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Supreme Court allows Trump's ‘public charge’ rule to proceed
The 5-4 ruling would deny green cards to immigrants who use federal aid programs

The "public charge" rule was originally issued last August by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services under Ken Cuccinelli, the agency's acting director. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Trump administration can implement its divisive “public charge” rule, which seeks to withhold citizenship from immigrants the government deems likely to rely on public benefits like Medicaid and Section 8 housing. 

In the 5-4 vote, conservative-leaning justices voted to grant the administration its request to stay a lower court injunction on the rule while the merits of the case continue to be debated in the lower courts. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen G. Breyer voted against the stay. 

Hoyer: House priorities for 2020 include health care, infrastructure, climate, redistricting
Legislative action also planned on appropriations, defense, education, housing, modernizing Congress

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer is outlining a busy legislative agenda for 2020. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats in 2020 plan to pass legislation on top party priorities like health care, infrastructure and climate as well as more under-the-radar subjects like modernizing Congress and redistricting — all while trying to fully fund the government on time for the first time in 24 years, Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said.

The No. 2 Democrat, who is in charge of the floor schedule, outlined his legislative priorities for the year in an interview with CQ Roll Call. The aforementioned issues were among a long list that Hoyer said Democrats plan to pursue in the second session of the 116th Congress. Others the Maryland Democrat mentioned include education, taxes, the annual defense and intelligence authorizations, and reauthorizations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and National Flood Insurance Program.

Between Iraq and a hard place: Congress
CQ on Congress, Ep. 181

Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., arrives to the Capitol Visitor Center for a briefing by administration officials for members of the House on the latest developments on Iranian airstrikes in Iraq. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

CQ on Congress begins 2020 by examining what's next after the targeted killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad. Host Shawn Zeller talks to two Iraq War veterans, Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., and Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., to get their takes on a House resolution that has reignited the debate over Congress' authority over acts of war, and policy towards Iraq and Iran.

Customs and Border Protection denies targeting Iranian Americans at border
But Rep. Jayapal, others skeptical after hearing stories about hours-long detentions

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., cast doubt over CBP statements related to Iranian-Americans who said they were held at the U.S.-Canada border. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Customs and Border Protection has denied targeting American citizens and permanent residents of Iranian descent for additional scrutiny at U.S. ports of entry, but a Washington lawmaker who heard multiple accounts of such detentions happening in her district expressed skepticism of the claims.

“It appears that that was a result of some sort of directive,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said at a press conference Monday at her Seattle office. “The discrimination that we seem to be once against veering towards has a deep-rooted history.”

Thank you for your (government) service
Federal workers powered through a government shutdown and impeachment chaos in 2019

During impeachment hearings, career diplomat Marie Yovanovitch told of being called back as the ambassador to Ukraine in the middle of the night and, later, of being “shocked and devastated” to learn that President Donald Trump had told Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that she was “going to go through some things.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Few jobs are ever easy. But the last year for the roughly 2 million federal employees of the United States has been more than just difficult. For some, it’s been expensive. For many, it’s been demoralizing. And for the Foreign Service officers who came forward to tell the House Intelligence Committee what they knew about President Donald Trump’s conversations with the president of Ukraine over the summer, the year has felt downright dangerous. The president has called federal employees everything from “Deep State” to “human scum” this year. But today, I’d like to simply thank them for their service. 

It’s easy to forget, but 2019 began in the middle of what would become the longest government shutdown in American history and the third since 2013. Faced with an impasse over money for the president’s border wall, Congress left town last December without funding about a quarter of the government, including salaries for 420,000 federal employees scattered across the country.  While most were furloughed, 55,000 others, including staff at the Department of Homeland Security and Justice Department, were required to work without pay anyway — and they did. 

Year-end spending deal avoids government shutdown
CQ Budget, Ep. 137

From left, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, (not pictured) emerge from a meeting in the Capitol to announce a spending deal. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With fiscal 2020 appropriations finally complete, CQ Roll Call's budget and tax editor Peter Cohn explains what got funded, what it means, and what lies in store for next year.

Homeland Security announces easing of facial recognition rule
Lawmakers, civil rights groups and tech companies have raised privacy concerns

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has clarified that facial recognition scans at airports remain voluntary for U.S. citizens. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)

Homeland Security officials continue to step back from their published plan to require use of facial recognition technology on American citizens at U.S. airports when they arrive from or depart to international destinations.

The Trump administration’s proposed mandatory use of the technology was included in the so-called unified agenda, published in late November, which sets out the regulatory changes agencies intend to pursue in coming months. The proposal sought to expand mandatory facial recognition at U.S. airports “to provide that all travelers, including U.S. citizens, may be required to be photographed upon entry and/or departure.”

IG: DHS knew it couldn’t track migrant kids separated at border
The findings further illuminate the behind-the-scenes chaos in the lead-up to the ‘zero tolerance’ policy rollout

A woman holds an anti-Zero Tolerance policy sign at the Families Belong Together protest outside of the White House in 2018. A new report found DHS knew it lacked the technology to track more than 26,000 children separated at the border. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Department of Homeland Security knew it lacked the technology to track more than 26,000 children it expected to separate from their parents at the U.S. southern border in 2018 as part of its controversial “zero tolerance” policy. As a result, the roughly 3,000-plus children DHS ultimately estimated as being affected may actually be a severe underestimate, the agency’s inspector general reported Wednesday.

“Because of these IT deficiencies, we could not confirm the total number of families DHS separated during the Zero Tolerance period,” the watchdog office said in a report.

‘Remain in Mexico’ policy faces internal critiques at House hearing
Migration Protection Protocols spurs human rights violations, an asylum officer told Homeland Security panel

A Customs and Border Protection agent processes migrants who recently crossed the border in the Rio Grande Valley Sector of Texas in August. (Jinitzail Hernández/CQ Roll Call)

The Migrant Protection Protocols, a program that has so far forced more than 57,000 migrants to wait in Mexico while their immigration cases wind through the court, is illegal and enables human rights abuses against the vulnerable, a Department of Homeland Security employee told lawmakers Tuesday.

“These policies are illegal, they’re immoral, and they’re the basis for human rights abuses on behalf of our nation," Michael Knowles, president of a union that represents U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employees and a longtime asylum officer, said in his testimony to a House Homeland Security panel.

Legality of Wolf, Cuccinelli appointments to DHS questioned
Key House Democrats cite new documents in request for review

Chad Wolf, seen here during an Oct. 29 White House task force meeting, was sworn in Wednesday as acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The leaders of the House Oversight and Homeland Security panels on Friday challenged the legality of recent top appointments at the Department of Homeland Security, including newly installed acting secretary, Chad Wolf.

Reps. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, and Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., the acting Oversight and Reform Committee chairwoman, have asked the U.S. Comptroller General to conduct an “expedited review” to determine whether the Trump administration acted legally when it appointed both Wolf and his predecessor, Kevin McAleenan, as acting DHS secretary. They also question Wolf naming Ken Cuccinelli to serve as deputy director.