congressional-affairs

Trump Says MS-13, North Korea Show Democrats Have ‘Lost Touch’
President lashes out after Dems blame him for summit cancellation

President Donald Trump addresses the press before departing for Dallas, Texas, where he made an appearance at at the National Rifle Association convention earlier this month. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Friday said congressional Democrats “have lost touch,” accusing the opposition party of rooting against his attempts to disarm North Korea and coddling members of the violent MS-13 gang.

The president on Thursday thanked a bipartisan group of lawmakers who helped pass a bill that eases financial regulations before he signed it at the White House. But the next morning, he tweeted that “Democrats are so obviously rooting against us in our negotiations with North Korea.”

McConnell to Senate: Don’t Book Nonrefundable Travel for August Recess
Kentucky Republican has a lengthy summer legislative agenda

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is hinting at an extended summer of Senate work. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators and staffers should enjoy the Memorial Day recess, because it might be a long summer on Capitol Hill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is far from waving off the idea that he might truncate the August recess, and doing the math on the amount of floor time needed for his current legislative agenda seems to point to one thing: extra work weeks.

Senators Ponder: How Forthcoming Should Judicial Candidates Be?
Republicans push back on Democratic concerns over responses to school desegregation question

Democrats say U.S. District Court nominee Wendy Vitter did not clearly endorse the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, but Republicans pushed back on that characterization. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced two judicial nominees Thursday amid an ongoing debate over how forthcoming candidates should be about their views on established Supreme Court decisions, particularly the landmark school desegregation ruling from 64 years ago.

All Democrats on the committee voted against Andrew Oldham to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit based in New Orleans, and Wendy Vitter to be a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Among their objections: They say the nominees did not clearly endorse the high court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education during their confirmation hearings.

House Democrats Rebuffed on Getting Census Documents
Quest to get answers on citizenship question blocked by party-line committee vote

Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., says his resolution of inquiry was “about making sure we hold the administration accountable.” (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats tried this week to make the Commerce Department disclose documents about the decision-making behind a citizenship question on the 2020 census. But they were blocked by Republicans. 

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday voted 20-16 along party lines to reject the resolution of inquiry by California Democratic Rep. Jimmy Gomez and unfavorably report the measure. The vote prevents the resolution from moving to the House floor.

GOP Senators Dislike Trump’s Threat of Tariffs on Car Imports
“Any time you start raising taxes and tariffs, I’m not very happy about it,” Hatch says

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., says “a lot of people are upset” over President Donald Trump’s threat of tariffs on imported automobiles. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican senators expressed unease Thursday about the president’s threat of tariffs on imported automobiles during a Senate lunch with Vice President Mike Pence, amid a widening debate over contentious trade talks with a number of countries, including allies.

Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch said the Commerce Department’s national security review of imported automobiles was “deeply misguided.”

Senate Passes Bill to Address Harassment on Capitol Hill
But critics say measure “may have unintended negative consequences”

Senate Rules ranking member Amy Klobuchar is one of the authors of the new anti-sexual harassment bill along with Rules Chairman Roy Blunt. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate on Thursday passed a bill by voice vote that would crack down on sexual harassment on Capitol Hill and update the onerous process for employees to report harassment and discrimination.

The overhaul measure was quickly brought to the floor, after being released Wednesday with the backing of the Senate’s Republican and Democratic leaders.

Immigration Discharge Petition Will Get Final Signatures, Deputy GOP Whip Says
Crafting immigration policy in an election year ‘is one of the biggest reaches of this Congress,’ McHenry says

House Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., predicts an immigration discharge petition that’s five signatures away from the 218 needed will get there after the recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Chief Deputy Whip Patrick T. McHenry on Thursday said an immigration discharge petition that GOP leaders oppose will get to 218 signatures after the recess, and the only way they can stop it is finding legislation Republicans can pass — something he acknowledges is a big reach. 

The discharge petition, which is just five signatures shy of the 218 needed, would force a vote on a queen of the hill rule that would set up votes on four immigration measures, with the one getting the most votes above the required simple majority threshold prevailing. The process is likely to produce a bill that a majority of Democrats and a minority of Republicans support.

Trump Says All or Nothing on Immigration Bill
President says he won’t sign any legislation unless it includes funding for ‘a real wall’

President Donald Trump in an interview with Fox News said “other countries laugh at us... because of Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.” (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump says he would sign only a sweeping immigration bill, rejecting the idea of more modest legislation featuring border wall funding and protections for individuals brought into the country by their parents as youngsters.

In an interview with Fox News that aired Thursday morning, the president was asked if he would sign a bill what would amount to a mini-bargain on immigration.

Hill Frets Over Trump Pattern of Promising Big, Then Backtracking
‘In the end, it can mean absolutely nothing,’ says a Republican strategist

President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., arrive in the Capitol on May 15. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Peter T. King — in true New Yorker fashion — used his hands to hammer home his point as he walked through the Cannon Tunnel. As he talked about President Donald Trump’s style, he raised one hand, pushing higher an imaginary bar.

“He’s not afraid to take on challenges. He’s not afraid to go big,” the Republican congressman said of the president. “With him, there’s the ‘art of the deal.’ It’s give. It’s take. It’s forward. It’s backward. It’s sideways. But in the end, he typically goes forward.”

Trump Administration Tries to Reassure Key Senators About ZTE Enforcement
Cornyn said administration is making clear national security and trade are in separate buckets

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said the defense authorization is expected to address ZTE. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration is trying to reassure Senate Republicans that it won’t go light on sanctions enforcement against Chinese communications equipment firm ZTE.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross huddled with a group of key GOP senators Wednesday evening.