Trump Replaces McMaster With Hawkish Bolton
Three-star general will retire from Army this summer

National security adviser H.R. McMaster speaks about the situation in Syria during a discussion at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on March 15. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster is leaving the White House as President Donald Trump brings in his third national security adviser in 14 months amid signals the president is poised to execute a West Wing purge.

A White House official said Trump and McMaster mutually agreed on the resignation. 

To the Moon and Beyond! — Mission to Mars Funding in Omnibus
Goal is to put an astronaut on the red planet during Trump’s time in the White House

NASA for years has been planning long-range space exploration to the moon and Mars. Back in 2006, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, Associate Administrator Scott Horowitz, and Constellation Program Manager Jeffrey Hanley discussed the Constellation Program, the space agency’s plan for robotic and human exploration of the moon and Mars. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump is hoping to land a U.S. astronaut on Mars during his tenure in the White House, and Congress is prepared to continue to back up that mission.

The fiscal 2018 spending bill would provide $1.35 billion in funding for the Orion Spacecraft at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The program, which received the same level of funding for fiscal 2017, is aimed at building a vehicle for deep-space travel, including the moon and Mars.

Waiting for an Omnibus to Arrive
Lawmakers show off their acumen for theater on the floor

The Capitol is wrapped up in trying to pass the omnibus this week, the long-delayed conclusion to the fiscal 2018 spending process. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Welcome 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.

The slow-rolling public health disaster that is the opioid epidemic is finally getting Washington’s attention. Earlier this week, President Donald Trump trekked to New Hampshire to tout his plan to address the crisis and the omnibus spending bill slogging through Congress puts some real money into plans to help those in need. 

House Passes $1.3 Trillion Omnibus Spending Bill, Starting Process to Avert Shutdown
Massive measure was released the night before the vote, so members didn’t have time to read it

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., walks through Statuary Hall on his way to his office after the House voted to proceed with the omnibus funding bill Thursday morning. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House on Thursday passed a $1.3 trillion fiscal 2018 omnibus appropriations bill, starting the process for averting a government shutdown and ending government funding by stopgap. 

The vote was 256-167. The bill includes funding boosts for defense that Republicans sought, as well as for domestic programs on the nondefense side of the ledger that Democrats sought. 

Paul Ryan Says He’s Done ‘A Phenomenal Job’ Restoring Regular Order
Speaker blames rushed omnibus process on Democrats, deadlines and a funeral

Speaker Paul D. Ryan says Republicans have done a “phenomenal job” when it comes to restoring so-called regular order to the House. Also pictured, from left, Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney and House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan thinks he’s lived up to his promise to open up debate on legislation and restore so-called regular order in the House, blaming the rushed process of the fiscal 2018 omnibus on Democrats, deadlines and a funeral. 

“By and large, we’ve done a phenomenal job,” the Wisconsin Republican said when asked if he feels he’s delivered on the promises he made to House Republicans when taking over as speaker in 2015.

House Narrowly Passes Rule to Begin Debate on Omnibus
Some Freedom Caucus members join Democrats in voting against it

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows and former chairman Jim Jordan are leading their group's charge against the omnibus. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House on Thursday narrowly passed a rule to begin debate on the $1.3 trillion fiscal 2018 omnibus appropriations bill, a more-than-2200 page measure GOP leaders had released just the previous night.

Several members of the hard-line conservative House Freedom Caucus joined Democrats in voting against the rule, which set up a single hour of debate and blocked amendments to the bill. The final tally was 211-207. 

DCCC Adds Two Black Candidates to Red to Blue
Women now make up the majority of 33 candidates in program

Texas Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones made the DCCC’s Red to Blue list. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is releasing its fourth round of Red to Blue candidates Thursday. 

The nine latest additions include two African-Americans. The DCCC had been criticized for not including any black candidates on the list so far this cycle.

With Omnibus, Trump Learning You Can’t Always Get What You Want
White House priorities reflected, but not some of the premier asks

Speaker Paul D. Ryan glances toward President Donald Trump during a Feb. 28 ceremony for the late Rev. Billy Graham at the Capitol. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters/Pool file photo)

Lawmakers defied President Donald Trump by excluding many of his demands in an emerging government spending bill. But the measure is not a complete loss for the commander in chief despite the late-game lobbying needed to secure his always tenuous support.

By mid-afternoon Wednesday, as lawmakers were saying final negotiations were underway, Trump’s signature was not yet certain. White House aides had gone silent on the matter, usually a sign the boss is unhappy. But the president signed off on the omnibus spending deal during an afternoon meeting with Speaker Paul D. Ryan, according to a Republican leadership source familiar with the meeting.

Read the Bill or Get Out of Town Quickly? On Omnibus, Congress Chooses the Latter
‘This is a Great Dane-sized whiz down the leg of every taxpayer in America,’ Sen. Kennedy says

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., compared the process of considering the omnibus appropriations package to a big dog urinating on taxpayers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Congress stares at a Friday deadline to fund the government, the reality that members will have scant time to actually read or process the $1.3 trillion fiscal 2018 omnibus before voting on it is starting to sink in.

The Wednesday night filing of the more than 2,200-page measure was the starting pistol that sent lawmakers into a mad dash against the government funding clock. They were given 52 hours.

Opinion: Some Dems Want to Dump Nancy Pelosi. Are They Nuts?
Democratic leader a tough act to follow

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., may be the only real man in Washington, Patricia Murphy writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

I have often believed that Nancy Pelosi is the only real man in Washington.

She’s got skin thicker than a rhinoceros. She raises money like a hedge fund chairman. Her personal ambitions are as obvious as they are legendary and, unlike the male congressional leaders before her and around her, she never, never, never gives up.