New Jersey

Congressional Campaigns Weaponize Family Separation Policy
Democrats hope to bludgeon GOP while vulnerable Republicans try to distance themselves

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, seemingly changed his position on child separation at the U.S.-Mexico border. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Candidates in both parties who are running in tight races want to weaponize the policy of separating child migrants from their parents at the U.S-Mexico border.

In Texas’ Senate race, Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke, whose district includes El Paso, staged a march to the border crossing in Tornillo, where children of migrant families from Central America are being held. He was joined by Texas' Democratic candidate for governor Lupe Valdez.

Democrats Blast Nielsen’s Family Separation ‘Lie’ as Outrage Intensifies
DHS secretary says ‘we do not have a policy of separating families at the border’

U.S. Border Patrol agents take groups of Central American asylum-seekers into custody last week near McAllen, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Democrats in Congress accused Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen of lying amid intensifying outrage over a Trump administration policy requiring border agents to separate migrant children from their parents.

Several members of Congress called Nielsen out after she tweeted Sunday evening “we do not have a policy of separating families at the border.”

At the Races: He’s Off the Trail
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter by subscribing here. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. —Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman

Tom MacArthur’s Democratic Challenger Trails by 4 Points in Internal Poll
Democrat Andy Kim is challenging the two-term New Jersey Republican

GOP Rep. Tom MacArthur will face Democrat Andy Kim in November. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A new poll for New Jersey Democrat Andy Kim showed him trailing Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur by 4 points in the 3rd District general election. 

Kim, a former National Security Council official, and MacArthur both ran unopposed in last week’s primaries.

House Prepares for Week of Action on Opioid Bills
‘Collectively these bills do not go far enough’

Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., participates in the House Democrats’ news conference on health care reform in the Capitol on Thursday, July 20, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House will begin a voting marathon Tuesday on 34 bills designed to address the opioid epidemic. While most are not likely to be contentious, two have previously stirred controversy.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., reserved about a week and a half of floor time to discuss opioid legislation. Additional bills are likely to be considered next week, such as four bill packages the House Ways and Means Committee approved with bipartisan support.

Lawmakers Want to Curb Those Pesky Robocalls to Your Phone
Democrats in both the House and Senate introduced legislation to restrict calls

Sen. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., introduced a bill in the Senate last week to curb robocalls. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

You probably receive a few of these types of calls per week.

“Hello,” an automated voice will say, often ostensibly from a number with the same area code as you. “This message is to inform you that ...”

Rating Change: New Jersey 5 Moves Off Competitive List
Now just nine vulnerable Democrats to GOP’s 70

Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., walks up the House steps with his daughter Ellie for a vote in the Capitol on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican optimism about defeating Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer in New Jersey’s 5th District was fueled by President Donald Trump’s narrow victory in 2016, the congressman’s initial victory over a lackluster incumbent and Republican Steve Lonegan’s deep pockets and past electoral performance in the area.

But that scenario took a turn for the worse when Lonegan lost the June 5 primary and Garden State Republicans nominated former Cresskill Borough Councilman John McCann. He had just $46,000 in his campaign account on May 16 compared to $3.9 million for Gottheimer.

Spending Cuts Package Faces Uncertain Senate Fate
Narrow House passage, senatorial skepticism could make for rough road

Chairman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, gavels in a Senate Appropriations Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing in Dirksen Building on the FY2019 budget request for the Interior Department on May 10, 2018. Murkowski is dubious of the administration's rescissions package, saying that is the purview of Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A nearly $15 billion package of spending cuts is now in the Senate’s court after the House late Thursday voted 210-206 to pass the “rescissions” measure.

Most Republicans voted to narrowly put the cuts package over the top, though there were 19 GOP defections. Democrats voted unanimously against the measure.

For Some in Congress, the Opioid Crisis Is Personal
Lawmakers share the stories behind their efforts to combat the epidemic

Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson lost his grandson to an opioid overdose. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As drug overdoses climb — rising 12 percent between October 2016 and October 2017 — Congress has floated dozens of proposals to combat opioid abuse.

Some lawmakers have deeply personal connections to the epidemic of addiction in America. These are their stories.

At the Races: Primary Hangovers Are Real
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

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Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter by subscribing here. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. —Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman