Defense & Cyberspace

Furloughed government contractors to Congress: ‘Pay us too’
Podcast, Episode 136

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., speaks during the National Air Traffic Controllers Association rally to “Stop the Shutdown” in front of the Capitol on Jan. 10. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Trump vs. Pelosi: 5 takeaways from their tit-for-tat as shutdown plods on
Nixing Afghanistan trip also was a direct blow to House Dems’ oversight plans

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and President Donald Trump have continued trading barbs in recent days. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump continued their high-stakes game of tit-for-tat Friday, even as the 28-day partial government shutdown plodded on with no signs of any restart of negotiations. 

White House aides scurried about Friday, initially declining to directly address a bombshell report that Trump directed former personal lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress. (Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later called the story “categorically false.”)

House Democrats’ latest gambit for ending shutdown involves bills Republicans negotiated
Plan is to bring up spending bills next week that both chambers agreed to in conference last year

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., have been bringing various spending bills to the floor to pressure Republicans to reopen the government. They plan to hold votes next week on bills House Republicans previously helped negotiate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats plan to ramp up the pressure on Republicans to reopen the government by holding votes next week on spending bills the GOP helped negotiate. 

The plan is to hold a vote on a package of six fiscal 2019 appropriations bills that were agreed to by House and Senate negotiators last year but never brought to the floor. 

Trump abruptly cancels military support for Pelosi overseas trip
Treasury delegation‘s Davos trip is also off

Rep. Eliot L. Engel, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is seen on a bus originally scheduled to take a congressional delegation to their flight for an overseas trip. Minutes earlier, President Donald Trump had postponed all congressional trips, so Engel was subsequently dropped at the Rayburn Building. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 7:33 p.m. | In apparent retaliation to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plea that President Donald Trump delay his State of the Union address due to the government shutdown, Trump has canceled all military support for a previously unannounced congressional delegation trip the speaker was scheduled to take.

“Due to the Shutdown, I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan has been postponed. We will reschedule this seven-day excursion when the Shutdown is over,” Trump wrote in a letter to Pelosi.

Trump unveils his ’Ric Flair doctrine’ — after another border wall pitch
Buried in president's hawkish remarks was assessment Iranian leaders ‘want to talk’

President Donald Trump delivers in the East Room of the White House in September. He was in a hawkish mood while talking U.S. military missiles at the Pentagon on Thursday. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS | President Donald Trump — in a Pentagon address that included digs at Democrats and a border wall pitch — warned potential foes like Iran that the United States is a “good player,” but could quickly become the dirtiest player in the game if provoked.

The commander in chief arrived at the Pentagon Thursday morning for remarks, ostensibly about a Defense Department review of the country’s missile defense arsenal and his administration’s plan to expand and upgrade it. But just like Monday while addressing farmers at a conference in New Orleans, the president spent about half his remarks bashing congressional Democrats, describing a bleak situation at the U.S.-Mexico border and lobbying for a “steel” border barrier.

House voice vote to end government shutdown sows confusion, anger and eventually reconciliation

Rep. G. K. Butterfield, D-N.C., right, and House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., right, was presiding over the chamber when the back and forth over the voice vote on ending the shutdown went down.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It seemed simple: The House on Thursday passed a continuing resolution that would reopen nine Cabinet departments through Feb. 28 on a voice vote, a result that devolved into partisan sparring on the floor as Republicans sought to vacate the vote and Democrats said, in effect, too bad. By the end, both sides hugged it out, vacated the initial vote, voted by voice again, and postponed a roll call vote until Wednesday. 

It all started with passage, via voice vote on the resolution. Then the gavel came down, ending the vote. 

Senate effort to block Russia sanctions relief comes up short
Clear majority of senators supported attempt to maintain sanctions on three Russian firms, but not 60 of them

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., fell short of 60 votes on his Russia sanctions measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer came up just short in his effort to get legislation through the chamber blocking the Treasury Department from easing sanctions on a trio of Russian companies.

Less than 24 hours after securing 57 votes to support a motion to proceed to the joint resolution disapproving of Treasury’s move to lift sanctions on three Russian firms that have been controlled by sanctioned oligarch Oleg Deripaska, the same number of senators voted to limit debate — but that was three short of the 60 needed to cut off debate and get the measure to a final passage vote.

