congressional-affairs

Amid impeachment saga, a kitchen sink of legislative dealing
Sen. Alexander: ‘There’s more to life than judges and impeachment’

Sen. Lamar Alexander says, “There’s more to life than judges and impeachment.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The holiday rush on Capitol Hill is in full swing, and the bipartisan legislative lethargy is showing signs of easing even as the House debates articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

Senate and House negotiators are still trying to reach an agreement on a bundle of spending bills, but there has been a relative abundance of other bipartisan deal-making and even actual legislation passing in the Senate.

OMB: Ukraine aid delay was consistent with law, past practice

Mick Mulvaney testifies before a House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee hearing in Rayburn Building on the fiscal year budget for OMB on April 18, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House budget office on Wednesday defended its temporary withholding of almost $400 million in Ukraine security-related funds earlier this year, saying the episode was in keeping with longstanding authorities that allow the executive branch to control the flow of appropriated funds.

“It was OMB’s understanding that a brief period was needed, prior to the funds expiring, to engage in a policy process regarding those funds,” says the nine-page Office of Management and Budget letter to the Government Accountability Office, which had inquired about the legality of the move. “OMB took appropriate action, in light of a pending policy process, to ensure that funds were not obligated prematurely in a manner that could conflict with the President’s foreign policy.”

Judiciary kicks off impeachment articles markup with expected polarization
Democrats try to set the occasion as solemn, while Republicans decry that as a ruse

Ranking member Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., makes an opening statement as Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., looks on during the House Judiciary Committee markup of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump in the Longworth Building on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House Judiciary Committee’s markup of two articles of impeachment charging President Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress kicked off Wednesday with Chairman Jerrold Nadler trying to set a “solemn” tone and ranking member Doug Collins accusing that of being a ruse. 

Nadler opened the markup with a note about why he was breaking the custom of having only the chairman and the ranking member deliver opening statements to provide each panel member the opportunity to give five minutes of opening remarks.

As Super Bowl LIV draws near, Congress still tackling one of the event’s biggest problems
Florida Rep. Donna E. Shalala leads human trafficking hearing ahead of the big game in Miami

Katherine Fernandez Rundle, state attorney for Miami-Dade County, flanked by Rodney Barreto, chairman of the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee, and Kathy Andersen, executive director of The Women’s Fund Miami-Dade, addresses the media in Miami on Nov. 6 as they unveil a campaign by local, state and federal agencies and partners meant to combat sex trafficking leading up to and beyond Super Bowl LIV. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)

The question of whether the Super Bowl attracts higher volumes of human trafficking in its host city has long been debated. At the least, it provides a megaplatform, and opportunity, for awareness.

“We do have a comprehensive approach for Miami-Dade, and that’s been put together over the years, but the advantage of the Super Bowl for us is to educate the entire community,” Rep. Donna E. Shalala told HOH.

Lowey: Spending deal looking more likely this week
More than 100 differences on full-year appropriations bills still need to be resolved before current funding runs out on Dec. 20

Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., leaves a meeting of the House Democratic Caucus in the Capitol on Dec. 4, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congress and the Trump administration could reach agreement on full-year spending bills as soon as Thursday, according to House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey.

“If all goes well, we could have a deal by the end of the day tomorrow,” Lowey said Wednesday evening after reviewing an offer Republicans sent over midday. “I think their offer was real and we’re discussing it and we can find some agreement.”

Passion play: Trump drags FBI ‘lovers’ Strzok and Page into 2020 race
Lindsey Graham joins president in making former feds ‘central figures’

Lisa Page, former legal counsel to former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, arrives on Capitol Hill on July 16, 2018, to testify before House members. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

This time, Donald Trump was less animated while dramatizing the pillow talk. But the president still went there Tuesday night, eager to turn two former FBI employees into characters in the 2020 campaign narrative he’s building. And some of his congressional GOP allies are happy to help.

“I love you so much, Lisa. Please, Lisa! Lisa, I’ve never loved anyone like you. We won’t allow this to happen to our Lisa,” Trump told an arena full of supporters in Hershey, Pennsylvania. “Please tell me you love me, Lisa! I love you, Peter. I love you! I love you like I’ve never loved anyone!”

Congress poised to pass paid parental leave for federal workers
Could the measure spur wider action in the private sector?

A provision in the defense authorization bill expected to be passed by Congress would give all federal employees 12 weeks of paid parental leave. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

About 2 million federal employees are about to be guaranteed 12 weeks of paid parental leave under a bill soon to be signed into law by President Donald Trump, but several experts say the cost of such a benefit may discourage Democrats’ hopes of it spurring broader adoption in private industry.

The provision, folded into a defense bill months in the working, would give all federal civilian employees three months of paid leave for the birth, adoption or fostering of a child. Democrats originally pushed for a broader set of benefits to cover family relations and illnesses but praised the measure’s inclusion. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, who chairs the Oversight and Reform Committee, touted the provision as “long overdue.”  

House urges Supreme Court to enforce subpoenas for Trump’s financial records
Delay in subpoenas would be deprive Congress information it needs to secure elections, court filing says

People walk by the New York headquarters for Deutsche Bank in New York earlier this year. President Donald Trump is trying to keep Deutsche Bank and Capital One from acting on congressional subpoenas over his financial records. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images file photo)

The House cited 2020 election security concerns Wednesday when it urged the Supreme Court not to delay the enforcement of congressional subpoenas for financial records of President Donald Trump and his business from Deutsche Bank and Capital One Financial Corporation.

Any harm to Trump for allowing the enforcement of the House Financial Services and Intelligence committees would be less severe than Congress not getting information it needs to protect the elections from foreign influence, House attorneys argued in a Supreme Court filing.

Impeachment news roundup: Dec. 11
Judiciary Committee to take up articles tonight, vote expected Thursday

Speaker Nancy Pelosi makes her way to a news conference in the Capitol on Tuesday to announce articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump with committee chairs who helped draft them. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House Judiciary Committee began marking up articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Wednesday evening and is expected to vote on them Thursday.

In his opening statement, Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler addressed why impeaching Trump was warranted when a presidential election is less than a year away. 

With scores to settle, Trump slams ‘crooked bastard’ Schiff over impeachment
President calls abuse of power, obstructing Congress articles ‘impeachment lite’

President Donald Trump holds an umbrella as he speaks to journalists before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on Tuesday. He was headed to a campaign  rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS — President Donald Trump went to Hershey, Pennsylvania, with a few scores to settle hours after House Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment they appear poised to pass next week.

For more than an hour, Trump railed against House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff and Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a throng of supporters inside the Giant Center booed, cheered and laughed — depending on the insult of the moment. He dubbed Schiff a “dishonest guy” and a “crooked bastard” and claimed the speaker has “absolutely no control” over a caucus that has lurched dramatically to the left.