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Special Elections

Georgia special House vote seen as referendum on Trump. Politico: "It’s Election Day in Georgia, where a House special election has put President Donald Trump’s popularity back on the ballot, turned suburban Atlanta into a battleground for the first time in a generation and obliterated campaign finance records. Democrat Jon Ossoff has had a slight advantage in public polls against Republican Karen Handel, but the race could not be much closer after six months and $50 million spent to replace Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price in Congress. And both parties are closely watching the biggest House race ever for clues about how to fight the 2018 elections."

South Carolina voters choosing Mulvaney's replacement. StarTribune: "Voters in South Carolina's 5th Congressional District are going to the polls to determine who will succeed Mick Mulvaney in Congress... South Carolina's contest between (Republican) millionaire developer Ralph Norman and former Goldman Sachs tax adviser (Democrat) Archie Parnell has attracted big-name backers on both sides but nonetheless remained comparatively low-key."

SCOTUS Takes on Gerrymanders

Justices to hear major challenge to partisan gerrymandering. NYT: "The Supreme Court announced on Monday that it would consider whether partisan gerrymandering violates the Constitution, potentially setting the stage for a ruling that could for the first time impose limits on a practice that has helped define American politics since the early days of the Republic... While the Supreme Court has struck down voting districts as racial gerrymanders, it has never disallowed a legislative map because of partisan gerrymandering."

Congress Votes on War Powers

Will Congress Cede Its War-Making Authority to Trump? The Atlantic: "The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will take up a proposed authorization for the use of military force. This initiative not only requires Congress to take on renewed responsibility for America’s 15-year struggle against the Taliban and Al Qaeda. It has the great merit of requiring the House and Senate to take a clear stand, for the first time, on Obama’s decision to embark on a campaign against the Islamic State. Nevertheless, the new AUMF goes much too far in permitting President Trump to escalate the war on terror to new heights without the consent of Congress and the American people."

Dems Protest Health Care Secrecy

Senate floor protest decries secrecy around health care repeal. Reuters:
"U.S. Democrats took to the Senate floor on Monday to throw a spotlight on behind-the-scenes efforts by the Republican majority to repeal former President Barack Obama's healthcare law, known as Obamacare. In a series of floor motions, inquiries and lengthy speeches, Democrats criticized the closed-door meetings that Republicans have been holding to craft a replacement for Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Care Act. They called for open committee hearings and more time to consider the bill before a Senate vote, which Republicans say could come in the next two weeks, although a draft bill has yet to emerge publicly. Lacking the votes to derail or change the Republican process, the maneuvers by the Democratic minority seemed more aimed at highlighting Republican efforts on a controversial issue. Polls have said that a majority of Americans disapprove of the Obamacare replacement that has passed the House of Representatives and that Senate Republicans are now considering."

White House Non-Briefings

White House dodges questions at off-camera, off-audio briefings. The Hill: "The White House press corps vented frustration Monday with press secretary Sean Spicer for conducting off-camera briefings in place of the usual publicly broadcast briefings. Spicer conducted an off-camera briefing with reporters on Monday in which the press was told it could not film or broadcast audio of the proceedings. Spicer conducted the last on-camera briefing last Monday. 'The White House press secretary is getting to a point where he’s just kind of useless,' CNN White House reporter Jim Acosta said after the briefing. 'If they’re getting to this point where he’s not going to answer questions or go on camera or have audio, why are we even having these briefings or gaggles in the first place?'"

More from

How to Destroy the Economy With 50 Votes. Mark Trahant: "Every member of the Senate Republican caucus agrees on cutting taxes. That’s the fuel that keeps this bill moving forward. In a closely divided Senate some members are going to have to take one for the team; vote against their own state interests and voters. Thirty-one states expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act — and twenty of those states are represented by Republicans. All but three have to agree to take away insurance from their voters."

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