Bill Pascrell Jr

Photos of the week: Cherry blossoms, Final Four prep and ‘Queer Eye’
The week of April 1 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

Aiden Anthony, right, and Cameron Foreman, both 7, participate in the Blossom Kite Festival on the National Mall on Saturday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The cherry blossoms reached peak bloom this week just in time for the annual festival celebrating the special branches.

It was a busy week on the Hill full of multiple subpoena-authorizing hearings, a speech from the NATO secretary general, basketball excitement and a visit from the Netflix stars of the show “Queer Eye.”

‘Dead billionaires’ and a tech Peace Corps? Lawmakers float ideas to fix Congress
First hearing of new modernization committee turns into a brainstorming session

Reps. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., left, and John Sarbanes, D-Md., are seen in between testimony during a Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress business meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer kicked off the first hearing of the new Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress with a plea for a return of something from the past: earmarks.

The Maryland Democrat was the first among 30 lawmakers who offered ideas Tuesday to the temporary and bipartisan panel, which has been charged with making recommendations about how to update Congress for the modern era.

After bringing Cohen’s family into it, Matt Gaetz now urges supporters to leave them alone
GOP rep takes another step back from intimidating tweet ahead of Trump’s former fixer’s testimony

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., urged his supporters to leave the family of Michael Cohen alone, hours after publicly suggesting that Trump’s former lawyer had cheated on his wife. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Facing backlash for a tweet in which he appeared to intimidate Michael Cohen by accusing him of marital infidelity, Rep. Matt Gaetz is now urging supporters to “leave the Cohen family alone.”

“Regardless of disagreements, family members should be off-limits from attacks from representatives, senators & presidents, including myself,” Gaetz tweeted Wednesday night.

Matt Gaetz under investigation by Florida Bar over Cohen tweet
Florida Republican says he has apologized to Cohen personally

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., watches as Michael Cohen, former attorney for President Donald Trump, testifies during the House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 election on Feb. 27, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Florida Bar has opened an investigation into a tweet sent by Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz on Tuesday that appeared to be an attempt to intimidate President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen the day before he was to testify against his old boss.

The Florida Bar confirmed to Roll Call on Wednesday afternoon that it has begun investigating Gaetz’s tweet. It would not release any additional information, citing confidentiality rules.

House Democrats months away from demanding Trump tax returns
‘No wiggle room’ to deny request for Trump’s tax returns, expert says

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., walks up the House steps for a vote in the Capitol on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee said it would be months before they definitively try to obtain President Donald Trump’s tax returns, after a lengthy hearing Thursday to hear from tax and constitutional law experts.

“This is not the end. This is just the beginning,” Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman John Lewis of Georgia said, making it clear there would be more hearings and examination of the sensitive matter.

US-China trade talks are a big deal for startups
Business owners are watching this week as a U.S. delegation negotiates with Chinese officials

Congress has remained largely on the sidelines as President Donald Trump and Beijing wage their tariff battle. A U.S. delegation is in China this week. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

Vicki Mayo helps run an Arizona company that makes a watch-like device it boasts eases stress. Now the future of her company could hinge on the outcome of talks this week to resolve the tariffs standoff between the United States and China.

As owner and co-founder of Scottsdale-based tech startup The TouchPoint Solution, Mayo said she had high hopes of expanding the business. But she put those plans on hold after the Trump administration imposed 10 percent tariffs on Chinese imports last year, with a threat to increase those duties to 25 percent.

FEMA Relents on Flood Insurance
Sales of new policies will be allowed during partial shutdown

Sen. Bill Cassidy was among several Republican lawmakers who urged FEMA to reverse its decision not to allow the sale of  flood insurance policies during the partial shutdown. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency reversed course late Friday and said it would allow sales of new flood insurance policies during the partial government shutdown.

“As of this evening, all [National Flood Insurance Program] insurers have been directed to resume normal operations immediately and advised that the program will be considered operational since December 21, 2018 without interruption,” FEMA said in a press release.

Baseball Legend Larry Doby Tapped for Congressional Gold Medal
Civil rights icon broke color barrier in the American League

Larry Doby in his days with the Chicago White Sox. (National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Baseball Hall of Famer Larry Doby is getting the Congressional Gold Medal.

The move drew praise from lawmakers not only from his home state of New Jersey, but also from Ohio, where Doby debuted and starred for the Cleveland Indians. After the Senate passed legislation last week to authorize the award, the next step is a signature from President Donald Trump.

Lawmakers Unhappy With Pompeo’s Lowered Cap on Refugees
New cap of 30,000 is a historic low

Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Bob Menendez called the Trump administration’s decision to lower the annual refugee cap “truly repugnant.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers of both parties are criticizing the Trump administration’s decision to lower the annual refugee cap to 30,000 people for fiscal 2019 — a sharp decrease from the 45,000 cap set for fiscal 2018, and also a historic low.

“At a time when we should be defending our values and ideals as Americans and working to alleviate the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, it is truly repugnant to see the Trump administration double down on its efforts to reject our foundational values and humanitarian duty of providing those escaping persecution the opportunity to seek protection and safe haven,” Sen. Robert Menendez, the ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement Monday.

Democrats Call On Trump-Putin Interpreter to Testify, Republicans Say No
Marina Gross may be the only one with answers to what happened in the Trump-Putin summit

Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr., D-N.J. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats looking for information about what happened during the private meeting between President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin want the U.S. interpreter to testify.

New Jersey Democrat Bill Pascrell called Wednesday on Reps. Trey Gowdy and Elijah Cummings, chairman and ranking member of the House Oversight committee, to ask Marina Gross to testify publicly before the committee.