Illinois

Former DC Interns Share How They Got Their Feet in the Door
Meet four interns who entered the political world through programs

Vashti Hinton applied to 30 Hill offices before landing a full-time position working for Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Capitol Hill interns are often assumed to be college students with a natural political network. They’ve got an “in” in D.C. or they have — a word most people hate — “connections.”

But for the thousands of interns who flock to the Hill and Washington over the summer, who you know isn’t the only path to the nation’s capital. There are a number of programs that help them get a foot in the political door.

Pence Again Presses McCaskill on Coming Supreme Court Vote
Heckler interrupts VP in St. Louis over migrant family separation

Vice President Mike Pence enters the room earlier this month as Sen. James Inhofe, right, conducts a meeting after a Senate GOP policy luncheon in the Capitol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Vice President Mike Pence returned to Missouri Thursday to again campaign against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and raise money for her opponent, pressuring her to support President Donald Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee.

“If Claire won’t vote to confirm a judge like Brett Kavanaugh, you need to vote to give Missouri a senator who will,” Pence said in St. Louis of the solidly conservative D.C. Circuit appellate judge.

Bill Meant to Clear Public Access to Congressional Reports Running Out of Time
Measure would require online portal for congressionally mandated reports

Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., sponsored a bill to create a single online portal for reports federal agencies submit to Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A bill meant to clear the way for public access to reports submitted to Congress is in danger of hitting a roadblock, government transparency advocates warned Thursday. 

The bipartisan Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act was approved without objection by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Administration Committee in February and April, clearing the way for consideration on the House floor. 

Democrats Line Up on Floor to Call Attention to Election Security
Maneuver has been used before on other hot-button issues

Rep. Mike Quigley is among the House Democrats trying to restore election security funding to a key program. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats took turns Wednesday requesting a vote on an amendment to fund election systems protection, saying the money is needed to “prevent Russian interference” in future elections.

The procedural moves from Democrats come ahead of a vote on a Republican-led spending bill (HR 6147) that would zero out election security grants that help states to fortify their systems against hacking and cyber attacks. The Election Assistance Commission is funded at $380 million under the fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill enacted earlier this year. 

Roskam Tells Trump to Speak to Putin More Like Reagan Would
GOP congressman says Trump was ‘very defensive’ in conversation about Helsinki news conference

Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., said he confronted President Donald Trump about his news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Peter Roskam said President Donald Trump delivered a “very defensive” response on Tuesday when he confronted the president about siding with Russian President Vladimir Putin at their joint news conference in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Roskam was at the White House for a meeting with Trump in which the president walked back his comments from Monday that he saw “no reason why it would be Russia” that interfered in the 2016 election, affirmed that he trusted his intelligence community’s assessment that it was Russia, and then immediately sought to undercut that assessment by saying there “could be other people also — a lot of people out there.”

Democrats Keep Raking In the Cash After Costly Primaries
Challengers in key races have on average twice as much money in the bank

California Democrat Katie Porter reported a significant boost in her cash on hand since the pre-primary reporting period in her race against GOP Rep. Mimi Walters. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The surge in Democratic candidates running for the House raised a critical question at the start of the cycle: Would crowded and costly primaries weaken the eventual nominees by draining their campaign cash? So far the answer appears to be “no.”

On average, Democrats in competitive races who faced expensive primaries have more than doubled their cash on hand from shortly before their primary elections to the end of the most recent fundraising quarter, campaign finance reports show. 

IRS Ruling on Political Donation Reporting Sets Off Campaign Finance Fight
McConnell cheers, but Democrats blast decision, arguing it reduces transparency

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised the new IRS policy in a Tuesday morning speech. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Monday’s announcement by the Treasury Department that it will no longer collect information about donors to some political nonprofits was met with applause from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, perhaps the leading advocate for unrestricted campaign donations. At the same time, it ignited a campaign finance fight with the midterm elections less than four months away.

“It’s bad enough to wield government power to chill political speech and invite harassment of citizens — based on what an angry mob might assume their opinions are, based on their private financial records,” the Kentucky Republican said on the Senate floor Monday. “It’s even more egregious to pursue that nakedly political goal while calling it ‘good government.’ In this country, good government means protecting citizens’ First Amendment rights to participate in the competition of ideas — not trying to shut down that competition.”

Rules Readies Financial Services, Interior-Environment Bill
McHenry files only GOP leadership amendment

Chief Deputy Whip Patrick T. McHenry, R-N.C., removes his bow tie as he walks down the House steps after the final vote of the week on Thursday, March 22, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Rules Committee recommended a rule Monday that would allow 87 amendments to be heard when the House turns to floor debate of the combined fiscal 2019 Interior-Environment and Financial Services spending bill this week.

Among the amendments will be a Republican provision to bar the U.S. Postal Service from expanding its offering of banking services. But an amendment to provide $380 million in grant funding to states to beef up election security, pushed repeatedly by Democrats citing Russian meddling in the 2016 election, didn’t make the cut.

The House Democrats Considering Leadership Bids — So Far
Most are keeping their options open for now

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley, center, lost his primary last month, which opens up his leadership slot in the next Congress. Vice Chairwoman Linda T. Sánchez and DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján are current members of leadership who could seek to move up. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ahead of a potential wave election, few House Democrats have declared their interest in running for specific leadership positions. But more than a dozen are keeping their options open as the caucus members consider how much change they want to see in their top ranks next Congress.

The number of potential Democratic leadership contenders has ballooned since Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley lost his primary in New York’s 14th District late last month. His leadership position is the only one guaranteed to be open for the next Congress, but his loss has also raised questions about who can usher in the next generation of Democratic leaders

Blue Dog Democrats Vote With GOP More in 2018
Illinois Rep. Brad Schneider had biggest drop in party unity score

Illinois Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider saw his party unity score drop in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Blue Dog Democrats tend to move to the right in election years, which is understandable given that they typically represent swing districts.

And lately no district has swung more than Illinois’ 10th, in the affluent suburbs north of Chicago. Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider is currently serving his second, nonconsecutive term, having defeated Republican Robert J. Dold in 2016.