Carlos Curbelo

New Pennsylvania Map, New Pennsylvania House Ratings
Six races shift in Democrats’ direction, two in GOP’s favor

Under the new lines, Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick’s district shifted from one carried narrowly by President Donald Trump to one carried narrowly by Hillary Clinton. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If you’ve been wondering what political handicapping is like in a redistricting cycle — or it’s been long enough for you to forget — the Pennsylvania Supreme Court offered a good reminder.

With newly drawn districts, misplaced incumbents and new district numbers, confusion is inevitable. But the bottom line for Pennsylvania is that Democrats had a half-dozen takeover opportunities with the old map and they have a half-dozen takeover opportunities with the new map, although they have a distinctly better chance at gaining those seats.

Curbelo Builds Relationships Over Boquerones and Basketball
Miami congressman uses experience refereeing high school basketball for perspective

Florida Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo says some Cuban restaurants back home in Miami are places that politicians campaigning there make a pilgrimage to. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

When Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo is in Washington, he tends to frequent the Spanish restaurant Joselito and says he has brought many Republican members with him.

“I’ve been here with Bill Shuster, Rodney Davis, David Joyce. I Saw Jared Polis here one night, who is a good friend,” Curbelo said during dinner with Roll Call at the restaurant.

The Best Little Midterm in Texas

Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, center and Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, right, provide two of the more interesting political stories as Texas voters head to the polls this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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Texas is as Texas does: A giant place with outsize political actors: Lyndon Baines Johnson, Sam Rayburn, Tom DeLay, George W. Bush. And now a new generation is duking it out in the Lone Star State, with implications for the congressional majorities.  

No Shortage of Agenda Items for GOP Retreat
Funding, immigration and 2018 among items to discuss

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and his Republican colleagues will have plenty to discuss at this year’s retreat in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House and Senate Republicans head to West Virginia on Wednesday for the annual GOP retreat, leaving Washington even as high-profile negotiations on immigration and government funding remain unresolved.

While those topics are expected to come up during the gathering at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, they could take a back seat to other agenda items such as infrastructure, defense and workforce development.

Spending, Immigration Talks Entangled
Ahead of Jan. 19 deadline, little progress has been made on either

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer confer after the Senate policy lunches in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Despite Republican leaders’ best efforts to decouple spending and immigration negotiations, the two issues have become intertwined. And with five legislative days before the Jan. 19 government funding deadline, little progress has been made.

Lawmakers have acknowledged that a fourth stopgap spending measure is needed to keep the government open while broader talks about fiscal 2018 spending and a legislative replacement for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, continue. House Republicans will huddle Thursday morning to discuss both issues.

DCCC Announces Second Round of ‘Red to Blue’ Candidates
With seven additions, Red to Blue program includes 18 challengers so far

Army veteran Max Rose, who’s running in New York’s 11th District, has been named by the DCCC to its Red to Blue list. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is naming seven more candidates to its Red to Blue program, which highlights Democratic recruits who have met certain campaign goals.

The list of challengers, obtained first by Roll Call, brings the total number of Red to Blue candidates to 18. The DCCC is rolling out additions to its list more frequently and in more targeted batches than in previous cycles. The committee released its first round of picks in November.

Protected Immigration Status for Salvadorans to End in 2019
Democrats blast DHS decision amid DACA, border wall dispute

Immigration rights supporters demonstrate on the Capitol steps on Dec. 6. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Department of Homeland Security announced Monday that it will terminate a form of protected immigration status for about 262,500 Salvadorans living in the United States next year, and urged Congress to come up with a legislative fix during an 18-month delay.

The decision to end what’s known as Temporary Protected Status for El Salvador comes after DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen determined “the original conditions caused by the 2001 earthquakes no longer exist.”

Why Pups Push Partisanship Aside on the Hill
‘These little animals here, they don’t care about political parties’

Riggins from Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo’s office attended the holiday party dressed as an elf. (Screenshot from Roll Call's Facebook Live)

It seems like Sen. Thom Tillis started a trend.

Office dogs have always been part of the culture on Capitol Hill, but the North Carolina Republican raised the bar when he hosted a Halloween party for dogs.

Opinion: Why a DACA Fix Next Year Would Come Too Late
It takes months for the government to ramp up a new program

Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo, right, here with Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton, broke with his party this fall when he announced he wouldn’t support any bill funding the government beyond Dec. 31 until the DACA issue is resolved. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As Congress speeds toward its year-end pileup of “must pass” legislation, a legislative fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, remains in the balance. President Donald Trump insists it should not be tied to the annual appropriations scramble. But many Democrats — and a few Republicans — are calling for the issue to be addressed this year, with some threatening to withhold their votes to fund the government if legislation for so-called Dreamers is not attached.

Beyond the political posturing and jockeying for leverage, there is a pragmatic reason why any fix, if that is what both parties really want, should happen this year: it takes months for the government to ramp up a new program.

A Gun Rights Vote Only the GOP Base Can Appreciate
Expansion of concealed carry permission will die in the Senate, but the NRA really wanted the vote

Majority Whip John Cornyn has some doubts that he can get a bill passed that would improve background checks for gun purchasers but doesn’t make it easier for gun owners to carry concealed weapons across state lines. A House bill passed Wednesday would do both. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

One government shutdown may be narrowly averted, but another looms right around the corner. The stain of sexual misconduct at the Capitol continues to spread, and an alleged child predator is days away from possibly joining the Senate. Middle East destabilization seems assured as Congress gets its wish to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Public support dwindles daily for a loophole-encrusted, deficit-busting tax package that would be the year’s biggest legislative achievement. The push for presidential impeachment has gone far enough to necessitate procedural pushback in the House.

A week such as this one — already chockablock with headlines touching the Hill — seemed to the Republicans who run the place like an ideal time for making a bold hiding-in-plain-sight move.