Agriculture

House GOP Appropriators Facing Steep Turnover in 116th Congress
Both parties have endured upheaval in wave elections in the past

Two senior House GOP appropriators,  John Culberson, R-Texas, left, and Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., personify the challenged facing the Appropriations panel heading into the 2018 midterms. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Democratic “wave” this November, should one materialize, could result in the departure of as many as five senior House Republican appropriators, which would mark the biggest wipeout of major players from one side of the dais in 26 years.

Three subcommittee “cardinals” are facing tough re-election fights this November: Commerce-Justice-Science Chairman John Culberson and Military Construction-VA Chairman John Carter, both of Texas, and Homeland Security Chairman Kevin Yoder of Kansas.

California Wildfires Headed to Capitol Hill
Funding fire suppression a looming issue

A firefighting helicopter drops water as the Holy Fire burns near homes on Friday in Lake Elsinore, California. Wildfires continue to burn in the state. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Lawmakers thought they fixed the U.S. Forest Service’s “fire borrowing” problem earlier this year. But the breadth and intensity of fires scorching the West this year is likely to prompt the agency to raid other accounts one last time before budgetary changes go into effect in fiscal 2020.

The issue could come to a head once again on Capitol Hill in the coming weeks and months, as lawmakers and the administration weigh the need for another infusion of taxpayer dollars ahead of the midterm elections — and California’s devastating fires have already become a campaign issue.

Pot Business Expected to Boom, Lighting Up Pressure on Lawmakers
More that a dozen states expected to expand legalization by 2025, report says

Secret Service block pro-marijuana protesters from carrying their 51-foot inflated marijuana joint down Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With marijuana legalization measures expected to pass in 13 more states by 2025, the legal pot market would reach more than $30 billion, according to an industry report released Thursday. 

The trend is bound to increase pressure on lawmakers to stake positions on one of the country’s most rapidly evolving social issues — the legalization of pot and cannabis — according to the report from New Frontier Data, a nonpartisan market research firm. 

Donald Trump’s Toughest Adversary? That Would Be Donald Trump
The president’s desire to hog the midterm spotlight guarantees a nationalization of the election

President Donald Trump has stated a desire to insert himself into the midterm election process. That could be a problem for Republicans in tough races. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — While President Trump complains about the national media, Democrats, Robert S. Mueller’s Russian “witch hunt” and the political establishment, none of those things is why the November House elections are a major headache for the Republican Party. Donald Trump’s biggest problem is Donald Trump.

Trump has turned what could have been a challenging midterm election environment into a potentially disastrous one. Through his tweets and statements, the president continues to make the 2018 midterm elections a referendum on his first two years in office.

Mitch McConnell Is Already Running for Re-Election — In 2020
Formally announced his plans in Kentucky on Saturday

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Saturday that he will seek re-election in 2020. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proved again this weekend he won’t be caught asleep at the wheel when it comes to his own campaigns in Kentucky.

McConnell formally announced Saturday his plans to seek a seventh term, speaking at a Republican breakfast in western Kentucky ahead of the Fancy Farm picnic, which is the bipartisan political event of the year in the commonwealth.

More Than Just ‘Regular Order’ at Stake in Senate Spending Push
Most vulnerable Senators now have material to take on the campaign trail

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate approval of a $154.2 billion, four-bill spending package this week wasn’t just a banner moment for bipartisanship and the open debate and amendment process senators have been promoting.

There’s also a more practical reason: giving the most vulnerable senators on both sides of the aisle something to crow about on the campaign trail.

Tennessee Poised to Return to All-Male House Delegation in 2019
Tim Burchett, John Rose win contested GOP primaries; David Kustoff survives challenge

Tennessee Republican John Rose won the GOP nod in the 6th District on Thursday night. (Courtesy John Rose)

Tennessee appears poised to switch to an all-male House delegation next Congress after the only woman in a contested open-seat Republican primary lost Thursday night. 

The two women in the state’s current House delegation opted not to run for re-election. 6th District Rep. Diane Black lost her GOP primary for governor Thursday night, while 7th District Rep. Marsha Blackburn easily secured the Republican nod for Senate. There has been at least one woman in the Volunteer State’s House delegation since Blackburn was first elected in 2002. 

3 Things to Watch in Tennessee’s Thursday Primaries
Can a woman win a seven-way GOP primary in Knoxville area?

Ashley Nickloes is the only woman running in a seven-way GOP primary in Tennessee’s 2nd District. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Tennessee has the honor of voting on a Thursday — yes, a Thursday. While most of the attention will be on the competitive Republican gubernatorial primary, there’s plenty of action on the GOP side at the congressional level, too.

Three House Republicans from the Volunteer State aren’t seeking re-election. Diane Black is running for governor, Marsha Blackburn is running for Senate and John J. Duncan Jr. is retiring. That’s made for a few crowded primaries among ambitious conservatives looking to take advantage of open-seat races. Meanwhile, a freshman in the delegation is being outspent more than 2-to-1 by his primary challenger.

Senate Passes Spending Package, Rejects Trump’s Proposed Cuts
Chamber has now passed seven of the 12 annual spending bills

Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., has shepherded a largely bipartisan appropriations process, pushing forward a four-package spending measure on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate approved a $154.2 billion, four-bill fiscal 2019 spending package Wednesday as a continuing bipartisan effort in the chamber pushed it ahead of the House in the appropriations process.

The vote was 92-6. Republicans cast the opposing votes: Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania.

House Conservatives Could Tank a Quick Fall Spending Push
Pre-election passage could leave them without bargaining chips in lame-duck immigration fight, they fear

Republicans backing Jim Jordan for speaker may dig in against leadership appropriations strategy. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republican conservatives are mulling a plan to try to sink passage of a combined spending package for the Pentagon, education, health care and worker assistance programs before the elections.

They fear enactment of the Defense and Labor-HHS-Education measures — the two largest appropriations bills with the highest priority programs for Republicans and Democrats, respectively — would leave conservatives with little leverage in a lame-duck session fight over immigration and border security.