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Rep. Ilhan Omar and ‘squad’ school House Democrats in social competition
The Minnesota Democrat is the first freshman to win ‘Overall MVP’ in the three-week internal contest

Rep. Ilhan Omar won House Democrats’ 2019 Member Online All-Star Competition. The results couldn’t have come as a surprise. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Ilhan Omar stole the social spotlight in House Democrats’ tenth annual Member Online All-Star Competition. The Minnesota Democrat is the first freshman to win the overall popularity contest, cleaning up with nearly 150,000 new followers.

Following oh so closely behind? The rest of Omar's “squad,” of course: freshman Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who rounded out the top five, along with Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro.

Urgency of marijuana policy was on full display Tuesday
Senate Banking hearing and bills unveiled give an early look at key 2020 issue

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., left, and Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., testified before a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on marijuana and banking. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

“In short, the sky is not falling in Colorado.”

That is how Republican Sen. Cory Gardner summed up his testimony to the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday morning, where he was advocating for legislative action to give legal marijuana businesses access to banks and protection for banks from being viewed as money-launderers under federal law for handling their money.

Democrats flex muscles with ‘aggressive’ climate initiative: ‘There's no time to waste.’

Rep. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., speaks during the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force news conference on the release of the 2018 legislative agenda for the 115th Congress on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

With Democrats in control of the House, the House Energy and Commerce Committee unveiled an aggressive plan to address climate change at a news conference Tuesday.

Judge weighs New Hampshire work requirements for Medicaid
The requirements were delayed for an additional 120 days due to state outreach problems

Federal district court Judge James E. Boasberg heard oral arguments Tuesday regarding the Trump administration's approval of work requirements in relation to New Hampshire's Medicaid program. Boasberg will decide whether states can enforce 100-hour-a-month requirements. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A federal district court judge seemed skeptical during oral arguments Tuesday of whether the Trump administration’s approval of work requirements advances the mission of New Hampshire’s Medicaid program. The same judge ruled against two other state work requirements earlier this year.

The New Hampshire requirements, which could have resulted in thousands losing coverage in August, were delayed earlier this month for an additional 120 days due to state outreach problems in educating enrollees about the requirements.

Photo of the day: Stewart smiles at McConnell
Jon Stewart was in the Capitol for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Act vote

Jon Stewart, former host of The Daily Show, smiles as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks by the Ohio Clock Corridor in the Capitol on Tuesday before the Senate vote to pass permanent authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Editor’s note: Roll Call photo editor Bill Clark gives his first-person report on how he got the above photo that made headlines Tuesday. 

I was standing in the Capitol with a few other photographers outside of the Senate Republicans’ policy lunch for the expected arrival of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. That’s when Jon Stewart — a stalwart advocate for 9/11 first responders — happened to walk by.

Veteran resources dominates Sen. Sinema's maiden floor speech

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., arrive for the closed briefing on election security in the Capitol on Wednesday, July 10, 2019.  Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

9/11 victims bill heads to Trump‘s desk after clearing Senate
Final action on the measure came after months of emotional lobbying by ailing first responders and their families

Jon Stewart, former host of The Daily Show, smiles as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks by at the Ohio Clock Corridor in the Capitol on Tuesday, July 23, 2019. The Senate will be voting later today on HR 1327: Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate cleared a measure Tuesday that would extend a financial lifeline to thousands of victims suffering health problems from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

By the lopsided vote of 97-2, the Senate agreed to a House-passed bill that would effectively make permanent a special compensation fund for first responders and other victims of the 2001 attacks, while providing however much money is needed to pay all eligible claims filed by Oct. 1, 2090.

Behind the scenes of covering headline committee hearings
Undercover Capitol: taking you inside the historic workplace — one video at a time

Photojournalists’ cameras lie on the floor in front of the witness table shortly before a House Oversight committee hearing (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call).

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III will testify before two House committees on Wednesday, an event that will no doubt get wall-to-wall coverage from the news media, despite the fact the Mueller is unlikely to actually say anything new.

Trump sues House, New York to block his state tax return disclosure

President Donald Trump is suing the House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Richard E. Neal, D-Mass., pictured here, and New York state, to prevent disclosure of his state tax returns. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump is suing the House Ways and Means Committee and New York state officials in an effort to block the disclosure of his state tax returns.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court in Washington, seeks an injunction that would block the application of a new New York state law that could allow the Ways and Means panel, chaired by Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Mass., to obtain the president’s state tax records.

Amazon, Facebook up their K Street spending; other players dip

Facebook spent the most in its history on lobbying in this year’s second quarter. Above, CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies at a House hearing in April of last year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Tech powerhouses Facebook and Amazon spent the most in their histories on lobbying in this year’s second quarter, propelling them into the top tier of K Street spenders, while other big players reported a decline in their lobbying investment.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, long the dominant big spender, continued its reign, despite recent turmoil in staffing and a leadership change that has raised questions about the organization’s future. The chamber, drug industry group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and Northrop Grumman reported a dip in spending in the second quarter when compared with the first three months of the year, according to just filed lobbying reports.