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Nancy Pelosi Claims She Would be Speaker if Contest Held Today
‘Oh, please,’ California Democrat says about any need for GOP support

The fate of Nancy Pelosi’s bid to be the next speaker rests in large part on the big freshman class, including about 60 new Democrats. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi claims if the vote for speaker were held today, she would have the support to be elected on the floor, despite the claims of opponents they have the numbers to block her. 

“Yes,” she answered simply when asked that question. “I have overwhelming support in my caucus to be speaker of the House,” she said.

Border Brawl on Display at Senators-White House Meeting Today
McConnell, Shelby trek to meet with Trump about wall funding

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., front left, will be heading to the White House to discuss year-end spending deals on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Key Republican senators head to the White House Thursday afternoon to meet with President Donald Trump, hoping to resolve a border brawl that could hold up a year-end spending package and lead to a partial government shutdown.

The White House session could make clear whether Trump is prepared to give any ground in his request for a $5 billion down payment on a southern border wall — or whether he’s prepared to trigger a shutdown if he doesn’t get his way. Senate appropriators have offered only $1.6 billion in their bipartisan version of a Homeland Security spending bill.

Saudis Face Reprimand From Trump and Potentially Congress Over Khashoggi Killing
Senior adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman among those targeted

People hold posters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to Saudi Arabia’s consulate on October 8, 2018, in Istanbul, Turkey. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The Trump administration has slapped sanctions on a senior aide to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and 16 others in connection to the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Treasury Department announced the penalties Thursday morning, just a few hours after the Saudi government announced it would seek the death penalty for five of 11 individuals indicted there over the luring of Khashoggi to a diplomatic facility in Turkey that ended with him being killed in a violent confrontation.

Pentagon, Homeland Security Helping Private Companies Defend Against Cyber Threats
Agreement signed in the weeks before the midterms

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Defense Secretary James Mattis have signed an agreement that is aimed at increasing defenses agains strategic cyber threats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security reached an agreement in the weeks before the midterm elections to jointly defend the United States against strategic cyber threats, including offering assistance to private companies, top officials from both agencies told lawmakers on Wednesday.

“This agreement clarifies roles and responsibilities between” the Department of Defense and the DHS “to enhance U.S. government readiness to respond to cyber threats and establish coordinated lines of efforts to secure, protect, and defend the homeland,” DHS Assistant Secretary Jeanette Manfra told a joint hearing of the House Armed Services and House Homeland Security committees.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
Cornyn, Sasse and Daines are not impressed by the first D.C. snow and Heitkamp is probably drinking iced coffee

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for it. We look, but we don’t find everything. We want to know what you see, too.

8 House Races, 1 Senate Race Still Uncalled as Florida Recount Deadline Nears
Some counties in Florida expected to miss Thursday’s machine recount deadline

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) addresses his election night party in Naples, Fla., where he declared victory in the Florida Senate race with incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., on November 6, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Officials have yet to determine the winners in one Senate contest and eight House races — a week and two days after the midterm elections.

If the 2000 presidential race is an indication, the outcome of the Florida Senate race could be weeks away as state election personnel recount votes for Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and his GOP challenger, Gov. Rick Scott. Nelson trailed Scott in the initial tally by less than 15,000 votes.

Catherine Cortez Masto Becomes First Latina to Lead DSCC
A Nevada Democrat will be returning to the leadership table

Nevada Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, left, seen here campaigning in October with now Sen.-elect Jacky Rosen, is expected to be announced as the next leader of the DSCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Nevada senator is once again a key member of Senate Democratic leadership.

First-term Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto was announced as the next chairwoman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on Thursday, becoming the first Latina to lead the committee.

Despite Evidence of Chaos, Trump Says White House ‘Running Very Smoothly’
But president ignores advice by lashing out at Special Counsel Mueller

President DonaldTrump heads for Marine One on the White House's South Lawn. On Thursday, he denied chaos has returned to the West Wing - then lashed out at Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III. (Photo by John T. Bennett/CQ Roll Call)

Despite evidence to the contrary, President Donald Trump on Thursday denied chaos has returned to the West Wing — then immediately fired off a broadside against Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

Trump was visibly agitated during a weekend diplomatic trip to Paris, including frustration with aides who advised that him canceling a Saturday trip to a cemetery where nearly 2,000 U.S. soldiers who died in World War I are buried would not become a major news story. It did and Trump reportedly let his staff know about his frustration.

Confidence Abounds Among Pelosi Supporters and Opponents — But One Side Will Lose
Anti-Pelosi contingent claims they have numbers to block Pelosi from becoming speaker

Nancy Pelosi is confident she will be the next speaker. Her opponents are confident they can block that. Someone is going to lose. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two big questions surround the contingent of House Democrats opposing Nancy Pelosi’s bid for speaker: Are they bluffing when they say there are enough members prepared to vote against the California Democrat on the floor? And if they’re not, will that opposition hold until the Jan. 3 vote?

Leaders of the contingent, including Reps. Tim Ryan of Ohio, Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, Filemon Vela of Texas and Kurt Schrader of Oregon, have all said they’re confident that when the 116th Congress begins on the third day of January, there will be more than enough Democrats ready to vote against Pelosi on the floor — not “present” or abstaining from voting — to prevent her from claiming the speaker’s gavel.

Federal Court Orders Capitol Police to Negotiate With Officer’s Union
Legal battle has roots in stalled talks over new contract, terminations

A federal court ordered the Capitol Police department to negotiate with the union. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A federal court has ordered the Capitol Police back to the bargaining table with the officers’ union.

In a decision last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit granted a petition to make the department and the union negotiate a new contract, while dismissing the Capitol Police’s appeal over whether the union could challenge employees’ terminations through arbitration.