conservatives

Republican Divide, Mistrust Dooms Farm Bill in House
Failure is major blow to House Republican leaders

Despite pleas from Speaker Paul D. Ryan and his leadership team, Republicans did not united behind the farm bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 5:20 p.m. | The farm bill’s defeat Friday wasn’t the outcome House Republican leadership was expecting. 

GOP leaders headed to the floor for the vote with an inconclusive whip count. They knew the vote would be close. But they felt fairly confident based on private conversations they had throughout the week that their commitment to hold a vote on immigration legislation in the coming weeks would sway enough Freedom Caucus members whose votes they needed.

Congress Doesn’t Report Diversity Because It Doesn’t Have to
While federal agencies must report the diversity of their employees, there is no such requirement of Congress

Kemba Hendrix, director of the House Democrats’ Diversity Initiative, took on her role in November. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 10:30 a.m. with figures for House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer’s staff | If you ask a House or Senate office to break down the diversity of its staff, chances are it won’t. Because it doesn’t have to.

While the executive branch has to provide data on the racial and ethnic makeup of its staff for the public record, there is no rule mandating that congressional offices do the same.

Freedom Caucus Wants to Delay Farm Bill for Immigration Votes
Meadows says more than enough conservatives prepared to block passage of farm bill

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and members of his hard-line conservative group want floor action on immigration before the House finishes the farm bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 9:25 p.m. | House Freedom Caucus members continued to hold the farm bill hostage to their demand for a floor vote on immigration late into Thursday evening, less than 24 hours before a scheduled vote on final passage on the farm bill. 

Republican leaders appear to need the caucus members’ support to pass the farm bill, which is opposed by most Democrats and some GOP moderates. 

House Republicans Get Closer to Deal for Immigration Floor Votes
Agreement could pave way for farm bill passage as well

Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., and his allies are getting closer to a deal on immigration votes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Virginia GOP Primaries Overwhelmed by Personal Attacks, Candidates Say
Racist attacks on candidates’ names, fake blog posts on penis enlargement among the attacks

Corey Stewart, President Donald Trump’s Virginia campaign chairman for 2016 now running for the Senate says politics has always been a “blood sport.” (Corey Stewart for U.S. Senate via Facebook)

The Republican primaries in Virginia have become a haven for schoolyard bully tactics as candidates unleash personal attacks on each other in ways and to a degree seldom seen in American politics.

One candidate blazing that trail is Senate hopeful and President Donald Trump’s former state campaign chairman Corey Stewart.

Analysis: Famous Names on the Ballot? Sure, We Got ’Em
Celebrities, semi-celebrities and their families vie for a ticket to Congress

Levi Sanders, center, here in 1995 with his father, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left and Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., is running for an open seat in New Hampshire.  (Maureen Keating/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Every election cycle, at least a few “semi-celebrities” (or those with connections to semi-celebrities) run for office. This cycle is no exception.

Actress Cynthia Nixon of “Sex in the City” fame is running for the Democratic nomination for governor of New York, while Greg Pence, the vice president’s brother, won the Republican nomination in Indiana’s 6th District.

Opinion: Is It Too Early for North Carolina Democrats to Get Their Hopes Up, Again?
After years of dashed dreams, progressives are back to seeing blue

The Rev. William Barber hosts a “Moral Monday” in Raleigh in 2016. With efforts like Barber’s Poor People’s Campaign gaining steam in North Carolina, progressives are once again seeing blue at the end of the tunnel, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In 2008, Barack Obama’s slim North Carolina victory in his first presidential run had Democrats in the state celebrating in the present and dreaming of a blue future in what had been considered a (relatively) progressive Southern state. Boy, were those dreams premature.

But 10 years later — after new redistricting and voting rules solidified GOP control in both the state and U.S. House delegations and a bill on LGBT rights made the state a poster child for conservative social policies — Democrats are again seeing light at the end of a deep-red tunnel.

Farm Bill Flux: Moderate Republicans Not Lining Up to Support
Freedom Caucus senses opportunity to leverage influence

Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J., is among several moderate Republicans opposed or leaning to opposition to the farm bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Several moderate House Republicans are firmly opposed to the farm bill or considering voting against it, providing leverage to conservatives who are trying to make their support contingent on securing a separate vote on an immigration bill.

New Jersey Reps. Frank LoBiondo, Christopher Smith, Leonard Lance and Rodney Frelinghuysen said they are “no” or leaning “no” on the farm bill.

GOP Leaders Float Alternative to Immigration Discharge Petition
Denham says discharge petition supporters working with leadership but have the signatures

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis.,and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., are working on an immigration plan with President Donald Trump they hope will stop a discharge petition moderate Republicans are pushing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 7:35 p.m. | House Republican leaders and the conservative rank and file are desperately trying to kill a discharge petition that would trigger a series of immigration votes, likely resulting in House passage of a bill carried mostly by Democrats.

Moderate Republicans say they have enough support to force a vote on a “queen of the hill” rule that would set up votes on four different immigration bills, with the one receiving the most support above the required simple majority threshold advancing. But not all the members whose support they’re counting on have signed on to the discharge petition yet, partly because GOP leaders insist they’ll have an alternative solution.

Opinion: It’s Too Soon to Bet the Ranch on the Midterms
With enthusiasm gap closing, blue wave is no longer a sure thing

Betting on how the vote will go in November is becoming less and less clear, Winston writes. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

So, the Supreme Court this week OK’d sports betting by the states, giving plaintiffs Chris Christie and New Jersey a big win. Not being a gambler, I hesitate to give advice, but maybe the bookmakers can kick off their newly won legal status with the 2018 congressional elections. After all, these days, politics is somewhat akin to a professional sport, but knowing where to place a bet this fall — on the Dems or the GOP — is becoming less and less clear.

A few months ago, most political prognosticators would have characterized the Democrats’ chances of winning back the House as just shy of a sure thing. They predicted, with a modicum of certainty, an impending blue wave, destined to wipe the Republican House majority off the map. Many are still putting their chips on the Democrats to win, place and show.