CategoryFederal

Rep. Kenny Marchant (R) announces retirement; fourth Congressional Republican from Texas in two weeks

U.S. Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas) announced he would not seek re-election in 2020. He has represented Texas’ 24th Congressional District since 2009 and won re-election in 2018 by 3.1 percentage points. His Dallas-area seat was already rated as competitive by three major race rating outlets.
 
Marchant is the fourth Congressional Republican from Texas to announce his retirement in the last two weeks. Pete Olsen (22nd District), Mike Conaway (11th), and Will Hurd (23rd) have all announced they would not be seeking re-election in 2020.
 
So far, 14 members of the U.S. House—three Democrats and 11 Republicans—have announced that they would not be seeking re-election in 2020. Eleven of those members are retiring from political office, while two are seeking a seat in the U.S. Senate and another is running for governor.


Marianne Williamson leads Democratic candidates in pageviews again following second presidential debate

Each week, we report the number of pageviews received by 2020 presidential campaigns on Ballotpedia. These numbers show which candidates are getting our readers’ attention.
 
Marianne Williamson’s (D) campaign received 7,588 pageviews on Ballotpedia the week of July 28-August 3 when the second round of Democratic presidential debates took place.
 
Williamson’s pageviews represented 8.1% of the pageviews for all Democratic presidential campaigns. Tulsi Gabbard received 7.0% of Democratic candidate pageviews for the week, while Joe Biden received 6.8%.
 
This is Williamson’s second time leading Democratic candidates in pageviews. The first time was the week of the first round of Democratic debates.
 
Gabbard’s campaign page had the largest increase in pageviews over the previous week, jumping 375.27%. Every Democratic candidate except Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Kamala Harris registered a pageview increase of 100% or more.
 
Pete Buttigieg’s campaign still leads Democrats in lifetime pageviews with 97,150. Andrew Yang again has the second-most lifetime pageviews after surpassing Kamala Harris last week. Harris’ lifetime pageviews had surpassed Yang’s the week before. Yang currently has 84,124 pageviews to Harris’ 83,846.
 
On the GOP side, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld had 26,651 pageviews to President Trump’s 2,354.


Federal Register weekly update; 2019 page total falls behind year-to-date 2018 page total from Caitlin Styrsky

The Federal Register is a daily journal of federal government activity that includes presidential documents, proposed and final rules, and public notices. It is a common measure of an administration’s regulatory activity.
 
During the week of July 29 to August 2, the number of pages in the Federal Register increased by 1,500 pages, bringing the year-to-date total to 37,954 pages. The week’s Federal Register featured a total of 619 documents, including 488 notices, five presidential documents, 60 proposed rules, and 66 final rules.
 
Two proposed rules were deemed significant under E.O. 12866—meaning that they may have large impacts on the economy, environment, public health, or state or local governments. Significant actions may also conflict with presidential priorities or other agency rules.
 
During the same week in 2018, the number of pages in the Federal Register increased by 1,846 pages for a year-to-date total of 38,244 pages. As of August 2, the 2019 total trailed the 2018 total by 290 pages.
 
The Trump administration has added an average of 1,224 pages to the Federal Register each week in 2019 as of August 2. Over the course of 2018, the Trump administration added an average of 1,301 pages to the Federal Register each week. During the Obama administration, the Federal Register increased by an average of 1,658 pages per week.
 
According to government data, the Federal Register hit an all-time high of 95,894 pages in 2016.
 
Ballotpedia maintains page counts and other information about the Federal Register as part of its Administrative State Project. The project is a neutral, nonpartisan encyclopedic resource that defines and analyzes the administrative state, including its philosophical origins, legal and judicial precedents, and scholarly examinations of its consequences. The project also monitors and reports on measures of federal government activity.
 
