North Dakota

Kentucky Senate: Seriously, are we doing this again?
Amy McGrath is giving Democrats hope. They should know better

Amy McGrath is running for Senate in Kentucky, hoping to topple Mitch McConnell. But the fundamentals of the state make it a difficult task for her. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — I understand Democrats’ frustration with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, as well as their desire to send him into retirement in the 2020 elections. But once again Democrats have gotten ahead of themselves in their optimism that they can defeat the Kentucky Republican.

Six years ago, Democrats and many in the national media gushed about the prospects of Alison Lundergan Grimes against McConnell. Grimes was young, articulate and personable, and she was the state’s sitting secretary of state.

Mueller hearing format gets complaints from junior Judiciary members
GOP members aired complaints that testimony from Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III would be limited to 2 hours

Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and ranking member Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., conduct a House Judiciary Committee markup May 8, 2019. Collins and other Republicans expressed concern that testimony from Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III would be limited to two hours next week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee aired complaints Thursday that testimony from Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III would be limited to two hours next week — meaning some members from both parties won’t get an opportunity to ask questions.

Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the committee’s top Republican, was among the members who described a format that would have Mueller leave to appear before the House Intelligence Committee, a smaller panel where all members are expected to have time to ask questions.

GOP senators sound optimistic about Trump’s new Fed picks
They’re at least faring better than the president’s last two picks

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., spoke highly of Federal Reserve nominee Christopher Waller. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A week after President Donald Trump tweeted his intention to nominate Judy Shelton and Christopher Waller to the Federal Reserve Board, GOP senators are expressing cautious optimism about both picks, despite Shelton’s unorthodox views on monetary policy.

They’re at least better than the president’s previous two picks — Stephen Moore and Herman Cain dropped out before they were officially nominated — said Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Alabama. “Well, we haven’t evaluated them yet, but the previous two were lacking in a lot of things,” he said.

Trump’s pick to lead the Pentagon brings military experience and political savvy to his new job
A former Raytheon lobbyist, Esper has also been an Army officer and congressional staffer

Sen. Jack Reed, left, speaks with Army Secretary Mark Esper before the start of an Armed Services hearing in March. President Donald Trump on Tuesday tapped Esper to be acting Defense secretary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Mark Esper has been an Army officer, congressional staffer and corporate lobbyist. Now the Army secretary is the third person President Donald Trump has tapped to lead the Pentagon, at least temporarily.

In two tweets Tuesday afternoon, Trump announced that acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan was out after six months on the job — and was withdrawing from consideration for the permanent post to “devote more time to his family.” Esper, in turn, got promoted and a ringing endorsement from the commander in chief.

This senator lost one son, but gained another
Death and murder shook his family, but Father’s Day is still a time of joy for Kevin Cramer

Kevin and Kris Cramer, center, pose for a family photo. Son Isaac, far right, died last year. (Courtesy Kevin Cramer)

Father’s Day at Kevin Cramer’s house is “wonderfully chaotic,” as the senator puts it, even with grief still fresh. It’s not much different from any other weekend: Four kids and five rambunctious grandchildren running around, plus a big piece of meat on the grill — maybe a burger, maybe moose.

“You can eat moose?” I ask skeptically.

Safe climate a constitutional right, young plaintiffs tell court
But government argues case violates Constitution’s separation of powers

Workers watch a gas flare at an oil well site in Williston, N.D., in 2013. The young climate activists in Juliana v. United States have argued that the federal  government’s policies supporting fossil fuel directly contributed to global climate change, which in turn threatens their lives and security. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images file photo)

PORTLAND, Ore. — A court case brought by 21 children and young adults asserting a constitutional right to safe climate may turn on the judiciary’s view of its own power to create climate policy.

Much of a hearing before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals here Tuesday afternoon centered on the judicial role in establishing a response to climate change and what rights a group of young activists have to challenge the government’s role in creating a climate crisis. If successful, the suit could require federal agencies to create a comprehensive climate action plan. The shape of such a plan is still unclear. 

Still no public timeline for Jared Kushner immigration plan
Presidential son-in-law briefed Senate GOP on details Tuesday

Jared Kushner, senior adviser and son-in-law to President Donald Trump, stepped out of the Vice President’s office in the Senate Reception Room for a phone call Tuesday after attending the Senate Republicans’ weekly policy lunch. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When White House senior adviser Jared Kushner came to visit Senate Republicans on Tuesday to reportedly discuss an immigration overhaul he is developing, he did not have a full plan ready to go for solving what his own party says is a crisis.

Multiple Republican senators said there was no evidence that the Trump administration has set a timeline for a public rollout, but Kushner, the son-in-law of President Donald Trump, did present some ideas that were new to many members of the conference.

Alice Rivlin, first CBO chief and Clinton budget director, dies

Alice Rivlin, the founding director of the Congressional Budget Office, former director of the Office of Management and Budget and a member of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, died Tuesday at the age of 88. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call)

Alice M. Rivlin, an economist, budget and health care expert respected on both sides of the aisle and the first director of the Congressional Budget Office, died Tuesday at the age of 88 after a battle with cancer.

The Brookings Institution, where she served as a senior fellow, confirmed Rivlin’s death.

‘Grimmer by the day’ — Farmers’ love for Trump in peril
President’s trade actions are testing farmers in ways they never imagined

President Donald Trump’s trade actions are testing American farmers in ways they never imagined, Murphy writes, even though that’s exactly what he campaigned on. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — The love affair between President Donald Trump and rural America has always made sense to me.

When I covered the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump often went to remote farm communities where Democrats, and even other Republican candidates, never bothered.

Road ahead: House health care week again, as Senate tackles contentious nominations
House Democrats also voting on Equality Act, which will mark passage of half of their top 10 bills

Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., is lead sponsor of the Equality Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It’s health care week, part two, in the House as the chamber will vote on a package of seven bills designed to strengthen the 2010 law and lower prescription drug prices — after passing a measure last week that Democrats said would protect people with pre-existing conditions.

But the health care package won’t be the only marquee legislation on the floor this week. Democrats will be halfway through advancing their top 10 bills out of the House after a vote on HR 5, the Equality Act.