Mark S Kirk

Food on the Line This World Series in Both Chambers
Bets among Gomez, Jackson Lee and Harris, Cruz

Clockwise from top left, Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas and Jimmy Gomez of California, and Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Ted Cruz of Texas are involved in some friendly World Series wagers. (Photos by Bill Clark and Tom Williams, composition by Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

California and Texas lawmakers aren’t just talking smack about their home-state Dodgers and Astros. They’re putting food on the line for the World Series.

California Rep. Jimmy Gomez, whose district includes Dodger Stadium, made a bet with fellow Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, whose Houston district includes Minute Maid Park, home of the Astros. If the Astros win, Gomez owes Jackson Lee “French Dipped” sandwiches from Philippe’s, a downtown Los Angeles restaurant. If the Dodgers win, Jackson Lee owes Gomez some Texas barbecue.

Conservatives Take Shots at Independent-Minded GOP Senators
Activists worry party mavericks could upend health care repeal efforts

Maine Sen. Susan Collins has often found herself at odds with conservative groups. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Activist groups that want conservative orthodoxy on Capitol Hill have aimed their fire previously at Republicans including House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and his predecessor, John A. Boehner. Now they have some new targets. 

Their focus has turned to three senators who’ve shown some willingness to challenge President Donald Trump: Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and John McCain of Arizona.

The Democrat Who Hugged the President
Trump and Sen. Joe Manchin share an interlocked fate

West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin III has embraced the idea of working with President Donald Trump, a smart strategy given the Mountain State’s strong support for Trump in last year’s election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Most Democrats fled after President Donald Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress last week. But Sen. Joe Manchin III instead approached him — and leaned in for a hug.

The gesture only lasted a few seconds. But it speaks volumes about the symbiotic relationship that has emerged between the West Virginia Democrat and the Republican president in recent months.

Ron Johnson on Going It Alone in 2016
Wisconsin Republican was written off as a certain loser

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, fresh off his re-election to a second term, is looking forward to working closely with the incoming Trump administration. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Ron Johnson is entering his second Senate term as something of a free agent.

Other than Sen. Mark S. Kirk in neighboring Illinois who lost his re-election bid, the Wisconsin Republican was the incumbent most of the GOP establishment had written off as a lost cause. Polls, as late as October, found Johnson’s opponent, former Sen. Russ Feingold, up by as much as a dozen points. And while campaign money did pour in late, Johnson seemed to spend much of the cycle in the wilderness.

Word on the Hill: Watch Out For Live Animals
McConnell pays tribute to retiring Republicans

David Bunting, from Ocean View, Delaware, playing one of the wise men carrying myrrh, walks during Faith and Action Christian Outreach's live Nativity procession in front of the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill last year. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

You may see a sheep, a donkey and camels walking around Capitol Hill today.

The annual live Nativity procession starts at 11 a.m. behind the Supreme Court, featuring animals, and actors dressed as the Holy Family and the three wise men, as well as shepherds and a little drummer boy.

Democrats Voting on Pelosi Are Older But Not Long-Tenured
A majority of the incoming caucus is 60 or older but most members have served 4 terms or less

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The House Democrats who will decide this week whether it’s time for younger, less-tenured leadership have served in the chamber an average of close to six full terms, and nearly six in 10 are over the age of 60. 

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has drawn criticism for not fostering leadership opportunities for younger caucus members. The 76-year-old Californian, who has been the chamber’s top Democrat since 2003, is facing a challenge from 43-year-old Tim Ryan, a seven-term congressman from Ohio, who says that after four straight disappointing elections for House Democrats, it’s time for a change at the top. 

Disability Rights Advocates Get Mixed Bag in Election
While Trump mocked reporter’s disability, more lawmakers living with disabilities were elected

Sen.-elect Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, is one of two disabled veterans to win elections this year. The other is Rep.-elect Brian Mast of Florida. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While disability rights activists are disappointed by a newly elected president who once openly mocked a reporter’s disability, they are heartened that there are now more people who live with disabilities in Congress.

President-elect Donald Trump came under fire last year when he mocked Serge Kovaleski, a reporter who has arthrogryposis, which limits the functioning of his joints. 

Brown to Durbin: The ‘Rich Guys’ Won the World Series
Ohio senators pay off bets to Illinois colleagues after Cubs’ championship

Sen. Richard J. Durbin, left, and Sen. Sherrod Brown, right, pose with a Chicago ‘W’ flag at the bet exchange. (Alex Gangitano/ CQ Roll Call)

Democratic Whip Richard J. Durbin and Sen. Mark S. Kirk got their time to gloat on behalf of all Chicagoans when Ohio senators paid off their respective World Series bets.

On Nov. 2, the Chicago Cubs clinched the World Series for the first time in 108 years by beating the Cleveland Indians, 8-7, in a Game 7 thriller. 

Mikulski Hosts Her Last Post-Election Senate Women Gathering
One last hurrah for the retiring Maryland Democrat

From left to right: New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, California Sen-elect Kamala Harris, Nevada Sen.-elect Catherine Cortez Masto, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, New Hampshire Sen.-elect Maggie Hassan and Maryland Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski. (Alex Gangitano/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski typically hosts a get-together for new women elected to the Senate, but this year is special to her. Not only because is it her last, but the female freshmen are all Democrats.

Mikulski, the dean of the Senate women, teamed up with Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins to host the traditional bipartisan women’s coffee on Tuesday in her hideaway on the third floor of the Capitol.

Meet the Senate Freshman Class of 2016
Some firsts for women in the Senate, a son of a foreign service worker, and a former governor among this class

Seven new members will join the Senate in 2017. CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two white men and four women walk into a room. That’s it — no joke, that’s just what the Senate freshman class looks like, so far.

The Louisiana Senate race to replace retiring Sen. David Vitter, to be decided in a Dec. 10 runoff, will determine the seventh freshman.