Patrick Meehan

A Gun Rights Vote Only the GOP Base Can Appreciate
Expansion of concealed carry permission will die in the Senate, but the NRA really wanted the vote

Majority Whip John Cornyn has some doubts that he can get a bill passed that would improve background checks for gun purchasers but doesn’t make it easier for gun owners to carry concealed weapons across state lines. A House bill passed Wednesday would do both. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

One government shutdown may be narrowly averted, but another looms right around the corner. The stain of sexual misconduct at the Capitol continues to spread, and an alleged child predator is days away from possibly joining the Senate. Middle East destabilization seems assured as Congress gets its wish to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Public support dwindles daily for a loophole-encrusted, deficit-busting tax package that would be the year’s biggest legislative achievement. The push for presidential impeachment has gone far enough to necessitate procedural pushback in the House.

A week such as this one — already chockablock with headlines touching the Hill — seemed to the Republicans who run the place like an ideal time for making a bold hiding-in-plain-sight move.

Barton Wants to Keep Managing GOP Baseball Team
Texas congressman announced last week he would retire from Congress after string of sexual controversies

Rep. Joe L. Barton, R-Texas, in Texas uniform, watches as Rep. Nanette Barragan, D-Calif., shakes hands with Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, during player introductions during this year’s Congressional Baseball Game. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After everything that’s happened over the last two weeks, Texas Rep. Joe L. Barton hopes to remain the manager of the Republican team in the annual Congressional Baseball Game.

“That is my intention,” Barton said. “Obviously, it’s my last year.”

12 House Republicans Sign Letter Opposing Arctic Drilling
The proposal, not included in the House-passed tax bill, remains in the Senate version on floor

Reindeer wander off at the end of the Senate Democrats’ news conference and rally opposing drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge at the Capitol on Thursday. A number of activists dressed up as polar bears and reindeer for the event. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A dozen House Republicans, half of whom voted for the House tax overhaul bill that passed Nov. 13, wrote a letter to GOP leaders urging them not to allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, adding another complication to negotiating a tax bill that can pass both chambers.

The Senate tax overhaul bill is tied in a reconciliation measure with legislation that would open up drilling parts of the ANWR. Its inclusion is seen as key to having secured GOP Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s support for the measure.

While Trump’s Away, Congress Legislates?
President’s absence eases tax bill work, some Republicans say

Some Republican members say progress on a tax bill is more likely with President Donald Trump, here with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, away in Asia. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump spent the first four days of his Asia swing focused on countering North Korea and bolstering trade relationships — and some Republican members who are eager to pass a tax bill are just fine with that.

The way they see it, Trump being nearly 7,000 miles away for most of the next two weeks will allow them to make more progress on their tax legislation than if he were in Washington. That’s because Trump is often hunkered down in the White House watching cable news reports about their efforts, his phone at the ready to fire off a tweet that could substantially delay or completely derail their work.

Congress Begins Digesting Tax Bill Outlines
Republicans say they need more detail

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, and the GOP leadership team briefed members about their tax legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans leaving a closed-door conference meeting said they needed to see more details of the tax code overhaul before assessing the plan.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said “not enough detail” was provided. “Most of what was talked about in there was still at the 15,000-to-20,000 foot level.”

Word on the Hill: King of the Hill
Senate Democrats celebrating birthdays

Team photograph of The RBIs of Texas after winning the King of the Hill softball championship game. (Courtesy Bill Christian)

The Senate is the King of the Hill. Well, at least in staffer softball.

The annual King of the Hill softball championship game was Thursday and the RBIs of Texas, the Senate team, beat the Texas Republic, the House team, 16-12.

Democratic Soul-Searching in One Pennsylvania House Race
Crowded primary candidates battle over who can win GOP district

State Sen. Daylin Leach, Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional district, greets guests at after speaking in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. — Democrats across the country are doing some soul-searching as Congress returns to the nation’s capital. The crowded Democratic primaries taking shape raise questions about whether more liberal candidates can win in Republican districts.

For a sense of how that battle for the party is playing out on the ground, look no further than Pennsylvania’s 7th District.

How the Courts Could Upend Gerrymandering
Democrats and voter rights groups pin hopes on high court case

A new, mathematical approach to proving partisan gerrymandering will be tested at the Supreme Court this fall in a case about Wisconsin’s state Assembly district lines. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

By RANDY LEONARD and TODD RUGER

Congressional maps in key battleground states such as Pennsylvania have shifted the political balance of Congress toward Republicans — but that could soon change.

Climate Change Activists Flood Capitol to Lobby Lawmakers
Merkley, Whitehouse and Fitzpatrick address concerned parents

Children join in as organizers set up a play area on the Upper Senate Lawn Thursday as part of the fourth annual “play in” demonstration on the Hill organized by Moms Clean Air Force. (Griffin Connolly/CQ Roll Call)

Climate change activists from all 50 states met with more than 150 lawmakers and staffers on Capitol Hill on Thursday, armed with personal anecdotes and data booklets to persuade members to take action on environmental issues such as air pollution and global warming.

The meetings were part of the fourth annual “play in” demonstration, organized by the anti-pollution advocacy group Moms Clean Air Force, which brought parents and their children to the Hill.

Partisanship Shut Out at Congressional Baseball Game
Unity a big winner after gunman had disrupted GOP practice

During player introductions, Texas Rep. Roger Williams shakes hands with California Rep. Nanette Barragán as, from right, Reps. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania, Joe L. Barton of Texas and Pete Aguilar of California look on during the Congressional Baseball Game in Nationals Park on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated June 19, 2017, 1:58 p.m. | The final moments of the 56th annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park on Thursday perfectly demonstrated the event’s purpose — finding unity amid heated competition.

Though the Democrats overwhelmingly beat the Republicans 11-2, that final score was eclipsed during the trophy presentation at the end of the night.