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Democrats Will Make Fairer Districts, Democrats Say
But historically, gerrymandering isn’t just a Republican issue

People demonstrate against partisan gerrymandering outside the Supreme Court last October. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats say there’s one easy way to create more equitable and fair districts throughout the country: Elect more Democrats.

“More Democrats in office will give us fairer lines,” Sabrina Singh, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, said in an interview before the Supreme Court kicked back two cases on partisan gerrymandering to the lower courts on procedural grounds. 

Here Are the Republicans Opposing Migrant Family Separation
A growing number of GOP legislators are breaking with the Trump administration’s policy

Activists protest against the policy of separating migrant children from their families on Monday in Los Angeles. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Legislators from both parties are raising their voices against the Trump administration policy separating undocumented migrant children from their parents when they cross the southern border.

The policy has garnered intense and unified Democratic opposition, with all 48 of the party’s senators endorsing a bill, proposed by California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, to reverse the policy. A growing number of Republicans also have come out against the current conditions on the border, while largely avoiding placing blame directly on President Donald Trump or his administration.

Senate Appropriations Approves $5M to Pay Interns
New funding approved in the fiscal 2019 Legislative Branch markup

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., has been tackling the issue of paying interns in the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved $5 million Thursday to compensate the chamber’s interns.

Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen teamed up with fellow Democrats Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut, Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, and Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine.

Mitch McConnell, Now the Senate’s Longest-Serving GOP Leader
Kentucky senator surpasses Bob Dole at more than 11 years

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell greets former Sen. Bob Dole during a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda in January. On Tuesday, McConnell surpasses Dole as the longest-serving Senate GOP leader. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When Majority LeaderMitch McConnell highlighted the accomplishments of Senate Republicans on his watch at a gathering of conservatives Friday, the Kentucky Republican was taking a bit of a victory lap ahead of becoming the longest-serving GOP leader in history.

“It’s a lot of fun when you have as much good news to report as we do,” McConnell said at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference. “In my view, the last 16 months have been the single-best period for conservatives since I came to Washington ... back in 1985.”

Spending Cuts Package Faces Uncertain Senate Fate
Narrow House passage, senatorial skepticism could make for rough road

Chairman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, gavels in a Senate Appropriations Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing in Dirksen Building on the FY2019 budget request for the Interior Department on May 10, 2018. Murkowski is dubious of the administration's rescissions package, saying that is the purview of Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A nearly $15 billion package of spending cuts is now in the Senate’s court after the House late Thursday voted 210-206 to pass the “rescissions” measure.

Most Republicans voted to narrowly put the cuts package over the top, though there were 19 GOP defections. Democrats voted unanimously against the measure.

Curtailed Recess Puts Summer Fundraising, Lobbying in Flux
Senators may seek new campaign events in D.C. if they will be here anyway

Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran’s summer retreat fundraiser is slated for Aug. 12-14. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The official Senate calendar isn’t the only agenda in flux after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced he would cancel much of the chamber’s cherished summer recess.

The change may also disrupt plans for fundraising events outside Washington — as well as the dockets of lobbyists, who typically take their annual respite along with the congressional recess.

Congress’ Focus on Opioids Misses Larger Crisis
‘All the bills are tinkering around the edges,’ one health official says

Targeting prescription opioids puts Congress years behind the crisis, which is largely driven by illicit nonprescription drugs. Above, heroin users at a New York City park in May. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

By SANDHYA RAMAN, ANDREW SIDDONS and MARY ELLEN McINTIRE

Congress faced a startling public health and political problem throughout 2016 as the number of people dying from opioid addiction climbed. The number of Americans succumbing to drug overdoses more than tripled between 1999 and 2015, affecting a whiter and more geographically diverse population than previous drug crises. Lawmakers ultimately approved some modest policies aimed at curbing prescription drug abuse and provided $1 billion to support state efforts.

Tweaked Trump Cuts Request Restores EPA, Ebola, Sandy Funds
But whip count could be close, with burden solely on GOP to pass rescissions package

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and his office sent a revised rescissions package to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, although timing on a possible vote is unclear. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration revoked a slice of its $15.2 billion “rescissions” request Tuesday, targeting items that received a cool response from GOP lawmakers whose votes will be needed but leaving intact most of the original proposal.

The Office of Management and Budget sent a letter to Capitol Hill proposing to reduce the size of the cuts by a combined $515 million, with nearly half of that coming from restoration of $252 million in unspent funds that could potentially be used to combat a renewed Ebola virus outbreak overseas. Democrats have cited the recent Ebola resurgence in the Democratic Republic of Congo as reason to blast Republicans for considering the cuts.

Tina Smith Maiden Speech Addresses #MeToo, Franken and the Future
Appointed Minnesota DFL senator is running to fill out predecessor’s term this fall

Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., appointed to fill the seat of Al Franken, is running in a special election to fill out his term. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith delivered her maiden speech on the floor Tuesday with a message seemingly designed to turn the page on the circumstances that brought her to Congress.

Joining the Senate in January, Smith took over the seat vacated by fellow Democrat Al Franken, who stepped aside following allegations of sexual misconduct.

Growth in Domestic Oil and Natural Gas Poses New Policy Issues
Republicans want to make overseas shipment of liquefied natural gas easier

The United States is flush with supplies of oil and natural gas — and that has lawmakers contemplating policy changes. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images file photo)

When it comes to U.S. energy supplies, Congress’ default setting for decades had been worry: worry that America did not have enough energy to meet its needs and worry that OPEC would hold the U.S. hostage by jacking up the price of — or withholding — its oil.

That setting has changed. With the U.S. flush with supplies of oil and natural gas over the past few years, Congress has permitted the export of domestic oil and raided the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to reduce the budget deficit and offset costs of unrelated legislation. And now Republicans want to make it easier for producers to ship liquefied natural gas overseas.