David Cicilline

Gun safety theatrics could come to Congress during Tuesday pro forma sessions
Neither House nor Senate expected to return any time soon

Pennsylvania Sen. Patrick J. Toomey says an immediate vote on his background checks bill would be “counterproductive.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 4:45 p.m. | Democratic lawmakers itching for action on gun safety legislation will get their first chances to make some noise on Tuesday.

That’s when the House and Senate are scheduled to begin holding pro forma sessions, with no legislative business expected in either chamber until a full week after Labor Day in September. However, there’s a long history of members of Congress using the brief moments when the floors of the two chambers open for business during the August recess to engage in a bit of theater.

Mueller shuns spotlight, but says probe didn’t ‘exonerate’ Trump
President has claimed investigation cleared him of obstruction of justice

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller leaves the witness table for a recess in the House Judiciary Committee hearing on "Oversight of the Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election" on Wednesday, July 24, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

On a day House Democrats hoped Robert S. Mueller III’s televised testimony Wednesday would animate the special counsel’s 448-page report for the nation, the star witness eschewed the leading role with a muted performance with few soundbites during the first of two back-to-back hearings.

Mueller’s answers were concise. He often said simply, “True,” or “I rely on the language of the report.” The 74-year-old gray-haired Marine veteran and former FBI director frequently didn’t speak into the mic.

Leaders likely to sidestep direct vote as House considers Al Green impeachment articles
Pelosi opposes measure, which members expect to be tabled or to be referred to Judiciary to dispense of it

Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, is pushing for a vote as soon as possible on his articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House is likely to take up Rep. Al Green’s privileged impeachment resolution against President Donald Trump during a Wednesday evening vote series, two Democratic aides confirmed after the Texas Democrat told reporters the vote would occur then. 

Democratic leaders had not yet decided how to dispense with the measure as of midday Wednesday, but several members said they expect a motion to refer it to the Judiciary Committee or to table it rather than a direct vote.

Facebook cryptocurrency stirs worry and support in both parties
Top Democrat urges Fed and regulators to protect consumers and economy from Facebook’s ‘monopoly money’

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, right, was peppered with questions about how the Fed would deal with Libra, Facebook’s new cryptocurrency. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Facebook Inc. got a preview Wednesday of what to expect next week when executives come to testify about plans to launch Libra, a digital currency and online payment system.

At a hearing Wednesday morning, Democrats and Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee peppered Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell with questions about how the central bank would respond to Libra.

Editor's Note: Democrats on TV

Editor's Note: A July 11 story that described the number of times members of Congress have appeared on television in 2019 was incorrect and based on incomplete statistics.

The story relied on CQ’s Newsmaker transcripts from Jan. 3 through June 26, which include appearances on CNN, CNN International, MSNBC, Fox News, Fox Business, PBS NewsHour, cable news town halls and the Sunday morning talk shows. The transcripts do not include every TV appearance by members of Congress.

Democrats spar with State official over arms sales maneuver

Rep. David Cicilline accused a senior State Department official of gas-lighting Congress in his assertions about why the administration needed to subvert Congress on arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A senior State Department official on Wednesday appeared to blame Democrats for the administration’s decision last month to declare a state of emergency over Iran to avoid congressional review of billions of dollars of weapon sales to Arab Gulf states.

R. Clarke Cooper, assistant secretary of State for political-military affairs, attributed the emergency order to holds placed in spring 2018 by Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Robert Menendez on $2 billion in proposed precision-guided missile sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Menendez, D-N.J., placed the holds in response to the many civilian casualties in the Yemen civil war, in which the two Gulf nations are fighting against Iranian-backed Houthi insurgents.

Big Tech now squarely in the sights of antitrust forces
The effort could create a bipartisan political circus on privacy and disinformation

Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline, who chairs the House Judiciary’s antitrust subcommittee, announced the bipartisan investigation of Big Tech earlier this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bipartisan antitrust investigation of large technology companies announced by the House Judiciary Committee will offer lawmakers their latest opportunity to grill some of the industry’s most recognizable and controversial executives.

But it also could provide lawmakers a chance to hold accountable antitrust agencies and potentially to expand the scope of U.S. antitrust law in significant ways. Still, it remains unclear exactly what the committee can accomplish as it sets out.

News Media Alliance pushes for new Senate antitrust bill
Measure aims to give news publishers a leg up in battle with big tech

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., has introduced along with Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., a new bill that would temporarily exempt news publishers from antitrust laws. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The News Media Alliance is scoring some legislative points against the much bigger K Street players Google and Facebook with a bipartisan Senate bill unveiled Monday evening that would temporarily exempt publishers from antitrust laws.

The measure — sponsored by Louisiana Republican John Kennedy and Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar — would free up news publishers to jointly bargain with big technology companies in a quest for a bigger slice of digital revenue. It’s the companion to a House bill that Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline and Georgia Republican Doug Collins introduced this spring.

Vulnerable Republicans move to the middle in 2019
With Democrats ruling the House, some GOP members aren’t voting with their party as much

Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., had the biggest drop in party unity score among House Republicans this Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the 2016 election, voters in 23 House districts simultaneously elected a Republican representative and cast ballots for the Democrats’ presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, over Republican Donald Trump.

They became top Democratic targets in the 2018 midterms and 21 of them mostly either retired or were defeated.

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.