House Judiciary Democrats eye campaign finance measures
FEC member points out need for more commissioners

Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., continues to champion his Democracy for All Amendment to the Constitution that would essentially undo the 2010 Citizens United v FEC decision. “The deeply rooted problem of money in politics requires a constitutional amendment,” Deutch said Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Federal Election Commissioner Ellen Weintraub, in testimony to a House Judiciary subcommittee, tried to draw attention to her agency’s current predicament: It’s lacked enough commissioners for a quorum for more than five months.

“While I know this is not within the House’s purview, the FEC could really use some new commissioners to restore our quorum and let us do our job,” she said during a hearing of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties. “So tell your friends.”

Texas Rep. Kay Granger grabs spotlight with tough primary ahead
Granger led effort condemning Pelosi for ripping up Trump's State of the Union text

Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, is facing a competitive primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi's decision to rip up President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on live television enraged House Republicans. But it was Rep. Kay Granger, who once said Trump doesn’t deserve to be in the same room as war veterans, who led the effort to defend the president.

The Texas Republican introduced the resolution condemning Pelosi on Wednesday after talking with Minority Whip Steve Scalise about how “appalled they were by the Speaker’s actions,” according to a person familiar with their thinking who was not authorized to speak publicly.

Interior moves to speed energy development on formerly protected Utah land
Plans pave way for areas removed from national monuments to be made available for logging, drilling, mining

White Canyon in Natural Bridges National Monument, which borders the Bears Ears National Monument outside Blanding, Utah, on June 15, 2019. (George Frey/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump drew the ire of tribes and environmentalists when he issued proclamations in December 2017 significantly reducing the size of Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears national monuments, two sites designated by previous Democratic Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama

[Obama declares Bears Ears national monument while Utah lawmakers pledge fight]

At the Races: Is Iowa over yet?

By Bridget Bowman, Simone Pathé and Stephanie Akin 

Welcome to At the Races! Each week we’ll bring you news and analysis from the CQ Roll Call team that will keep you informed about the 2020 election. Know someone who’d like to get this newsletter? They can subscribe here.

House Democrats shut down GOP attempt to admonish Pelosi over ripping SOTU
Party-line vote tables resolution disapproving of speaker's actions

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., conducts her weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats on Thursday backed Speaker Nancy Pelosi in voting to kill a Republican resolution to disapprove of her ripping up President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech. 

Texas GOP Rep. Kay Granger, who’s facing a competitive primary this cycle, offered the resolution as a question of privilege, which forces the House to consider the measure. Rather than allow an up or down vote, Democratic leaders moved to table the resolution, which effectively kills it.

Trump reined in his style for this year’s State of the Union
Following impeachment, Trump improvised half as much as his previous two years

President Donald Trump prides himself on being extemporaneous.

Pelosi has 'no plans right now' for fight over Bolton testimony
Schiff says he thinks former Trump national security adviser would be hostile to House subpoena

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she thought former national security adviser John Bolton would be hostile to any attempts by the House to get his testimony. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that the House has “no plans right now” to engage in a court fight for former national security adviser John Bolton’s testimony.

Since Bolton had said he would testify in the Senate trial if subpoenaed, it was thought he would respond to a subpoena from the House Intelligence Committee.

Pelosi defends ripping Trump’s speech as message to American people about SOTU falsehoods
‘I don’t need any lessons from anybody, especially the president of the United States, about dignity,’ speaker says

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., conducts her weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on Thursday, February 6, 2020. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday defended her decision to rip up President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech, saying she decided about a quarter or third of the way through the address that something had to be done to indicate to the American people that his words were not the truth.

“I tore up a manifesto of mistruths,” the California Democrat said at her weekly news conference, noting the falsehoods in Trump’s speech on Tuesday evening were “dangerous to the American people if they believe what he said.”

Infrastructure plan could point to sea change for schools
Federal role in public school construction opposed by conservatives

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced the Democrats’ infrastructure plan on Jan. 30. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The nation’s roads and bridges may be falling down, but its schools aren’t far behind.

So education proponents paid attention last week when, unveiling a $760 billion legislative infrastructure framework, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested that any infrastructure package would ultimately include federal dollars for school construction.

Senators try to punt their way out of trouble and Trump’s line of fire
It may look like a winning strategy today, but the election is still nine months away

Sen. Susan Collins suggested impeachment itself was enough to scare Donald Trump into walking the straight and narrow from now on. Has she ever met the president? Curtis asks. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Don’t you just hate it when someone uses a sports metaphor to teach a life lesson? So do I, usually. But with the Super Bowl not a week in the rearview mirror, it would be impossible to ignore the concept of the punt — getting out of a tough situation by moving the ball as far as possible toward the opponent’s end zone.

If you’re playing against a Patrick Mahomes-led Kansas City Chiefs, you’re merely buying some time before the inevitable score. But senators using that tactic in an impeached President Donald Trump’s trial are no doubt hoping any payback comes late, or not at all.

And the Oscar goes to ... Barack and Michelle Obama?
Ex-president’s movie is up for an Academy Award, and that’s just the beginning

A documentary from Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company is among the nominees at this Sunday’s Academy Awards. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Auction off Pelosi’s ripped speech? Only he would think of it
Billy Long isn’t the only former professional auctioneer in Congress, but lately he’s been the most creative

Rep. Billy Long, R-Mo., shakes hands with President Donald Trump after 2019 the State of the Union address. (Doug Mills/The New York Times file photo)

Rep. Billy Long, the proud owner of verified Twitter handle “auctnr1,” reminded us again this week why his colleagues call him Congress’ “auctioneer in residence.”

As President Donald Trump finished his third State of the Union speech Tuesday night and Speaker Nancy Pelosi tore her copy in half, Long was stationed in the center-right aisle of the chamber to get the president to sign his tie.

Donald Trump: How to win kitsch and influence people
Political Theater, Episode 111

First lady Melania Trump awards Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom during President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address in the House chamber on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s State of the Union was a master class in deploying conservative rhetoric, entertainment kitsch and Americana tropes before a televised audience.

Critics of the president frequently fail to understand his appeal to his supporters, but many times that comes down to the somewhat elusive question of taste. It might just depend on whether you prefer “Game of Thrones” or “The Big Bang Theory.”

Capitol Ink | Footnote to History

Like McCain before him, Romney rebukes President Trump
2008 and 2012 presidential nominees have been most forceful GOP critics in the Senate

Back in 2008, Mitt Romney spoke at the Republican National Convention to back the presidential candidacy of onetime rival John McCain. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The greatest rebukes of Donald Trump’s presidency from the Republican side of the aisle have come from the two previous standard-bearers for the GOP.

When Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, a freshman senator best known for being the 2012 Republican nominee for president, announced Wednesday on the Senate floor that he would vote to convict Trump of abuse of power, it evoked memories of the time when the late Arizona Sen. John McCain voted in 2017 to thwart the president’s desired repeal of the 2010 health care law.