Joe Manchin III

Two protests in Hart end in Valentine’s Day arrests

Demonstrations for gun control and against a West Virginia factory project resulted in 19 arrests Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Passion was in the air in the Hart Senate Office building on Valentine’s Day. Demonstrations for gun control and against a West Virginia factory project  resulted in 19 arrests Thursday.

A group called Gays Against Guns staged a demonstration in the Hart Atrium in the afternoon. They chanted “Guns are breaking America’s heart,” and “Stronger background checks now” as they lay on the floor enveloped in a massive swath of shiny red fabric.

Some GOP lawmakers are thawing on climate change
‘There are some things I’m willing to look at,’ said House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows

“There are some things I’m willing to look at,” Freedom Caucus Chairman Meadows said of climate solutions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congressional Republicans seem to be thawing on climate.

Rep. Mark Meadows, the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus who has denied the science behind climate change, told reporters Wednesday he was open to confront the peril of the warming planet.

Democrats ‘went low’ on Twitter leading up to 2018
An analysis of tweets from candidates running for Senate leading up to Election Day

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., arrives for the confirmation hearing for Neomi Rao, nominee to be U.S. circuit judge for the District of Columbia Circuit, in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Feb. 5. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS — Voters in 2016 repeatedly heard Democrats cry out against negative Republican rhetoric, especially from the party’s presidential nominee Donald Trump.

“When they go low … ?” came the call at rally podiums. “We go high!” constituents would shout.

The memorable and awkward moments of the State of the Union
Trump was a polarizing figure before the address and remains so after it

Lawmakers applaud in the House chamber Tuesday night during President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

I did something dangerous Tuesday night. I watched the State of the Union and the Democratic response on my own, without Twitter as a crutch. I even watched the C-SPAN feed on my phone in order to avoid commentary from the networks and cable channels.

My goal was to avoid groupthink and try to formulate some coherent thoughts and analyses without being persuaded by my friends in the media. Here’s what stuck out to me.

Democrats were ripe for division. Then the shutdown came along
All Trump did was unify progressives and moderate Dems

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that this photo “looks like a Spice Girls album cover, but for reopening the government.” From left, Reps. Jahana Hayes, Ocasio-Cortez, Lauren Underwood  and Katie Hill are seen after delivering a letter to the Russell Building office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Jan. 16. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — By shutting down the government, Donald Trump unintentionally gave Democrats the biggest gift possible: Unity.

It could doom his presidency. Stunningly, it is a repeat of the exact mistake he made by choosing Obamacare repeal as his first legislative fight.

Coal industry fought black lung tax as disease rates rose
Coal companies and industry groups lobbied against extending a tax program that provides a lifeline for sufferers and their families

An overview of a coal prep plant outside the city of Welch in rural West Virginia on May 19, 2017, in Welch, West Virginia. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

While cases of black lung disease among miners were on the rise last year, coal companies and industry groups lobbied lawmakers against extending a tax program that provides a lifeline for sufferers and their families.

Mandatory disclosures show the coal lobby spent some of its influence money on discussions with lawmakers regarding the Black Lung Excise Tax and the trust fund that helps pay for the health and living benefits of sick coal workers whose employers have gone bankrupt, and their beneficiaries.

Trump’s plan to fund wall and reopen government blocked in Senate
The plan did not receive the 60 votes needed to pass the plan

The U.S. Capitol building as seen on Friday, June 15, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate defeated President Donald Trump's border security plan 50-47 on a procedural vote designed to re-open the government. The measure required 60 votes to pass.

The procedural vote came on an amendment offered by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to a spending measure that combined seven appropriations bills that would have ended the shutdown and provided money for border security, disaster aid and several immigration policy changes.

Senate Armed Services Committee Republicans have a new look for the 116th
5 GOP freshmen got spots on the panel, coveted by lawmakers from states with defense industry presences

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., attends the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for William P. Barr, nominee for attorney general, in Hart Building on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As the Senate Armed Services Committee sets about its work in the 116th Congress, a handful of new faces will help shape the national security debate on the Republican side of the dais.

Five GOP freshmen have landed spots on the panel, an unusually high number for a committee that is particularly coveted among members whose states have military or defense industry presences.

Senate Republicans Huddle to Break Shutdown Impasse

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has been among the Republicans huddling over a solution to the partial government shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group of Senate Republicans camped out in Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office Thursday morning seeking to come up with a solution to the ongoing partial government shutdown that threatens paychecks for 800,000 federal workers starting Friday.

The group includes senators who have sought to broker an immigration compromise that would provide additional funds for border barriers that President Donald Trump wants, while allowing certain categories of undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. That includes some 700,000 “Dreamers” brought here illegally as children, and possibly a broader discussion about overhauling the nation’s immigration laws.

Trump sends clear signal he’s moving toward a national emergency over southern border
Move could circumvent shutdown standoff

President Donald Trump is signaling that he’s likely to declare a national emergency at the southern border. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 10:32 a.m. | President Donald Trump sent another clear signal he is moving close to declaring a national emergency at the southern border if he cannot cut a border security deal with Democrats to end a partial government shutdown.

Trump told reporters “I have the option” to do so, saying of talks with Democrats: “If this doesn’t work out, I’ll probably will do it — maybe definitely.”