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Capitol Ink | No Kurd Pro Quo

Road Ahead: Turkey sanctions unite chambers; impeachment ramps up with Congress’ return
After a two-week recess, lawmakers return to a full plate

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to balance work on the impeachment inquiry with other priorities. Above, Pelosi with fellow California Democrat Adam B. Schiff, the House Intelligence chairman, on Oct. 2. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Congress is returning from its two-week recess and although both chambers were expected to take up bipartisan proposals against President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria, a Monday night executive order may change the calculation.

Opposition to the president’s move had united lawmakers despite the ongoing impeachment inquiry that has ratcheted up partisan divisions. Key congressional Republicans have slammed Trump’s decision to remove U.S. forces from northern Syria, where the troops have been a shield for U.S.-allied Kurds in the fight against the Islamic State terrorist group. But the announcement Monday night of an executive order slapping new sanctions on Turkey over its military operations against Kurdish forces in Syria has the support of South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Power struggle begins atop the House Appropriations Committee
CQ Budget, Ep. 129

Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., speaks with reporters as she leaves a House Democratic caucus meeting in the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lowey retirement sparks Democratic Appropriations scramble
Contested battle expected for top spot on powerful House spending panel

New York Rep. Nita M. Lowey announced her retirement last week at the end of the 116th Congress. Who will replace her as the top Democrat on House Appropriations? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey’s decision to retire at the end of the 116th Congress will set off a lengthy and contentious campaign among her colleagues to determine who will become the top Democrat on the spending panel.

Unlike the Senate, which predominantly relies on seniority to determine who serves as a chairman or ranking member, the House weighs several factors before deciding who will lead a committee. And right now, assuming Democrats keep their House majority next year, signs may be pointing in the direction of Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro, who will be the third-ranking Democrat on the powerful committee in 2021. 

Impeachment news roundup: Oct. 14
Members to get more inside information from administration officials on Trump and his circle’s dealings with Ukraine

Fiona Hill, President Donald Trump’s former Russia adviser, arrives at the Capitol on Monday to testify in the House's impeachment inquiry. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House committees will hear from more administration insiders this week on details of the delay of an aid deal to Ukraine as they continue their impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump.

Fiona Hill, Trump’s former Russia specialist on the National Security Council, testified Monday to members of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees, who are looking for details of Trump’s dealings with Ukraine and those of others connected to the president. 

'There was a lot of blood coming out,' witness says after stabbing near Capitol

A police officer talks on his cell phone at the scene of a stabbing Friday afternoon at the Capitol South Metro station. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Campus Notebook: Lawmakers to Prague, staff to Fargo, plus million-dollar trades
Lawmaker travel, stock trades, ethics complaints and other updates

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Campus notebook this week highlights where a former top law enforcement official went after he retired from the Capitol Police, international travel by members, domestic travel of staffers and substantial stock trades.

Owner of Capitol Hill ‘fundraising’ townhouse abandons zoning fight
Neighbors complain the residence serves as a D.C. outpost for Virginia-based firm

Jamie Hogan, owner of the house at 224 C St. NE, talks about his plans for his garage on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. Facing neighborhood opposition, Hogan has dropped his plans. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The owner of a Capitol Hill townhouse that has sparked controversy about the commercialization of residential zones near Congress has withdrawn his application for a project that prompted opposition from neighbors.

But that may not be the end of the matter. 

Impeachment news roundup: Oct. 8
The latest on the impeachment inquiry

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff speaks to reporters in the Capitol after learning the State Department blocked U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland from testifying to the committee on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The 11th-hour cancellation of testimony of a key player in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump threw Democrats into an uproar with one suggesting it was another piece of evidence of the president obstructing justice.

The Democratic chairmen of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees on Tuesday evening made good on a plan to subpoena Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, for his testimony and documents.

Congressional inaction drives LGBT rights case at Supreme Court
Court to hear arguments over whether protections based on ‘sex’ apply to gay, lesbian and transgender workers

A case before the Supreme Court on Tuesday could have sweeping social implications since 28 states have no express protections for LGBT employee rights. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court confronts a major civil rights issue Tuesday over how broadly the justices should read the word “sex” in a 55-year-old anti-discrimination law — and a key aspect is Congress’ current push to clarify that the law covers LGBT individuals.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits private companies from discriminating against employees on the basis of “sex,” seen at the time as a historic step for women’s rights.