John Yarmuth

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.”

Walter Huddleston, Kentucky Senator Who Preceded Mitch McConnell, Dead at 92
Democrat lost to current majority leader in 1984

Former Sen. Walter D. Huddleston, seen here in 1983, died on Tuesday. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Walter D. Huddleston, a two-term Democratic senator from Kentucky, died Tuesday at 92.

Huddleston was upset in his 1984 re-election bid to a young Republican county-judge executive named Mitch McConnell.

Democratic Unity on Budget Faces Tests in New Congress
What flavor of nationalized health care can the party agree to — if any?

Progressive Democrats of America holds a news conference to announce the launch of a Medicare for All Caucus at the Capitol on Thursday, July 19, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If voters give Democrats control of the House in November, they’ll get a chance to write the first left-leaning budget blueprint since 2009 in that chamber.

That would give Democrats an opportunity to show through the tax and spending blueprint how they want to address rising deficits, insolvency projections for social safety net programs, and get a jump on their 2020 message.

Potential Fiscal Year Move Sows Discord on Select Budget Panel
Womack, Lowey disagree on moving government operations to a calendar year

Arkansas Rep. Steve Womack, who co-chairs the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform, says a change to a calendar year would be a motivating force to get spending bills done on time. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The federal government may soon operate on a fiscal year that begins on Jan. 1, if the Republican co-chair of a special committee charged with overhauling the budget and appropriations process has his way. But Democrats on the panel are not sold, throwing into doubt tentative plans to release a full slate of recommendations this month.

Rep. Steve Womack said Friday he expects the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform to change the start of the fiscal year for the first time since 1976, when it was moved to Oct. 1 from July 1. The Arkansas Republican also said the panel is likely to recommend making the annual budget resolution a biennial exercise instead, though it is unlikely to split the appropriations bills over two years, as has been floated.

Divide Over Israel Widens in Democratic Party
Party voices in favor of Palestinian rights, BDS are getting louder

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, here at the Capitol in March, has backed several of President Donald Trump’s domestic policies, further contributing to his country’s divide with Democrats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

On the surface, it looks like the U.S.-Israel relationship is having its best year ever. In May, President Donald Trump fulfilled Israel’s dream of moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and his administration is preparing a Middle East peace plan that will almost certainly have Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s blessing. Congress, meanwhile, is poised to approve $3.3 billion in new defense assistance to Israel, a new high.

But there are political undercurrents that spell trouble for what has traditionally been unquestioned U.S. support for Israel, particularly within the Democratic Party on the eve of a midterm election that could swing the balance of power in one or both chambers of Congress and perhaps profoundly and permanently change the dynamic between the longtime allies.

Photos of the Week: Summer Arrives in Earnest on Capitol Hill
The week of June 25 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., takes a shot as the Democratic team captain Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., looks on from the golf cart during the First Tee’s Congressional Challenge annual golf tournament at the Columbia Country Club golf course Monday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Congress has left town for the 4th of July recess week. As the jet fumes fade, the heat is up in the swamp with temperatures expected in the high 90s. We hope your air conditioner is functioning properly.

Before lawmakers left, the Senate passed several appropriations bills, but the process could slow as the chamber’s focus will presumably shift toward a possible Supreme Court nominee. (President Donald Trump is reportedly considering names now.)

Republican Golfers Relax on the Links, Beat Out Democrats
GOP prevails in the 17th annual Congressional Challenge golf tournament

Reps. Luke Messer R-Ind., Rick Allen, R-Ga., right, play against Reps. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., and Albio Sires, D-N.J., during the First Tee’s Congressional Challenge annual golf tournament at the Columbia Country Club golf course Monday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

In a rare moment in this divisive Congress, a bipartisan group of members spent a peaceful morning just putting around.

They whispered conversations while waiting for a teammate on the green, told each other “nice shot” or laughed at a bad one, and otherwise enjoyed a quiet morning bonding over their love of golf.

Three Members Who Could Question Zuckerberg Hold Facebook Shares
Social media exec faces questions about Cambridge Analytica scandal

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, under fire over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, will testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on April 11. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

Nearly 30 lawmakers hold stock in Facebook — including three who could soon be grilling its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, about a British company that usurped his firm’s data without user consent to possibly help steer elections.

Twenty-eight members listed stock in the social media giant, according to Roll Call’s Wealth of Congress project. Among them, Democratic Reps. Kurt Schrader of Oregon and Joseph P. Kennedy III of Massachusetts sit on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, while Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island sits on Senate Judiciary.

Roll Call’s 2018 March Madness — The Final Four
Four Republicans and four Democrats left standing

We are down to the final four teams in both the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments. 

With Expectations Low, Select Budget Panel Prepares to Meet
Committee has broad mission, but few hard deadlines

Rep. Steve Womack, the new House Budget Committee chairman, is head of the select budget panel. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The select committee tasked with overhauling the budget and appropriations process is mandated by law to meet for the first time this week. But what they plan to talk about remains a mystery.

The law establishing the committee instructs the 16 members to provide “recommendations and legislative language that will significantly reform the budget and appropriations process” before Nov. 30, with an initial meeting to be held by March 11.