health care

Cruz, O’Rourke Steal Spotlight, but House Races in Texas Are Heating Up Too
Democrats eye multiple pickup opportunities in Lone Star State

Democrats say energy around Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s Senate campaign could help their House candidates in Texas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Texas Senate race has been grabbing headlines lately, but Democrats hoping for good news in November from the Lone Star State might want to focus further down the ballot, where several contests could be critical to House control.

Both parties have ramped up their activities in a handful of competitive Texas districts, with the Republican and Democratic campaign committees launching television ads in key races last week.

Candidates Get Candid About Their Cancer Diagnoses in TV Ads
Democrats open up about personal medical struggles to talk about health care

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill is just the latest candidate to talk about her own cancer diagnosis in a campaign ad this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill got personal in a recent ad, talking about something that she’s never addressed in a political spot before: cancer — specifically, her own diagnosis.

“Two years ago, I beat breast cancer,” the two-term Democrat says to camera. “Like thousands of other women in Missouri, I don’t talk about it much.”

Why It’s NOT the Economy, Stupid
With growth up, unemployment down, voters are focusing on other issues

National Republicans are hoping the strong economy will boost candidates like Jim Hagedorn, their nominee in Minnesota’s 1st District, seen here campaigning Sunday at the Applefest parade in La Crescent, Minn. However, public polling shows the economy is not at the top of voters’ concerns. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS — Last week, the National Republican Congressional Committee released a web video entitled “Better Off Now.” According to NRCC communications director Matt Gorman, who was quoted in the accompanying press release, “November comes down to one question: Are Americans better off now than they were two years ago?” That might be what Republicans want, but it is not likely to be voters’ sole motivation as they cast their ballots. 

According to Gorman, voters will “keep Republicans in the majority.” The economy certainly is good, and there is no reason to believe that will change before November.

Exchange Programs Aren’t Just for High Schoolers. Congressmen Do It Too
Nebraska and California congressmen trade views of their districts

Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., left, visited Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Calif., in his district in August. (Courtesy office of Rep. Salud Carbajal)

Say “exchange program,” and most people think of traveling teens.

That was true for Rep. Don Bacon, whose family hosted a German exchange student when he was 16. Mostly, the pair geeked out over American cars.

GOP Super PAC Dings Nebraska Democrat on Medicare-for-All
Kara Eastman is taking on GOP Rep. Don Bacon in 2nd District

Kara Eastman is the Democratic nominee in Nebraska’s 2nd Disrict. (Courtesy Kara Eastman for Congress)

The Congressional Leadership Fund is launching a new television ad knocking Democrat Kara Eastman over her support for a Medicare-for-All proposal, a sign Republicans view the attack as a salient one in the competitive Nebraska district. 

The 30-second ad, which launches in the Omaha media market Tuesday, will run for roughly two weeks. Eastman is taking on Republican freshman Don Bacon in the 2nd District, which President Donald Trump carried by by 3 points in 2016. 

Republicans Face Critical Moment With Kavanaugh
Allegation against Supreme Court nominee heaps cultural importance on what senators do

Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh meets with Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a member of the Judiciary Committee, in July. Graham said on Sunday that he is willing to hear Kavanaugh’s accuser, but said that should happen “immediately.” (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS: President Donald Trump’s pick for a pivotal spot on the Supreme Court already put the Senate at the confluence of the nation’s contentious political and legal movements.  But a woman’s allegation of sexual assault by Brett Kavanaugh  — dating back decades to when he was a teenager — heaps cultural importance as well on what senators do at this moment.

Senators, particularly Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Republicans who have relentlessly insisted on a confirmation vote this month, now have to decide what to do amid a “Me Too” movement that has exposed how these types of allegations have been hidden, mishandled or simply ignored by powerful men in the past. 

Chuck Schumer Navigates the Resistance
The Senate’s Democratic leader wants to get along with everyone. Now he finds himself between Scylla and Charybdis

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Charles Schumer waves an American flag after unveiling the Democrats’ ‘Better Deal for Our Democracy’ platform in May. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Back when he was policy director for Sen. Charles E. Schumer, Jim Kessler had a conversation with his boss about working with a high-profile Republican. This is how it went, according to Kessler.

Schumer: I can call Newt, he likes me.

Health Groups Sue Over Short-Term Insurance Plans
Critics warn plans would yield discriminatory practices

The U.S. Capitol building is seen behind two ambulances Friday, June 15, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Seven health care groups sued Friday to invalidate the Trump administration’s plan to expand the sale of short-term health insurance plans, arguing they don’t actually meet the definition of “short-term.”

The plans would harm patients and disrupt insurance markets nationwide, the groups say. Under the rule, it could become more difficult for patients with pre-existing conditions to obtain health coverage. The administration’s “justifications for this rule are directly contrary to the congressional determinations embodied in the text and structure of the ACA,” they argue.

Cramer Counters Health Care Attacks With New Ad
North Dakota Republican is on defense in Senate race over pre-existing conditions

Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., is challenging Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., in a high-profile Senate race. Here, the two attend an event with National Guardsmen in Bismarck, N.D., in August. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer is taking to the airwaves to combat Democratic ads that spotlight the Republican Senate candidate’s health care positions.

The new Cramer ad features images of three Democratic spots — two of them from outside Democratic groups and one from Democratic incumbent Heidi Hetikamp’s campaign. Cramer has been calling on Heitkamp to take down her own campaign’s ad, saying she is citing inaccurate information about how his health care votes would have affected people with pre-existing conditions.

Watershed Moment as Three Appropriations Bills Clear on Time
House voted 377-20, sending legislation to the president’s desk

The U.S. Capitol building as seen on Friday, June 15, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A batch of three spending bills is on its way to President Donald Trump’s desk following a 377-20 House vote Thursday, marking the first on-time delivery of a quarter of the annual appropriations measures in a decade.

The $147.5 billion package — which funds the departments of Energy and Veterans Affairs, the Army Corps of Engineers and the operations of Congress — is the first installment of what lawmakers hope will be nine bills becoming law before the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.