Ellyn Ferguson

Stefanik launches PAC to boost female candidates, now with GOP leadership support
New York Republican says party’s problem with women goes beyond Trump

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., aims to help more Republican women win primaries in the 2020 cycle through early political money and mentorship. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans have trouble electing women. And for at least one afternoon in Washington, everyone recognized that problem.

House GOP leadership, consultants, members and former candidates all showed up Thursday to a five-hour confab just off Capitol Hill to help New York Rep. Elise Stefanik launch her rebranded leadership PAC, which will be dedicated to helping women in primaries.

Pence signals little progress with China since Trump-Xi agreement
U.S. ‘remains hopeful’ Chinese officials will engage in serious talks

Vice President Mike Pence walks through Statuary Hall on his way to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's office in the Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 8. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Vice President Mike Pence Wednesday signaled that the Trump administration has made little progress in trade talks with China, even after what the White House portrayed as a breakthrough late last year.

Pence painted a picture of a new lull in U.S.-China trade talks even after President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed Dec. 1 over local steaks in Argentina to call a truce in what had been a tense tariff war that threatened to slow the global economy.

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. 

States scramble to get February food stamps out amid shutdown

The lapse in funding for the Agriculture Department due to the shutdown is complicating people getting their food stamp benefits. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

State and county workers spent the weekend gathering information needed to make sure 38 million low-income people receive their February food stamp benefits early despite a partial federal government shutdown.

The Agriculture Department prompted the flurry of activity when it announced last week that it would tap the remaining budget authority in an expired continuing resolution to provide states $4.8 billion to cover February benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Finance’s Grassley backs Trump on NAFTA, but not on tariffs
New Senate Finance Committee chairman reaffirms support for cheaper drugs from Canada

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, wants President Donald Trump to take a hard line with Democrats if they push to renegotiate a proposed trade pact to replace NAFTA. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The new chairman of the Senate Finance Committee said he would advise President Donald Trump to take a hard line with congressional Democrats if they push to renegotiate the proposed trade pact that would replace the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.

Chairman Charles E. Grassley of Iowa has told reporters  that he would encourage Trump to begin a formal withdrawal from NAFTA if Democrats insist on renegotiating the pact’s replacement — the proposed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA.

USDA Races to Use Budget Authority for Food Stamp Benefits in Shutdown
Announcement comes just before Trump’s television address

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said Tuesday evening that food stamp benefits will be covered in February. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration said it will cover food stamp benefits in February using its authority under a provision of an expired continuing resolution that allows it to obligate federal funds within 30 days of expiration.

That move to use the stopgap measure that expired Dec. 21 would give USDA the $4.8 billion it would need to provide funding if the partial government shutdown continues into next month. This is the first time the department has used the method because of a government shutdown.

US-China trade talks are a big deal for startups
Business owners are watching this week as a U.S. delegation negotiates with Chinese officials

Congress has remained largely on the sidelines as President Donald Trump and Beijing wage their tariff battle. A U.S. delegation is in China this week. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

Vicki Mayo helps run an Arizona company that makes a watch-like device it boasts eases stress. Now the future of her company could hinge on the outcome of talks this week to resolve the tariffs standoff between the United States and China.

As owner and co-founder of Scottsdale-based tech startup The TouchPoint Solution, Mayo said she had high hopes of expanding the business. But she put those plans on hold after the Trump administration imposed 10 percent tariffs on Chinese imports last year, with a threat to increase those duties to 25 percent.

Shutdown Effects: Breakdown by Department and Agency
Thousands of federal employees will be working without a paycheck

The Federal Reserve building is seen on Constitution Avenue address on Saturday, the first day of a partial government shutdown. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Thousands of federal employees face the prospect of working without a paycheck as the White House budget office Friday night directed the heads of government departments and agencies to begin implementing shutdown plans.

Funding for nine departments and other agencies lapsed at midnight as President Donald Trump remained in a standoff with Congress, his demand for funding for wall construction along the border with Mexico the sticking point in talks over appropriations and a stopgap funding measure.

Shutdown-Averting Deal Quickly Hits Oily Snag
Senators hold out for Land and Water Conservation Fund reauthorization

A continuing resolution to fund the government through Feb. 8 is what lies between the Senate and its holiday break. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A measure to extend spending authority for several Cabinet departments and assorted agencies through Feb. 8 was hung up in the Senate Wednesday afternoon over a spat involving the Land and Water Conservation Fund and other items left out of the stopgap.

That’s according to Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, who expressed hope that senators could be convinced to let the measure through the chamber.

Trump Set to Sign Farm Bill, Minus the Food Stamp Changes He Wanted
Planned signing comes a day before current stopgap government funding expires

Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Pat Roberts expect to attend the farm bill signing later this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers expect President Donald Trump to sign the farm bill legislation Thursday even though it excludes Republican priorities Trump supported such as changes to food stamps.

Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas and ranking member Debbie Stabenow of Michigan plan to be at the White House, though the former said Tuesday that he doesn’t have a time or any details.