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A Democratic Majority Could Milk Trump’s Trade Pact
‘The bar for supporting a new NAFTA will be high,’ says top Democrat on Ways and Means

Rep. Richard Neal, a Ways and Means Committee member since 1993 and now the panel’s top Democrat, voted against NAFTA and says he will scrutinize the proposed replacement. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration included provisions in the new trade deal with Canada and Mexico to win Democratic support, but if the midterm elections hand Democrats the majority in either the House or Senate, the path forward for the revised agreement may be more complicated.

President Donald Trump is expected to sign the agreement in principle on Nov. 30 and send implementing legislation to Congress sometime later. Trump also notified Congress on Tuesday that his administration plans to launch trade negotiations with the European Union, Japan and the United Kingdom in 2019.

Donald Trump Once Wanted to Buy the FBI Headquarters, Now House Dems Are Asking Questions
New request sent to agency in charge for documents about potential conflicts

The front of the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building on Pennsylvania Ave. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Key House Democrats pressed the head of the General Services Administration to provide more information Thursday about President Donald Trump’s role in the proposal to rebuild the FBI headquarters building on its current footprint on Pennsylvania Ave.

“As a direct result of President Trump’s clear conflict of interest on this matter, we are now requesting information and documents to determine whether the President is making decisions about the FBI headquarters building based on what is best for the country or what is best for his own financial bottom-line,” wrote the five House members, who are all ranking members of relevant committees or subcommittees.

Blumenauer Sends Blunt Marijuana Blueprint to Democratic Leadership
Goal is to have Congress pass legislation by the end of 2019

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., wants Democrats to legalize marijuana if they take back the House majority. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer, one of Congress’s most vocal marijuana proponents, sent Democratic leadership a memo Wednesday outlining steps Congress should take to legalize the Schedule I drug.

“Congress is out of step with the American people and the states on cannabis,” Blumenauer wrote in the memo, citing polling showing that 69 percent of registered voters support legalizing marijuana. “We have an opportunity to correct course if Democrats win big in November.”

Could Republicans in Competitive Districts Pursue NRCC Top Job?
NRCC head has usually been someone who can travel, fundraise for others

California Rep. Mimi Walters may be interested in chairing the NRCC if the position is open. First, she has to win re-election in November. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With many Republicans conceding their poor prospects of holding the House next month, attention outside the conference is beginning to turn to who will helm its campaign committee for the next cycle. 

Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers, who’s running for a fifth term in a safe Republican seat, is the current chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. It’s not uncommon for there to be turnover at the end of a cycle, and it’s largely understood Stivers is unlikely to remain in charge should the GOP lose its majority.

Tuesday Is the Voter Registration Deadline in These States
For Maryland and D.C. residents, it’s the last day to register online

The midterm elections are approaching fast and many voter registration deadlines have already passed. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

If you live in one of 18 states and haven’t registered to vote, you’ve already missed your chance to cast a ballot in the midterm elections on Nov. 6.

Other deadlines are fast approaching. Virginia residents, get your postmarks going. Monday is the last day you can register online, in person or by mail.

Three States Get Ready to Vote on Abortion
Oregon, Alabama and West Virginia have measures on the ballot

Students protest abortion outside the Supreme Court in June. When voters in three states go to the polls this November, they’ll see abortion initiatives on the ballot. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Oregon, Alabama and West Virginia voters will face separate ballot initiatives next month aimed at restricting abortion access in those states.

These initiatives fit into a larger fight over abortion that continues to heat up. Anti-abortion advocates hope that changes at the state level can be used as test cases and later implemented more broadly, while abortion rights advocates hope to defeat them. A particularly contentious ballot initiative can be used as a messaging move to drive voters to the polls in tight elections such as this fall’s West Virginia Senate race.

You’d Think Samuel Beckett Was In Charge of Our Health Care
Finding a path forward for the Affordable Care Act has been like waiting for Godot

Estragon and Vladimir — above as portrayed in a 1978 French production of Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” — were stuck in limbo. After waiting on Congress to act on health care, we all know how they feel, Hoagland writes. (Fernand Michaud/Gallica Digital Library)

OPINION — Finding bipartisan agreement in Congress on a path forward for the Affordable Care Act has been like waiting for Godot. Polls tracking Americans’ views have consistently shown an evenly divided public. No single public policy issue captures the country’s polarization better than the debate that has surrounded this law.

That doesn’t mean we have to settle for “nothing to be done.” Improving health insurance markets is a goal worth pursuing, and Republicans and Democrats at the state level are already showing us the way.

Tax Break for Electric Vehicles in the Crosshairs
Barrasso: ‘Wealthiest Americans’ benefit at the expense of taxpayers

Tesla vehicles stand outside of a Brooklyn showroom and service center in August. Legislation unveiled Tuesday would end a tax incentive for electric vehicles. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images file photo)

The chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unveiled legislation Tuesday to end the $7,500 tax incentive for electric vehicles.

The yet-unnumbered bill comes as a United Nations report on climate change, released over the weekend, outlined dire consequences for the planet in the absence of global action to drastically reduce carbon output over the next decade.

Trump Keeps Rosenstein Despite Reported Recording, Removal Talk
‘I have a very good relationship’ with deputy AG, president says

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein leaves the Capitol on May 19, 2017. He is still in his job despite reported remarks about secretly recording President Trump with the goal of removing him from office. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rod Rosenstein, despite reports he discussed secretly taping President Donald Trump with the goal or removing him from office, is still the deputy attorney general after the two men spoke aboard Air Force One.

The senior Justice Department official joined Trump on the executive jet on the way to Orlando, where the president is addressing law enforcement officials. White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told reporters traveling with Trump that the duo talked for 30 minutes during the flight to Florida.

House Democrats, Republicans Unite Behind Opioids Bill
Bipartisan measure now heads to the Senate

Oxycodone pain pills prescribed for a patient with chronic pain lie on display in Norwich, Conn. (John Moore/Getty Images)

The House passed consensus legislation, 393-8, on Friday intended to help combat the opioid crisis. The legislative compromise was finalized earlier this week, and now heads to the Senate for a final vote.

The two chambers came to an agreement on Tuesday, but made additional changes to the bill after the Congressional Budget Office initially estimated that the bill would increase the deficit by $44 million over the next 10 years.