Congress

McCarthy ‘not concerned about any retirement’ except Hurd’s
Minority leader predicts Trump will carry more districts held by Democrats than he did in 2016

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks to the media at the U.S. House Republican Member Retreat in Baltimore on Friday. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

BALTIMORE — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the only Republican seat that will be open in 2020 due to a member of his conference retiring that he’s worried about losing is Rep. Will Hurd’s in Texas’ 23rd District. 

“That’s a tough seat. Will Hurd is an exceptional person,” the California Republican told reporters Friday morning as House Republicans kicked off the second day of their conference retreat here. 

Census falling further behind in hiring outreach staff
Partnership specialists are critical to reach hard-to-count populations

Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham said in July that the “the bricks and mortar [strategy] wasn’t working” to protect the agency’s shrinking number of area Census offices and closure of its Questionnaire Assistance Centers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Census officials continue to fall behind their goals for hiring local outreach staff, a critical component in promoting the 2020 census among the hardest-to-count populations in the country, agency officials told an advisory committee.

While several aspects of the preparations, including address verification, are on or ahead of schedule, the U.S. Census Bureau said it remains more than 200 people short of its goal of hiring 1,500 local partnership staff ahead of next year’s count. The hiring problems have come as the agency ramps up for the 2020 enumeration that will be used to determine the number of congressional seats for each state, how federal funds are allocated, and to structure economic surveys.

Bipartisan group urges FDA to go beyond vaping flavor ban
Senators call for more action to curb e-cigarettes

Last week, Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., called on Sharpless to resign if the FDA did not restrict flavored e-cigarette sales, but Durbin said Thursday that Sharpless “responded to my letter in a positive way and I want to give him a chance to show that he’s serious.” (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators from both parties emphasized to the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday that more should be done to curb youth vaping beyond the Trump administration’s decision a day earlier to ban e-cigarette flavors.

Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless briefed the senators in a morning meeting that the organizer, Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Illinois, described in positive terms. Last week, Durbin called on Sharpless to resign if the FDA did not restrict flavored e-cigarette sales, but Durbin said Thursday that Sharpless “responded to my letter in a positive way and I want to give him a chance to show that he’s serious.”

Two top Architect of the Capitol employees have left the agency after investigation
Senate Building Superintendent Takis Tzamaras and House Building Superintendent Bill Weidemeyer both left in July

Acting Architect of the Capitol Thomas Carroll. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two top employees at the Architect of the Capitol who oversaw building operations in the House and Senate are no longer working there, months after they were put on administrative leave while they were investigated for emails critical of Christine Merdon, the former head of the agency.

Senate Building Superintendent Takis Tzamaras and House Building Superintendent Bill Weidemeyer both left the agency in July. Tzamaras said he resigned and Weidemeyer said he retired.

Trump vows to campaign for more House Republicans after North Carolina wins
President delivers one-hour speech to congressional GOP at their retreat in Baltimore

President Donald Trump speaks to House Republicans in Baltimore on Thursday at their annual retreat. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

BALTIMORE — President Donald Trump told House Republicans gathered here Thursday for their annual conference retreat that he plans to campaign in more of their districts to help with their 2020 races. 

“I’m going to stop at every community that I can. We’re going to make a list of 50 or so,” he said. 

Trump, House Republicans met by protests in Baltimore
McCarthy defends president, saying his visit symbolizes that Trump cares for the city

President Donald Trump is speaking to House Republicans in Baltimore on Thursday night. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As House Republicans gathered in Baltimore on Thursday night to hear from President Donald Trump, protesters outside the retreat venue made clear the president’s disparaging remarks about their city were still on their minds. 

Trump in July called the Baltimore-based 7th District of Maryland “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess,” on Twitter while slamming its longtime congressman, Maryland Democrat Elijah E. Cummings, who is African American.

K Street’s CGCN Group picks up big names from Definers
Matt Rhodes and Antonia Ferrier join growing GOP lobbying firm

CGCN has cultivated a reputation as a scrappy, profitable K Street player with big-name clients. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The CGCN Group, a K Street shop known for its deep Republican connections, is scooping up Matt Rhoades and Antonia Ferrier from the communications and opposition research firm Definers Public Affairs.

Rhoades, who managed the 2012 Mitt Romney presidential campaign, will serve as co-CEO, along with GOP lobbyist Sam Geduldig, of CGCN. Ferrier is a former Republican congressional aide, most recently working for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

McCarthy: Addressing debt would be Republicans’ top priority if they take back House
Environment, technology and privacy rights would also top agenda, McCarthy says

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is promising action on the national debt if Republicans retake the chamber next year. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

BALTIMORE — As House Republicans kicked off a 48-hour retreat here Thursday afternoon to plot their path back to the majority, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters the GOP’s top priority if it retakes the chamber in 2020 would be to address the national debt.

