Politics

Political news

A special election in Kansas on Tuesday has Republicans sounding worried about an enthusiasm gap in the Trump era.

Trump himself was apparently worried enough that he cut a robo call for Republican state party Treasurer Ron Estes.

Time is running out for Washington lawmakers to negotiate a state budget that complies with a Supreme Court ruling to fully fund schools.

Updated at 4:23 p.m. ET

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is recommending the White House nominate Washington labor lawyer Eric Dreiband to lead the Justice Department's civil rights division, according to two NPR sources briefed on the hiring process.

Updated: Tues., 4/11/17, 9:50 a.m. ET

Democrats are hoping to prove that the growing opposition to President Trump is very real with an upset in one — or possibly even two — upcoming special congressional elections.

The Affordable Care Act's worst enemies are now in charge of the vast range of health coverage the law created. They're also discussing changes that could affect a wider net of employment-based policies and Medicare coverage for seniors.

Although Republicans failed last month in their first attempt to repeal and replace the ACA, President Donald Trump vows the effort will continue. And even if Congress does nothing, Trump has suggested he might sit by and "let Obamacare explode."

Updated at 2:47 p.m. ET

Judge Neil Gorsuch was confirmed Friday as the 113th justice to serve on the nation's highest court. The final vote was 54-45, mostly along party lines.

Texas Republican Mike Conaway will now preside over the House Intelligence Committee's investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election. This comes after the announcement on Thursday morning that the embattled Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., will be stepping away from the Russia probe.

Updated at 12:18 p.m. ET

House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes says he is temporarily stepping aside from the committee's probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, as the House Ethics Committee opens an inquiry into whether he improperly disclosed classified information.

Nunes will continue to serve as the committee's chairman and remain involved in other matters before the panel. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, will take the lead on the Russia investigation.

All presidents since Gerald Ford have volunteered to show the public their tax returns. All of them except Donald Trump.

He has said emphatically that he really wants to do it, including at a Republican primary debate in February 2016.

"Let me just tell you something. I want to release my tax returns. But I can't release it while I'm under an audit. We're under a routine audit. I've had it for years I get audited. And obviously if I'm being audited I'm not going to release a return. As soon as the audit is done — I love it."

Thursday is the day the judicial filibuster in the Senate is scheduled to die. There hasn't been much of an effort to save it, but there have been a lot of lamentations for the slow demise of the World's Greatest Deliberative Body (WGDB), otherwise known as the U.S. Senate.

Here are five insights into what the death of the judicial filibuster means:

1. The winners and losers

Updated at 12:59 p.m. ET

Steve Bannon has been removed from his controversial role on the National Security Council just months after he was elevated to the position.

President Trump's chief strategist will no longer be a regular attendee of the principals committee of the NSC, but he will retain his role as senior adviser for domestic affairs.

Speaking to CEOs on Tuesday, President Trump touted his plans for deregulation and infrastructure-building. In the process, he made a striking claim: that the Obama administration passed an infrastructure bill that built nothing and gave money to social programs.

You may not remember that happening (because it didn't). Here's what Trump seems to have been saying and how close to the truth it is.

President Barack Obama stepped to the microphone in the White House briefing room and had a job to do — make the case for a major change made by his party's Senate leader to how the chamber works.

"Ultimately, if you got a majority of folks who believe in something, then it should be able to pass," Obama said in 2013 after then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., changed the rules of the Senate to require a simple majority to allow for judiciary nominees other than those for the Supreme Court to proceed to a final vote for confirmation.

President Trump has donated his salary from his first few months in office to the National Park Service, making good on a campaign pledge to forego a presidential paycheck.

His gift represents a small fraction, however, of the money the Park Service stands to lose if Trump's budget were adopted.

Instead of collecting a salary of $400,000 a year, Trump has volunteered to donate that money to charity. He chose the Park Service as the beneficiary of his first installment, $78,333, which covers the first ten weeks Trump was in office.

Would opening the door to cheaper, skimpier marketplace plans with higher deductibles and copays attract consumers and insurers to the exchanges next year? That's what the Trump administration is betting on.

In February, the administration proposed a rule that would take a bit of the shine off bronze, silver, gold and platinum exchange plans by allowing them to provide less generous coverage while keeping the same metal level designation.

