leadership

Thursday's Hangout With Steven Mnuchin and Sarah Huckabee Sanders
Global elitism, FISA, a possible stock market dive pepper White House day

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly waits to speak in October as press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks during a press briefing. Kelly is leading White House efforts to strike an immigration deal. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

A Treasury secretary says the Davos gathering of global elites isn’t a hangout for global elites. A press secretary says tweets that seemed to contradict each other didn’t contradict each other. A president predicts a stock market dive if he doesn’t get his way. In other words: Thursday at the White House.

Among the business-as-usual moments were White House officials blaming Democrats for delays on immigration and government-funding measures, even while the White House chief of staff was trying to close the deal, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announcing that taxpayers should see bigger paychecks next month — as long as new withholding tables the IRS is circulating work like they are designed to. 

Scalise ‘Resting Comfortably’ and in Fair Condition After Surgery
Timetable for House majority whip’s return to Hill uncertain

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., underwent a planned surgery on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. The timetable for his return to the Capitol is unclear. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was “resting comfortably” and in fair condition on Wednesday after a planned surgery in Washington, D.C., hospital officials reported.

The Louisiana Republican will likely remain in the hospital for several days before continuing his recovery at home, according to a press release from MedStar Washington Hospital Center, where doctors performed the operation.

Analysis: Defiant Trump Returns After ‘Performance’ for Members
With arms crossed, president says Mueller interview ‘seems unlikely’

President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway in the East Room at the White House, on January 10, 2018. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS | President Donald Trump was back Wednesday to his defiant manner after playing the role of accommodating host and facilitator-in-chief on Tuesday when he told lawmakers he would sign just about any immigration bill that funds a border wall.

Trump crossed his arms behind the presidential podium when asked during a joint press conference with his Norwegian counterpart if he is willing to be interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of the Justice Department’s Russia probe. The president several times reiterated his long-held stance that his 2016 presidential campaign did not collude with any Russians.

U.S. Needs More ‘Idiot Control,’ Not Gun Control, Kennedy Says
Louisiana senator pans bipartisan bill to strengthen background check system

Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy could be the lone opponent to a bill aimed at strengthening enforcement of national background check system policies. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. John Kennedy on Tuesday took a stand against bureaucratic incompetence in the name of the Second Amendment.

“I don’t think we need more gun control; I think we need more idiot control,” the Louisiana Republican told NOLA.com, blasting a new bipartisan gun control bill that appears to be aimed at preventing more of those so-called idiots from purchasing firearms.

Opinion: With a Potemkin President, Maybe It’s Time for Congressional Government
With Trump, the less he does the better

A strong case can be made that the less President Donald Trump does, the better off Americans are, Shapiro writes. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

In 1885, an up-and-coming Ph.D. student named Woodrow Wilson wrote the book that would establish his academic reputation. Entitled “Congressional Government,” Wilson’s conclusions reflected “the declining prestige of the presidential office” in the decades following the death of Abraham Lincoln.

“That high office has fallen from its first estate of dignity because its power has waned,” Wilson wrote in his introduction. “And its power has waned because the power of Congress has become predominant.”

Florida to Be Spared In Offshore Drilling Expansion, Zinke Says
Sen. Bill Nelson alleges move was aimed at helping rival score political points

The Interior Department has backed away from a proposal to expand offshore drilling on Florida’s two coasts. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)

A plan to open Florida’s tourism-dependent Atlantic and Gulf coasts to offshore oil and gas drilling was dropped by the Trump administration on Tuesday after a bipartisan backlash that also threatened to complicate a must-pass fiscal 2018 spending bill.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, whose department on Jan. 4 revealed a draft five-year plan for expanding the sale of federal offshore drilling leases to the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans, as well as the eastern Gulf of Mexico, announced Tuesday night on Twitter that Florida’s two coasts would not be included in the expansion.

Senate Leaders Announce New Committee Rosters
Ratio change gives GOP a one-seat advantage at all committtees

Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., received his committee assignments on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The full Senate is set to ratify revised committee rosters and ratios before adjourning Tuesday evening.

The changes add a Democrat to the Finance and Judiciary Committees, because each needed new Democrats to provide an across-the-board one-seat advantage for the GOP with their diminished majority.

Ample Confusion After White House Immigration Meeting
Democrats and Trump want two bills, GOP wants only one

Lawmakers and the White House keep talking about an immigration deal, but one seems far off . (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated at 4:08 p.m. | Republican and Democratic lawmakers emerged from a lengthy meeting with President Donald Trump on Tuesday with vastly differing views of what happens next. 

On the substance of anything that might emerge, Trump made clear he will leave the specifics up to lawmakers.

Scalise to Undergo Planned Surgery Related to Baseball Shooting
Recovery timetable unclear

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., center, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., arrive for a news conference after the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on November 29, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise will undergo a planned surgery Wednesday as part of his recovery from injuries sustained last June from a shooting at a GOP congressional baseball team practice.

The operation will take place at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in D.C.

White House Reiterates Wall Demand Ahead of Key Meeting
Sen. Graham, other lawmakers look to pair DACA with border security upgrades

Aurelia Lopez and her daughter Antonia overlook construction of border wall prototypes on Oct. 5, in Tijuana, Mexico. Prototypes of the border wall proposed by President Donald Trump are being built just north of the U.S-Mexico border. (Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images file photo)

Just hours before a high-stakes White House meeting with Republicans and Democrats, the Trump administration continued to hold tight to its demand that funding for President Donald Trump’s proposed southern border wall be included in a possible immigration overhaul bill.

“President Trump looks forward to meeting with bipartisan members of the House and Senate today to discuss the next steps toward achieving responsible immigration reform,” White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters said in a statement.