New Jersey

Doctor In Menendez Corruption Case Gets 17 Years in Prison
Florida eye doctor defrauded Medicare of $73 million

New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez said in December he still communicates closely with eye doctor Salomon Melgen. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A federal judge on Thursday sentenced the Florida eye doctor linked to New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez’s dropped corruption case to 17 years in prison for defrauding Medicare and stealing $73 million from the system.

Salomon Melgen was sentenced in court for 67 crimes, including health care fraud, submitting false claims and falsifying records in patients’ files.

Ratings Changes: 15 Races Shift Toward Democrats, 1 Toward Republicans
Democratic chances have improved beyond Pennsylvania

From left, Democrats Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey and Stephanie Murphy of Florida are looking more secure in their re-elections this fall, while, from right, Republicans Ted Budd and Mimi Walters may be more vulnerable. (Bill Clark/Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photos)

Less than eight months before Election Day, the midterm landscape is still taking shape. It’s still not clear whether Democrats will have a good night (and potentially fall short of a majority) or a historic night in the House that puts them well over the top. But mounting evidence nationally and at the district level points to a Democratic advantage in a growing number of seats.

Democratic prospects improved in a handful of seats in Pennsylvania, thanks to a new, court-ordered map. And the party’s successes in state and local elections over the last 14 months demonstrate a surge in Democratic voters, particularly in blue areas, that could be problematic for Republican candidates in the fall. GOP incumbents in districts Hillary Clinton carried in 2016 might be particularly susceptible to increased Democratic enthusiasm.

Protesters Flock to Lawmakers’ District Offices for Gun Control
Parkland school shooting reignites gun debate, high schoolers take frontlines

Students calling for Congress to act on gun control demonstrate on the east lawn of the Capitol on February 21, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As more than a thousand high schoolers from the Washington, D.C., area marched from Capitol Hill to the White House to protest for more gun control Wednesday, Americans all over the country joined from afar.

From Upstate New York down to the Florida panhandle, protesters gathered outside conservative lawmakers’ state and district offices to call for legislative action to prevent deadly shootings and pressure members not to accept money from pro-gun lobbying groups.

House Oversight Probes Scott Pruitt’s Travel Expenses
EPA administrator has been under fire for first-class travel and luxury hotel stays

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is among several Trump administration officials under scrutiny for possible travel violations . (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As questions about the official travel habits of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt mount, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is demanding documents and other information on his first-class flights, as it looks into whether federal laws were broken.

Pruitt has for several months been under fire for incurring high travel costs at taxpayer expense. After recent news reports of Pruitt’s use of expensive first-class flights and stays at luxury hotels, an EPA spokesman said the administrator had been given a “blanket waiver” to fly first class for security reasons.

DCCC Announces Six More ‘Red to Blue’ Candidates
The candidates will benefit from additional DCCC resources

Lauren Baer, a former Obama Administration foreign policy expert , is challenging first-term GOP Rep. Brian Mast in Florida’s 18th District. (D.A. Banks/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is adding six more candidates to its Red to Blue program, which helps congressional hopefuls stand out to donors and gain access to committee resources.

The candidates must meet goals for fundraising and grassroots engagement to be added to the program. The candidates will also be able to benefit from additional DCCC staff resources, guidance, trainings and organizational support.

GOP Unlikely to Revisit Spending Ban on Gun Violence Research
Congress has restricted such endeavors for more than two decades

Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole says it was “just not helpful to turn a funding bill into a debate over gun control.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans, at least for now, appear unlikely to allow federal funds for research on gun violence after a nearly 22-year prohibition.

Following yet another mass shooting on Wednesday, at a Parkland, Florida, high school that left 17 dead, two key Republican appropriators said Thursday they don’t anticipate removing or altering an amendment in the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill that bars the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using injury prevention research dollars “to advocate or promote gun control.”

Photos of the Week: Trump Budget Arrival, ADA Protests, and Immigration Debate Grinds to a Halt
The week of Feb. 12 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Boxes containing President Donald Trump’’s fiscal 2019 budget arrive in the House Budget Committee hearing room on Monday morning. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congress has already left town ahead of next week’s Presidents Day recess.

This week saw the arrival of President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2019 budget (if you missed it, we boiled down the agencies that would win and lose under the budget in one chart), House passage (though not without protests) of a bill aimed at curbing American with Disabilities Act lawsuits, and the Senate consideration (and likely the end of consideration) of immigration proposals. 

Senate Banking Panel Advances Fed, Two Other Financial Nominees
Economics professor Marvin Goodfriend endorsed for Federal Reserve Board

The Senate Banking Committee has narrowly endorsed the nomination of Marvin Goodfriend to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Banking Committee narrowly endorsed Thursday the nomination of Marvin Goodfriend to the Federal Reserve Board as Democrats complained that the economics professor is more focused on fighting inflation than creating jobs.

Goodfriend faced opposition from Democrats because of what they described as a lack of commitment to the Fed’s goal of supporting maximum employment. His nomination advanced on a party-line vote of 13-12.

Budget Deal Facing Senate Slowdown, House Objections
Second shutdown in as many months looms larger

Congress continued to lurch toward another government shutdown on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated at 6:47 p.m.Confidence quickly waned Thursday afternoon that a massive $320 billion budget package with stopgap funding needed to avert a government shutdown at midnight would pass quickly as senators lodged procedural objections.

And if House Democratic leaders move from a passive vote-counting effort against the package to an aggressive one — neither chamber may have the time or the votes to pass the package before the current funding bill expires.

Pelosi Immigration Speech Overshadows Democratic Retreat
Minority leader holds floor to talk immigration, while Biden urges party not to get distracted

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi appears on a TV screen during her House floor speech Wednesday as, from left, DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján, Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley and Democratic Caucus Vice Chairwoman Linda T. Sánchez conduct a news conference in the Capitol to open the Democrats’ retreat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

This week’s Democratic retreat was supposed to be an opportunity for House Democrats to fine-tune their message ahead of the November midterm elections.

But House Democrats’ most prominent messenger — and Republicans’ favorite boogeywoman — stole the spotlight, without even attending the major sessions of the opening day of the retreat.