“First thing we would do is make sure our debt is taken care of,” the California Republican said. “This is continuing to grow.”

Rep. Chris Collins pleads not guilty to revised indictment, trial still set for February 2020
New York Republican was indicted last August on charges of insider trading and lying to the FBI

Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., pleaded not guilty Thursday to a revised set of charges related to insider trading and lying to the FBI. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Chris Collins pleaded not guilty to a revised indictment on Thursday in New York, where he, his son Cameron Collins and Stephen Zarsky, the father of Cameron Collins’ onetime fiancee, were initially indicted in August 2018 on insider trading charges and lying to the FBI.

Prosecutors have dropped three of the original eight securities fraud charges against Collins and two against his son and Zarsky in order to speed up the pretrial process in time for the trial slated for Feb. 3, 2020.

Pelosi on Trump investigations: ‘We are, from a timing standpoint, where we need to be’
Speaker still refuses to clarify whether she thinks it’s appropriate to call the investigations an impeachment inquiry

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., won’t call Democrats’ investigations into President Donald Trump an impeachment inquiry, but says timing-wise they're where they need to be. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday again declined to say whether she thinks House Democrats’ investigations into President Donald Trump are a formal impeachment inquiry, but she said the probe is proceeding on track. 

“I’m very pleased [with] the path we’re on and the progress we’ve made,” the California Democrat said. “We are, from a timing standpoint, where we need to be.”

House Judiciary approves procedures for impeachment query
Nadler says hearings will start next week with former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski

Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-New York, left, and ranking member Rep. Doug Collins, R-Georgia, are seen during a House Judiciary Committee hearing titled "Lessons from the Mueller Report, Part II: Bipartisan Perspectives," in Rayburn Building in June. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday agreed to a resolution for procedures related to an investigation into the possible impeachment of President Donald Trump, as Democrats and Republicans deeply were split over whether it meant anything at all.

Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-New York, allowed that “there has been a good amount of confusion” about how the committee should talk about the ever-broadening investigation into allegations that Trump committed crimes and abused the power of his office.

Katie Hill sees herself as bridge-builder between House Democratic leaders and progressive freshmen
California freshman is already a member of party leadership

UNITED STATES - JUNE 25: Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif., speaks at a press conference to introduce ACTION for National Service outside of the Capitol on Tuesday June 25, 2019. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Some freshman Democrats in the House have made names for themselves by amassing millions of Twitter followers, leading fiery protests or grilling former Trump officials in the committee room.

Katie Hill, a 32-year-old former nonprofit executive who won a longtime Republican district in the suburbs north of Los Angeles last fall, has made hers by stepping up to leadership roles that allow her to bridge the divides, both ideological and generational, in her caucus.

Even Joe Biden was once the upstart
Former vice president’s 1972 Senate race was long-shot campaign that paid off

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks with Ruth Burrows at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines on Thursday August 8, 2019. Biden is making his third run for president. But his first run for the Senate provide clues to how far he has come in politics. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

This is the sixth installment in “Battle Tested,” a series analyzing early campaigns of some Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination. Earlier pieces focused on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Cory Booker, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Kamala Harris and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Joe Biden was an unknown lawyer in his first term on the New Castle County Council when he started talking to people about his next move.

House Republicans to discuss path back to majority at Baltimore retreat
GOP members to talk politics and policy Thursday through Saturday at their delayed annual retreat

Indiana Rep. Susan W. Brooks, the House Republicans’ campaign recruitment chair, said she’s excited to discuss politics at the GOP retreat in Baltimore that starts Thursday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Fresh off two crucial special election wins in North Carolina, House Republicans head to Baltimore on Thursday for their delayed annual retreat, prepared to spend some quality time discussing how they plan to win back the majority in 2020.

Some of that planning will most certainly involve policy discussions about contrasting their proposals on jobs and the economy, health care, technology, energy and the environment, and other issues with what they often refer to as the Democrats’ “socialist” ideas. But a good chunk of the gathering, which will run from Thursday afternoon through Saturday morning, will be about assessing the political landscape. 

All-day protest draws attention to opioid crisis, 'Medicare for All'
Liberal group makes rounds in lawmaker offices with personal stories

A demonstrator is arrested after protesting outside a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Wednesday, September 11, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

On an early morning in May, Freddie Henderson III’s heart stopped from a fentanyl overdose, a story his sister Jasmine shared Wednesday in the office of Republican Sen. Rob Portman, as part of a larger push by progressive activists to pressure lawmakers into supporting "Medicare for All" legislation and signing onto a separate measure that would inject $100 billion of federal funding to fight the opioid epidemic.

“My brother is now a statistic,” Henderson said. “And even though I do this work for a living, I couldn't save him. And that’s why I’m here.”