Arkansas

Gun research funding push faces challenge in Senate even after shootings
House-passed bill would be first time in decades Congress allocated funding specifically for gun violence research

Sen. Roy Blunt, chairman of the subcommittee that oversees health research funding, signaled he wouldn't support new funds for research on gun violence. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats in Congress are amplifying their calls to fund more research on gun violence after the recent mass shootings in Ohio and Texas, but Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Chairman Roy Blunt suggested Thursday he wouldn’t support new funding in that area.

The dispute over $50 million for gun violence prevention research could pose an additional challenge in the effort to avoid a government shutdown this fall.

Republicans cast about on guns, Trump’s rhetoric at town halls
August recess is typically a low-profile time for members of Congress, but tensions running high this week

Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., withheld on whether he supports expanding background checks at his town hall this week - saying he would have to see the details. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

An agonizing national conversation about gun violence and race reverberated in members of Congress’ town halls across the country this week. 

“I totally disagree with the characterization that Trump is racist,” said Republican Rep. Don Bacon to a smattering of applause from a small audience in a suburb of Omaha, Nebraska. “When you call the president a racist ... you're turning away half the population.”

Republican senators target Google’s relationship with Chinese tech giant Huawei
Senators criticized Google for working with Huawei to develop ‘smart speakers’ that may allow China to ‘listen in on Americans’ conversations’

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., was one of three senators to send a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Wednesday criticizing the tech giant for its relationship with Chinese government-aligned Huawei. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Sens. Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton, and Marco Rubio excoriated Google on Wednesday for downplaying its activity in China despite a report last week that it had been working with Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei to develop “smart speaker” technology.

In a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, the senators expressed their concern that such devices can “enable untrustworthy companies to listen in on Americans’ conversations.”

Conservative judicial group is top donor to GOP state elections arm
Judicial Crisis Network previously spent millions to support Trump’s Supreme Court nominees

The Judicial Crisis Network spent millions to support Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in the face of vocal protest like this one in September 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Facebook’s currency plan makes fintech a tough sell in Congress
Some members are conflating disdain for Facebook with other, more vital fintech innovation, Schweikert says

House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters has criticized Facebook’s new cryptocurrency offering, Libra, calling it an “unchecked expansion” into the lives of the company’s users. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Members of Congress who support the development of new financial technologies say their job might have gotten tougher after Facebook announced its plan to issue a cryptocurrency.

Lawmakers used hearings in both chambers this month to roundly censure Facebook’s proposed Libra, which the social media company says could provide financial services to people who can’t rely on banks.

Trump administration works to revive federal death penalty
Congress hasn't tried to prevent it, but it will face legal challenges from civil rights groups

The Trump administration moved Thursday to revive the federal death penalty, which would be the first executions by the federal government since 2003. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration moved Thursday to revive the federal death penalty, a policy move Congress has not tried to prevent but one that will face a legal challenge from civil rights groups.

Attorney General William Barr directed the Bureau of Prisons to adopt a new execution protocol — which would kill inmates with an injection of a single lethal drug called pentobarbital — and schedule the execution of five men in December and January.

House sends spending caps, debt limit bill to Senate
Measure next heads to the Senate for consideration

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., leads House Democrats down the House steps to hold a news conference on the first 200 days of the 116th Congress on Thursday, July 25, 2019. On Thursday, the House passed a debt limit and budget measure, sending it to the Senate for consideration. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After late lobbying from President Donald Trump, House leaders mustered the votes to pass a two-year spending caps and debt limit bill Thursday that will provide some structure around the appropriations process and stave off potential default on U.S. obligations until the end of 2021.

The 284-149 vote was the first legislative test for the package Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced Monday after hard-fought negotiations. The measure would add $324 billion to otherwise austere spending caps over the next two fiscal years, and avert cuts averaging about 10 percent to federal agencies for the upcoming budget year starting Oct. 1.

Budget caps, debt limit bill expected to pass House Thursday
A furious whip effort was underway by both parties to clinch a strong bipartisan showing on the floor

Yarmuth acknowledged a budget resolution may not happen next year either. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House lawmakers expressed confidence on Wednesday that the two-year budget and debt ceiling deal will pass in that chamber, though a furious whip effort was underway by both parties to clinch a strong bipartisan showing on the floor.

Late Wednesday afternoon, it became clear a large majority of Democrats were prepared to vote for the measure after Congressional Progressive Caucus leaders released a statement green-lighting the compromise budget caps measure.

Judge weighs New Hampshire work requirements for Medicaid
The requirements were delayed for an additional 120 days due to state outreach problems

Federal district court Judge James E. Boasberg heard oral arguments Tuesday regarding the Trump administration's approval of work requirements in relation to New Hampshire's Medicaid program. Boasberg will decide whether states can enforce 100-hour-a-month requirements. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A federal district court judge seemed skeptical during oral arguments Tuesday of whether the Trump administration’s approval of work requirements advances the mission of New Hampshire’s Medicaid program. The same judge ruled against two other state work requirements earlier this year.

The New Hampshire requirements, which could have resulted in thousands losing coverage in August, were delayed earlier this month for an additional 120 days due to state outreach problems in educating enrollees about the requirements.

Moderation in the Trump era? Democrats, it’s futile
What’s the point of careful issue proposals when Trump will just bellow that they’re coming for your cars, air conditioning and straws?

The careful issue proposals of prior Democratic nominees like Hillary Clinton no longer represent the route to political safety, Shapiro writes. (Brian Ach/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — The tone of the letter from the Columnists’ Guild I’m expecting any minute now will be as stiff as the old-fashioned stationery it’s printed on. It will note that I am “derelict in your duties” and “an embarrassment to the profession of opinion slingers” because I’ve failed to write a single column loudly lamenting the Democratic Party’s lurch to the far left.

We have all read versions of this column written by skittish liberals, nervous centrists and panicked never-Trump Republicans: “Don’t the Democrats understand that many voters like their employer-provided health care plans and will rebel over being forced into a rigid ‘Medicare for All’ system? Eliminating criminal penalties for crossing the border illegally would be an invitation for immigration chaos. And do Democrats really believe that Americans will sacrifice their lifestyles to comply with the extreme provisions of a Green New Deal?”