Technology & Innovation

Now background checks are back on the table as Trump veers again
POTUS makes Danish leader latest female critic he has dubbed ‘nasty’

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said his administration will push for background checks legislation that would close “loopholes.” (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday continued careening from one policy stance to the opposite, this time saying he has an “appetite” for background checks legislation after twice this week backing away from just that.

“We’re going to be doing background checks,” Trump told reporters before departing the White House for a speech to military veterans and two fundraising events in Kentucky. Notably, he said his focus would be on closing so-called “loopholes” in existing laws.

Trump wants to lift restrictions on how long it can hold migrant families
Pelosi accuses White House of ‘seeking to codify child abuse’

A border security officer searches migrants before transferring them by bus to the McAllen Border Patrol facility in Los Ebanos, Texas, in July. The Trump administration is challenging a court order that limits the time children can be detained. (John Moore/Getty Images file photo)

The Trump administration is moving to end a court settlement that limits its ability to hold migrants who cross the border into the United States, the Department of Homeland Security announced Wednesday, potentially allowing for indefinite detention of children with their parents.

President Donald Trump and his administration for years have chafed at the limitations resulting from the settlement, known as the Flores agreement. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said Wednesday the new policy would get rid of an interpretation of Flores that has “substantially caused and continued to fuel” a migrant crisis at the southern border.

Payroll tax cuts off the table? Not so fast, says Trump in another whiplash reversal
No immediate move likely on taxes, as president also distances himself from gun background checks

President Donald Trump concludes a campaign rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., May 20. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 4:15 p.m. | In yet another whiplash policy reversal, President Donald Trump directly contradicted his staff Tuesday by saying payroll tax cuts are on the table as he looks to stave off an election-year recession.

A White House official on Monday afternoon, responding to a Washington Post report that the White House was eyeing a payroll tax cut amid recession fears, dismissed the idea this way: “More tax cuts for the American people are certainly on the table, but cutting payroll taxes is not something under consideration at this time.”

‘The Mooch’ is under President Trump's skin amid recession warnings
President dubs former comms director a ‘nut job’ as Fox poll suggests uphill reelection fight

Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci says President Trump is "unstable" and too "erratic" for a second term. (Wikimedia Commons)

ANALYSIS — Anthony Scaramucci is under Donald Trump’s skin, hitting a nerve as the president frets about his re-election chances amid economic warning signs.

The former White House communications director was back on CNN Monday morning, delivering another broadside on his former boss just four days after a Trump’s stated favorite news organization, Fox News, released a poll showing him trailing the four leading Democratic presidential hopefuls — including former Vice President Joe Biden by 12 percentage points.

FEC chairwoman: Penalty ‘slashed’ for ex-congressman who used leftover campaign money to lobby
The law forbids former members of Congress from using old donations like ‘an illegal pension fund’

Former longtime Florida Rep. Cliff Stearns, once the chairman of the Energy and Commerce's subcommittee on communications and technology, now lobbies for a client list that includes Huawei Tech. Investment Co. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An ex-congressman who diverted leftover campaign money towards dinners and dues at a private club outside of the Capitol just as he began to lobby his former congressional colleagues will only have to pay back a fraction of the campaign funds he misused. 

The Federal Election Commission stalemated in a 2-2 vote over whether to issue a more severe fine to Florida Rep. Cliff Stearns, one that would hold him personally liable, an FEC memo shows. 

Google under pressure from Congress, activists, shareholders
CQ on Congress, Episode 165

Google is under pressure to change its corporate culture. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

In the face of gridlock in Congress, investors, pension funds, and some states are pushing public companies to do more to diversify their boards, combat climate change, stamp out sexual harassment and give workers a voice.

CQ Roll Call's Laura Weiss talks about what happened at Google's annual shareholder meeting where board members were confronted with protests and calls for change. 

Undeterred Trump to tout economy in ‘toss-up’ New Hampshire despite stock tumble
It’s not ‘guaranteed’ every Clinton state will remain blue in 2020, analyst says

President Donald Trump greets Blake Marnell of San Diego during a rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., on May 20. He will hold another rally Thursday night in New Hampshire. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A White House official grimaced slightly Wednesday as a cable news chyron showed stocks plummeting, potentially undercutting President Donald Trump’s Thursday plans to say his stewardship of a strong economy should help earn him a second term.

Trump will make another campaign-trail pitch to voters Thursday evening in what his aides see as a likely 2020 battleground state that could be a photo finish next November: New Hampshire.

Suicide prevention hotline to get three-digit phone number
FCC chairman says he will move ahead following legislation, staff report

Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, plans to move ahead with establishing a three-digit suicide prevention hotline. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It should soon be easier to call a suicide prevention hotline.

The Federal Communications Commission plans to move forward with establishing a three-digit number for the federally-backed hotline.

