policy

House Democrats apologize to India ambassador for Trump’s ‘amateurish’ claim about Kashmir
Trump claimed Indian prime minister asked him to mediate Kashmir dispute between his country and Pakistan

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., left, and Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., attend a committee markup in Rayburn Building on May 17, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee spoke with India’s ambassador to the U.S., Harsh Shringla, on Monday to apologize for President Donald Trump’s claim that he was asked by the Indian prime minister to mediate the Kashmir territorial conflict between his country and Pakistan.

“Everyone who knows anything about foreign policy in South Asia knows that India consistently opposes third-party mediation [regarding] Kashmir,” Rep. Brad Sherman of California tweeted Monday. “Everyone knows [Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi] would never suggest such a thing. Trump’s statement is amateurish and delusional. And embarrassing,” he wrote.

Trump’s budget chief tries to sell spending and debt limit deal to skeptical conservatives
Fiscal hawks blast agreement: ‘Washington has all but abandoned economic sanity’

Acting OMB Director Russ Vought Vought is viewed as closely aligned with spending hawks in the GOP. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Acting White House budget chief Russell Vought appeared on the Fox News Channel Tuesday morning to defend the two-year spending and debt limit accord reached Monday, which had immediately been savaged by conservatives for costing too much and doing nothing to rein in long-term deficits.

“I love the concern of the conservatives who are bringing attention to the problems that we have with fiscal responsibility in this town. This president put forward more spending cuts than any president in history, and we have been negotiating for five months,” Vought said. “We’re now up against a deadline, heading into the August recess, where we need the debt limit extended, we need to continue to rebuild the military.”

USDA seeks to narrow eligibility for food stamps
Proposal looks to tighten eligibility for people who receive noncash benefits

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the draft rule will close a loophole that allows people with gross incomes above 130 percent of the poverty level to become eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and potentially qualify for food stamps. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration will push ahead with a proposal to tighten food stamp eligibility for people who receive certain noncash benefits from a federal welfare program, a move that could end aid for up to 3 million people.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the draft rule published in Tuesday’s Federal Register will end what he and congressional Republicans say is a loophole that allows people with gross incomes above 130 percent of the poverty level to become eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and potentially qualify for food stamps through the program.

Senators plot drug bill, Pelosi mulls drug price negotiations
Proposals target Medicare drug prices

Senate Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, on Tuesday offered a details on a drug price bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley on Tuesday unveiled details on a long-anticipated drug price bill and scheduled a Thursday committee markup.  Republicans indicated a cost estimate of the measure predicted it would lower consumer and government costs.  

The final bill is expected to contain provisions that would slow the growth of Medicare’s prescription drug spending, limit the cost-sharing for people receiving Medicare, and make it easier for state Medicaid programs to pay for expensive treatments.

What counts as ‘foundational’ tech?
As Commerce gears up for export debate, definitions remain in dispute

An attendee participates in a augmented reality demonstration to show how lidar, or light detection and ranging, works during a briefing on autonomous vehicles in June. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

In the coming weeks, the Commerce Department plans to announce a notice seeking comments on how it should draw up export control rules for so-called foundational technologies, similar to an effort the agency launched in November 2018 for a category called “emerging” technologies.

The rules were mandated after Congress passed the 2019 defense authorization act calling on the Commerce Department to establish export controls on “emerging and foundational technologies” that are critical to U.S. national security. But tech companies, universities, and research labs across the country continue to be alarmed that overly broad export restrictions could ultimately hurt American technological superiority.

Antitrust is not regulation. It’s law enforcement
Lawmakers would do well to remember that antitrust is not for advancing social objectives

People calling for a crackdown on some of America’s most successful companies are ignoring the essential nature of antitrust, writes Sean Heather of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Antitrust for much of the last 20 years has been a quiet and sleepy conversation, left largely to practitioners and academics. But not anymore.

Antitrust has taken center stage on Capitol Hill as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle demand greater oversight of the tech industry. But those calling for a crackdown on some of America’s most successful companies ignore the essential nature of antitrust: It is not a political weapon but a tool of law enforcement. Its purpose is to ensure market competition, not to protect competitors, advance partisan aims or usher in sweeping social reforms.

Trump administration to expand ‘fast-track’ deportations, strengthen ICE
Migration Policy Institute estimates that total number of immigrants subject to expedited removal could reach 300,000

The Defund Hate campaign holds a protest in the Russell Rotunda to honor immigrants who died in ICE and CBP detention. The Trump administration plans to 'fast-track' deportations, giving more power to ICE. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration is planning to dramatically expand “fast-track” deportations, making hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. vulnerable to removal without going through immigration court proceedings.

“The effect of that change will be to enhance national security and public safety — while reducing government costs — by facilitating prompt immigration determinations,” reads the new notice to be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday. It “will enable [the Department of Homeland Security] to address more effectively and efficiently the large volume of aliens who are present in the United States unlawfully.”

Trump, Democrats split differences in two-year budget deal
Negotiators are still working on some ‘technical language’ issues

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has been updating President Donald Trump on talks between him and Speaker Nancy Pelosi on a potential deal on spending caps and the debt limit. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 4:15 p.m. | The White House and congressional leaders are close to unveiling a spending and debt limit deal that would boost funding levels by nearly 4 percent across federal agencies, wiping out the 10 percent cuts that were scheduled to take effect under current law.

According to sources familiar with the proposal, the deal calls for a topline defense figure of $738 billion in fiscal 2020, or slightly higher than the House Democrats’ initial request for $733 billion, but short of the Trump administration’s $750 billion request, which includes cap-exempt accounts for troops serving in conflict zones overseas.

Republican group apologizes for mocking congresswomen as ‘Jihad Squad’
Illinois Republican Party chairman condemns social media post’s ‘bigoted rhetoric’

From left, Reps. Ayanna S. Pressley, D-Mass., Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., conduct a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center responding to negative comments by President Trump that were directed at the freshmen House Democrats last week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republican Party leaders in Illinois apologized over the weekend for a Facebook post that smeared the four congresswomen at the center of the President Donald Trump’s recent verbal attacks as the “Jihad Squad.” 

An image shared by the Republican County Chairmen’s Association of Illinois Friday depicts the first-term lawmakers, all women of color, as gun-toting vigilantes in a mock movie poster. In doctored images, Rep. Ayanna S. Pressley aims a handgun at the viewer while Rep. Rashida Tlaib contorts her face in a scream. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wears a red dress that resembles a Bond movie costume, an explosion burning at her feet. Rep. Ilhan Omar hovers over the trio, a firearm at her side. 

Drug price transparency prompts fight among Democrats
Dispute is partly a turf battle between two committees who want to produce legislation on a high-profile issue

Consumer advocates clearly prefer a measure offered in the the Energy and Commerce Committee by Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A dispute among Democrats over competing drug price transparency bills is complicating an issue that should have been one of the least controversial parts of the congressional effort to lower health care costs.

Two panels that oversee health care issues each approved measures this year to require drug companies to reveal information when they increase prices. While consumer advocates note drawbacks with both, they clearly prefer a measure from the Energy and Commerce Committee by Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Illinois, over a similar Ways and Means Committee bill.