Vermont

What happened to Kamala Harris?
The California Democrat seemed poised to take off as a candidate

Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris, D-Calif., has slipped in the polls after  a mini-surge this summer. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION | When this year began, I expected California Sen. Kamala Harris to be in the middle of the fight for the Democratic presidential nomination. But now, after months of campaigning and three nationally televised debates, Harris finds herself sitting in the second tier as she reorganizes her campaign and revamps her strategy.

Harris’s failure to launch has caused me to think about what went wrong and whether she will have a second chance to make a first impression.

Bernie Sanders had a heart attack, his doctors confirm
2020 White House hopeful released from hospital after surgery

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders had a heart attack earlier this week, his campaign confirmed Friday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders had a heart attack earlier this week, his campaign said Friday after he was released from a hospital in Las Vegas.

The 2020 White House hopeful was admitted to Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center on Wednesday after experiencing chest discomfort following a campaign event the previous night. On Friday, his campaign released a statement saying he “feels great” and looks “forward to getting back to work.”

Democrats: Budget rule change undercuts Congress’ authority
The new rule instructs agencies to report alleged violations only if the agency, in consultation with OMB, agrees a violation occurred

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., leaves the Senate Democrats’ policy lunch in the Capitol on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic appropriations leaders wrote to the Office of Management and Budget Friday objecting to a decision to limit agencies’ reporting of alleged budget violations, which they said is an attempt to weaken congressional oversight.

The letter from House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., and Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, follows a General Accountability Office opinion that suggests the new procedure violates the law.

The three places where senators can ‘actually’ talk
Sen. Chris Coons’ favorite places to reach across the aisle

From left, Sens. Charles E. Schumer, D.N.Y., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Chris Coons, D-Del., share a laugh after a markup hearing on judicial nominations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

“We’re real people. We’re not just two-dimensional targets,” Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., told a lecture hall of law students at Notre Dame last week.Flanked by former Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., Coons talked about the hyperpartisan environment on Capitol Hill and the intention required to cut through it and work. For the Delaware senator, this means talking to his colleagues “in the three settings [he has] found where there [are] no lobbyists, no staff and no press.”

Joking that Flake spent more time in the gym than he did, Coons told the students about the senators-only gym — a place “you can actually chat as you’re working out.” While little information is publicly available about the gym, Roll Call learned more about the facility in 2013 by standing in the hallway outside it for several hours. 

New teachers’ union chief puts equity first
Kim Anderson returns to the National Education Association amid turbulent political environment

Kim Anderson is the new executive director of the National Education Association. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Kim Anderson will be the first to tell you she got lucky. She grew up in Fairfax County, Virginia, the well-heeled D.C. suburb, where she attended “one of the best public school systems in the country,” before receiving an undergraduate degree from the College of William & Mary, one of the country’s top public colleges.

Now, she’s taken on a new role as executive director of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers’ union, with the hopes of making schools everywhere as good as the ones she attended.

Bernie Sanders cancels campaign schedule after heart procedure
Spokesman says presidential candidate had stents installed after doctors found blockage in artery

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding in August. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Bernie Sanders is recovering after having heart stents installed, canceling his presidential campaign events until further notice.

Jeff Weaver, a senior adviser to the Democratic presidential campaign of the Vermont independent, made the announcement of the medical procedure.

The art of the ask: Foreign aid isn’t a campaign ‘slush fund’
Trump’s Ukraine request deviates from the traditional carrot-and-stick approach

President Donald Trump is under fire for a July 25 conversation in which he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to open an investigation into potential 2020 opponent Joe Biden. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Arms sales and foreign aid have long been a part of the United States’ carrot-and-stick approach to foreign policy. But President Donald Trump’s call with the Ukrainian leader is something entirely different.

Making access to American weapons or dollars contingent upon behaviors that support U.S. interests is standard procedure.

Senate clears stopgap, pivots to endgame spending talks
The bill funds the government through Nov. 21, giving Congress and the White House more time to reach agreement on appropriations

Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., right, and Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., prepare for a Senate Appropriations Committee markup on Wednesday, June 19, 2019. The Senate voted Thursday to approve the House-passed bill to fund the government through Nov. 21. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate on Thursday cleared a spending bill that will fund the government through Nov. 21, giving lawmakers and the White House more time to reach agreement on the annual appropriations process. The vote was 81-16, with all of the ‘no’ votes coming from Republicans.

President Donald Trump is expected to sign the continuing resolution, holding off another partial government shutdown for at least 52 more days. But this could be the first of several stopgap bills amid tense debates about abortion policy and the border wall.

Lawmakers express concern after reading whistleblower report
Members urge patience, even public release of the complaint so the American people can see it for themselves

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., holds a press conference on impeachment in the Capitol on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Some lawmakers expressed concerns Wednesday evening after reading a divisive whistleblower report that House and Senate Intelligence committee members were allowed to review in secure Capitol rooms. 

Democratic lawmakers and even a Republican said the complaint raised concerns, but many urged patience and called for public release of the complaint so the American people could see it for themselves. The complaint was delivered to the Intelligence panels before the House voted 421-0 Wednesday evening to adopt a nonbinding resolution urging the administration to make the complaint itself available to Congress.

2020 hopefuls ditch Senate vote to end border emergency in favor of trail
The Senate voted to end the southern border emergency declaration but without sufficient votes to override a presidential veto

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., walks through the Iowa State Fair on August 10, 2019. Harris, and several 2020 White House hopefuls, did not vote Wednesday to end the national emergency declaration on the southern border. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate voted Wednesday to end the national emergency declaration on the southern border but without sufficient votes to override an all-but-inevitable presidential veto.

Eleven Republicans joined 43 Democrats in support of ending the emergency declaration, which allowed the administration to repurpose $3.6 billion in funds appropriated for military construction projects. That money has been diverted to border wall construction.