Rep. Dent's decision to retire raised questions about whether the GOP's centrist bloc is losing whatever influence it still has. Dent was the third moderate House Republican to choose to step aside as the party braces for difficult 2018 elections.
In a campaign launched this week, just as Sen. Bob Menendez's bribery trial began in Newark, Republicans pressed vulnerable Senate Democrats to say whether they will vote to expel Menendez if he is convicted. Potentially at stake is a reliably Democratic Senate seat at a time when Republicans have a narrow two-vote majority, and could use any extra margin to advance their agenda.
Charlie Dent, the Allentown congressman who has frequently clashed with President Trump and become one of the most prominent national voices for centrist Republicans, will not seek reelection next year, he announced Thursday night. The decision ends the tenure of one of Pennsylvania's most visible members of Congress, one who was frequently at odds with his party.
Sen. Pat Toomey will hold a town-hall meeting in Bethlehem Thursday night before an expected audience of 54 people, scheduling the event after months of pressure from liberals who have regularly protested outside his offices across the state. While opening Toomey to questions from the public, the event will be a small one compared to other recent town halls, many of which have turned raucous.
Expected to soon announce a run for U.S. Senate to challenge Democrat Casey, Barletta, who has four terms in the U.S. House and a relationship with the president, has never had to run in a race as expensive or expansive as the one he is likely to enter.
A self-described "counter-puncher," President Trump won with a campaign defined by what he was against - "Crooked" Hillary Clinton, bad trade deals, illegal immigration, the media. But as he crosses a critical marker early in his presidency, he has so far failed to advance or even articulate much of what he is for, and enters the summer recess with no major legislative accomplishments.
They introduced bills aiming to protect the special counsel leading the politically charged probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Crucially, both have teamed with Republican senators, increasing their chances of gaining traction.
The dramatic vote came as President Trump and Republicans were desperate to show progress on a central promise to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. "After 7 years of talking," Trump wrote on Twitter, "we will soon see whether or not Republicans are willing to step up to the plate!"
The first six months of the Trump administration have served up a reminder of the gap between opposing laws and proposing them, of attacking other people's plans and trying to enact your own, with all the resulting real-world impacts.
Before, the dividing lines were clear: Sen. Pat Toomey was one of the leading voices in favor of the GOP push to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, while the Philadelphia area's Democrats were steadfastly opposed. Now, Republicans are groping for a way forward, and Democrats may have to decide whether and how to cooperate on bipartisan fixes for a law that has sharply divided the parties for years.
I cover national politics and policy from Washington D.C., with a focus on Pennsylvania and New Jersey lawmakers and issues.