Illinois

Republicans Push Back Against States Seen as Too Pro-Regulation
GOP favors independence by state governments unless they don’t like a state’s decision

Chairman John Barrasso of Wyoming and ranking Democrat Tom Carper of Delaware talk before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hears from acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in August. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler appeared before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in early August, the energy and environment community was watching.

It was Wheeler’s first appearance since his predecessor, Scott Pruitt, resigned after months of ethical, spending and personnel scandals. Washington was eager to see how Wheeler would right the agency.

Amid Reports of Rosenstein Firing, Democrats Want Vote to Protect Mueller
One Democrat suggest Judiciary hearing on Trump obstructing justice, GOP member wants Rosenstein to testify

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein arrives in the Capitol for a meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers on the Russia investigation in May 24. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As news broke Monday morning that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was resigning or expecting to be fired, Democrats were quick to call for congressional action to protect the special counsel investigation that Rosenstein has managed. 

“With Rosenstein’s departure there is one less barrier protecting the Mueller investigation from President [Donald] Trump’s interference,” Florida Rep. Val Demings said in a statement. “Congress must take immediate steps to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law — which protects all of us — by shielding the Mueller investigation against President Trump’s obstruction."

House Members Plan Election Hacking Demonstration
Katko and Quigley have legislation to create a federally backed hacking competition

The House will host a voting system hacking demonstration next week.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two House members are planning to host a demonstration of a voting system hacking next week.

Republican Rep. John Katko of New York and Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois are leading the event on Wednesday, Sept. 26, which will feature the director of the University of Michigan’s Center for Computer Security and Society, J. Alex Halderman.

Democratic Women in Congress Launch Campaign to Recruit More Female Candidates
Elect Democratic Women would raise money for pro-choice women in potential swing districts

Lois Frankel, D-Fla, center, shown here with, from left, Reps. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich., Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., Jackie Speier, D-Calif., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.,  will chair a new organization geared toward recruiting pro-choice Democratic women to run for office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A group of female Democratic lawmakers launched an effort Thursday to recruit pro-choice women to run for office, a campaign they tied to efforts to peg 2018 as the second “Year of the Woman.”

Elect Democratic Women will be chaired by Florida Democratic Rep. Lois Frankel and raise money for female candidates within the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committees “Red to Blue” program, which seeks to identify and funnel support to candidates with a strong shot of unseating Republican incumbents.

Lawmakers Unhappy With Pompeo’s Lowered Cap on Refugees
New cap of 30,000 is a historic low

Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Bob Menendez called the Trump administration’s decision to lower the annual refugee cap “truly repugnant.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers of both parties are criticizing the Trump administration’s decision to lower the annual refugee cap to 30,000 people for fiscal 2019 — a sharp decrease from the 45,000 cap set for fiscal 2018, and also a historic low.

“At a time when we should be defending our values and ideals as Americans and working to alleviate the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, it is truly repugnant to see the Trump administration double down on its efforts to reject our foundational values and humanitarian duty of providing those escaping persecution the opportunity to seek protection and safe haven,” Sen. Robert Menendez, the ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement Monday.

Candidates Get Candid About Their Cancer Diagnoses in TV Ads
Democrats open up about personal medical struggles to talk about health care

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill is just the latest candidate to talk about her own cancer diagnosis in a campaign ad this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill got personal in a recent ad, talking about something that she’s never addressed in a political spot before: cancer — specifically, her own diagnosis.

“Two years ago, I beat breast cancer,” the two-term Democrat says to camera. “Like thousands of other women in Missouri, I don’t talk about it much.”

Republicans Face Critical Moment With Kavanaugh
Allegation against Supreme Court nominee heaps cultural importance on what senators do

Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh meets with Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a member of the Judiciary Committee, in July. Graham said on Sunday that he is willing to hear Kavanaugh’s accuser, but said that should happen “immediately.” (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS: President Donald Trump’s pick for a pivotal spot on the Supreme Court already put the Senate at the confluence of the nation’s contentious political and legal movements.  But a woman’s allegation of sexual assault by Brett Kavanaugh  — dating back decades to when he was a teenager — heaps cultural importance as well on what senators do at this moment.

Senators, particularly Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Republicans who have relentlessly insisted on a confirmation vote this month, now have to decide what to do amid a “Me Too” movement that has exposed how these types of allegations have been hidden, mishandled or simply ignored by powerful men in the past. 

Chuck Schumer Navigates the Resistance
The Senate’s Democratic leader wants to get along with everyone. Now he finds himself between Scylla and Charybdis

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Charles Schumer waves an American flag after unveiling the Democrats’ ‘Better Deal for Our Democracy’ platform in May. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Back when he was policy director for Sen. Charles E. Schumer, Jim Kessler had a conversation with his boss about working with a high-profile Republican. This is how it went, according to Kessler.

Schumer: I can call Newt, he likes me.

Manafort Memos Reveal Influence Campaign
Former Trump campaign manager to cooperate with Mueller investigation

President Donald Trump’s ex-campaign chief Paul Manafort. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

In 2012, Paul Manafort thought he had done what he needed to defeat a Senate resolution to condemn the prosecution of Ukraine’s former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and call for her release.

But the international political operator couldn’t outmaneuver veteran lawmaker Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., according to a document filed by federal prosecutors Friday in a criminal indictment of Manafort.

Floor Charts for the Floor Show — September So Far
Our favorite garish visual aids from a month of congressional floor-watching

(Courtesy of @FloorCharts, screenshot of C-SPAN)

When it’s all Kavanaugh, all the time, watching the House and Senate floors can be a thankless task. But the floor charts make it all worthwhile and a lot of them over the last month have been about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Lawmakers like these oversized and sometimes garish visual aids because they help them get their point across. The Twitter handle @FloorCharts posts some of the daily highlights, and Roll Call now provides a monthly roundup of the best of the best.