Katherine Tully-McManus

House votes to raise federal minimum wage
Issue exposed rifts among Democrats. Legislation stalled in Senate

Updated 12:46 p.m. | The House voted 231-199 Thursday to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour incrementally over six years, but the Democratic effort was almost derailed by divisions between progressives and moderates.

Progressives on Wednesday had issued a last-minute warning to their moderate colleagues not to help Republicans make any last-minute changes to the bill through the procedural maneuver known as a motion to recommit, or MTR. If moderate Democrats helped the GOP add what the progressives considered poison pill language to the measure, members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus were prepared to vote against it, the group’s co-chairs, Reps. Mark Pocan and Pramila Jayapal, said. 

Sen. Isakson hospitalized with rib fractures after fall
Georgia Republican “is in pain, but resting and doing well,” spokeswoman says

Sen. Johnny Isakson was hospitalized after falling and fracturing four ribs in his apartment in Washington, D.C., his office said in a statement. 

The Georgia Republican was admitted to George Washington University Hospital on Tuesday night. 

Leahy casts his 16,000th vote, joining an exclusive Senate club
No currently serving senators have cast more career votes

“Just a little perspective, imagine taking 16,000 pennies and stacking them one on top of the other, they’d surpass the height of the Washington Monument. They’d more than double the height of the Capitol Dome,” said Schumer. “It’s a reminder that a multitude of smaller actions and the accumulation of smaller accomplishments over a lifetime of quiet dedication can amount to a great monument of achievement.”

After accolades and congratulations, Leahy had some words of his own. 

Pelosi, Mnuchin appear close to spending caps, debt limit deal
Agreement would likely include a two-year extension of the debt limit and spending levels

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are close to making an announcement about spending caps and the debt limit.

“We have a clear understanding of what we want to agree to, and I think that's progress,” Pelosi said Tuesday afternoon after speaking with Mnuchin, who was preparing to leave Wednesday for the G-7 meeting in France. “We'll have an announcement about something soon, one way or the other.”

House’s condemnation of Trump may just be the beginning
Now the debate is over push by some Democrats for impeachment

Although Tuesday’s long day of heated debate ended with the House voting to condemn President Donald Trump for racist tweets, the chamber’s brawl over the president’s behavior may be just beginning. 

The House voted, 240-187, to approve a nonbinding resolution that says the chamber “strongly condemns” Trump’s “racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.”

‘I abandon the chair’: House floor in chaos over Pelosi speech on Trump tweets

Amid debate over whether to condemn tweets by President Donald Trump as racist on Tuesday, the House descended into parliamentary chaos, with Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, who was presiding, abruptly dropping the gavel and saying, “I abandon the chair.”

It was an extraordinary moment on an extraordinary day, as the House considered a resolution condemning Trump’s tweets from the weekend that told four freshman Democrats from the House to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

McCarthy pitches monthlong debt ceiling stopgap, if deal can’t be reached
He suggested a 30-day extension to avoid default in early September, if a compromise on discretionary spending caps can’t be reached

The House’s top Republican suggested that lawmakers pass a 30-day extension of the debt ceiling to avoid default in early September, if Democrats and the White House can’t agree on compromise discretionary spending caps before leaving for the summer break.

“We should not leave for August without dealing with that. And I would say if we can’t get this done, we should do a 30-day [stopgap],” McCarthy told reporters Tuesday. He also said lawmakers ought to stay in town a few days past July 26, when House lawmakers are currently scheduled to leave town, if necessary. The Senate is slated to be in session for an extra week.

Pelosi announces resolution condemning Trump’s racist tweets
The president’s weekend tweetstorm has brought the sometimes-fractured Democrats together as they denounce his comments

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Monday a resolution in the House condemning President Donald Trump’s tweets over the weekend in which he instructed progressive congresswomen to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

The president’s weekend tweetstorm has brought the sometimes-fractured Democrats together as they denounce his statements, which have been condemned by many as racist.

Road ahead: Pressure rising for debt limit deal
Lawmakers face deadline on debt even as other priorities come to floor

Congress is set to consider several high-profile measures this week, including holding two Cabinet officials in contempt, raising the minimum wage and ratifying tax treaties, but lawmakers will be unable to avoid the contentious issue of raising the federal debt ceiling. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been speaking by phone, trying to reach agreement on avoiding a potentially calamitous debt default.

No one told the New England delegation it was cafeteria lobster week
Mainer who brought us the lobster emoji misses out on crustacean grilled cheese

Maine independent Angus King did not try the lobster grilled cheese that was on the menu at the Dirksen Senate Office Building cafeteria this week.

“I didn’t even know about it. My staff will be severely reprimanded,” the senator told Heard on the Hill.

No new legislative momentum after election security briefings
House has passed legislation, but there is no plan for moving a Senate bill

Sen. Marco Rubio emerged from a closed briefing on the Trump administration’s efforts to secure elections and made a renewed push for his own bipartisan deterrence legislation, even as he acknowledged there has not been momentum.

