Barbara Lee

Repeal of abortion funding ban won’t be part of spending debate, sponsor says
Longstanding Hyde amendment unlikely to be addressed on House floor this week

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., speaks with reporters as she leaves the House Democrats’ caucus meeting in the Capitol on June 4, 2019. Jayapal co-sponsored a proposal to repeal the Hyde amendment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An amendment to repeal a 42-year-old prohibition on using federal public health funds for abortions won’t be part of the debate on a nearly $1 trillion appropriations bill covering the Department of Health and Human Services and several other agencies.

That was the view Monday night of Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington, who co-sponsored a proposal to repeal the Hyde amendment, which the appropriations package headed to the House floor this week would continue. The language is named for its author, the late Illinois Republican Rep. Henry J. Hyde.

Hyde amendment, other abortion riders in the spending limelight
Democrats set for showdown with Republicans, administration

Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro opposes the Hyde amendment, but says it needs to be maintained for the spending bills to be signed into law. {Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The debate surrounding abortion access is about to spill over from the campaign trail to Capitol Hill as lawmakers begin debating must-pass appropriations bills.

Starting Wednesday, the House will take up a nearly $1 trillion spending package written by Democrats that would roll back Trump administration anti-abortion policies, including restrictions barring health clinics from recommending abortion services and preventing U.S. foreign assistance to aid groups that perform or promote abortions.

Tlaib wants Democrats pushing impeachment to ‘turn words into action’
Freshman congresswoman asking colleagues who want to impeach Trump to sign her resolution

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., speaks to reporters after a coalition of advocacy groups delivered more than 10 million petition signatures to Congress earlier this month urging the House to start impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Rashida Tlaib is calling on Democrats to “turn words into action” by signing onto her resolution directing the House committee in charge of impeachment to consider formally trying the president for wrongdoing.

At least 34 Democrats in the House have voiced support for impeachment. But just nine of those have cosponsored Tlaib’s resolution directing the House Judiciary Committee to inquire whether or not the Democratic-controlled chamber should impeach President Donald Trump. 

US could be at war by the time Congress returns from recess, Udall says
Democrats force votes on approving war with Iran, but come up short in the Senate

Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., is worried that the United States may be at war with Iran by the time Congress returns from recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats on both sides of Capitol Hill have been forcing votes on President Donald Trump’s military powers this week amid the ratcheting up of tensions with Iran, getting predictably disparate results.

In the latest test, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday turned back a Democrat-led effort to move legislation designed to thwart preemptive military action against Iran.

House Democrats get a spending jump on the Senate
By marking up 2020 appropriations bills first, they aim to exert some leverage on spending caps talks

Appropriations are stalled in the Senate, in part because Chairman Richard C. Shelby has prioritized reaching agreement on disaster aid legislation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers return to the Capitol this week to start navigating a thicket of budget issues, including a stalled aid package for natural disaster victims and spending levels for the upcoming fiscal year.

Staff-level talks between the “four corners” of the congressional leadership and top White House aides have been taking place to try to bridge a wide gulf between the Trump administration and Democratic leaders on nondefense appropriations. Democrats are pushing for over $100 billion more than President Donald Trump wants for domestic and foreign aid programs in fiscal 2020, once various add-ons to the current spending caps, like overseas foreign assistance and 2020 census preparations, are factored in.

House puts off vote on spending caps deal; adopts ‘deeming’ resolution

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., announced the spending caps bill would be punted until at least after the two-week recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House set an overall spending cap of nearly $1.3 trillion for appropriators in that chamber to write their fiscal 2020 bills, adopting a “deeming resolution” on Tuesday as part of the rule governing floor debate on separate spending caps legislation — although that legislation hit a snag on Tuesday. 

The tally was 219-201, with no Republicans voting for the rule and seven Democrats voting ‘no.’

Progressives are holding back votes on the spending caps bill
Progressive Congressional Caucus leaders want more nondefense funding over the next two years

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., participates in the House Democrats' news conference in the Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus said Tuesday that the current bill to raise discretionary spending caps won’t pass the House unless it’s amended to allow more nondefense funding over the next two years.

“We do think that if we’re going to go negotiate, we should be negotiating from our strongest place and our strongest place is saying we want more nondefense spending. So that’s where many of us are at,” Rep. Mark Pocan said after a House Democratic Caucus meeting.

Culture shock may be in store for House spending panel
A powerful House Appropriations subcommittee is set for new leadership, and that could mean shifting priorities

Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., left, and Chairman Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., conduct a subcommittee hearing in the Rayburn Building on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

One powerful congressional panel is set to exchange the South Bronx for rural Pennsylvania in the next Congress — in a manner of speaking.

Following the retirement of Rep. José E. Serrano, four-term Rep. Matt Cartwright is set to become the top Democrat on the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds the Commerce and Justice departments and independent agencies like NASA and the National Science Foundation. The sprawling $70 billion bill is a battleground for numerous hot-button issues facing lawmakers, such as gun rights, immigration policy and climate change.

Marijuana bill could help Cory Gardner’s re-election chances. Will Senate GOP leaders get behind it?
Bipartisan measure would end federal interference in states that have legalized cannabis

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, center, says the STATES Act would pass if it got to the House and Senate floors, though the latter may be harder to accomplish. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers introduced a bill Thursday to clear away some of the weedier legal issues between federal marijuana law and states that have legalized cannabis.

The bill, co-sponsored in the Senate by Colorado Republican Cory Gardner and Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren and in the House by Oregon Democrat Earl Blumenauer and Ohio Repbublican David Joyce, would amend the federal drug law so its marijuana provisions no longer apply to individuals acting in compliance with state or tribal laws.

‘I don’t know I want to be that definitive’: Pelosi impeachment opposition catches Democratic leaders off guard
As Democrats digested news, most wrote off Pelosi’s comments as nothing new

The House Democratic leadership team in a group photo in the Rayburn Room in the U.S. Capitol late last year. Front row, from left, Katherine M. Clark, D-Mass., Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., James E. Clyburn, D-S.C., Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., Cheri Bustos, D-Ill. Back row, from left, Joe Neguse, D-Colo., Jamie Raskin, D-Md., Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., Ted Lieu, D-Calif., Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., David Cicilline, D-R.I., Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., Barbara Lee, D-Calif., Katie Hill, D-Calif. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 8:13 p.m. | House Democratic leaders on Monday were initially caught off guard by Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s comments to The Washington Post declaring her opposition to impeaching President Donald Trump. But as the evening wore on, most Democrats wrote off her remarks as nothing new.

“I didn’t see it. I don’t know what she said, but I’ve got a feeling it’s the same thing I’ve been saying,” House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said, referring to his past statements that he did not think Democrats should make a judgement on impeachment before seeing special counsel Robert Mueller III’s report.