HSEC

Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez Solidifies Lead in New Jersey Race
September polls showed a tight race, but incumbent has opened sizable lead over GOP challenger Bob Hugin

Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey appeared to widen his lead over Republican nominee Bob Hugin in a new poll. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez appears to be solidifying his lead over businessman and Republican nominee Bob Hugin, according to a new Monmouth University poll that found the Democratic incumbent leading Hugin by 9 points in a standard midterm voter model.

Nearly half, 49 percent, of the 527 likely New Jersey voters surveyed for the poll released Thursday favored Menendez, while Hugin captured just 40 percent support.

EPA Aims to Triple Pace of Deregulation in Coming Year
Agency hopes to revoke waiver allowing tougher standards in California and other states

A worker inserts a probe into the tailpipe of a car while performing an emissions test in San Francisco. The Trump administration plans to freeze fuel economy and tailpipe emissions standards, as part of a larger deregulatory push. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

The Environmental Protection Agency released a plan for eliminating regulations next year that would likely dwarf its current rule-cutting pace.

The agency expects to finalize approximately 30 deregulatory actions and fewer than 10 regulatory actions in fiscal 2019, according to the Trump administration’s Unified Agenda, released Tuesday.

Analysis: Here’s Why Trump’s Budget Proposal May Cut Deeper Than Advertised
Even cutting 5 percent would be a tough sell in Congress for either party

Obama budget director Jack Lew also got tough with agency budgets. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump’s new push to trim the proposed budgets of all federal agencies next year could prove more draconian than it sounds, amounting to a 25 percent cut for all nondefense programs compared to the current year.

Technically, the request is for 5 percent cuts across the Cabinet departments, as Trump laid out at a White House event Wednesday: “We’re going to ask every [Cabinet] secretary to cut 5 percent for next year,” Trump told reporters, presumably referring to fiscal 2020, beginning next October.

Steven Mnuchin Pulls Out of Saudi Conference, as Pompeo Urges Caution
Secretary of State: ‘We ought to give them a few more days’ to complete Khashoggi investigation

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in July. On Thursday he said he was reserving judgment on what happened to Jamal Khashoggi. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 11:55 a.m. | Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has decided, after consultation with President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, not to attend a high-profile investors conference in Saudi Arabia, he tweeted Thursday.

The announcement came amid bipartisan outrage over the kingdom’s suspected involvement in the disappearance of a dissident journalist.

Donald Trump Once Wanted to Buy the FBI Headquarters, Now House Dems Are Asking Questions
New request sent to agency in charge for documents about potential conflicts

The front of the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building on Pennsylvania Ave. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Key House Democrats pressed the head of the General Services Administration to provide more information Thursday about President Donald Trump’s role in the proposal to rebuild the FBI headquarters building on its current footprint on Pennsylvania Ave.

“As a direct result of President Trump’s clear conflict of interest on this matter, we are now requesting information and documents to determine whether the President is making decisions about the FBI headquarters building based on what is best for the country or what is best for his own financial bottom-line,” wrote the five House members, who are all ranking members of relevant committees or subcommittees.

12 Ratings Changes for House, Senate and Gubernatorial Races: 4 Toward GOP, 8 Toward Democrats
Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales — an authoritative look at where things stand for 2018

With so many close races in the ever-changing 2018 landscape, Roll Call elections analyst Nathan Gonzales has one big question: how long after Election Day will the nation have to wait before knowing which party will control Congress? Watch the video for Gonzales’ analysis, plus a debrief on a handful of ratings changes less than three weeks out, which are listed in full below.

Senate

Nick Saban, Jerry West, Bob Huggins Boost Joe Manchin in West Virginia
Sports legends cut ad for West Virginia Democratic senator

The latest ad from Sen. Joe Manchin III just might get more views in the heart of SEC Country than in West Virginia.

In the video circulated Wednesday evening, Manchin picks up the endorsement of his old friend Nick Saban, the championship-winning football coach at the University of Alabama.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
Sean Astin wants to talk #climate, Cruz gets Hollywood endorsement, and IBM teaches cyber

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

Sherrod Brown: ‘Desperate’ Sexual Assault Claims Won’t Work
Challenger Jim Renacci says, without evidence, that he’s heard accusations from multiple women

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, labeled his midterm election opponent, Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, “desperate” for levying allegations of sexual assault against him. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Sherrod Brown summarily dismissed unsubstantiated allegations of sexual assault levied against him by his opponent in the upcoming midterms, Rep. Jim Renacci, labeling the Ohio Republican’s claims “desperate.”

“Congressman Renacci’s failed and desperate campaign gets worse every day,” Brown’s campaign said in a statement, multiple outlets reported Wednesday.