House of Representatives

Pharmacist Hints Some Lawmakers Have Alzheimer’s

Mike Kim, who runs the pharmacy that most members of Congress use, told Stat that he knows the most sensitive details about some of the most powerful people in Washington:

“At first it’s cool, and then you realize, I’m filling some drugs that are for some pretty serious health problems as well. And these are the people that are running the country,” Kim said, listing treatments for conditions like diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

“It makes you kind of sit back and say, ‘Wow, they’re making the highest laws of the land and they might not even remember what happened yesterday.’”

Kim tried to walk back the comments in a follow-up article.

Capitol Hill Republicans Choose Avoidance Strategy

“Senate Republicans avoided weighing in on the fiery fracas between President Trump and Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), and aides and allies of those lawmakers privately worried that a prolonged fight would hurt the GOP’s already threatened legislative priorities,” the Washington Post reports.

“Those who did speak did so obliquely — by praising Corker generally but steering clear of inserting themselves directly into the brutal clash.”

“The reaction highlighted the broader strategy Capitol Hill Republicans have adopted when it comes to the president’s tendency to wage rhetorical war against their own or incite other controversies: Don’t engage in public no matter how anxious they may be in private.”

Democrats Seek to Make Ryan a Villain

“Democrats are doubling down on their campaign trying to turn House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) into political villain in advance of next year’s midterm election, using themes that could hurt his image with staunch conservatives in addition to liberal activists,” the Washington Post reports.

“House Majority PAC, a super PAC affiliated with the leadership team of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), is launching the new round of digital ads throughout the country highlighting the health-care fight. Additionally, the group is trying to brand Ryan with an elitist tag, through a new website that it is launching called ‘Fancy Paul Ryan.'”

Inside Tim Murphy’s Demise

Politico: “Multiple top House Republicans during the past 24 hours pressured Murphy to resign once it became clear that the House Ethics Committee might have to investigate allegations tied to his reported mistreatment of staffers. Numerous GOP sources were aware of systemic problems in Murphy’s office, including high staff turnover, which had been the topic of gossip and speculation for years.”

“According to these aides, chief of staff Susan Mosychuk regularly engaged in brutal verbal abuse of lower-ranking aides, from calling aides ‘worthless’ and their work ‘garbage’ to asking derisively, ‘Do you or do you not have a fucking college degree?’”

Murphy Resigns Following Abortion Scandal

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) has resigned effective October 21, according to a statement from Speaker Paul Ryan.

Politico: “Republican sources familiar with Murphy’s thinking said the married father of one child initially believed he could weather a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story revealing he had sent a series of text messages to his girlfriend — a psychologist half his age — encouraging her to have an abortion. Murphy had been a strongly anti-abortion lawmaker during his 15 years in Congress.”

Cook Political Report: “This is very tough territory for Democrats. But it’s not impossible, and the combination of a pro-Democratic national climate and the fallout from Murphy’s ignominious personal behavior makes this special election potentially competitive.”

Top House Democrats Calls for New Leadership

Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) said that “it’s time for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her leadership team to prepare to step down and make way for the next generation of lawmakers in her caucus,” the Washington Post reports.

Said Sanchez: “I do think it’s time to pass a torch to a new generation of leaders, and I want to be a part of that transition.”

The comments by Sanchez, “who as vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus ranks fifth in the 194-member body, are the most explicit to date by a senior congressional Democrat and a member of the California congressional delegation about Pelosi’s political future.”

Pro-Life Congressman Urged Abortion During Affair

“A text message sent in January to Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) by a woman with whom he had an extra-marital relationship took him to task for an anti-abortion statement posted on Facebook from his office’s public account,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Wrote Shannon Edwards, with whom the congressman admitted last month to having an affair: “And you have zero issue posting your pro-life stance all over the place when you had no issue asking me to abort our unborn child just last week when we thought that was one of the options.”

Responded Murphy: “I get what you say about my March for life messages. I’ve never written them. Staff does them. I read them and winced. I told staff don’t write any more. I will.”

Ryan Blames the Senate for Stalled Agenda

Speaker Paul Ryan “said it was ‘extremely frustrating’ that the Republican majority in the Senate had been unable to push through pieces of the GOP agenda that have passed in the House,” Politico reports.

“Equipped with graphs highlighting the disparity between the number of bills passed by the House and the number that have stalled in the Senate, Ryan (R-WI) aired his grievances during an interview on Fox News. He cited the upper chamber’s inability to convert on the Republican Party’s major goals thus far during the Trump administration.”

Hill Republicans Are Losing Their Influence

Washington Post: “Despite their control of both chambers and with a GOP partner in the White House, congressional Republicans are laboring, sometimes awkwardly, to project leverage over efforts to rewrite the nation’s tax laws and craft a bill to decide the fate of hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants.”

“Some are privately fuming over the valuable political cover Trump is giving to centrist Democratic senators who are top targets in the 2018 midterms in states the president won. By negotiating with them and appearing at events together, the president is potentially easing their challenge of winning conservative voters.”

Ryan May Emerge Stronger After Sparring with Trump

“Paul Ryan rode to power two years ago like a hero on a white horse, a reluctant candidate for House speaker elected to heal wounds left by his predecessor, who could not tame the incessant infighting between hard-line conservatives and establishment Republicans,” the New York Times reports.

“In one of his first real tests, Mr. Ryan discovered last week that those old wounds can reopen fast. But in President Trump, his mercurial partner in the White House, the speaker deftly found a foil to deflect some of the anger that had felled the man he succeeded, John Boehner.”

“President Trump’s fiscal deal with Democratic leaders in Congress — which passed the House with more than a third of Republicans voting against it — infuriated House conservatives, who struck first at Mr. Ryan, but ultimately turned their ire on the Trump White House. By week’s end, the men feeling the lash were Mr. Trump’s Treasury secretary and budget director. If anything, Mr. Ryan may have emerged stronger.”

House Conservatives Plot Mischief for Fall

“Several influential House conservatives are privately plotting ways to use the legislative calendar this fall to push their hard-line agenda — including quiet discussions about possibly mounting a leadership challenge to House Speaker Paul Ryan,” the Washington Post reports.

“The group has gone so far as to float the idea of recruiting former House speaker Newt Gingrich or former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum as potential replacements for Ryan (R-Wis.) should there be a rebellion. The Constitution does not require that an elected member of the House serve as speaker.”

“While the chances that a non-House member could mount a credible threat to Ryan are exceedingly slim, the fact the group has even toyed with the idea underscores their desire to create trouble for GOP leaders if they believe their demands are not being addressed.”