Click here to find yearly information about additions to the Federal Register from 1936 to 2016: https://ballotpedia.org/Historical_additions_to_the_Federal_Register,_1936-2016


Resolution aims to block Trump administration guidance that gave states more flexibility from Obamacare requirements

On July 31, U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced a resolution under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) that would repeal a guidance document that gave states more flexibility when applying for waivers from Obamacare requirements. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued the guidance on October 24, 2018. The guidance aims to allow states to innovate within their individual health insurance markets.
 
Senator Warner’s CRA resolution, if passed and signed into law, would undo the health insurance waiver guidance and attracted 44 Democratic cosponsors and the two independent U.S. senators. U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) said that the guidance gives states the authority to allow health insurers to offer short-term plans that do not cover pre-existing conditions. Under the CRA, the resolution would need to pass both houses of Congress and receive President Trump’s signature to repeal the guidance.
 
On July 15, 2019, the Government Accountability Office concluded that the guidance document was a rule according to the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The CRA gives Congress a chance to review and reject any new regulatory rules created by federal administrative agencies. Since the law’s creation in 1996, 17 out of the over 90,767 rules published in the Federal Register during that time have been repealed using the CRA. 13 additional attempts either failed to pass through Congress or were vetoed.
 
Guidance is a term in administrative law used to describe documents created by administrative agencies to explain rules, laws, and procedures. Guidance documents affect how agencies administer regulations and programs. However, they are not supposed to be legally binding in the same way as rules issued through the rulemaking processes of the Administrative Procedure Act. Congress used the CRA to repeal a guidance document for the first time on May 21, 2018.
 


Will Hurd announces retirement

Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) announced August 1 that he would not run for re-election in 2020.
 
In a tweet, Hurd said, “I have made the decision to not seek reelection for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas in order to pursue opportunities outside the halls of Congress to solve problems at the nexus between technology and national security.”
 
Hurd was first elected to Congress in 2014, defeating Democratic incumbent Pete Gallego, 49.8% to 47.7%. Hurd won re-election in 2018 by defeating Gina Ortiz Jones (D) 49.2% to 48.7%.
 
Prior to his election, Hurd served with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency from 2000 to 2009, working primarily in the Middle East and South Asia as an undercover officer.
 
He was the third Texas Republican to announce his retirement this cycle after Pete Olson and Mike Conaway announced their retirement in July. He also became the 13th member of the U.S. House to announce that they would not run for re-election. That list includes 10 Republicans and 3 Democrats.


U.S. Supreme Court allows Pentagon to fund wall on U.S. border, questions Sierra Club’s right to sue

On July 26, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to allow the Pentagon to use military funds to build a wall along the southern border of the United States. The ruling said that groups objecting to the use of money for the border wall had not shown that they have the right to challenge the government’s actions in court.
 
The Supreme Court’s decision temporarily blocked an injunction issued by California District Court Judge Haywood S. Gillam, Jr. until after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals resolves the case or after the case comes before the U.S. Supreme Court. While the five Republican-appointed justices voted to grant the temporary stay on the injunction, the four Democrat-appointed justices dissented.
 
In February 2019, the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) sued President Trump and members of his administration. They argued that the courts should not allow officials to construct a barrier on the border using funds appropriated by Congress for the Department of Defense.
 
Judge Gillam issued an injunction in May 2019 that blocked the Trump administration from diverting Department of Defense funds to build sections of the border wall. Gillam ruled that the Sierra Club and SBCC did not need a special right of action to ask for a court order to block executive actions they believed were beyond the executive branch’s legal authority. He held that the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) framework of judicial review did not apply in this case.
 
 


Congress has considered at least 10 Trump administration executive branch reorganization proposals in past year

The Trump administration on June 30 released a one-year update on the status of the administration’s executive branch reorganization plan.
 
The reorganization plan—released in June 2018 pursuant to Executive Order 13871—seeks to improve alignment between program administration and agency missions by consolidating and restructuring several agencies as well as shifting the administration of certain federal programs, such as the food stamps program, under different agencies. The full reorganization plan features 34 proposals aimed at aligning the core missions and responsibilities of executive agencies.
 
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) estimated that implementation of the full plan would take three to five years.
 
