John Culberson

Granger Selected as New Top Republican on House Appropriations
With Nita Lowey expected to chair, panel is set for historic all-female leadership duo

Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, is expected to be the ranking member on House Appropriations next Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Texas Rep. Kay Granger will likely take over as the House Republicans’ lead appropriator in January after the GOP Steering Committee recommended her on Thursday.

The full House GOP Conference is expected to ratify the decision Friday. While it’s possible the conference could overrule the Steering panel recommendation, conference approval is typically a formality.

Could Texas Be a 2020 House Battleground?
Some House races in the Lone Star State were closer than expected

Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, lost a Senate bid but came close to defeating GOP Sen. Ted Cruz. ((Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Texas Democrats had their best election in over a decade last week when they flipped at least two Republican-held House seats. But closer margins in other races have boosted party hopes of future gains in the once deep-red Lone Star State.

“What it shows us moving forward is that we have congressional battlegrounds in Texas,” said Manny Garcia, deputy executive director of the Texas Democratic Party. “As we move into the election cycle in 2020, it’s very clear now that Texas is in play.”

A Poor Election Night for Republicans in Clinton Districts
GOP-held seats that Clinton won in 2016 mostly swung to the Democrats this year

Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., represented a district Hillary Clinton won by 10 points in 2016. She lost her bid for a third term Tuesday night to Democrat Jennifer Wexton. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated Wednesday, 3:06 p.m. | Democrats have won a House majority, boosted by several key pickups of Republican-held districts that backed Hillary Clinton two years ago. 

The party needed a net of 23 seats to take over the chamber. 

DOJ Civil Rights Division to Monitor Polls in 35 Counties on Election Day
Arizona, Nevada, Florida, North Dakota, and Texas among 19 states where DOJ personnel will monitor polling places

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has deployed Civil Rights Division personnel to monitor polling locations in 35 counties in 19 different states on Election Day. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When Americans head to the polls on Tuesday for the midterm elections, voters in 35 counties — from Las Vegas to Dallas to Tampa — will head to precincts that are being closely monitored by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division for “compliance with the federal voting rights laws,” the DOJ announced Monday.

“Voting rights are constitutional rights, and they’re part of what it means to be an American,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement.

Messing With Texas, Midterm Edition
In the Lone Star State, it’s not just about Beto and Cruz

A woman flies a Texas flag at a 2005 rally in the Upper Senate Park. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Yes, the Texas Senate race between Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke gets a 72-ounce steak’s worth of attention in politics, what with Willie Nelson and President Donald Trump weighing in with their preferences and all. 

But regardless of who emerges from that Texas two-step, several other races will go a long way toward determining the House majority, and whether the Lone Star State might be moving toward swing/purple status. 

NewDemPAC Helps Candidates Navigate Trump, Raise Money
Political arm of New Democrat Coalition has endorsed 38 recruits

NewDemPAC has endorsed Virginia Democrat Abigail Spanberger, who’s challenging GOP Rep. Dave Brat in the 7th District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With 38 endorsed candidates, the political arm of the moderate New Democrat Coalition is hoping to play a significant role helping Democrats win the House majority next month, and in doing so, grow their own business-friendly caucus. 

The coalition’s political action committee, founded in 2005, got involved in races earlier than ever before this cycle — at times choosing favorites in competitive primaries. It also hired a political director for the first time and has been able to help raise more than $2 million for candidates from members and donors.

Key House Appropriators Face Tough Midterm Elections
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 81

Congressional Leadership Fund is rolling out new spending in Kansas' 3rd District to protect Rep. Kevin Yoder. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Three Republican House Appropriations subcommittee chairmen — Kevin Yoder of Kansas, John Culberson of Texas and John Carter of Texas — face tough re-elections, says Roll Call senior political reporter Bridget Bowman. A loss for Yoder and Culberson would mean that lame-duck lawmakers end up negotiating two vital spending bills — Homeland Security and Commerce-Justice-Science.

Are the GOP’s Pelosi Attacks Effective? Public Does Not Seem to Think So
Despite polls, Republicans stick with attack ads on the California Democrat

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has been painted as a villain in Republican campaign ads attacking Democratic candidates, but a spate of recent polling shows GOP efforts to tie candidates to her is not likely to be effective come November. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With their House majority hanging in the balance, Republicans have tried time and time again to tie Democratic candidates to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, hoping that her general unpopularity will drag the candidates down too. It doesn’t seem to be working.

A spate of recent polls have found that voters don’t care much about candidates’ views on the California Democrat. More voters care about what they think of President Donald Trump, these polls have found, supporting historical patterns in which midterm elections often become a referendum on the occupant of the White House. 

Cruz, O’Rourke Steal Spotlight, but House Races in Texas Are Heating Up Too
Democrats eye multiple pickup opportunities in Lone Star State

Democrats say energy around Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s Senate campaign could help their House candidates in Texas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Texas Senate race has been grabbing headlines lately, but Democrats hoping for good news in November from the Lone Star State might want to focus further down the ballot, where several contests could be critical to House control.

Both parties have ramped up their activities in a handful of competitive Texas districts, with the Republican and Democratic campaign committees launching television ads in key races last week.

Ryan: Earmarks Discussion Dead for This Congress
Speaker disappoints Republicans who want to bring back pork

Paul D. Ryan has spoken: pork will not be back this Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Talk of bringing back local project earmarks in spending bills that has been bubbling within the GOP conference for the past two years won’t advance any further for now, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan told reporters Thursday.

“I don’t doubt that the next organizing conference for the next Congress will probably wrestle with this issue,” Ryan said.