Abortion

Pro-Choice Caucus Preps for Democratic Majority
Members hope to push back on abortion

Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., leads the Pro-Choice Caucus with Barbara Lee, D-Calif. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An influential House caucus hopes to use the Democrats’ majority next year to counteract Republican efforts to restrict abortion and family planning, although the group still faces an uphill battle against a Republican Senate and administration with strong ties to the anti-abortion lobby.

The Pro-Choice Caucus has been recently overshadowed by its conservative rival, the Bipartisan Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, which counts Republican leadership and lawmakers from the influential Freedom Caucus among its members.

Elise Stefanik Wants to Play in Primaries to Help Republican Women
NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer thinks playing in primaries is a “mistake”

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik is stepping back from her role at the NRCC. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik recruited more than 100 women as the first female head of recruitment at the National Republican Congressional Committee. But only one of them prevailed, with many failing to make it through their primaries.

So Stefanik is stepping back from the NRCC to be involved where she thinks it matters.

End of the Road for the Highway King Shusters
For the first time in 46 years, south-central Pennsylvania will not send a Shuster to Congress

Bud Shuster, right, wipes his eye as he congratulates his son, Bill, for winning the Republican nomination to fill his seat in 2001. (Gary M. Baranec/AP)

EVERETT, Pa. — Bud Shuster leaned away from a desk in his farmhouse as he considered the differences between his chairmanship of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and that of his son, Bill, who succeeded him in Congress and retires at the end of this session.

In his six years as chairman, the younger Shuster checked off all the major items in his committee’s jurisdiction, shepherding long-term authorization bills for roads, transit and aviation and three consecutive water resources development bills to enactment. In an era when Congress was known more for dysfunction and gridlock than delivering major legislation, that was no small feat, and it set a record unmatched since his father’s stint as chairman from 1995 to 2001.

The Road to a Spending Showdown Is Paved With Cigars, Guns and Horses
Here’s a rundown of some of the funding disputes bubbling under the radar

it’s not just the headline-grabbing clashes over funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall that could sabotage a deal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers returned to the Capitol this week without an agreement on a year-end spending package that would wrap up seven unfinished bills for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1.

Reaching a deal would require a lot of work in a very short period of time. Both chambers are scheduled to be in session for only eight legislative days before a stopgap funding law runs dry on Dec. 7. If no new package is passed by then, Congress would need another continuing resolution to avoid a partial government shutdown.

Hyde-Smith Says Her Public Hanging Comments Were ‘Twisted’
Mississippi senator and Mike Espy debated a week before special election

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith did not address the media after Tuesday’s debate, instead sending fellow Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker onstage in her place. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With less than a week to go until a special election in Mississippi that’s attracted outsize national attention, both Senate candidates in Tuesday’s debate at times looked unaccustomed to the spotlight.

Republican incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith, who was appointed to the open Senate seat earlier this year, didn’t even bother taking press questions after the debate concluded. Mississippi’s other GOP senator, Roger Wicker, came onstage in her place.

Speaker Races Are Usually Internal Affairs. Pelosi’s Is Anything But
Liberal groups pile on with endorsements

Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has some unlikely allies in her bid for speaker: outside influence groups. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, in her bumpy bid to reclaim the speaker’s gavel, has wooed endorsements from more than two dozen outside groups and labor unions, an atypical element of a debate usually held within the party’s inner sanctum.

The public show of support for the California Democrat makes clear the high stakes of the leadership slate for the incoming House majority and for the party’s off-the-Hill allies. MoveOn.org weighed in on Pelosi’s behalf on Thursday evening, as other progressive and liberal-leaning groups say privately their leaders are considering taking the unprecedented step of making an endorsement in a leadership contest.

On Health Care, Dems Go From Running to Baby Steps
Incremental measures will dominate action on the health law in a largely gridlocked Congress

House Democrats plan to bring administration officials to Capitol Hill to explain what critics call “sabotage” of the law’s insurance exchanges. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The midterm elections all but ended the Republican push to repeal the 2010 law known as Obamacare, but as a defining issue for Democrats in their takeover of the House, health care will likely remain near the top of lawmakers’ policy and political agenda.

Newly emboldened Democrats are expected to not only push legislation through the House, but use their majority control of key committees to press Trump administration officials on the implementation of the health law, Medicaid work requirements, and insurance that does not have to comply with Obamacare rules.

Women Won at the Ballot in Record Numbers. Here’s What’s Next
4 things we’ll watch as the ‘Year of the Woman’ matures

Virginia Democrat Jennifer Wexton watches election returns as campaign staffers yell out returns in the campaign's war room on Tuesday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Historic wins for women in the midterm elections drove home the interpretation that 2018 was, indeed, the “Year of the Woman.” But it remains unknown whether women’s political capital will continue to rise.

The 101 women and counting who won House races face numerous obstacles to standing out in a divided Congress where seniority often plays more of a role in determining political power than success at the ballot box or legislative ingenuity.

Trump Country Democrats Hold Their Own
Trump’s policy agenda was not a winning message for Republican challengers

Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos of Illinois was one of nine Democrats who have held onto their seats in districts Donald Trump won in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Of the 12 Democrats running for seats in districts won by Donald Trump in 2016, nine had claimed victory by Wednesday afternoon.

Democrats were aided by flawed opponents who ran on Republican legislative priorities that poll poorly among independent voters — including the 2017 tax bill and the prolonged push to strip protections for patients with preexisting conditions from the 2010 health law.

Romney Shades Away From Trump as High Profile Senate Role Awaits
Not since Hillary Clinton’s 2000 election has a Senate candidate come with such clout

Republican Senate candidate Mitt Romney and his wife Ann greet supporters as he leaves his election night party on Tuesday in Orem, Utah. Romney won the election to replace retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch. (George Frey/Getty Images)

Mitt Romney easily defeated Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson to clinch an open Utah Senate seat, positioning him to become the highest-profile freshman senator since Hillary Clinton’s successful New York bid in 2000 when her husband was still president.

With his more than 60 percent win, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee is poised to fill a power vacuum in the Senate GOP. The party has lost many of its most senior members and moderate voices through retirement, not to mention the death of John McCain. Purists from both parties have looked to Romney as one of the lone — if only — politicians with the clout and gravitas to become both a counterweight to President Donald Trump and a defender of the institution.