Texas

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.

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.

White House officials fan out to sell budget, debt limit pact
Fiscal hawks blast agreement: ‘Washington has all but abandoned economic sanity’

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin arrives to attend the Senate Republican Policy luncheon in the Capitol on Tuesday, July 23, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin visited Senate Republicans Tuesday to try to shore up support for the two-year spending caps and debt limit accord, amid bipartisan concern with tacking another $324 billion onto deficits — a figure that could more than quintuple when spread out over a decade.

Mnuchin sought to reassure Republicans at their weekly policy luncheon that President Donald Trump in fact supports the deal he reached Monday with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, of California, according to Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby and others.

Finance drug price bill faces GOP resistance before markup
Proposals target Medicare drug prices

Senate Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, on Tuesday offered a details on a drug price bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday outlined a long-anticipated drug price bill, but a planned Thursday markup may not go smoothly because of Republican discontent with the measure.

The bill is meant to slow the growth of Medicare’s prescription drug spending, limit cost-sharing for Medicare beneficiaries, and make it easier for state Medicaid programs to pay for expensive treatments, according to a summary.

4 things to watch when Mueller testifies
Former special counsel is unlikely to disclose any new information Wednesday

Former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III will face the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rarely does a congressional hearing have a longer, more dramatic buildup than former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s appearances Wednesday before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees — and the American public via television cameras.

The main question: Will his testimony change anything?

Census question may be dead, but Trump’s backup plan could still reshape political map

The president and his administration are marching forward on a Republican plan to upend the way legislative districts are drawn nationwide. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump surrendered his legal fight earlier this month to ask about citizenship on the upcoming census, but his administration is marching forward on a Republican strategy that could upend the way legislative districts are drawn nationwide to the benefit of the party.

Trump nodded to policy issues such as health care and education as reasons he issued a July 11 executive order for the government to compile citizenship information in a different way. And he accused “far-left Democrats” of being determined to “conceal the number of illegal aliens in our midst.”

Democrats not sweating contested Senate primaries — yet
Another Democrat jumped into the Texas Senate race on Monday

Democrats are gearing up for a competitive Senate primary in Texas to take on Republican incumbent John Cornyn. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Another Democratic candidate jumped into the race Monday to take on Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn — the latest sign that Democrats could face multiple contested primaries for Senate seats they think they can win in 2020.

Despite the prospect of intramural warfare, Democrats say they aren’t fretting yet that the primaries could endanger efforts to win control of the Senate, which will likely go through Texas, Colorado and other states.

Ethics working group to hash out what kind of company service is off limits
Chris Collins insider trading case prompted need to clarify regulations

Rep. Van Taylor, R-Texas, is a member of the working group. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo).

A House Ethics Committee working group on Thursday will discuss proposed regulations to govern what kind of roles lawmakers may perform in companies, part of a push to head off the kind of ethical issues that led to the federal indictment of Rep. Chris Collins, who is accused of trading insider information while simultaneously serving as a company board member and public official.

That working group — comprised of Rep. Van Taylor, R-Texas and Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa.— will consider what types of service or positions with outside entities could lead to actual or perceived conflicts of interest. The Outside Positions Working Group will meet publicly July 25 in 1310 Longworth House Office Building at 3:30 p.m.

Drug price transparency prompts fight among Democrats
Dispute is partly a turf battle between two committees who want to produce legislation on a high-profile issue

Consumer advocates clearly prefer a measure offered in the the Energy and Commerce Committee by Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A dispute among Democrats over competing drug price transparency bills is complicating an issue that should have been one of the least controversial parts of the congressional effort to lower health care costs.

Two panels that oversee health care issues each approved measures this year to require drug companies to reveal information when they increase prices. While consumer advocates note drawbacks with both, they clearly prefer a measure from the Energy and Commerce Committee by Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Illinois, over a similar Ways and Means Committee bill.

When Mueller time comes at 8:30 in the morning
What’s happening in D.C. the week of July 22-28

Special counsel Robert Mueller is headed to the Hill this week, and D.C. bars are opening their doors early. Really early. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Virginia Reps. Gerald E. Connolly, Donald S. Beyer and Jennifer Wexton are hosting the third annual congressional blood drive on Monday. Stop by the Rayburn foyer from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to donate whole blood, red cells, platelets and plasma. The drive got its start after 2017’s shooting at a GOP baseball practice, and more than 300 donors have rolled up their sleeves since then, according to the hosts. 

A theatrical tribute to the late Texas governor Ann Richards is running at Arena Stage through Aug. 11. The one-woman show is billed as a “no-holds-barred comedy chronicling Richards’ legacy and how she was determined to make her mark on the world.” A feminist known for her quick wit, Richards’ most famous quip was a dig at then-Vice President George H.W. Bush during the 1988 Democratic National Convention: “Poor George, he can’t help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.” The Bush family would get its revenge when Dubya thwarted Richards’ bid for reelection as Texas governor in 1994.