Policy

Flake Signals Deal to Vote on DACA Proposal
Measure could come to the Senate floor with or without Trump’s backing

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake said, “The way to find out what the president wants on DACA is to pass a bill.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senators left the Capitol early Saturday morning hoping that an agreement hashed out after midnight would win enough support to get the votes to keep the government shutdown from extending to the workweek.

Arizona Republican Jeff Flake said after the marathon vote in which a mostly Democratic group voted to block a government funding bill that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has now agreed to put immigration legislation on the floor, with or without assurances of a signature by President Donald Trump.

FISA Fight Marks Win for Intelligence Committee Over Judiciary

House Intelligence ranking member Adam B. Schiff, left and Chairman Devin Nunes largely got their way in the FISA fight. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Jan. 19 signing of legislation to reauthorize a government surveillance authority that has, in some cases, given intelligence and law enforcement agents access to Americans’ correspondence without a warrant, was a victory for security hawks over civil libertarians.

It also marked a win for the House Intelligence Committee over its counterpart, House Judiciary, and a shift in the balance of power on government surveillance from three years ago.

In Supreme Court Privacy Case, Lawmakers Side With Microsoft

Lawmakers are asking the Supreme Court to clarify a data privacy law. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Five lawmakers told the Supreme Court on Thursday that Congress didn’t intend for an electronic privacy law to authorize the government’s seizure of data overseas and say interpreting it differently could have “dangerous repercussions” for future legislating.

The group’s brief backs tech giant Microsoft in a dispute with the United States about whether email service providers must comply with warrants even if data is stored outside of the country — in this case in Dublin, Ireland.

D.C. Stays Open This Time Around — Even If Federal Government Shuts Down
City shuttered during 2013 shutdown, before key provision

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., left, and Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser assured residents the District would remain open in the event of a federal government shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Metro will still run. City offices will keep the doors open.

The District of Columbia will remain open and operational even if the federal government shuts down over ongoing failures to reach a budget deal.

Freedom Caucus Throws Water on Leadership Stopgap Confidence
Meadows says more than 22 GOP ‘no’ votes remain

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows stops to speak with reporters Thursday about the continuing resolution negotiations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows told reporters Thursday there are still more than 22 Republican ‘no’ votes on the stopgap funding measure and that the House GOP can’t pass it on its own without additional changes.

“We’ve offered a number of different options, so it would take the leadership putting forth a different proposal than they currently have,” Meadows said on how GOP holdouts can get to “yes” on the continuing resolution. The North Carolina Republican declined to say how many of the “no” votes were from the Freedom Caucus versus the conference at large.

Ryan Confident CR Will Pass and Has Trump’s Support
Calls Dem actions ‘governmental chaos’ using Schumer quote

Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., holds his weekly press conference in the Capitol on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan predicted Thursday the four-week continuing resolution will pass, despite lingering questions about whether the votes have been secured. 

“I have confidence we’ll pass this because I think members understand, ‘Why on earth would we want a government shutdown?’” the Wisconsin Republican said.

Senate Republicans Steamroll Judicial Process
‘Advice’ dwindles in the GOP’s rush for judges

(iStock)

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans hardly could have done more last year to help President Donald Trump reshape the nation’s federal courts with conservative appointees.

They put Justice Neil Gorsuch in a Supreme Court seat, one they blocked Barack Obama from filling during his last year in the White House. Then they approved a dozen Trump picks for the influential appeals courts that have the final say on the vast majority of the nation’s legal disputes — a record number for a president’s first year in office.

White House Flips, Flops, Then Flips on Stopgap Spending
Trump’s tweet sends Hill into spin

President Donald Trump defied his staff by criticizing the inclusion of a provision to extend CHIP in the latest continuing budget resolution. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Thursday undermined efforts by House Republican leaders and his own staff to avoid a government shutdown, criticizing a decision to include an extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program in a GOP-crafted stopgap spending bill.

Hours later the White House announced the president supported the House GOP-crafted stopgap spending measure that includes a six-year CHIP extension — despite a confusing morning tweet that raised questions to the contrary.

McConnell Appears Short of Votes Needed to Pass CR
Talks among GOP turn heated as deadline for government shutdown approaches

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is one of two Senate Republicans who have announced they will not vote for the next continuing resolution in its current form. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appears increasingly unlikely to have the votes necessary to pass a short-term patch to fund the government past Friday should the House advance the measure Thursday evening.

At least three GOP senators will vote against a continuing resolution to keep the government funded past Jan. 19, as Republican congressional leaders struggle to find the votes in either chamber to advance it. They will join a large chunk of Democrats who also say they will oppose the CR.

Senators Threaten Legislation Over Social Media Firms' Content

Senate Commerce Chairman John Thune said he was more focused on oversight than legislation for social media companies and their content. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Big social media companies made a case against new legislative mandates by emphasizing their voluntary efforts to root out terrorism-related material and other objectionable content on their sites during a Senate hearing Wednesday.

But senators from both parties warned representatives of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter of legislative action even as Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman John Thune, R-S.D., said he was focused on oversight rather than legislation, which could further open the companies to lawsuits. The committee approved a bill that would allow online businesses to be sued and prosecuted for sex trafficking content, but Thune indicated he wasn’t ready to do the same over terrorism content.