Keith Rothfus

New Pennsylvania Map, New Pennsylvania House Ratings
Six races shift in Democrats’ direction, two in GOP’s favor

Under the new lines, Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick’s district shifted from one carried narrowly by President Donald Trump to one carried narrowly by Hillary Clinton. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If you’ve been wondering what political handicapping is like in a redistricting cycle — or it’s been long enough for you to forget — the Pennsylvania Supreme Court offered a good reminder.

With newly drawn districts, misplaced incumbents and new district numbers, confusion is inevitable. But the bottom line for Pennsylvania is that Democrats had a half-dozen takeover opportunities with the old map and they have a half-dozen takeover opportunities with the new map, although they have a distinctly better chance at gaining those seats.

Democrats See Blue in Pennsylvania With New Map
GOP legislators are expected to challenge new boundaries

Pennsylvania Rep. Ryan A. Costello’s district is now more Democratic, under the new congressional map. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Pennsylvania’s state Supreme Court released a new congressional map Monday, potentially bolstering Democratic opportunities in the Keystone State. 

Republicans are expected to launch a challenge to stop the new lines from taking effect. In the meantime, as candidates and incumbents digest the new boundaries, Democrats see better chances for victory in some of their top targets. 

Word on the Hill: Gifts for McCain
Partnership for Public Service awards, and staffer shuffle

A banner for Sen. John McCain flew over the University of Phoenix stadium. (Courtesy UltraViolet)

You would think it was Sen. John McCain’s birthday again. Since the Arizona Republican announced his opposition to the Graham-Cassidy health care bill, liberal groups have given him a cake, sent him cupcakes and flown a banner over the site of an NFL game.

UltraViolet delivered a cake to McCain’s Phoenix office Tuesday, and the women’s advocacy group also delivered one to the Portland office of Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. The group chartered a plane to fly over the University of Phoenix Stadium before Monday’s Cardinals vs. Cowboys NFL game, thanking McCain for his opposition to the bill. Tailgaters and those preparing for the game were able to spot it, including reporter Ryan Haarer.

Word on the Hill: Dinosaurs at the Capitol
Kennedy on the Cajun Navy, and Shaw’s Tavern fundraiser

Dozens of dinosaurs took to the Capitol steps on Wednesday. (Service Year via Twitter)

Congress is out but there were still plenty of dinosaurs at the Capitol on Wednesday. Dozens of people dressed in orange and brown dinosaur costumes rallied to stop what they called national service extinction.

The group, Service Year Alliance, is asking Congress to vote against President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts to YouthBuild, the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps programs.

Hurd and Border State Members to Introduce ‘Smart’ Wall Bill
Moderates join in calls for partnership with Silicon Valley

Rep. Will Hurd's SMART Act would require DHS to have a comprehensive border wall plan before construction. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In an attempt to bridge the divide between President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to build a border wall and Republican moderates’ hesitation surrounding the plan, Rep. Will Hurd is looking to Silicon Valley for help.

The Texas Republican is leading a group of border state lawmakers, as well as moderates, to offer their own plan of building a “smart” wall, CNN reported.

Word on the Hill: Singers on Capitol Hill
Mark your calendars for WHCD parties

Gordon Kennedy and Peter Frampton perform onstage during the 54th annual ASCAP Country Music awards at the Ryman Auditorium on October 31, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

The ninth annual “We Write the Songs” event is tonight, hosted by the ASCAP Foundation and The Library of Congress. The foundation gave the LOC original manuscripts, lead sheets, lyrics sheets, photographs and letters from some of America’s music creators.

The event will include performances from singers Peter Frampton and Gordon Kennedy (“Baby I Love Your Way” & “Change the World”), Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty (“Smooth”), Eric Bazilian & Rob Hyman of the Hooters (“One of Us” & “Time After Time”), and Ledisi (“Pieces of Me”).

House to Take First Step to Overturn D.C. Assisted Suicide Law
Local groups plan to protest latest salvo against home rule

House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz has taken an aggressive stance on reviewing D.C. laws and budgets. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A House committee will take the first official step Monday evening to overturn a new Washington, D.C., assisted suicide law, raising concerns locally that a Republican-controlled Congress will be emboldened to interfere with city government under President Donald Trump.

Actually overturning the so-called Death With Dignity Act would require an improbable series of events. After the vote on the disapproval resolution at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the measure would have to pass floor votes in both the House and the Senate president before Feb. 17. That’s according to a timeline set out by the city’s Home Rule Act.

NRCC Names First Female Head of Recruitment
New York Rep. Elise Stefanik will help find 2018 candidates

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik will be the NRCC’s vice chairwoman for recruitment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Stivers has named New York Rep. Elise Stefanik the committee’s vice chairwoman for recruitment for the 2018 election cycle. 

Stefanik is the first woman to lead recruitment efforts for the party, a significant appointment given that the GOP trails Democrats in the number of women in Congress. Democrats have 62 female members in the House, while Republicans have just 21.

Nearly Half of Votes for Advancing IRS Impeachment Came From Outside the Freedom Caucus
Some leadership allies supported moving forward on impeachment resolution

Republican Policy Committee Chairman Luke Messer of Indiana and several allies voted against a motion to refer a resolution to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen back to the Judiciary Committee. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Nearly half of the 72 Republicans who voted against a motion that effectively blocked a resolution to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen are a not part of the House Freedom Caucus.

The caucus has led the push to remove Koskinen. 

House Republicans Learn to Accept Trump by Focusing on Pence
They are reassured by their former House colleague

GOP Vice Presidential nominee Mike Pence. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

CLEVELAND – The few dozen rank-and-file House members who were visible and talkative at the Republican convention this week are departing as members of two camps:  

Those who declare wholehearted enthusiasm for Donald Trump remain the clear minority. The rest are at least professing their acceptance in the name of party unity — with many of them declaring that the addition of their former colleague Mike Pence to the ticket has given them sufficient hope that the general election and a Trump presidency might work out in the end.