Illinois

There was just one thing missing from this voter reform hearing — a Republican
In a state like Georgia, the GOP will have to both acknowledge voter suppression and lead the effort to end it

When Stacey Abrams described a “systemic breakdown” in the electoral process, there were no Republicans around to hear her, Murphy writes. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — What are the chances that Republican lawmakers will work with Democrats to make changes to restrictive voting systems in the United States that have benefited Republicans in recent elections, either deliberately or accidentally?

That’s going to be the question going forward for the House Administration Elections Subcommittee, which is holding a series of field hearings around the country to examine the 2018 elections and the fundamental question of whether all U.S. citizens have equal and unfettered access to the right to vote, no matter their income or ethnicity.

Supreme Court will decide census citizenship question
Decision could affect congressional delegations and appropriations

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the citizenship question case the second week of April. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court will decide by the end of June whether the Trump administration can add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, a quick schedule so questionnaires can be printed on time.

In a one-line order Friday, the justices agreed to hear oral arguments in the case the second week of April. The Justice Department asked for the rapid review because the government must finalize the census questionnaire by the end of June, which is also when the Supreme Court term ends.

Why 19 Democrats and 109 Republicans voted against the government funding deal
Democratic defections were mostly Hispanic Caucus members, progressives concerned about immigration enforcement

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined 18 other House Democrats and 109 House Republicans in voting against the compromise spending package Thursday night. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats were just two votes short Thursday night of being able to clear a fiscal 2019 appropriations package without Republican help, while less than half of the GOP conference voted for the bill to avert another government shutdown.

That dynamic may foreshadow battles ahead as the new House Democratic majority will try to exert its influence over government spending while still having to deal with a Republican president and Senate. 

Some GOP lawmakers are thawing on climate change
‘There are some things I’m willing to look at,’ said House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows

“There are some things I’m willing to look at,” Freedom Caucus Chairman Meadows said of climate solutions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congressional Republicans seem to be thawing on climate.

Rep. Mark Meadows, the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus who has denied the science behind climate change, told reporters Wednesday he was open to confront the peril of the warming planet.

Congressional leaders remember Parkland shooting anniversary
Lawmakers mark one year since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

Students and supporters protest against gun violence with a lie-in outside the White House in February last year, after 17 people were killed in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers commemorated the victims of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, on Thursday, one year to the date of the tragedy.

Seventeen people were killed and 14  wounded in the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14 last year. 

GOP congressman who supports border wall deployed to the border
Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger is a reconnaissance pilot in the Air National Guard

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., is a reconnaissance pilot and was deployed to the U.S. southern border this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who supports President Donald Trump’s push for a wall at the southern border, was deployed there this week with his Air National Guard unit, his office reported.

In addition to representing Illinois’ 16th District, Kinzinger is a lieutenant colonel in the Guard who flies reconnaissance aircraft, conducting aerial surveillance.

Texas Democrat takes paternity leave ahead of son’s birth
Rep. Colin Allred said he took the leave to advocate for paid parental leave policies

Rep. Colin Allred, D-Texas, arrives to participate in the weekly caucus press conference in the Capitol on Wed. Jan. 9, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When Rep. Colin Allred’s son Jordan was born in Dallas Tuesday night, the Texas Democrat had already been home with his wife Alexandra Eber for a week.

“Aly and I welcomed our son, Jordan, to the world last night in Dallas,” Allred said in a tweet. “We are so thankful to have a healthy, beautiful son. Our hearts couldn’t be more full.”

Senate panel spars over judges, advances GOP effort to cut nomination debate time
Party-line vote in committee could set up a contentious floor debate

Senate Rules Chairman Roy Blunt, R-Mo., led the advancement of the proposal to effectively change the rules for debating presidential nominees. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Rules and Administration Committee took a predictably partisan turn Wednesday when the panel voted along party lines to advance a resolution that would slash debate time for most presidential nominees.

Ranking member Amy Klobuchar led the opposition to the proposal, arguing that two hours for post-cloture debate was not enough, especially for lifetime appointments to the federal bench.

Negotiators unlikely to meet self-imposed Monday shutdown deal deadline
Both sides were discussing a simple stopgap measure as a fallback if appropriations deal isn’t reached

From left, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Senate Appropriations chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., Senate Appropriations ranking member Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Sen. John Hoeven, R-N. Dak., talk before the start of the Homeland Security Appropriations Conference Committee on Jan. 30, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House and congressional leaders on Monday were buying themselves a little more time for negotiations that appeared to stall out over the weekend, with both sides discussing a simple stopgap measure as a fallback to fund the Department of Homeland Security.

Top appropriators met late afternoon at the Capitol in hopes of salvaging a full-year DHS spending bill, as well as completing work on six other fiscal 2019 bills that are largely completed. But it wasn’t clear if the meeting of the so-called “four corners” — Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., and ranking member Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., and House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, D- N.Y. and ranking member Kay Granger, R-Texas — would yield an immediate breakthrough.

High school e-cigarette use is exploding and reversing prevention gains
Monthly e-cigarette usage among high schoolers nearly doubled between 2017 and 2018, a new CDC report finds

Signs in the window of the Smoke Depot advertise electronic cigarettes and pods by Juul, the nation's largest maker of e-cigarette products, on Sept. 13, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The number of young people using tobacco products has reached its highest level in years, as e-cigarette popularity is reversing recent progress on other products that contain nicotine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday.

In recent years, the overall proportion of high school students using any tobacco products fell, mainly due to fewer students smoking cigarettes and cigars, the CDC said. But from 2017 to 2018, the number of high school students reporting e-cigarette use within the past month nearly doubled from 11.7 percent to 20.8 percent. That pushed their overall tobacco use rate from 19.6 percent to 27.1 percent in 2018.