independents

Most 2020 Democratic candidates opposed spending bill
Booker, Harris, Gillibrand and Warren voted no, while Klobuchar voted yes

Gillibrand and her liberal colleagues in the Senate who are running for president opposed the spending bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats eyeing the White House split their vote Thursday on the compromise spending package that would avert another government shutdown, with nearly all the candidates who have already announced bids voting against it.

The Senate overwhelmingly adopted the conference report, 83-16, but five Democrats, including four presidential contenders — Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — joined 11 Republicans in voting ‘no.’

Asbestos removal set to begin in Russell, Dirksen buildings
Work will take place overnight and not during normal work hours

Asbestos removal set to begin in the Russell and Dirksen Senate office buildings. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Architect of the Capitol will begin removing materials containing asbestos from two Senate office buildings on Saturday, with some of the work expected to continue through April.

Workers on Saturday will be removing waterproofing that contains asbestos from the northwest terrace of the Russell Building at the corner of Delaware Avenue and C Street NE and floor tiles in the Dirksen Building, according to the Senate Superintendent’s office.

One year after Parkland, gun control advocates eye 2020
Advocates say midterm results proved gun control was a winning policy issue

Students rally on the West Front of the Capitol on March 14, 2018 as they participate in a national school walkout to call for action on preventing gun violence. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

One year after the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that galvanized young voters and jump-started a movement to combat gun violence, gun control advocates say there’s still more work to be done.

“We’re just gearing up,” said Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat and proponent of stricter gun laws. “There were a lot of candidates who got it in 2018. But there are more candidates that are going to learn the lesson from 2018.”

2020 Democratic contenders largely align on drug price bills
Candidates may strain to stand out on drugs in crowded primary field

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, left, introduced a three-bill drug pricing package last month. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker is one of its original co-sponsors. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bold stance on drug pricing will be a prerequisite for any candidate who wants to win the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, but one challenge will be differentiating the contenders from each other.

The main distinction among candidates could be between those pushing bipartisan policies and those promoting more liberal ideas that currently stand little chance of enactment. But in most cases, the bills have a list of co-sponsors that could resemble a future primary debate stage.

GOP Rep. Walter Jones dies at 76
North Carolina Republican congressman’s change of heart against the Iraq War put him at odds with his party

Republican Rep. Walter B. Jones initially voted for, and then opposed, the 2003 Iraq war. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr., an independent Republican resolute in his commitments to ending U.S. wars and diminishing the role of government, died Sunday, He was 76. 

Jones died in Greenville, N.C., according to a statement from his office. He had been absent from the Capitol with an undisclosed illness since September. He moved into hospice on Jan. 26 after suffering a broken hip.

Congress has had it up to here with agencies not taking its spending advice
Departments have not implemented proposals that could save $87 billion, and now they will have to explain why

Aerial view of the Pentagon building photographed Sept. 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress is increasingly trying to force federal departments, especially the Pentagon, to quit disregarding audit recommendations on how to get more bang for billions of dollars in taxpayer bucks.

Starting next year, in fact, federal agencies will have to explain to Congress why they are letting thousands of good ideas gather dust.

Democrats kick off push for Medicare drug price negotiations
The measure includes tactics to urge drugmakers to reach an agreement with Medicare on a price

Reps. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, left, and Peter Welch, D-Vt., attend a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center with House and Senate Democrats on a report which they say shows prescription drug prices have risen under President Trump on May 10, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The leader of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee on Thursday offered a proposal to require the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate prices for drugs covered by the Medicare prescription drug benefit.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, is set to formally introduce the bill later Thursday with more than 100 House co-sponsors. A companion bill was introduced in the Senate backed by Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.

House Democrats months away from demanding Trump tax returns
‘No wiggle room’ to deny request for Trump’s tax returns, expert says

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., walks up the House steps for a vote in the Capitol on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee said it would be months before they definitively try to obtain President Donald Trump’s tax returns, after a lengthy hearing Thursday to hear from tax and constitutional law experts.

“This is not the end. This is just the beginning,” Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman John Lewis of Georgia said, making it clear there would be more hearings and examination of the sensitive matter.

Democrats are right to be wary of Howard Schultz
Coffee mogul’s independent run could complicate Electoral College math

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is considering running for president as an independent.(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS — The frenzy over businessman Howard Schultz’s announcement that he is considering an independent run for president is understandable.

Democrats think President Donald Trump is headed for defeat in a one-on-one general election contest, and anything that changes that trajectory improves his re-election prospects.

Whitaker hearing is first big test of Trump’s ‘executive privilege’ strategy
Acting attorney general will be first White House official to be questioned by new Congress

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is expected to get a number of questions from the House Judiciary Committee about any conversations he had with White House officials, including the president, about his role overseeing the special counsel investigation. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker’s testimony at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Friday will offer a first glimpse into how the Trump administration plans to comply with — or stall — House Democrats’ oversight inquiries.

The hearing, slated for 9:30 a.m., will put to the test the White House counsel’s strategy for invoking executive privilege on certain conversations between the president and his close advisers.