Illinois

Democrats Spin McConnell Entitlement Comments Into Political Messaging
McConnell says Republicans cannot tackle program on their own but Democrats warn of GOP action

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., says a vote for the GOP is a vote to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, spinning Senate Majority McConnell’s comments that Republicans can’t execute that goal on their own. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats are spinning comments Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently made on overhauling entitlements to craft a political message that electing Republicans will lead to cuts in safety net programs. 

“Sen. McConnell gave the game up in his comment yesterday,” Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen, who chairs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said on a press call Wednesday. “It was very clear from what he said that a vote for Republican candidates in this election is a vote to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. That’s what he said.”

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.

Menendez, Pompeo Feud Over Diplomatic Nominees
Secretary of state accuses New Jersey Democrat of ‘putting our nation at risk’

From right, Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Robert Menendez, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker arrive for a hearing on July 25. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A tiff between New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is slowing down the confirmation of nominees for the nation’s diplomatic corps, already understaffed at a time of mounting global challenges.

Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, is objecting to some State nominees over their qualifications even as he continues to press Pompeo to fulfill long-standing oversight document requests.

D.C. Eatery Serves Pizza With a Side of Female Democrats for Congress
Pizza Paradiso has pizzas for Ortiz Jones, Ocasio-Cortez, Underwood and Sinema

Drew McCormick, left, and Ruth Gresser, right, researched Democratic female candidates who would be “firsts.” (Thomas McKinless/ CQ Roll Call)

Forget eating pizza. These politicians are becoming it.

At least that’s the vision of chef Ruth Gresser, who owns Pizzeria Paradiso in D.C. She’s celebrating a handful of female candidates this cycle with a mozzarella salute, complete with a beer pairing.

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.

Stick With Senate Farm Bill or Extend Existing Law, Groups Say
Agriculture committee staffers in both chambers continue to work on compromise

Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., helped push through their farm bill that passed the chamber on an 86-11 vote. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Unless key farm bill negotiators use the Senate version as the template for a new bill, an extension of the now expired 2014 farm law would be better than using the House farm bill as the basis for a conference report, representatives from nutrition, environmental, small farmer and food policy groups said Monday.

At a briefing, the organizations said the House and Senate farm bills differ sharply in important areas. While they want a new bill to replace the farm law that expired Sept. 30, the organizations say they represent a broad coalition that would oppose a bill based on the House farm bill version, which calls for changes, including to farm payments and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

GOP-Held Illinois District Pounded with Outside Money as Election Nears
Six-term incumbent Roskam facing Democratic environmental entrepreneur Sean Casten

Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., faces Democrat Sean Casten in Illinois’ 6th District on Nov. 6. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Outside groups are descending on Illinois’ 6th District just weeks before the midterm elections — and bringing their money with them —  as six-term GOP Rep. Peter Roskam tries to stave off a bid from Democratic environmental entrepreneur Sean Casten.

The Chicago Tribune first reported these figures.

Republicans Restart Push for Lower Court Judges
Democrats object to the process

Eric E. Murphy, nominee to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit, introduces his wife, Michelle, and daughters Isabelle, 7, right, and Grace, 9, during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on judicial nominations in Dirksen Building on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

With the fight over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh behind them, Republicans on Wednesday restarted the Senate Judiciary Committee’s push to confirm lower court judges with a hearing on a pair of nominees that Democrats staunchly oppose for their legal work on health care, LGBT rights and other issues.

The hearing featured almost everything Democrats have complained about the confirmation process during President Donald Trump’s administration — including scheduling more than one circuit court nominee in a single hearing and doing so over the objections of a home state senator.

Republicans Need a Cold Compress With Less Than One Month to Go
Presidential pain still plagues vulnerable incumbents ahead of the midterms

President Donald Trump may turn out Democrats better than any Democrat could. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — Weather metaphors are often used (and overused) in election analysis, but there’s a better way to describe the Republicans’ challenge in 2018. The GOP is dealing with many headaches as it tries to preserve the Republican congressional majorities.

From tension to cluster to migraine, they can vary in frequency and severity. And Republicans’ ability to alleviate them will determine control of the House and Senate in the 116th Congress.

Photos of the Week: Kavanaugh Protests and Tension on High as Senators Cast Historic Vote
The week of Oct. 1 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Ben Bergquam, left, who supports Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, argues on Thursday with protesters opposed to the nomination. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

All eyes were on the Senate last week. Results of the FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations made against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh were considered late Wednesday and Thursday by senators. And by Friday, a majority of them were ready to vote

Protests against the nominee erupted across the Capitol throughout the week as activists made their opinions known, both for and against.