Washington lawmakers are working this year to craft a solution to the state’s school funding crisis. Much of their work is happening behind the scenes and in closed door meetings. So who’s in those meetings and who’s trying to influence the outcome? The top four leaders of the legislature denied a public records request to see their emails and calendars. 

Jared Kushner "is on the ground" in Iraq, visiting the embattled nation along with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford, White House press secretary Sean Spicer says. Kushner is both a senior adviser to President Trump and his son-in-law.

Spicer confirmed Kushner's visit to NPR's Tamara Keith early Monday. According to Reuters, which has a reporter traveling with Kushner and Dunford, the U.S. group arrived on Monday, not over the weekend as some news outlets reported on Sunday.

With a razor-thin margin, leftist candidate Lenín Moreno appears to have won Ecuador's presidential election. But his conservative opponent, Guillermo Lasso, plans to object to Sunday's vote — he says the numbers don't add up, citing an exit poll that had showed him in the lead.

The U.S. Senate could make history this week, but no one is feeling particularly good about it.

"It is depressing; I'm very depressed," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. "We're all arguing against it, but we don't know any other option."

The nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and the GOP blockade against Merrick Garland before him are forcing another showdown over whether to invoke the "nuclear option" and change the rules of the Senate to make it easier for a president to get all of his nominations approved.

Since the Republican health care bill collapsed a little more than a week ago, President Trump's White House has struggled with a path forward. Trump is dealing with finger-pointing and infighting that threatens to derail his agenda, as well as nagging Russia investigations on Capitol Hill that are raising more questions than answers about his team.

It's creeping toward 9 in the evening, but a group of young people is still busy at the National Front party's office in Metz, in eastern France. They're preparing for a rally for their presidential candidate, Marine Le Pen.

Twenty-one-year-old Arnaud de Rigné remembers when he first became interested in the party.

President Trump escalated a Twitter war with lawmakers in his own party on Thursday evening, calling out three members of the Freedom Caucus by name.

"If @RepMarkMeadows, @Jim_Jordan and @Raul_Labrador would get on board we would have both great healthcare and massive tax cuts & reform," he tweeted.

Some of President Trump's proposed spending cuts would cripple programs that benefit communities full of his rural supporters, but at least in Strong City, Kan., some say they are ready "to bleed a little bit."

Strong City is a former railroad town of about 460 people, less than half the size it was in 1890. Trump's proposed budget aims at killing the program that threw a lifeline to the town's water system.

Lawmakers from both parties are increasingly convinced that the United States Senate is on a collision course that will permanently change the dynamics of the chamber — and the United States Supreme Court.

There's a growing bipartisan sadness and resignation about next week's showdown over the rules that govern high court nominations. But that doesn't mean there's any serious attempt from either party to avoid it.

Updated July 19 at 2:30 p.m. ET

Repealing the Affordable Care Act was at the top of Republicans' policy wish list ever since the law was passed in 2010. Seven years later, having gained the White House and majorities in both houses of Congress, the GOP apparently has failed to repeal that law, also known as Obamacare.

However, that doesn't mean Obamacare itself is untouchable. While Congress faltered, the White House still has lots of power.

Hillary Clinton criticized the lack of diversity in the Trump White House and the ill-fated Republican health care proposal in what were her most political public remarks since losing the November presidential election to Donald Trump.

Clinton made her observations in an address to the Professional BusinessWomen of California in San Francisco on Tuesday night. "There's no place I'd rather be than here with you," she told the gathering, adding, "other than the White House."

The fallout from Friday's Republican health care bill collapse is still trying to be understood.

Right after the bill was pulled, President Trump teased that he wanted to work with Democrats and believed a bipartisan bill would be possible.

But it wasn't clear if that was just talk. On Tuesday night, he may have taken the first step to trying to reach across the aisle.

The House of Representatives has gone along with the Senate and voted 215-205 to overturn a yet-to-take-effect regulation that would have required Internet service providers — like Comcast, Verizon and Charter — to get consumers' permission before selling their data.

President Trump is expected to sign the rollback, according to a White House statement.

In 2008, candidate Barack Obama ran an ad with this opening line: "The hands that built this nation can build a new economy. The hands that harvest crops can also harvest the wind."

And then it showed men working on roofs: "The hands that install roofs can also install solar panels."

The ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee is asking a government watchdog to investigate recent remarks by Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin as a possible ethical violation.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., says in a statement Mnuchin's plug for a movie he helped produce signals "a blatant disregard and disrespect to the office he serves and the power it holds."

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