Bill Flores

Photos of the Week: A Health Care Bill Stalemate Hits D.C. Amid Heat Wave
The week of July 17 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

On Monday, U.S. Capitol Police officers prepare to arrest several demonstrators protesting the GOP health care legislation in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building. Dozens of protesters chanted during the demonstration before police cleared the atrium. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

By BILL CLARK and TOM WILLIAMS

The week of July 17 began with health care negotiations in the Senate, amid protests in the hallways of the Senate office buildings, and is coming to an end with an essentially stalled process on a new health care bill in the chamber. The Republican effort to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s signature law continued to be the focus of Congress watchers on the Hill this week.

Word on the Hill: Whipping Votes for Tilly
Emgage, White Ford Bronco, and hip hop

North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, right, lobbies Pennsylvania Sen. Patrick J. Toomey on Wednesday to vote for Tilly, a Boston terrier in Tillis’ office, in a cutest dog on the Hill contest. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Roll Call’s Bridget Bowman spotted a bipartisan pup moment Wednesday.

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., brought seven-month-old Boston terrier Tilly around with him on Wednesday, whipping votes for her in a cutest dog contest, and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., stopped to say hello.

Energy Pipeline Permitting Bills Passed by House

Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., authored a bill that would transfer pipeline permit authority from states to the federal government. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As Republicans rush to join the Trump administration’s efforts to boost oil and gas production, the House pushed two measures on Wednesday aimed at easing the permitting process for pipelines that cross state and international lines.

Lawmakers voted, 254-175, to pass a bill by Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., which would transfer authority to issue permits for pipelines and power transmission lines that cross international borders from the State Department to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Mullin and other Republicans argued the measure is necessary to keep politics out of the pipeline permitting process.

Was President at Trump Tower When Son Met Russian Lawyer?
Legal expert: Mueller will probe whether Trump knew of meeting in June 2016

Trump Tower was the site of a meeting between a Russian lawyer and President Donald Trump’s eldest son, his son-in-law and his then-campaign chairman in June 2016. (Courtesy Epicgenius/Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0)

Updated at 5:43 p.m. A review of open-source data indicates then-candidate Donald Trump was inside Trump Tower last year when his eldest son and at least two other top aides huddled with a Russian lawyer they believed had Kremlin-supplied information that could hurt presidential rival Hillary Clinton.

White House and Trump campaign officials, along with the president’s private legal team, have not disputed as of publication time that he was at his Manhattan steel-and-glass haven. That means Trump was nearby — though likely on a different floor — when his son and associates believed they were about to receive information from the Kremlin intended to ding another candidate for the country’s highest office.

Budget Battle Opening Salvo Still Stalled
House GOP not focused on endgame as much as negotiating marker

House Budget Chairwoman Diane Black is moving forward with a budget resolution that does not reflect what can be agreed to in the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans have spent a month arguing over key pieces of a budget resolution that faces little chance of passage in the Senate. But they are focused less on the endgame than staking out their own position.

House members frequently view legislation they have passed as a marker for their position heading into bicameral negotiations.

Word on the Hill: Comey Time
Seersucker Thursdays begin

D.C. will be watching as former FBI director James B. Comey testifies today. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former FBI director James Comey is heading to Capitol Hill this morning and D.C. is preparing in many different ways.

The Capitol will be hectic leading up to the 10 a.m. hearing. For those outside of the Capitol complex, or able to leave work for a couple of hours, there are a handful of bars in D.C. opening early, pouring cleverly titled drinks, and taking advantage of some great TV.

Word on the Hill: Day of Reason and/or Prayer?
New tech caucus, and staffer movement

California Rep. Ted Lieu wants to celebrate reason and logic. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., had his way, today would be a National Day of Reason as well as the National Day of Prayer.

Lieu introduced a bill in Congress in April that would declare May 4 to be a National Day of Reason as a secular alternative to the National Day of Prayer to recognize the importance of reason in the betterment of humanity, he said.

Republicans Want to Keep at It on Health Care Overhaul
Conservatives still aim to use current fiscal year reconciliation bill

New Jersey Rep. Tom MacArthur thinks there is room for Republican conservatives and moderates to work together on health care. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In a sign of the renewed Republican optimism surrounding a health care overhaul, several House GOP members say they still want to use the budget reconciliation process for the current fiscal year to pass legislation, effectively providing themselves with less than two months to get a deal.

Leadership has yet to make any concrete decisions on the path forward for health care after pulling a bill last week that would have partially repealed and replaced the 2010 health care law.

Word on the Hill: Happy Friday
Books, restaurants and trees

This week was taken up with debate over the Republican repeal and replace health care effort. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After a busy week on the Hill, there’s a lot to do off the Hill this weekend to chill out.

Temperatures are supposed to reach 75 degrees in the District on Saturday, so it will be a great time to check out what’s left of the Cherry Blossoms on the Tidal Basin.