Border emergency hits six months; ball back in Congress’ court
Lawmakers may again try to terminate Trump's declaration allowing him to shift funds for wall construction

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House Democrats appear in February at a news conference on the joint resolution to terminate Trump's emergency declaration. It is not clear whether they will try again to pass a similar measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Thursday marks six months since President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on the southern border, a notable anniversary because it gives Congress another shot at ending it.

The flashpoint in the debate remains funding for the construction of a wall along the Mexican border, a prominent pledge made during Trump’s 2016 presidential bid that now hangs over the 2020 campaign.

Trump reprises his pitch as the only savior for a Rust Belt battleground
Environmental groups call Pennsylvania facility he visited part of a ‘cancer alley’

President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pennsylvania on May 20. He was back in the state, his 11th visit in two years, on Tuesday. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump interrupted his summer vacation Tuesday to again court Rust Belt voters that helped deliver him the White House, espousing false statements and bold promises as he seeks a second term.

“The political class in Washington gutted … your factories,” Trump told workers at a new Shell-owned petrochemical plant in Beaver County, along the border with Ohio, another perennial swing state he also won in 2016. Trump also blamed other countries for American industrial decline, drawing cheers when he told the audience “they have been screwing us for years.”

Schumer: Use funds to fight gun violence instead of for the border wall
New York Democrat wants $5 billion to go to CDC research, Homeland Security and FBI programs

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer wants more funding to fight gun violence (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is preparing to formally request that the $5 billion Trump’s administration would like spent on a border wall go instead to countering gun violence.

“The dual scourges of gun violence and violent white supremacist extremism in this country are a national security threat, plain and simple, and it’s time the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress started treating them as such,” the New York Democrat said in a statement. “Now Republicans and this administration need to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to addressing gun violence and stopping the rise of domestic terrorism, especially stemming from white supremacy.”

New ‘public charge’ rule could affect millions of immigrants
The DHS rule gives officers new authority to deny citizenship, or other status based on past or future use of public benefits

Ken Cuccinelli, former Virginia Attorney General, does a TV interview on Jan. 20, 2015. Cuccinelli, now U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, announced a new rule giving immigration officers new authority to deny citizenship, or other status based on past or future use of public benefits. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A new Department of Homeland Security rule unveiled Monday seeks to do what pro-immigration advocates have long dreaded by giving U.S. immigration officers broad authority to deny applicants citizenship, green cards, visa extensions and changes in immigration status based on past or potential future use of public benefits.

The change covers people who may have used a wide range of benefits in the past such as food stamps, Medicaid and housing assistance, even if they were eligible for them. Furthermore, the government under the new rule can reject people if immigration officers deem it likely they could become reliant on such public assistance in the future.

Trump’s new hard-line immigration rule at odds with independent voters’ views
75 percent of key voting bloc sees immigration as ‘good’ for U.S., poll finds

The “Defund Hate” campaign holds a protest on June 25 in the rotunda of the Russell Building to honor immigrants who died in federal detention. The Trump administration on Monday announced another hard-line immigration policy. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House on Monday again answered a chorus of criticism by pivoting to a hard-line immigration policy, even though it could drive away independent voters in key battleground states.

With the commander in chief on his third full day of a 10-day “working vacation” at his New Jersey golf resort, the White House deployed Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, for a rare session with reporters in the James A. Brady Briefing Room — a briefing that came two days after former Trump friend and alleged child sex-trafficker Jeffery Epstein was found dead in his New York City jail cell.

After years of promises, Trump again sounds dire about China trade pact
‘Joe Biden is not playing with a full deck,’ POTUS alleges of Dem front-runner

President Donald Trump stops to briefly talk with journalists as he tours his “Made In America” product showcase at the White House in July. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump on Friday did not rule out canceling planned trade talks next month with Chinese officials, saying he is not yet ready to make a deal with the Asian economic powerhouse.

He also announced the United States is cutting all ties to Huawei, the giant Chinese telecommunications company that Beijing considers one of its industrial champions but the Trump administration contends is a national security threat. Trump left open the possibility of rebuilding that link if his team can strike a deal with China.

Trump says McConnell ‘totally on board’ with background checks
President dismisses possibility of NRA opposition to legislation

President Donald Trump says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is “totally on board” with “intelligent background checks,” but a Senate aide says McConnell hasn’t endorsed “anything specific.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Friday gave perhaps his strongest endorsement yet of a background checks overhaul bill for firearms purchases, and predicted Republican lawmakers would “lead” on the issue despite opposition from the National Rifle Association.

“Frankly, we need intelligent background checks. This isn’t a question of NRA, Republican or Democrat. I spoke to [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell yesterday. ... He is totally on board,” the president told reporters as he left the White House for a 10-day working vacation.