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House Democrats offer changes to woo liberals on border funds
Bipartisan Senate measure moving in that chamber, adding to flux

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., talks with reporters before attending a meeting with other House Democrats to discuss potential border bill changes at the Democratic National Committee on Tuesday June 25, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

House Democratic leaders sought to tamp down a rebellion among their party’s left flank Tuesday as they prepared for a floor vote on $4.5 billion in emergency funding for the surge of migrants at the U.S. southern border.

Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., offered a new manager’s amendment aimed at easing the concerns of Progressive Caucus and Hispanic Caucus members over the care of children who are in the custody of Customs and Border Protection. Her amendment would tack on requirements for CBP to develop standards for medical care, nutrition, hygiene and personnel training, as well as a plan to ensure access to translation services for individuals “encountered” by U.S. immigration agencies.

McConnell says no to delay on votes to accommodate Dem presidential hopefuls
Democrats had pushed for delay to give senators involved in presidential debates time to get back

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., does not want to delay votes on a defense policy bill so that Democratic senators can head to a series of presidential debates in Miami. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made clear Tuesday that Democrats are going to have to filibuster the fiscal 2020 defense authorization bill if they do not want final votes this week.

The Kentucky Republican opened the Senate with criticism of Monday afternoon’s statement by Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., that defense policy bill votes, including consideration of a key amendment regarding limitations on the use of funds for war with Iran, should be delayed until after this week’s Democratic presidential debates.

CBO: US debt growth is slowing, but is still headed for record highs
If debt growth continues, it will surpass the current record high set in fiscal 1946 after the massive World War II military buildup

The Congressional Budget Office in Washington, DC. The agency projected federal debt held by the public will nearly double as a share of the U.S. economy, from 78 percent today to 144 percent by fiscal 2049. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Federal debt held by the public will nearly double as a share of the U.S. economy, from 78 percent today to 144 percent by fiscal 2049, the Congressional Budget Office projected Tuesday.

By contrast, the record high currently stands at 106 percent of gross domestic product, in fiscal 1946 after the massive World War II military buildup; that record is likely to be breached in fiscal 2037 under the CBO’s updated scenario.

U.S.-Iran confrontation escalates as Trump threatens ‘obliteration’ after Rouhani’s insult
Schumer: ‘The danger of bumbling into war is acute‘

Then-Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., conduct a news conference in the Capitol after a briefing with senators on the Iran nuclear deal in September 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Responding to Iranian officials calling his White House “mentally retarded,” President Donald Trump called their latest statement “ignorant and insulting” before warning them he is prepared to use “great and overwhelming force” against their country.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani used the same televised Tuesday address that included an insult for Trump and his staff to say new sanctions the Trump administration slapped on some of their top leaders “useless.” He sharply criticized Trump’s hawkish national security adviser, John Bolton, as “a source of belligerence and aggression” in the region. (Bolton for years has advocated a U.S. policy of seeking regime change in Tehran.)

Rep. Hunter: Supporting Trump, not alleged campaign finance violations, led to charges
The Republican’s attorneys argue the case against him is not the result of alleged criminal wrongdoing, but of political bias

Rep. Duncan Hunter faces more than 60 felony charges for converting his campaign committee into a personal piggy bank. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Facing a mounting legal case against him, Rep. Duncan Hunter has sought to scuttle the charges by alleging a political conspiracy.

In a motion to dismiss the case filed Monday, attorneys for the California Republican argue that he was indicted, not because of evidence that he illegally used campaign funds for personal use and falsified campaign reports, but for the crime of endorsing President Donald Trump.

Sinclair’s purchase of regional sports networks draws ire of Booker, Sanders and Warren
Three Democratic presidential hopefuls cite the broadcast group’s power in local TV

Three 2020 presidential candidates are asking  Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, about the acquisition of 21 regional sports networks by Sinclair. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sens. Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have gotten together to criticize the acquisition of 21 regional sports networks by Sinclair Broadcast Group, asking what the FCC and the Justice Department might be doing about it.

The sports channels, which televise major professional and college sports to regional audiences, came up for sale as a condition of the Disney acquisition of what had been Fox assets. 

Bitcoin mining energy costs raise concern, prompt little action
Influx of bitcoin miners to areas with access to cheap and plentiful energy has caused a backlash

More than 18 U.S. homes could be powered for one day by the electricity consumed for a single bitcoin transaction, a recent estimate found. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images file photo)

Bitcoin is under a cloud, one that Congress and others are beginning to acknowledge: the vast amount of energy required to obtain and maintain the virtual currency.

A university study released last week found the emissions produced by the worldwide network of computers that “mine” bitcoin sits “between the levels produced by the nations of Jordan and Sri Lanka, which is comparable to the level of Kansas City.”

Who staffs the most diverse Congress ever? Sandra Alcala, for one
Meet the House Democratic Caucus’ dream team

Sandra Alcala, a third-generation Mexican American from San Antonio, is director of member services for the House Democratic Caucus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The much-publicized diversity of the House Democratic Caucus in the 116th Congress goes deeper than the lawmakers; it extends to the staff. 

Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries, a New Yorker in his fourth term and in his first top leadership post, has assembled an eight-member supporting cast of five women, including three who are black and one who’s Hispanic, and three men, including one who’s black and one who’s Hispanic.

For the 2020 Democratic field, ‘electability’ doesn’t mean much — for now
Candidate deemed most likely to defeat Trump today may be different in three months time

Sen. Bernie Sanders leads President Donald Trump in several polls, but not typically by as much as former Vice President Joe Biden. Does that make Sanders, or other candidates, less electable, Rothenberg asks? (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Most discussions about “electability” boil down to what path Democrats need to take to win the White House.

Do they need a presidential nominee who mobilizes the base (including nonwhites, younger voters and those on the left) or one who attracts white, suburban swing voters and maybe even a 2016 Trump voter or two?

Progress on federal data privacy bill slows in both chambers
Consensus is elusive, say congressional aides, industry sources and lobbyists

Senate Commerce Chairman Roger Wicker says “there has been no timetable” for a data privacy bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers and industry groups want to pass a federal data privacy law this year, but progress on the measure has slowed. It’s now unclear whether legislation resembling California’s tough requirements on the tech industry can clear hurdles in Congress and be signed into law before the end of the year. 

Small bipartisan groups of lawmakers in both chambers are working on draft legislation that was supposed to have been unveiled in May but has been delayed and is now expected to be released sometime before the August congressional recess.