“In my view, they’re doing everything you can do,” Rubio said of the administration efforts. “Election interference is a broadly used term, and understand this is psychological warfare. It’s designed to weaken America from the inside out, to drive divisions internally so we fight with each other, to undermine our confidence in the elections and in our democracy and particularly to undermine individual candidates either because they don’t like that candidate or because they know someone else.”

Senate Republicans tiptoe around Acosta, largely defer on his future
Labor secretary's role in cutting deal with Jeffrey Epstein

Some Republicans in Congress are looking for more answers about Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta’s conduct as U.S. attorney, but they’re  not joining calls by Democrats that he step down because of a generous plea deal he cut with accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

One Republican member of the Judiciary Committee said Tuesday that Acosta should explain his handling of the plea agreement with Epstein.

Justin Amash is officially a man without a party — or committee
Michigan independent left the Freedom Caucus in June and called for impeachment in May

Rep. Justin Amash  resigned his seat on the House Oversight and Reform Committee and  his GOP conference membership Monday, after declaring his independence from the Republican Party last week.

 “Please accept this letter as formal notification that I am withdrawing my membership in the House Republican Conference, effective immediately, for the reasons outlined in my accompanying op-ed,” the Michigan lawmaker wrote in a letter to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn calls Snapchat ‘a child predator's dream’
In letter to Snap Inc. CEO, she urges action to protect minors from explicit content

Sen. Marsha Blackburn is urging tech company Snap to take steps to protect young users of the Snapchat platform from sexual predators and explicit content.

The Tennessee Republican penned a letter to Snap CEO Evan Spiegel on Monday, calling on the company to answer questions about the recommended age of Snapchat users and what the company is doing to prevent explicit content being shared with minors on the app.

DHS faces pressure to accept diapers, soap donations for detained migrants
Reports of unsanitary conditions have prompted donations that the agency has turned away

Sen. Ted Cruz is urging the Department of Homeland Security to establish procedures that would allow it and Customs and Border Protection to accept charitable donations of items such as diapers and soap for migrant children being held in border detention facilities.

The Texas Republican wrote a letter to acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan this week, asking him to prioritize accepting donations from concerned Americans.

House brief on Trump’s ‘disdain’ kicks off what could be messy two weeks
Cases in D.C., New Orleans showcase tussle between branches of government

The House told a federal appeals court Monday that President Donald Trump has “disdain” for congressional oversight ahead of action next week on the House’s efforts to subpoena his financial records from accounting firm Mazars USA. The brief sets the stage for what could be a messy couple of weeks legally on fights between Congress and the administration. 

“Mr. Trump’s disdain for the constitutionally based role of Congress in carrying out oversight of the Executive Branch, and for the specific investigations of the Oversight Committee at issue here, is not a basis for this Court to reverse the district court’s holding that the subpoena is valid and enforceable,” the brief stated.

Senate sets new record for longest vote
Senators began voting at 5:02 a.m. Friday

Friday’s prolonged roll call vote to limit debate on a Tom Udall amendment that would bar U.S. attacks on Iran without Congressional authorization made history as the longest Senate vote in modern history.

The vote opened at 5:02 a.m., to allow Senators with early morning flights to vote and then leave town for the Independence Day recess. It is being held open to accommodate the Democratic Senators who were in Miami this week for presidential primary debates. The vote was held  open for a total of 10 hours and 8 minutes, gaveling closed at 3:10 p.m. New Jersey’s Cory Booker was the first of the 2020 candidates to return, casting a yea vote just after 7 a.m.

House passes election security measure requiring cybersecurity safeguards, paper ballots
Republicans, in split with Democrats, call it federal overreach and are pushing their own proposals

The House passed an election security measure Thursday that would require voting systems to use backup paper ballots in federal contests, while also mandating improvements to the higher-tech side of the polls.

The full chamber voted 225-184 to send the bill to the Senate where it faces stiff opposition from Republicans. House Democrats fast-tracked the bill to the floor after it cleared the Administration Committee by a party-line vote. 

Perfect attendance? Not for Democratic presidential hopefuls
Members of Congress running for president have already been missing votes

Any time a member of Congress runs for president, there is a tension between voting on Capitol Hill and campaigning on the trail. It’s still relatively early in the 2020 cycle, but the seven senators and four House members running are already racking up absences. 

All of the sitting lawmakers who are seeking the 2020 Democratic nomination have already missed votes, some more than others. And with the first of the party’s presidential debates taking place on Wednesday and Thursday in Miami, several of them are likely to miss more votes this week. 

9/11 survivors get Mitch McConnell's commitment for Senate vote on compensation fund
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand had announced the bill had 60 supporters in the Senate

Updated 6:09 p.m. | The Senate will be taking up 9/11 victims compensation fund legislation this summer, and the bill should be expected to reach President Donald Trump’s desk.

That was the word from first responders and their supporters after a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Capitol Hill.