Marsha Blackburn

It’s no longer all about Republican primaries for the Club for Growth
The club played in more general elections in 2018 and expects that to continue in 2020

David M. McIntosh, the president of the Club for Growth, believes his group needs to play in general elections, not just Republican primaries. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Club for Growth has long been an arbiter of crowded primaries in safe Republican seats, but its role is evolving in the era of President Donald Trump. 

The group’s super PAC and PAC are still major players in internecine battles — the club successfully torpedoed a candidate in a Pennsylvania nominating convention over the weekend and is already interviewing candidates for two House special elections in North Carolina. 

At least senators showed up to vote in 2018: CQ Vote Studies
Senate had highest highest election-year participation rate since 2006

Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., cast just 47 percent of eligible votes in the House in 2018 as she made a run for governor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Leaders of Congress are adept at scheduling votes when members will be available to cast them — avoiding weekends, keeping to short work days and making sure members get days off.

That helps avoid voting participation low points, such as 1970 — when lawmakers cast votes only 79 percent of the time and fewer than a quarter had a 90 percent showing or higher.

Photos of the week: A polar plunge, SOTU and hearings are in full swing
The week of Feb. 4 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

Members react as acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker informs Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., his five minute questioning period was over during a House Judiciary Committee hearing. Whitaker was questioned about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation on Friday. Appearing from left are Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., Nadler, Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., Jamie Raskin, D-Md., and ranking member Doug Collins, R-Ga.( Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s February on Capitol Hill and that means that many of the organizing efforts of a new Congress are well underway, and committees have begun their work for the year. 

In addition to the State of the Union on Tuesday, members of the House Judiciary panel met Friday to question acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker about the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. 

Senate Armed Services Committee Republicans have a new look for the 116th
5 GOP freshmen got spots on the panel, coveted by lawmakers from states with defense industry presences

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., attends the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for William P. Barr, nominee for attorney general, in Hart Building on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As the Senate Armed Services Committee sets about its work in the 116th Congress, a handful of new faces will help shape the national security debate on the Republican side of the dais.

Five GOP freshmen have landed spots on the panel, an unusually high number for a committee that is particularly coveted among members whose states have military or defense industry presences.

Mitt Romney, Rand Paul Preview GOP Debate Over Donald Trump in New Congress
Paul speaks out against Romney’s criticism of the president ahead of swearing-in

Mitt Romney, left, and Rand Paul have different approaches to President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photos)

Two Republicans with among the largest national profiles of senators in the new Congress aren’t wasting any time in drawing the contours of a debate that is sure to run over for the next two years.

Namely, the extent to which members of the Senate GOP hitch their wagons to President Donald Trump as an election cycle gets underway with a map that might be more favorable to the Democrats.

Here Are the House Members Who Have Skipped Votes This Lame-Duck Session
Most of the absentees are members who lost re-election, ran for another office or are retiring

The lame-duck session of Congress has seen its fair share of absenteeism in the House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

More than 40 percent of House members have missed at least one vote this lame-duck session, leading to attendance problems that have prohibited the outgoing Republican majority from advancing legislation that Democrats don’t want to help them pass — and a smaller subset have missed at least half of all lame-duck votes.

There have been only 20 House roll call votes since the lame-duck session started on Nov. 13, but 17 members have missed at least half of them. Of those 17 repeat offenders, 11 are Republicans and six are Democrats.

Who Might Run for Alexander’s Tennessee Senate Seat in 2020?
All eyes are on outgoing Gov. Bill Haslam and Rep.-elect Mark Green

Outgoing Gov. Bill Haslam, seen here at a rally with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in 2016, is a likely candidate for the open Senate seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander’s announcement on Monday that he won’t seek a fourth term opens up a 2020 Senate seat in a state President Donald Trump carried by 26 points in 2016.

All eyes are on outgoing Gov. Bill Haslam, who could clear the field and would likely be a successor in the same Republican mold as Alexander.

Tennessee Rep.-Elect Walks Back ‘Anti-Vaxx’ Comments
But Mark Green says ‘More research should be done’ after alleging a CDC coverup

Rep.-elect Mark Green, R-Tenn., said his comments endorsing a conspiracy theory that vaccines cause autism were “misconstrued.” (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep.-elect Mark Green, R-Tenn., has softened his endorsement of the myth that vaccines cause autism in statements to the media, claiming his comments had been distorted.

“Recent comments I made at a town hall regarding vaccines has been misconstrued. I want to reiterate my wife and I vaccinated our children, and we believe, and advise others they should have their children vaccinated,” the 7th District Republican said.

High-Stakes Lottery Will Land New Members in Capitol Hill Offices
While many newly elected say they are just happy to be here, choice real estate is at stake

Members-elect will draw chips Friday to determine which office space they’ll get for next year. Two years ago, Lisa Blunt Rochester, seen here, was fairly pleased with her number. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Every two years, the office lottery that closes out new member orientation becomes a delicate game of chance that will determine who gets choice workspace — and who must toil in the congressional badlands.

Each newly elected House member will take their chance and pick a numbered chip as they’re called by their last names in alphabetical order. The traditional room lottery draw is run by the Architect of the Capitol House Superintendent’s Office and kicks off at 10:30 a.m. on Friday. The chip number corresponds to the order in which they can choose an office.

Seven VP Candidates if Trump Dumps Pence for 2020 Re-Election Fight
Pence says they ‘had a good laugh’ over questions — but do they have a deal?

President Donald Trump (right) speaks with Vice President Mike Pence as first lady Melania Trump looks on during a Capitol ceremony for the late Rev. Billy Graham earlier this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Vice President Mike Pence stood in the East Room of the White House after his boss put him on the spot. He smiled. He nodded. But he never uttered one word: Yes.

The moment, prompted by a reporter’s question during a rowdy post-midterm press conference on Nov. 7, was an attempt by President Donald Trump to quiet speculation that he had begun to question Pence’s loyalty and was mulling other potential running mates for his 2020 re-election campaign.