The one-year update included the following:
 
• Congress has considered at least 10 of the proposals through hearings, legislation, or discussions with members or staff.
• The Trump administration’s 2020 budget included all or part of 18 reorganization proposals.
• Agencies are implementing more than 20 of the proposals through existing authorities.
 
The president has the authority to reorganize federal agencies within existing statutory limits. However, Congress must delegate reorganization authority in order for the president to implement statutory changes to agencies. Once the president presents a reorganization plan to Congress, members must issue a resolution of approval in order for the plan to take effect.
 


U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) announces retirement

Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) announced that he would not run for re-election in 2020. Twelve members of the U.S. House—nine Republicans and three Democrats—have said they are not running for re-election in 2020. Democrats currently hold a 235-198 majority in the U.S. House with two seats vacant.
 
Conaway was first elected to represent Texas’ 11th Congressional District in 2004 and was last re-elected 2018 with more than 80 percent of the vote. Conaway led the House Intelligence Committee’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and previously served as the Chair of the House Agriculture Committee. He also served as a leader of the National Republican Congressional Committee.
 
He is the second Texas Republican to announce his retirement this cycle after Pete Olson from the 22nd District did so last week.
 
In 2018, 52 members of the U.S. House did not run for re-election, including 34 Republicans and 18 Democrats. Thirteen of those 52 districts changed party control. Ten seats flipped from Republican to Democrat and three seats flipped from Democrat to Republican.


Sanders and Warren, Biden and Harris to meet on same stage in second set of Democratic presidential debates

Twenty candidates will debate Tuesday and Wednesday in Detroit, Michigan, in the second set of Democratic presidential primary debates.
 
Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren will meet on the debate stage for the first time on Tuesday, July 30, along with Steve Bullock, Pete Buttigieg, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Tim Ryan, and Marianne Williamson.
 
On the second night, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will share center stage. Michael Bennet, Bill de Blasio, Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, Jay Inslee, and Andrew Yang are also debating on Wednesday, July 31.
 
CNN’s Dana Bash, Don Lemon, and Jake Tapper will moderate the event. Unlike the June debates hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo, there will be no questions requiring a show of hands or one-word, down-the-line answers. Candidates who repeatedly interrupt other speakers will be penalized. Candidates will also be allowed to make opening and closing statements.
 
A third presidential debate is scheduled in Houston, Texas, on September 12-13, 2019. Candidates will need to receive 2 percent support or more in four national or early state polls and receive donations from at least 130,000 unique donors to qualify. Seven candidates have already crossed both thresholds: Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Harris, O’Rourke, Sanders, and Warren.
 
Sign up for Ballotpedia’s Daily Presidential News Briefing for highlights from the debate and all the presidential election news you need curated every weekday morning.


Joe Biden led Democratic presidential candidates in pageviews last week, Kamala Harris rose to second in 2019 pageviews

Each week, we report the number of pageviews received by 2020 presidential campaigns on Ballotpedia. These numbers show which candidates are getting our readers’ attention.
 
Joe Biden’s campaign page on Ballotpedia received 3,185 pageviews for the week of July 21-27. Biden’s pageview figure represents 9.5% of the pageviews for all Democratic candidates during the week. Kamala Harris had 8.3% of the Democratic campaign pageviews for the week while Elizabeth Warren had 6.8%.
 
Every Democratic campaign’s pageviews decreased by 8% or more relative to the week of July 14-20. Tulsi Gabbard’s 8.0% was the smallest decrease among all Democratic candidates, followed by Jay Inslee’s 9.3% decrease and Tim Ryan’s 11.0% decrease.
 
Last week, Harris surpassed Andrew Yang in lifetime pageviews with 78,429 pageviews to Yang’s 78,004. The only Democratic campaign page with more lifetime views than Harris’ is Pete Buttigieg’s page, which has recorded 92,483 views since launch.
 
On the GOP side, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld had 7,900 pageviews to President Trump’s 1,095.


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