Kansas

Senate Strategy on House Health Care Bill: That’s Not Ours
Republican members sidestep commenting on CBO report

From left, Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, arrive for a news conference after the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol, March 14, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans have a plan to avoid answering questions on the House legislation to repeal large portions of the 2010 health law: to say it’s not their bill.

The chamber on Friday begins a 10-day recess and lawmakers could face questions from constituents about a recent analysis on the House bill by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The report, released on Wednesday, said that the legislation would result in 23 million more uninsured individuals over the next decade compared to the current law’s trajectory.

How GOP Outside Spending Turned a Loser Into a Winner in Montana
Congressional Leadership Fund spent $2.7 million to boost Greg Gianforte

Greg Gianforte won the special election for Montana’s at-large House seat Thursday despite attacking a reporter the night before. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Six months ago, Republican Greg Gianforte lost Montana’s gubernatorial election by nearly 4 points. Thursday night, he won statewide by about 6 points.

Congressional special elections are, well, special. The electorate is different, and so is the spending. Last fall, Gianforte was running against an incumbent.

Word on the Hill: JFK and Memorial Day Weekend
Logistics for Saturday’s parade and spottings this week

The Kennedy Stamps. (©2017 USPS)

Happy Memorial Day weekend, which is also President John F. Kennedy’s Centennial weekend.

Kennedy was born 100 years ago Monday. To celebrate, the United States Postal Service released a commemorative “forever” stamp to honor the late president.

Political Gerrymandering: Is There a Math Test for That?
Supreme Court may consider whether practice is unconstitutional

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled in a North Carolina racial gerrymandering case and may take on a Wisconsin case this fall that involves partisan gerrymanders. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Racial gerrymanders have been undone many times, most recently when the Supreme Court ruled against a pair of North Carolina congressional districts this week. But another case from that same state, heading into federal court next month, has a shot at eventually persuading the justices to do what they’ve never done before: strike down an election map as an unconstitutionally partisan gerrymander.

The high court ruled three decades ago that it may be unconstitutional to draw political boundaries so that one party was sure to win a disproportionate number of elections, but it’s never come up with a means for deciding when such mapmaking has become too extreme.

Big Spending in Montana Portends a Close Election
Two flawed candidates battle for at-large district Thursday

Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte speaks to supporters during a campaign meet and greet Tuesday in Great Falls, Montana.  (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Updated 9:48 p.m. | Ahead of Thursday night’s “body-slamming” incident, most bets were on Republican nominee Greg Gianforte, who’s led by single digits in recent public and private polling, winning Montana’s at-large House seat on Thursday.

But that’d still be a dramatic shift from President Donald Trump’s 20-point victory in the state last fall.

19 House Races Shift Toward Democrats
List of competitive seats grows amid shifts against president’s party

New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s race for re-election has switched from Solid Republican to Likely Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The midterm elections are still nearly a year and a half away, and the political dynamics could yet change, but we shouldn’t ignore the fact that history and the current environment are merging together for a potentially great set of elections for Democrats in November 2018. 

The president’s party has lost House seats in 18 of the last 20 midterm elections, and it’s lost an average of 33 seats in those 18 elections. Democrats need to gain 24 seats in order to take back the majority. 

GOP Group Launches Health Care Ad Ahead of CBO Score
American Action Network spending additional $2 million to promote bill

California Rep. Jeff Denham is one of the 21 lawmakers whose districts are the targets of a new ad campaign by the American Action Network. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A conservative issue advocacy organization is spending an additional $2 million on a nationwide television ad campaign to promote the Republicans’ health care plan ahead of the release of the Congressional Budget Office score, which is expected Wednesday. 

The American Action Network, which has close ties to House GOP leadership, is debuting the campaign on Tuesday morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” The ad will also air in 21 congressional districts.

Kihuen’s Soccer Injury Led to Politics
Nevada Democrat recalls moment of career-ending injury before professional tryout

Nevada Rep. Ruben Kihuen learned to play soccer growing up in Mexico. (Courtesy Kihuen’s office)

While Ruben Kihuen was running for the Nevada state Senate in 2010, he held a World Cup watch party and saw his former training partner walking out onto the field.

“When he walked in, I was like, ‘You know what? It was the first Nevadan to play in the World Cup and I’m glad it’s Herculez,’” Kihuen said of professional soccer player turned ESPN analyst Herculez Gomez. “Destiny is destiny. For me, I wasn’t destined to be a professional soccer player.”

Rating Change: Montana Special Creeps Closer to Tossup
Voters to decide Thursday who will replace Interior Secretary Zinke

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who won last year’s Democratic presidential primary in Montana, campaigned over the weekend with Democratic House candidate Rob Quist. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The special election for Montana’s at-large House seat hasn’t received as much as attention as the race in Georgia, but it’s a similar storyline: Democrats are doing better than expected and an upset is within the realm of possibility.

Less than a week before the Thursday, May 25, election, wealthy former software executive Greg Gianforte has a narrow advantage over his Democratic opponent, musician Rob Quist. But Quist recently crossed the $5 million fundraising threshold, giving him ample resources to deliver his message in the final days in a relatively cheap state for advertising. 

Opinion: Trump Policies on Voting and Criminal Justice Quietly Move Country Backward
Plans proceed despite chaos in the White House

President Donald Trump’s policies threaten voting rights and criminal justice reforms, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

While the Trump administration is in a state of perpetual turmoil, some of its promised policies are proceeding as planned. Support from a Republican Congress is softening with each cringe-worthy headline about slips, leaks and feuds; still, its members, mindful of the president’s loyal base, are proceeding with caution.

And when you step back from the chaos, don’t expect to see any progress on other issues — such as voting rights and criminal justice reform — that once promised a bit of bipartisan cooperation.