rebuke to President Donald Trump, who declares the opposite on a regular basis. 

Senators adopted by unanimous consent a resolution from Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York to declare the Senate’s support for a free press and the First Amendment protections afforded to journalists.

Unions Line Up Behind Republican Fitzpatrick in Pennsylvania House Race
Incumbent’s labor support could make Democrats’ hope to flip his seat more difficult

Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, shown here at a 2017 town hall meeting in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, has the financial support of high-powered labor groups. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In a sign of trouble for Democrats’ hope to flip a Pennsylvania House seat, high-powered unions are pledging support for the Republican candidate in the moderate 1st District. 

Incumbent Rep. Brian Fitzpatrickhas raised more than $200,000 from labor groups, dwarfing the $3,000 collected by his Democratic opponent, multimillionaire philanthropist Scott Wallace, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, attributing the numbers to the website OpenSecrets.

NAFTA Talks Hit One-Year Mark as Trump Keeps Canada Hanging
Mexican officials are in D.C. this week amid push for bilateral agreement

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump pose for photos in 2017. A year into negotiations, the fate of NAFTA remains uncertain. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

Top U.S. and Mexican negotiators are meeting this week in the latest effort to finish a bilateral trade agreement amid unanswered questions about the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement on the first anniversary of the Trump administration’s launching of negotiations to revamp the 1994 trade pact.

Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal, secretary of the economy, made a late afternoon arrival at the office of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Wednesday. Guajardo is leading a Mexican delegation comprised of negotiators from the current administration and a transition team from the new administration that takes office in December.

Lawrence Takes Trump’s Choice of Words Personally
‘I always think he’s hit rock bottom,’ Michigan congresswoman says of president calling Omarosa a ‘dog’

Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich., said President Donald Trump’s attack on former aide Omarosa Manigault Newman was “insulting.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic Rep. Brenda Lawrence  joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers who have condemned President Donald Trump’s attack on his former aide Omarosa Manigault Newman. 

“And I can tell him, ‘Shame on you, the fact that you are comfortable, on a national platform, to address a woman in that way. Shame on you,’” Lawrence said Wednesday night on CNN’s “Erin Burnett Out Front.”

Meghan McCain Calls McSally’s Snub of Her Father ‘Disgraceful’
McSally, like Trump, omitted mention of John McCain in remarks about bill named in his honor

Megan McCain is seen with her father, Sen. John McCain, at the 100th Annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in 2014. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images file photo)

Meghan McCain, the daughter of Sen. John McCain, lambasted Rep. Martha McSally on Wednesday for joining in the president’s snub of her father.

Like President Donald Trump, McSally omitted mention of the elder McCain when she touted her support for  the National Defense Authorization Act, named in John McCain’s honor. 

Space Force Proposal Comes With Little Political Risk for Trump
It ‘will look like a quaint idea by 2020,’ one analyst says

Vice President Mike Pence announces the Trump administration’s plan to create a space force by 2020 during an Aug. 9 speech at the Pentagon. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Whether the Space Force becomes a reality or not, the Trump re-election campaign will likely face few consequences in 2020 for shooting for the stars.

Speaking at the Pentagon last week, Vice President Mike Pence laid out an ambitious agenda for standing up a new branch of the military by 2020. Establishing a new agency — much less a new military department to stand beside those of the Army, Navy and Air Force — is a complicated, time-consuming affair, filled with bureaucratic headaches.

Education Funding, Eaten Up by Pell Grants, Once Again on Menu
Senate hasn’t debated education appropriations for 11 years. Since then, a lot has changed

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos isn’t seeing eye to eye with Senate appropriators on education priorities. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While military and health care costs have received plenty of airtime in recent years, the federal education budget hasn’t gotten a thorough vetting on the Senate floor since 2007. That will change if the Senate takes up later this week a massive $856.9 billion spending bill for the departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and a smattering of smaller agencies.

In the 11-year stretch since the full Senate last debated education appropriations, the Great Recession came and went, exploding the number of students either finding themselves out of work or in need of retraining.

When Spike Lee’s Art Is More Real Than a White House Reality Show
It’s a contrast that will reverberate all the way to, let’s say, November

He should have seen it coming, Curtis writes. So why don’t the loyal aides still surrounding President Donald Trump seem to realize that Omarosa’s book is a perfect next episode in this reality show presidency? (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — It was deliberate and fitting that “BlacKkKlansman” opened a year after the deadly march of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia. It is not too much of a spoiler to say that director Spike Lee goes there in the telling of the improbable true story of an African-American police officer who, in the late 1970s, infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado.

The film brings the lessons of the not-so-tall tale up to the present, to this 2018 moment. That includes an appearance from a youthful David Duke, who still appears whenever and wherever racial hate rises up.

Espy Poll of Mississippi Senate Race Shows Path to Victory for Democrats
Espy finished ahead of both Republicans in separate special election matchups

Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith is running in a special election in November to fill out the remainder of former Sen. Thad Cochran’s term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Democratic poll of the Mississippi Senate special election shows former Rep. Mike Espy having a path to finishing first in a runoff this fall.

Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, who was appointed earlier this year to replace longtime GOP Sen. Thad Cochran, is running for the remainder of his term this November. Candidates from all parties will run together on the same ballot, and if no one receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the top-two finishers will advance to a late-November runoff.

Weekend Work for the Senate? The Bluff That Won’t Go Away
Upon Wednesday return, a quickly defused musing of weekend work

Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., seen here walking by a nonfunctioning elevator in the basement of the Capitol, and other senators returned from recess on Wednesday and were hit promptly with a threat of weekend work, which fizzled quickly. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senators returned to Washington on Wednesday and scarcely had time to head to lunch before their leaders unsheathed the threat of weekend work, an oldie but goodie bluff that was taken off the table before dinner time. 

Returning around noon from a two-week recess that was to stand in for the traditional month-long state work period, the chamber’s official order of business was considering the nominations of two judges to be on the 4th U.S. Circuit of Appeals: First A. Marvin Quattlebaum Jr., then  Julius Ness Richardson. The plan all along has been to confirm those two South Carolinians, then turn to a two bill appropriations package consisting of the Defense and Labor-HHS measures, at some point.