DEFENSE UBER

Senior WH Official: ‘Military Preparations’ Are Underway for N. Korea
U.S. soon will attempt to influence Kim via ‘economic dimension of national power’

A North Korean ballistic missile during a “Victory Day” parade in 2013. A senior Trump administration official on Wednesday alluded to “military preparations” underway to possibly confront the North. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

The Trump administration is preparing a range of options — including plans for military operations — to deal with North Korea and its nuclear arms and missile programs.

National security officials are crafting possible diplomatic, economic and military responses to deal with the Hermit Kingdom, a senior administration official told reporters Wednesday at the White House.

Decision Day for Avoiding a Government Shutdown?
Appropriators think that decision on another stopgap bill could come today

Appropriations Committee member Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky., a former chairman, says there are still some “knotty issues” to work out on a 2017 spending bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Appropriators think they are close to a deal to fund the government through September, but the hour is fast approaching where a stopgap might be needed to prevent a shutdown at midnight Friday.

Kentucky Rep. Harold Rogers, a former Appropriations chairman and still a senior member of the committee, described the leaders as, “within striking distance” on a fiscal 2017 spending bill.

Chaffetz and Cummings: Flynn Might Have Illegally Accepted Payments from Russia
Oversight Committee could use subpoena power to compel White House to comply with investigation

House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, right, and ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings, D-Md., discuss their review of documents related to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Schumer Hopeful That Trump Has Caved on the Wall
Calls Trump’s comments to conservative journalists ‘really good news’

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is warning against "poison pills." (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Even after President Donald Trump tweeted, “Don't let the fake media tell you that I have changed my position on the WALL,” the Senate's top Democrat is sounding optimistic that the commander-in-chief has caved.

“I want to say that it’s really good news that the president seems to be taking the wall off the table in the negotiations we’re having on an appropriations bill this week,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said. “It would remove the prospect of a needless fight over a poison pill proposal that members of both parties don’t support.”

Trump Might Accept Wall Funding Later To Avoid Shutdown
Announcement could help negotiations on fiscal 2017 spending bills before Friday deadline

President Donald Trump delivers remarks while hosting ambassadors from the 15 country members of the United Nations Security Council with his Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, left, and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster in the State Dining Room at the White House on Monday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By John T. Bennett and Jennifer Shutt, Roll Call

President Donald Trump indicated Monday that he might sign legislation that would avert a government shutdown even if lawmakers leave out the $1.4 billion he’s requested to begin construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Top Dems Blast Trump’s First 100 Days, Border Wall Demands
Schumer: Best if president 'stepped out' of government shutdown-avoidance talks

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. — pictured here in March — on Monday had critical words for President Donald Trump. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated at 11:35 a.m. Democratic leaders slammed President Donald Trump on Monday for a “parade of broken promises to working people” during his first 100 days, and said his demands for border wall funding in a must-pass spending bill have stalled talks to avert a government shutdown.

Congressional Democrats are planning a week-long barrage to counter a White House public relations campaign to paint Trump’s first three-plus months as successful. They offered a preview of their messages on a conference call with reporters, with Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York dubbing many of Trump’s campaign promises “broken” or “unfulfilled.”

Shutdown Under GOP Control Could Be Historic
Federal funding gaps rare under unified government

Not since President Jimmy Carter’s administration have funding gaps occurred when Congress and the executive branch were unified under one party. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If the Republican majorities in the House and Senate are unable to get legislation to President Donald Trump’s desk to keep the government running beyond an April 28 deadline, it could be a fairly historic political moment.

Not since President Jimmy Carter’s administration have a Congress and an executive branch unified under one party seen government funding gaps occur, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Trump Signs Action Expediting Foreign Steel Prices Investigation
National security concerns cited

U.S. President Donald Trump departs the White House on his way to a waiting Marine One helicopter April 18, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump spoke a Snap-On tool factory during the trip. (McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Thursday, citing national security concerns, signed an executive action expediting a Commerce Department probe examining whether manipulated foreign steel prices could hinder his envisioned military buildup.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told reporters that the investigation was formally launched on Wednesday evening over concerns that the U.S. steel industry would be unable to keep up with demand of the Trump administration’s planned military buildup. Contracts for major Pentagon weapons programs typically are accompanied by stipulations that combat gear must be built using American steel.

How Trump and Hill GOP Could Fill the Looming Legislative Void
Bipartisan deal to ease spending curbs would give Congress ways to seem productive

President Donald Trump and congressional Republican leaders may have to move relatively quickly to secure some serious help from the Democrats to avoid budgetary gridlock, Hawkings writes. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Forget the fake news folderol about another shutdown showdown at the end of next week, because just over the horizon looms the year’s really big fiscal morass. 

It’s highly likely that the first order of business when Congress comes back, keeping the bureaucracy humming for just five months, will prove to be the policymaking equivalent of an empty net goal.

Wittman Answers Questions at Public Forum, Constituents Hold Mock Town Hall
Republican congressman says he favors smaller-scale meetings over massive town halls

Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., leaves a meeting of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors in Stafford, Va., on April 18, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

STAFFORD, Va. — Rep. Rob Wittman provided an update on congressional affairs to the local governing body here Tuesday evening. It was his fifth constituent meeting of the day.

Meanwhile, just over 30 miles northwest in Nokesville, Virginia, citizens held a mock town hall to discuss the congressman’s voting record.