Texas

Senate GOP Set to Revive Time Limits on Debating Nominees
Rules panel expected to advance changes along party lines

Senate Rules and Administration Chairman Roy Blunt, R-Mo., speaks to reporters Tuesday about the proposed rules changes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican senators will take a small step Wednesday toward speeding up the pace of confirming President Donald Trump’s nominees even as controversy swirls around his pick to head the Veterans Affairs Department. 

The proposal by Sen. James Lankford is not exactly new. In fact, it isn’t new at all.

Barth, Mika to Return GOP Baseball Team Practice
Roger Williams staffer is ‘absolutely’ ready to return to practice

Zack Barth, an aide to Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, was wounded in the leg during the Congressional baseball shooting in Alexandria in June 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Zack Barth is eager to get back on the baseball field after he and his friends — members of Congress — were shot at last year while practicing for the annual congressional game.

Barth, a legislative assistant to Texas Rep. Roger Williams, took a bullet in his leg on June 14, 2017. He will be back on the same field at the GOP team’s first practice on Wednesday.

Here’s What You Should Know About 3 Special Elections Other Than Arizona 8
House control question hovers as 2018 approaches

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., holds a press conference with House GOP leadership in the Capitol on Wednesday. Some pundits say Arizona could follow in Pennsylvania’s footsteps for an upset election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

All eyes are on Arizona tonight but at least three more upcoming special elections will take place ahead of the 2018 midterms.

If you missed it, here’s the skinny on the Arizona 8th District contest between Republican Debbie Lesko and Democrat Hiral Tipirneni to fill Trent Franks seat, which he vacated in December over allegations of sexual impropriety.

‘Robust’ Security for GOP Baseball Team’s First Practice Since Shooting
Four wounded and gunman killed in shootout at Alexandria ball field last year

Alexandria Police officers stand next to a shattered car in Alexandria, Va., after a gunman opened fire on the Republican team’s baseball practice in June 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican lawmakers will lace up their cleats Wednesday morning for their first practice of the year at the baseball field in Alexandria, where a gunman wounded House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and others last June.

This year, authorities are taking no chances on security.

Conservative Court Nominee Highlights Smoother Path to Bench
Previous political work no longer impedes confirmation chances

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has presided over a steady stream of judicial confirmations under President Donald Trump, a marked shift from when Barack Obama was president. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 4:29 p.m. | Appeals court nominee Kyle Duncan has advocated on behalf of conservatives in legal fights over contentious cultural issues such as abortion and LGBT rights, leaving behind the kind of paper trail that might have dissuaded presidents from putting him through the Senate’s confirmation process.

Donald Trump is not such a president.

Texas Congressional Map Comes Under Supreme Court Scrutiny
Voter rights advocates worry the court could hand states a shield

Texas’ 35th District, represented by Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett, is at the center of a gerrymandering case before the Supreme Court on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court hears oral arguments Tuesday in a case that could not only require Texas to redraw its congressional districts, but give states a way to defend against claims of gerrymandering.

This is the third case the justices will hear this term about how states draw legislative maps to gain a political advantage. Cases from Wisconsin and Maryland focus on whether those maps can be too partisan. The Texas case is a more traditional challenge to how state lawmakers draw the lines using voter data.

Nathan’s (Mostly) Political One-Liners: BonChon, Accessible Campaigns, and Let’s Remember Some Candidates
What’s running through my head on Monday, April 23

Popcorn chicken is no longer on the menu at Bonchon, Gonzales laments. (Courtesy Enoch T./Yelp!)

“Accessible” Attacks: Three Democratic candidates recently compared and contrasted their accessibility to the incumbents they are challenging, but neither Ken Harbaugh (OH-07) nor Dean Phillips (MN-03) nor Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) appear to have a working phone number on their campaign websites.

Bonchon Bust: The previously infallible Korean fried chicken establishment made a critical mistake by removing popcorn chicken from the menu and thinking kids wouldn’t notice that they now offer popcorn shrimp instead.

Texas Attorney General Allows Special Election for Farenthold’s Seat
Governor said it was related to Hurricane Harvey

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton gave permission to Gov. Greg Abbott to hold a special election to fill former Rep. Blake Farenthold’s seat.

Paxton issued a non-binding opinion that said a court would agree to set aside election laws to allow for the governor to suspend certain laws if they interfere with disaster recovery, according to the Texas Tribune.

Podcast: GOP Farm Bill Targets Food Stamps, Heads for House Vote
CQ Budget, Episode 57

House Agriculture Chairman K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, at podium, aims to have a House vote on the GOP-written farm bill in early May . Flanking him, from left, Reps. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., James R. Comer, R-Ky., Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., Roger Marshall, R-Kan., Ralph Abraham, R-La., Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, and Rick W. Allen, R-Ga.  (Ellyn Ferguson/CQ Roll Call)

Pompeo Confirmation Debate Highlights Another Week of Senate Nomination Feuds
Rules and Administration panel also debating changes to nomination floor procedures

CIA Director Mike Pompeo, left, President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of State, arrives for his confirmation hearing April 12 accompanied by Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

CIA Director Mike Pompeo seems all but assured to be confirmed as secretary of State this week. The question is how much pain will senators go through along the way.

The way forward should become clear after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee convenes late Monday afternoon to formally vote on advancing Pompeo’s nomination — probably without a favorable review.