congressional-affairs

30 Democrats suggest Pelosi give Trump a vote on wall funding if he reopens government
Letter designed to provide clear process, timeline for debate, not guarantee passage

Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., led a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday, suggesting she allow a vote on President Donald Trump’s border security funding request if he reopens the government. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Thirty Democrats sent a letter Wednesday to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, suggesting she guarantee President Donald Trump a vote on his border security funding request if he reopens the government. 

Led by freshmen Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia, the letter lays out a process that would guarantee a House vote — but not passage — on the $5.7 billion Trump has requested in border wall funding, as well as other funding he is seeking for border security needs. 

Ocasio-Cortez joins most Republicans in voting against House Democratic bills to reopen government
House bills headed nowhere in Senate as upper chamber prepares to hold test votes Thursday that are expected to fail

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., center, voted against two Democratic bills to reopen the government Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats passed two more bills Wednesday to reopen the government that most Republicans continued to oppose, but there was one surprise in the otherwise predictable floor proceedings — freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez voted “no.”

The New York Democrat, a rising star in the progressive wing of the party with a massive social media following, explained her vote on Instagram. 

Schumer’s press secretary: ‘I did not work for the Fyre Festival’
Congressional aide Angelo Roefaro was caught on camera with Billy McFarland, but insists they were ‘friends’

Billy McFarland, right, pleaded guilty of defrauding investors. (“Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Was”/Netflix)

Sen. Chuck Schumer’s press secretary says he was friends with convicted Fyre Festival organizer Billy McFarland, but denies he had any involvement with planning the doomed music event.

Angelo Roefaro appears near the end of a new Netflix documentary, “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened,” with McFarland, who pleaded guilty to defrauding investors and other charges, causing more than $26 million in losses.

Federal workers protest ongoing shutdown; union leaders arrested
12 people were arrested by Capitol Police outside of McConnell's office in the Russell Senate Office Building

Federal workers and contractors, along with their unions, staged a protest calling for and end to the government shutdown. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Twelve protesters advocating an end to the government shutdown were arrested Wednesday outside of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office. 

The twelve were arrested by Capitol Police in the Russell Senate Office Building just before 2 p.m., following a larger demonstration where furloughed federal workers and their unions raised their voices.

What Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Dick Cheney have in common
Political Theater, Episode 53

Renee Tsao, left, discusses politics and the movies with Political Theater podcast host Jason Dick. (Toula Vlahou/CQ Roll Call)

What do Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and former Vice President Dick Cheney have in common?

In addition to being political power brokers, films about them have now been nominated for Academy Awards, for the documentary “RBG” and feature film “Vice,” respectively. So politics, which has gotten a bit of a bad rap lately, (see shutdown, 2019, for more), can be both interesting, entertaining and profitable for Hollywood? Well, yes and no, says Renee Tsao, vice president of PR Collaborative, who discusses politics and movies on the latest Political Theater podcast. 

Michael Cohen postpones testimony, cites Trump’s ‘threats’ against family
Trump had tweeted to his supporters last week to ‘Watch [Cohen’s] father-in-law’

Michael Cohen, a former personal attorney for President Trump, was to testify before Congress on Feb. 7. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Michael Cohen has postponed his Feb. 7 testimony in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform due to “ongoing threats against his family” from President Donald Trump and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani.

Cohen's lawyer, Lanny Davis, announced the cancellation in an emailed statement on Wednesday, citing  Cohen’s continued cooperation with “ongoing investigations” as a reason for delaying his House testimony, in addition to the threats from Trump and Giuliani.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee to step down as chairwoman of Judiciary subcommittee and CBCF
She will temporarily step away from the subcommittee, and an aide said there's no timeline for her return

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee is temporarily stepping down from her leadership of a House Judiciary subcommittee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee is temporarily stepping down from her leadership of a House Judiciary subcommittee, following a lawsuit claiming she fired a staffer who said she was raped by a superior at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat, was chairwoman of the Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations subcommittee, where she has focused on protecting special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and gun violence prevention.

White House acknowledges shutdown could freeze economic growth
’You could end up with a number very close to zero in the first quarter’ White House economist says

Kevin Hassett, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, speaks to the press about the economy during the daily press briefing ON June 5. (Photo By Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

In a downward shift, the White House acknowledged Wednesday the partial government shutdown could stifle economic growth.

White House officials during the 33-day shutdown have tried to dismiss economists’ and congressional Democrats’ warnings that it could drag down the economy. But that changed a bit Wednesday, just as President Donald Trump gears up for a re-election campaign that he wants to focus, in part, on what he says is a roaring economy with low unemployment.

Trump says State of the Union is a go
He told Speaker Nancy Pelosi there are no security concerns, something she cited when requesting a delay

President Donald Trump, flanked from left by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Thune, R-S. Dak., and Vice President Mike Pencestops to speak to the cameras following his lunch with Senate Republicans in the Capitol on Wed. Jan. 9, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump informed Speaker Nancy Pelosi he plans to deliver his second State of the Union address on Tuesday night at the Capitol.

He said in a letter there are no security concerns, which she had cited in asking him to consider delaying the event or delivering his remarks in writing.

House Democrats to investigate security clearances for Kushner, Flynn, Gorka, others
Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings requested a trove of documents on Trump team‘s security clearance process

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., talks on his smartwatch before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in Rayburn Building on November 15, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats launched their first formal investigation into the Trump administration Wednesday, announcing that they will probe “grave breaches with the security clearance process at the White House and the transition team” involving senior Trump cabinet officials.

In a letter to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings specifically named nine current and former Trump officials, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn, senior adviser Jared Kushner, and former deputy assistant to the president Sebastian Gorka. Cummings requested a trove of documents about the Trump administration and transition team’s security clearance process.