congressional-affairs

Democrats tried to ‘blackmail’ casino owner to let employees unionize, conservative group claims
Lawmakers say ethics accusations by Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust are baseless

Rep. Mark Pocan, D- Wisc., speaks with reporters as he leaves a House Democrats' caucus meeting in February. Pocan is one of 14 Democrats who wrote a letter to a casino mogul that a conservative ethics watchdog group says was part of an effort to coerce him to allow employees to unionize. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A conservative watchdog group is asking the Office of Congressional Ethics on Thursday to review whether 14 Democratic lawmakers and one Republican inappropriately used their office to try to coerce a Las Vegas casino mogul into allowing his employees to unionize.

In May, Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan and 13 other Democrats wrote a letter to Frank Fertitta III, the CEO of the Las Vegas-based casino management company Red Rock Resorts Inc., urging him to “respect the rights of employees” at the company “to form a union and collectively bargain.”

Trump missing an opportunity to burnish his legacy with gun law
If anyone in GOP can stand up to the NRA, it's the outsider president

President Donald Trump has not been clear about what changes he would seek to gun background checks, but he has the political capital in the GOP to stand up to the NRA if he wants a new gun law to be part of his legacy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump has forgotten who holds the power within the Republican Party.

There’s a perception that the National Rifle Association has an impenetrable lock on base Republican voters and thus is holding GOP members of Congress captive. But Trump is the one person who has the capital with the GOP base to oppose the NRA and get something done on guns. And the president is missing an opportunity to add a legacy item to his time in office and even help his chances of winning a second term.

Now background checks are back on the table as Trump veers again
POTUS makes Danish leader latest female critic he has dubbed ‘nasty’

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said his administration will push for background checks legislation that would close “loopholes.” (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday continued careening from one policy stance to the opposite, this time saying he has an “appetite” for background checks legislation after twice this week backing away from just that.

“We’re going to be doing background checks,” Trump told reporters before departing the White House for a speech to military veterans and two fundraising events in Kentucky. Notably, he said his focus would be on closing so-called “loopholes” in existing laws.

$960B deficit expected this year, more than $1 trillion next
The return to trillion-dollar deficits has been moved up by two years from the previous forecast in May

Its sign is seen at the office of Congressional Budget Office. The office said in its updated budget and economic outlook that the federal deficit is likely to reach $960 billion in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Congressional Budget Office has upped its estimate of current and future deficits largely as a result of the two-year budget deal enacted last month, which the agency projects will add $1.7 trillion in red ink over 10 years.

That forecast assumes that the increased spending in fiscal 2020 and 2021 thanks to the higher caps will continue throughout the decade-long budget window, growing with inflation. At the same time, changes to the economic forecast and a reduction in estimated interest rates will partly offset the spending increases, the agency said in its latest budget and economic outlook.

A conversation with the Senate historian: Duels, bathtubs and other mysteries
Political Theater, Episode 89

The Russell Senate Office Building Rotunda is among the many places where the chamber’s unique history is on display. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Politicians and pundits are fond of saying that Washington has never been more polarized and that the Senate, in particular, may never recover from contemporary hyper-partisanship and rule-bending.

But it is assistant Senate historian Daniel S. Holt’s job to remind us all that disputes in the chamber used to result in pistols at dawn instead of dueling tweets.

Oversight blasts DOJ for siding with Trump in subpoena fight
The filing pushes back on a strategy to stymie congressional probes by limiting what can be sought from the executive branch

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., is seen on a monitor as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., talks with an aide during a committee meeting on July 12, 2019. A new Oversight filing in D.C. court pushes back on a Trump administration strategy to stymie congressional investigations by limiting the scope of what they can seek from the White House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Oversight and Reform Committee criticized the Justice Department for proposing “astounding and novel” limits on congressional investigations Tuesday as a means to win a lawsuit over a subpoena for eight years of President Donald Trump’s financial records.

Oversight’s filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit pushes back on a Trump administration strategy to stymie congressional investigations by limiting the scope of what they can seek from the executive branch.

Payroll tax cuts off the table? Not so fast, says Trump in another whiplash reversal
No immediate move likely on taxes, as president also distances himself from gun background checks

President Donald Trump concludes a campaign rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., May 20. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 4:15 p.m. | In yet another whiplash policy reversal, President Donald Trump directly contradicted his staff Tuesday by saying payroll tax cuts are on the table as he looks to stave off an election-year recession.

A White House official on Monday afternoon, responding to a Washington Post report that the White House was eyeing a payroll tax cut amid recession fears, dismissed the idea this way: “More tax cuts for the American people are certainly on the table, but cutting payroll taxes is not something under consideration at this time.”

White House mulls slimmed-down foreign aid cuts package
Pompeo said to urge Trump not to use budgetary end-run

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly urged President Donald Trump to back away from a plan to rescind more than $4 billion in foreign aid previously approved by Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Trump administration plan to do an end-run around Congress and cancel more than $4 billion in previously approved foreign aid funds could be scaled back, after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged President Donald Trump to back away from the idea in a phone call Monday night.

Details of the conversation between Pompeo, Trump and acting White House budget chief Russell Vought were shared by several individuals close to the foreign aid sector. A senior administration official declined to comment, other than to say it was a private conversation.

The Iowa State Fair in Photos
The best of the fair from Roll Call photojournalist Caroline Brehman

John Olsen from Des Moines, Iowa wears a vest with Joe Biden for President buttons as he listens to Biden speaks on the first day of the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. King falsely claims he was misquoted on ‘rape and incest’ abortion comment
Iowa Republican demands an apology from the media and his own party

Rep. Steve King talks with reporters at the Iowa State Fairlast week. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call).

Rep. Steve King demanded an apology over the weekend from GOP leaders and media outlets that criticized him for speculating that humankind may not exist without our species’ history of rape and incest.

The embattled Iowa Republican claimed, misleadingly, that he was misquoted in a Des Moines Register article — later picked up by The Associated Press — about comments he made defending his view that abortion should be illegal in all cases, including in instances of rape and incest.