Alaska

You Don’t Know Them, But You May Know Their Voices
Political voiceover actors are on call right up to Election Day

Kathryn Klvana has recorded voiceovers for Democratic independent expenditure ads in Virginia's 10th District, similar to the one above against GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Even in the final days of the campaign, Sheldon Smith is a busy man.

A phone call to his cell on Wednesday first went to voicemail. The recording left no mistaking it was the right number; it was the voice of a someone who talks for a living. 

Grassroots Have Grown Deeper Since Trump. Now Comes the Hard Part
It hasn’t been all roses, sunshine and lollipops

Protesters descend on Washington on Jan. 20, 2018, as they arrive for the Women's March one year after the inauguration of President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

First there was the shock of Donald Trump’s election. Then came the marches and protests. Next came the outraged phone calls to Congress.

Now comes the hard part: Getting people elected.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Keeps Even Partisan Split
Senate may consider nominee to fill out roster amid leadership shuffle

The Senate may consider President Donald Trump's nominee to fill out the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission even as the agency deals with a leadership shuffle. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Kevin McIntyre, who stepped down this week as chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, will remain a member and preserve the panel’s 2-2 partisan split while the Senate considers President Donald Trump’s nominee to fill the vacant fifth seat.

Trump designated Neil Chatterjee to return to the role of chairman after McIntyre asked to be relieved due to health concerns.

Mounting Urgency, Bills Drive Environmental Lobbying Surge
Nature Conservancy: ‘Our science shows that we have a limited time to make big changes’

Sen. Lisa Murkowski supports a public lands package before the end of the year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Environmental groups that focus on land conservation ramped up spending in 2018 to back major public land bills that moved out of committee in October and September.

The increases show heightened bipartisan attention on two public lands initiatives pending on the House and Senate floors, including bills to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund program, and to use fees for mining and drilling for energy resources on federal lands to attack the Interior Department’s $12 billion deferred maintenance backlog at the nation’s national parks.

You’d Think Samuel Beckett Was In Charge of Our Health Care
Finding a path forward for the Affordable Care Act has been like waiting for Godot

Estragon and Vladimir — above as portrayed in a 1978 French production of Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” — were stuck in limbo. After waiting on Congress to act on health care, we all know how they feel, Hoagland writes. (Fernand Michaud/Gallica Digital Library)

OPINION — Finding bipartisan agreement in Congress on a path forward for the Affordable Care Act has been like waiting for Godot. Polls tracking Americans’ views have consistently shown an evenly divided public. No single public policy issue captures the country’s polarization better than the debate that has surrounded this law.

That doesn’t mean we have to settle for “nothing to be done.” Improving health insurance markets is a goal worth pursuing, and Republicans and Democrats at the state level are already showing us the way.

Senate Dems Want Republicans to Take a Position on ‘Junk’
Baldwin hopes to force a vote to overturn Trump administration rule on short-term health care plans

Sen. Tammy Baldwin is leading the charge to reverse the Trump administration’s rule on short-term health insurance plans — or at least to get Republicans on the record. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Democrats are planning to force a vote this week on a resolution that would overturn the Trump administration’s expansion of short-term health insurance plans.

Critics call them “junk” plans, since they’re not required to comply with all the regulations of the 2010 health care law.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski Could Face Reprisal from Alaska GOP
Alaska Republican was only member of her party to vote against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, talks with the media in the Capitol after voting “no” on a cloture vote that advanced the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to a final vote on October 5, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Lisa Murkowski could face severe consequences from her state party for her decision to reject new associate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh at his confirmation vote over the weekend.

The Alaska Republican was the only GOP senator to oppose Kavanaugh’s confirmation, which passed 50-48 mostly along party lines. (Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., voted with Republicans.)

Photos of the Week: Kavanaugh Protests and Tension on High as Senators Cast Historic Vote
The week of Oct. 1 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Ben Bergquam, left, who supports Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, argues on Thursday with protesters opposed to the nomination. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

All eyes were on the Senate last week. Results of the FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations made against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh were considered late Wednesday and Thursday by senators. And by Friday, a majority of them were ready to vote

Protests against the nominee erupted across the Capitol throughout the week as activists made their opinions known, both for and against.

Ditch Columbus Day? Some Places Already Have
Sen. Mike Rounds’ state celebrates indigenous people instead, and has since 1990

The statue of Christopher Columbus is framed by wreaths left over from the Columbus Day celebration in front of Union Station in Washington in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s still a federal holiday. But more and more places are moving to replace Columbus Day.

South Dakota did it first, in the 1990s. “It’s about reconciliation. It’s about trying to bring people from different cultures, different backgrounds, different races together,” said Republican Sen. Mike Rounds.

Final Kavanaugh Vote Comes With a Whimper, Not a Bang
Somber mood pervades Senate as Supreme Court nominee is confirmed

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., holds a press conference in the Capitol after the vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the end, for as long, drawn out and acrid as the fight over Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination was, the actual confirmation vote itself was brief, to the point and relatively somber.

Senators, seated to take their votes in the chamber during the rare Saturday session, rose at the calls of their names, saying “yes” and “no.” When Vice President Mike Pence announced the 50-48 vote and that Kavanaugh had been confirmed, he did so flatly, with none of the flourish or emotion that usually comes with such hard-fought victories.