Joe Manchin III

Democrats Continue Camera Shy Ways With Brett Kavanaugh
Senate courtesy meetings continue, but with nary a photo op

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh arrives to meet with Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., in the Hart Senate Office Building on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic senators have, at least from Republican states, started meeting with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but they are mostly avoiding the press when doing so. 

With senators back in town, meetings with President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court resumed Wednesday, with a pair of Democrats on the agenda.

Kavanaugh Makes Strategic Stops on His Senate Tour as Chamber Returns
Heitkamp, Donnelly and other swing votes are on his schedule

Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., are among those expected to meet with Trump’s Supreme Court pick. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will ramp up his behind-the-scenes preparation over the next three weeks for his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, starting with more one-on-one meetings Wednesday with senators whose votes could prove pivotal.

Kavanaugh, who is more used to asking questions from the dais as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for the past 12 years, has been going through mock hearings that last several hours with questions from people assigned to the role of different senators, a White House official said.

Red-State Democrats Zero In on Opioid Epidemic
Issue could buoy vulnerable incumbents in West Virginia, Missouri

Sens. Claire McCaskill and Joe Manchin III are two vulnerable Democrats looking to highlight their work on opioids. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Vulnerable red-state Democrats are highlighting their work to address the opioid crisis in an effort to hold on to their congressional seats, even as it remains unclear whether the Senate will take key action before the midterm elections.

While the opioid epidemic is a priority for much of Congress, candidates in especially hard-hit states, such as West Virginia, have made it a core issue in their re-election bids.

Some House Members Flop In Bids for Governor
Colleen Hanabusa is the latest one to fall

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, lost her primary run for governor. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Hawaii Rep. Colleen Hanabusa’s loss in the state’s Democratic gubernatorial primary is the latest example of House members losing their bids for the highest office in a state. 

Hanabusa lost the primary Saturday to incumbent Gov. David Ige. Hanabusa returned to the House in 2016 after the death of former Rep. Mark Takai.

Number of Pregnant Women Abusing Opioids Skyrockets
Vermont and West Virginia most affected

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., speaks during a Senate Democrats' news conference on the impact of repealing the Affordable Care Act on the opioid epidemic on Tuesday, May 16, 2017. His home state is one of the worst affected in the CDC's findings. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The number of women giving birth with opioid use disorder quadrupled between 1999 and 2014, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.

The increase underscores the severity of the country’s opioid epidemic as a legislative package aimed at helping states curb addiction rates idles in the Senate. Newborns exposed to drugs while in the womb can suffer severe complications, including withdrawal, preterm birth and death.

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.

Senators Back Agent Orange Benefits. The VA Is Not Convinced
‘Blue water’ bill would extend disability benefits to more Vietnam vets

Sen. Johnny Isakson, chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, heard concerns from VA officials over a “blue water” bill aimed at Vietnam vets. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee seems poised to advance a popular bipartisan bill extending disability benefits to Vietnam veterans who claim they were exposed to Agent Orange. But Department of Veterans Affairs officials said Wednesday the agency opposes the measure.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle expressed strong support for the legislation at a hearing Wednesday, questioning whether the VA adequately considers applications from vets who served in ocean vessels claiming exposure.

Democratic Candidates Should Be Bolder on Gun Control, Poll Finds
“The center has shifted on this issue,” gun control advocate says

Students march to the Capitol on Pennsylvania Avenue to call on Congress to act on gun violence prevention during a national walkout on April 20 to mark the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Gun control has been a third rail of Democratic campaigns, but a new poll suggests that Democratic candidates should embrace a bolder approach to restrictions on guns, even in general elections.

Up to this point, Democrats have been decidedly defensive on guns. The most famous instances of Democratic candidates using guns in television ads include West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III shooting the so-called cap-and-trade bill, former Georgia Rep. John Barrow talking about his granddaddy’s pistol and Missouri Senate candidate Jason Kander assembling a rifle blindfolded. The ads were meant to reassure voters that Democrats didn’t want to take away their guns.

Brett Kavanaugh Meets With Joe Manchin, First Democrat to Sit Down With Him
Forgoing a photo op, West Virginia senator does not tip hand about how he will vote

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh met with senators on Monday, including the first Democrat since his nomination earlier this month. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh met for the first time since being tapped for the high court with a Democratic senator on Monday, but to little fanfare or opportunity for the press to take note. 

About two hours after walking in, Kavanaugh left the office of West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin III. But this time would not be like the last time he met with a nominee of President Donald Trump’s for the Supreme Court.

Rand Paul Backs Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court
Support firms up ahead of nominee‘s first meeting with a Democrat

Sen. Rand Paul has announced his support for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has picked up the support of Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, just ahead of his first scheduled meeting with a Democratic senator.

“No one will ever completely agree with a nominee (unless, of course, you are the nominee). Each nominee, however, must be judged on the totality of their views, character, and opinions,” Paul said in a statement. “I have expressed my concern over Judge Kavanaugh’s record on warrantless bulk collection of data and how that might apply to very important privacy cases before the Supreme Court.”