Disaster aid bill could grow, block diversion of funds to wall
Measure unlikely to go far in Senate

Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., (left), is pushing for a disaster aid package. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., opposes an amendment Democrats are preparing that he describes as an “exercise in futility. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House is scheduled to take up a $12.1 billion disaster aid package Wednesday that would reopen the nine closed Cabinet agencies for three weeks and, if approved during floor debate, prevent President Donald Trump from tapping the bill’s emergency funds for building a border wall.

The underlying bill would direct aid to victims of recent calamities such as hurricanes that hit Florida and the Carolinas, wildfires that ravaged California and typhoons that struck island territories in the Pacific, House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., told the Rules Committee on Tuesday.

Trump to try again to court moderate House Democrats on border wall
Goal for Situation Room meeting is funds for ‘real border security and the wall’

President Donald Trump, flanked by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, speaks earlier this month in the White House’s Rose Garden. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet Wednesday with the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus in the Situation Room as the White House tries to cobble together votes for a shutdown-ending bill that includes funding for his proposed southern border wall.

The Problem Solvers group is composed of just under 50 Republican and Democratic House members. The session will mark the second time in as many days the White House has attempted to court moderate and deal-minded House Democrats.

Senate votes to start debating Russia sanctions measure, but may lack votes to finish it
Joint resolution seeks to block sanctions relief for three Russian companies

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer has led the joint resolution. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Eleven Senate Republicans split from the Trump administration Tuesday afternoon, backing an effort by Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer to force a floor debate on sanctions on Russian firms.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had appeared at Tuesday’s Senate GOP lunch to make the case for letting sanctions relief for three sanctioned Russian companies to go forward.

Day 25 of the shutdown and the impasse held fast
Spending bill fails, president holds firm, House freshmen march

Freshman House members, including Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., leave the Capitol office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Tuesday after a visit to urge action on reopening the government. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

On the 25th day of the longest government shutdown in modern history, the House failed to advance a spending measure, the president was half-stood up for lunch, and freshman House Democrats marched on the Senate. 

In an already busy day on Capitol Hill, the House failed to advance a stopgap measure to fund shuttered federal agencies through Feb. 1, as Democrats sought to pressure Republicans to end the partial shutdown. 

Freshman Democrats march to McConnell’s office to urge him to reopen government
McConnell should stop taking cues from Trump, bring up House bills, new members say

From left, freshman members Reps. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., Susie Lee, D-Nev., and Katie Hill, D-Calif., make their way into the Capitol office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to call on the Senate to act on reopening the government on Tuesday, January 15, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A group of roughly a dozen freshman House Democrats on Tuesday marched to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office in the Capitol to ask that he take up House bills to open up government. 

The Kentucky Republican was on the Senate floor when the freshmen stopped by his office, but his staff welcomed them inside. The staff chatted briefly with the new House Democrats and told them they’d set up a meeting with the majority leader.

Steven Mnuchin makes case to GOP to allow easing of sanctions on Russian companies
Visited Senate Republican lunch ahead of votes on Schumer resolution

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urged the Senate to ease relief on Russian companies. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is making the case to Senate Republicans that they should stop an effort to block sanctions relief against three Russian companies.

But as he left Tuesday’s Senate Republican lunch, Mnuchin did not seem certain about the vote count ahead of an expected Tuesday afternoon vote on a motion to proceed to a resolution disapproving of the sanctions relief proposed for En+ Group plc, UC Rusal plc and JSC EuroSibEnergo.

Lacking Republican support, House Democrats’ bill to open government through Feb. 1 fails
Measure needed two-thirds support because it was brought to the floor under suspension of the rules

On the 25th day of the partial government shutdown, the House failed to pass a stopgap to reopen the government through Feb. 1. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats’ attempt to sway enough Republicans to help them pass a stopgap funding bill to open up the government through Feb. 1 failed Tuesday. 

The continuing resolution to extend fiscal 2018 funding for shuttered agencies for two-and-a-half weeks failed, 237-187.

Amid shutdown, White House, Democrats, can’t even agree on lunch

A man holds a "end the shutdown build wall" sign as Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, holds a news conference on border security outside of the Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

No House Democrats will attend a White House-organized lunch meeting on Tuesday with President Donald Trump as the partial government shutdown continues, a sign of how dug in both sides are with no deal in sight.

The White House invited a group of members from the chamber’s Blue Dog Coalition for a lunch discussion on the 25th day of the shutdown.