Rodney Frelinghuysen

GOP Unlikely to Revisit Spending Ban on Gun Violence Research
Congress has restricted such endeavors for more than two decades

Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole says it was “just not helpful to turn a funding bill into a debate over gun control.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans, at least for now, appear unlikely to allow federal funds for research on gun violence after a nearly 22-year prohibition.

Following yet another mass shooting on Wednesday, at a Parkland, Florida, high school that left 17 dead, two key Republican appropriators said Thursday they don’t anticipate removing or altering an amendment in the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill that bars the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using injury prevention research dollars “to advocate or promote gun control.”

A Trump, a Very Palpable Trump
The State of the Union as audience builder

President Donald Trump takes a selfie with Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., in the House chamber after Trump’s first State of the Union address. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Welcome back to Political Theater, Roll Call’s newsletter and podcast on the spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

Heading into year two of his presidency, can Donald Trump expand his reach and influence with skeptical Democrats in Congress, much less a skeptical public? At a minimum, he will need the minority party to advance any meaningful legislation, particularly in an election year.

South Carolina’s Trey Gowdy Won’t Seek Re-Election
Oversight chairman plans to leave politics for justice system

South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy is not running for re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy announced Wednesday he will not be running for re-election and intends to leave politics after this term is over.

The Republican lawmaker, first elected to the 4th District in 2010, chairs the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Rating Change: New Jersey Open Seat Shifts to Toss-Up
Trump carried Frelinghuysen’s 11th District by 1 point in 2016

House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen will retire at the end of his current term, leaving behind a competitive seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s retirement makes his 11th District of New Jersey even more vulnerable for his party. 

While the congressman had some of his own baggage — an employee at a local bank landed in hot water with her employer when the congressman alerted the CEO that she was a Democratic activist — and it was unclear whether he was ready for a difficult re-election fight, his family has been a staple of New Jersey politics for generations and Frelinghuysen outperformed Donald Trump in the district in 2016. 

Rodney Frelinghuysen Won’t Seek 13th Term
Appropriations chairman was facing first competitive re-election in years

New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen was already a Democratic target this cycle. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 5:15 p.m. | New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, announced Monday he will not run for re-election in November.

He is the eighth Republican committee chairman to announce his retirement.

DCCC Announces Second Round of ‘Red to Blue’ Candidates
With seven additions, Red to Blue program includes 18 challengers so far

Army veteran Max Rose, who’s running in New York’s 11th District, has been named by the DCCC to its Red to Blue list. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is naming seven more candidates to its Red to Blue program, which highlights Democratic recruits who have met certain campaign goals.

The list of challengers, obtained first by Roll Call, brings the total number of Red to Blue candidates to 18. The DCCC is rolling out additions to its list more frequently and in more targeted batches than in previous cycles. The committee released its first round of picks in November.

Senate Votes to Avoid Shutdown, Funds Government Through January
With a day to spare Congress kicks can down road, once again

The Capitol Dome, shortly after repair scaffolding was removed. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With just a day left until government funding would run out, Congress sent another temporary spending bill to the president’s desk Thursday.

After days of wrangling votes and changing plans, the House voted 231-188 and the Senate voted 66-32 to clear a continuing resolution that would fund the government through Jan. 19, provide funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program and community health centers through March 31, appropriate $2.1 billion for a private care access program for veterans and temporarily extend Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act until Jan. 19.

GOP Dumps Full-Year Defense Plan, CR Incoming
Friday deadline or government shuts down

From left, incoming House Appropriations Committee chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., talk as the 115th Congress convenes on Jan. 3. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republican leaders are abandoning plans to pass a full-year defense appropriations measure by the end of the week and will instead use a continuing resolution to keep the military and other government agencies funded through Jan. 19, a GOP aide confirmed.

Leadership is currently planning separate votes on the CR, a disaster relief supplemental vote and reauthorization of government surveillance powers under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

GOP Hoping Tax Plan Could Be Difference in 2018
Despite polling and opposition, benefits could bolster support

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, is among the Republicans who think the tax bill will help the GOP in next year's midterm elections. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans hope a sweeping package to overhaul the U.S. tax code will be a boon for them in the 2018 midterm elections, betting that voters will appreciate higher take home pay despite the measure’s unpopularity with the public.

The rewrite of the tax code would be one of the party’s most significant achievements of President Donald Trump’s first year in office. It would also check off a number of other major priorities for the GOP, including zeroing out the penalty for not purchasing health insurance, a central plank of the 2010 health care law, and authorizing drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. All of that could give Republicans momentum going into the midterms, which usually are brutal for the party in power.

Just One House Member Flips Vote on GOP Tax Overhaul
GOP leadership expects bill to pass Senate

Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., was the only House member to change position on the GOP tax overhaul. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 3:46 p.m. | Despite immense pressure from GOP leaders, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, vulnerable New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, voted “no” for the second time on a Republican tax overhaul.

Just one of the 13 Republicans who voted against the House tax overhaul bill in November switched their vote to “yes” as the House passed the conference committee report Tuesday, 227-203, sending it to the Senate for final approval.