Illinois

Democrats pan, Republicans applaud Kraninger's tenure at CFPB
Director mum on agency's need to exist

Kraninger was unwilling to say her agency needs to exist. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

At a hearing Thursday, Democrats castigated Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Kathleen Kraninger, who wasn't willing to say that her agency needs to exist. 

Trump scales down once-grand infrastructure ambitions
Infrastructure gets passing mention on State of the Union address; Democrats' ambitious proposal not mentioned at all

Infrastructure is among the areas where Trump and congressional Democrats don’t see eye-to-eye. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump used 189 words of his 2018 State of the Union address to call for a $1.5 trillion investment in U.S. infrastructure.

On Tuesday night, the former real estate mogul signaled how much times have changed.

Out of the impeachment, into the fallout
The trial ended Wednesday with acquittal, but investigations and court fights continue

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell talks with President Donald Trump as he departs from the House chamber Tuesday night after delivering his State of the Union address. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Congress looks at taxes, oversight, crime in fintech bills
Lawmakers focus on fostering innovation while ensuring technology isn’t abused

Companies that facilitate bitcoin payments, called merchant services providers, received $158 billion in bitcoin last year, which was just about 1 percent of the economic activity on bitcoin’s blockchain, according to Chainalysis, which analyses such transactions. (Avishek Das/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images photo illustration)

Corrected 4:25 p.m. | Cryptocurrencies involve cutting-edge technology, but Congress is aiming at age-old problems when it comes to financial technology legislation: taxation, crime and jurisdiction to set the rules.

A review of the latest fintech-related bills by CQ Roll Call shows lawmakers’ latest efforts are focused on fostering innovation by some and making sure the technology isn’t abused by others.

To write a State of the Union for Clinton, you had to do math
Josh Gottheimer was on the speechwriting team back when impeachment collided with the annual address the first time

Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., walks down the House steps at the Capitol in 2017. As a White House speechwriter under President Bill Clinton, Gottheimer worked on several State of the Union addresses. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Bill Clinton was good at keeping track of how many words were in his State of the Union.

It was 1999, the House had impeached him, a Senate trial was underway, and the president was up late doing math.

Illinois poll illustrates one challenge in campaign coverage
How results are released can influence whether polls are taken seriously

Rep. Daniel Lipinski, D-Ill., faces another competitive primary after winning a close race in 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While polling elections is a challenge, analyzing polls can be even more dangerous. I considered scrapping a couple days of reporting work on a survey memo on an upcoming Democratic primary, but decided to share what happened to provide a small window into how I digest polling.

Illinois Rep. Daniel Lipinski fended off a competitive challenge in the 2018 Democratic primary and recently released a poll that showed him with a 23-point lead in a 2020 rematch with Marie Newman. That felt like a stretch considering their 2-point race a couple years ago.

Dollar dominance: Average vulnerable House Democrat starts 2020 with $1.8 million
Eye-popping numbers and other takeaways from fourth quarter

New York Rep. Max Rose, left, and Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin raised the most among vulnerable House Democrats in the latest fundraising quarter. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Nine months out from Election Day, the latest fundraising reports provide new clues about both parties’ prospects in the battles for the House and Senate. 

In the fight for the House, vulnerable Democrats continued to raise eye-popping numbers as their party tries to hold on to its majority. Republican leaders last week sounded the alarm about their candidates’ fundraising, and the latest reports show why.

Lawmakers fret over China’s virus info as US local case emerges
The newest case is the husband of an Illinois woman who was confirmed as sick last week

Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., talks with an aide during a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health markup in July 2019. Lawmakers on the subcommittee were briefed Thursday on the spread of coronavirus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House lawmakers briefed by the Trump administration Thursday expressed confidence in the United States government’s approach to the spread of coronavirus, although not necessarily China’s response, as officials confirmed the first person infected in the U.S. who had not traveled to China.

The morning briefing for Energy and Commerce Committee members came hours before the World Health Organization declared the outbreak an international public health emergency. Committee members in the briefing expressed concerns that China may not be providing enough information about the outbreak and worried that a severe flu season could strain the U.S. response if coronavirus spreads here. Lawmakers expressed a willingness to provide more resources if needed.

View from the gallery: Senators swap notes and jockey for questions at Trump trial
Aides hold office hours in the back of the chamber while Senate pages log their steps for the day

Alan Dershowitz, left, an attorney for President Donald Trump, greets Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., in the Capitol before the continuation of the impeachment trial Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Mississippi Republican Roger Wicker approached a member of President Donald Trump’s legal team on the floor Wednesday and loudly asked: “You’re not packing up to leave, are you?”

Former Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz had gathered a small crowd of Republican senators around the desk of Mike Lee of Utah during the dinner break, and Wicker wanted to elbow in when the impeachment trial restarted.

Momentum on marijuana moves to statehouses
With Congress stalled and state ballot initiatives scarce, legislatures will become main arena for debates

A bill in the House to legalize marijuana faces an uncertain future, the Senate has not moved legislation that would allow marijuana businesses to bank and opportunities to legalize marijuana through state ballot initiatives have winnowed. The result is state legislatures will be the main arena for legalization debates. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Marijuana legalization campaigns will increasingly run through state capitols as Congress remains stalled, advocates say.

A bill in the House to legalize marijuana faces an uncertain future, and the Senate has not moved legislation that would allow marijuana businesses to bank. Meanwhile, opportunities to legalize marijuana through state ballot initiatives have winnowed; while nine other states and the District of Columbia approved commercial sales through ballot initiatives, just 23 states and the district allow such initiatives.