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Democrats face pressure in debates on overhauling health care
But candidates will likely have little time to offer up new details about their plans

Supporters hold “Medicare for All” signs during a rally in front of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America in Washington on April 29 . (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When 20 of the Democratic presidential candidates take the debate stage Wednesday and Thursday, one key difference that could emerge is whether candidates say they would seek another overhaul of the nation’s health insurance system.

The debate will be an opportunity for the White House aspirants to outline their health care plans — an issue that polls consistently show is a priority for Democratic voters. Most of the party’s 24 candidates have yet to release their own comprehensive plans explaining their priorities on an issue that contrasts significantly with President Donald Trump’s approach.

Progress on federal data privacy bill slows in both chambers
Consensus is elusive, say congressional aides, industry sources and lobbyists

Senate Commerce Chairman Roger Wicker says “there has been no timetable” for a data privacy bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers and industry groups want to pass a federal data privacy law this year, but progress on the measure has slowed. It’s now unclear whether legislation resembling California’s tough requirements on the tech industry can clear hurdles in Congress and be signed into law before the end of the year. 

Small bipartisan groups of lawmakers in both chambers are working on draft legislation that was supposed to have been unveiled in May but has been delayed and is now expected to be released sometime before the August congressional recess. 

Chuck Schumer wants Senate to vote on Iran, after the Democratic debates
New York Democrat: All senators should be present for vote on restricting Trump actions

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y.,  wants all senators present for a vote related to Iran policy.(Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer wants senators to vote on restricting the ability of the Trump administration to go to war with Iran, but he suggested Monday that vote should not take place until after this week’s Democratic presidential debates.

“One of the best ways to avoid bumbling into a war is to have a robust, open debate, and for Congress to have some say,” the Democrat from New York said on the Senate floor.

When it comes to Facebook, breaking up is hard to do
2020 Democratic hopefuls rail against social media giant, but rely on it for fundraising

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has called for breaking up Facebook, is using the platform the most among Democratic presidential candidates. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Most of the current lawmakers spending big on Facebook advertisements are Democrats running for president. That’s no surprise, given the effectiveness the social media giant gives them in reaching the slice of the electorate they need to raise money and qualify for primary debates.

Still, it’s notable that the one using the platform the most is Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat who has called for breaking up the tech giant.

Road ahead: House and Senate seek to pass dueling border funding bills
Defense policy, election security and spending also on the agenda ahead of July Fourth

From right, Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, Vice Chairman Patrick J. Leahy and Illinois Sen. Richard J. Durbin huddle Wednesday before the committee marked up a border supplemental package. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Leaders in the House and Senate want to approve spending at least $4 billion more to address the influx of migrants and their humanitarian needs at the U.S.-Mexico border before the July Fourth recess.

Bills in the two chambers differ, however, raising doubts about whether there will be a resolution on President Donald Trump’s desk this month. 

With Iran reversal, did Trump break pledge to never ‘telegraph’ military ops?
‘He basically called them up and told them what he was going to do,’ military expert says

Navy Lt. Rob Morris watches as an F/A-18F Super Hornet lands on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Arabian Sea on May 30. The Lincoln strike group is in the Middle East amid tensions with Iran. (Photo by Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Amber Smalley)

Iran’s military got a glimpse of how President Donald Trump would attack their country despite his years-old pledge never to “telegraph” U.S. military operations to an enemy.

My administration will not telegraph exact military plans to the enemy,” then-candidate Donald Trump said on Aug. 15, 2016 — less than three months before he was elected president.

Workplace protections for legislative branch employees take effect
Changes include revised dispute resolution process, access to confidential counselor

The Office of Congressional Workplace Rights has announced that more workplace protections for legislative branch employees are now in effect. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Legislative branch employees can now take advantage of a revised dispute resolution process and consult with a confidential adviser about their rights when they make workplace claims.

Those are among the protections in the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 Reform Act. The law also extends workplace protections to unpaid employees, including interns and fellows. Many of the final provisions took effect Wednesday, 180 days after the bill was signed into law in December.

Meet Beto O’Rourke’s director of women’s messaging
Anna Pacilio comes from the office of another Texan, Rep. Marc Veasey

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke is staffing up his presidential campaign. Anna Pacilio joined in June as director of women’s messaging. (Courtesy Anna Pacilio)

Anna Pacilio, a native Californian, is starting her second career with a Texas politician. Her latest role? Director of women’s messaging for presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke.

Early last year Pacilio walked into Rep. Marc Veasey’s office in D.C. with no connection to the Lone Star State. She researched his district, gave herself a “crash course” in Texas politics, and landed the job of communications director.

Meet some of the former pros who’ve played in the Congressional Baseball Game
Bunning, Largent, Ryun and Shuler all had varying degrees of success on the diamond

Oklahoma Rep. Steve Largent is greeted by his Republican teammates before the 2000 Congressional Baseball Game. Largent led the Republicans to victory in five of his seven games. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Reps. Colin Allred and Anthony Gonzalez won’t be the first former professional athletes to compete in the Congressional Baseball Game. Over the decades, Republicans and Democrats have looked to other ex-pros turned congressmen and their athletic talents in hopes of scoring on the diamond.

The late Sen. Jim Bunning is the only baseball Hall of Famer to come to Washington. Over a 17-season pitching career from 1955 to 1971, the Kentucky Republican won 224 games and had an earned run average of 3.27. Bunning won election to the House in 1986 and made his Congressional Baseball Game debut the following year. He was part of the winning GOP team at least three times as either pitcher or pitching coach. After two terms in the Senate, Bunning opted against re-election in 2010. He died in 2017 at age 85.

For Colin Allred, Major League dreams are close to coming true
NFL veteran returns to his first sporting love at the Congressional Baseball Game

Colin Allred earned first-team all-district honors his sophomore and junior seasons at Hillcrest High School in Dallas. (Courtesy Office of Rep. Colin Allred)

As a kid, Rep. Colin Allred dreamed of playing baseball on a Major League field. The Texas Democrat will get that chance Wednesday night at the Congressional Baseball Game, and he could add significant heft to an already loaded Democratic squad.

It hasn’t been a typical path for Allred — college football, the National Football League, law school, a job in the Obama’s administration, and getting elected to Congress to represent the Dallas-area 32nd District.