Oklahoma

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.”

House Budget Being Drafted Despite Nearly Insurmountable Obstacles
Topline spending levels, no path to reconciliation among reasons lawmakers to oppose

Budget Chairman Steve Womack, R-Ark., is writing a fiscal 2019 budget resolution despite major obstacles to passing it. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Obstacles to House Republicans passing a fiscal 2019 budget resolution appear insurmountable and have some members questioning why the Budget Committee is even planning to write one. 

Exactly half of the 22 Republicans on the Budget panel — more than enough to block a partisan budget resolution — voted against last week’s budget deal that set fiscal 2019 topline spending levels of $647 billion for defense and $597 billion for nondefense. Under the agreement, House and Senate leaders committed that if their chambers decide to advance fiscal 2019 budget resolutions, they would write them to those topline numbers.

Anger Management in the 2018 Midterms
Who will turn out to vote? Depends on who is angry

Midterms getting you down? Let Stu Rothenberg and Bridget Bowman provide some context. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Howdy from 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.

“Voters who are angry tend to vote in midterms,” Roll Call political analyst Stu Rothenberg says in the latest “Political Theater” podcast. “In bad times, everybody’s angry and everybody wants to send a message,” he continues.

Warren Responds to Trump’s ‘Pocahontas’ Nickname, Defends Family History
Massachusetts Democrat spoke about her family’s Oklahoma background

Sen. Elizabeth Warren spoke at the National Congress of American Indians on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren directly confronted Trump’s nickname for her Wednesday.

The president has a habit, on Twitter and elsewhere, of referring to the liberal senator as “Pocahontas.” It’s directed at Warren’s claim of Native American heritage in her family tree, among the campaign flashpoints when she first ran for Senate.

House Appropriators Ready to Carve Up Budget Deal
Side deal among leaders would divide spending, and could divide members

House Appropriations member Steve Womack, who is also Budget chairman, said he and his fellow appropriators never like to have their work spelled out for them. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A side agreement among congressional leaders to allocate some of the new nondefense funding to opioid abuse prevention, infrastructure and several other priorities is complicating the plan to write a fiscal 2018 omnibus.

Even if that weren’t the case, appropriators say they don’t like being micromanaged.

Senators Prepare for Messaging and Uncertainty From Immigration Debate
‘You know it’s an election year?’

Demonstrators supporting the so-called DREAM Act will likely be back on the Capitol grounds this week, like this group from Jan. 16 in the Hart Building. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators say they are ready for what Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to give them this week: a return to regular order.

But that does not mean it will be easy.

Weekly Bipartisan Prayer Paying Dividends in Senate Negotiations
Lankford, Coons host the breakfast each Wednesday

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., spearheads a weekly prayer breakfast for senators. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate has adopted a more bipartisan tone of late as lawmakers from both parties link up to reach compromises on sweeping spending and immigration packages.

One reason for the detente, at least two senators have said: prayer.

Eagles Super Bowl Parade Boots Heritage Retreat From Philadelphia
Dozens of conservative lawmakers attend the annual Heritage Foundation retreat

A man climbs a traffic pole as Philadelphia Eagles fans celebrate victory in Super Bowl LII against the New England Patriots on Sunday in Philadelphia. The large crowd expected for a victory party this week caused the Heritage Foundation to move its retreat from Philadelphia to Washington. (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)

The annual Heritage Foundation retreat for conservative lawmakers this week has been moved from Philadelphia as the city expects millions of people to flood the streets Thursday for a parade to celebrate the Eagles’ 41-33 Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots.

Heritage officials have relocated the retreat to Washington, D.C.

Rural Areas Feeling Left Behind in Race to Expand Broadband
Lawmakers looking at several options to close digital divide

South Dakota Sen. John Thune talks with reporters Thursday after a news conference at the GOP retreat in West Virginia. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Denny Law’s telecommunications company connects phone lines through the plains of western South Dakota and he’s all-in for ending the rural digital divide.

He said President Donald Trump’s promise to level the playing field with a “great, great broadband,” made during a Jan. 8 speech in Nashville, Tennessee, has energized local providers like himself. And, he added, John Thune, the South Dakota Republican who chairs the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, had better take note.

Cole’s Chief of Staff Dies Suddenly
Sean Murphy worked for Cole since 2007

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., put out a statement honoring his chief of staff. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Tom Cole announced Monday the death of his longtime chief of staff, Sean Murphy.

The Oklahoma Republican put out a statement saying Murphy died suddenly of natural causes.