Defense

Trump’s Germany Criticism Denied — Then Confirmed — By Aides
Report: U.S. president called Germans ‘bad, very bad’ on trade tactics

President Donald Trump approaches German Chancellor Angela Merkel as world leaders arrive for their group photo at the G7 summit in Taormina, Italy, on Friday. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

The White House is sending mixed signals about a report that President Donald Trump blasted Germany over its auto exports to the United States, the first major dustup during his inaugural foreign trip.

The Germans are bad, very bad,” President Trump allegedly said, according to German news magazine Der Spiegel, citing sources who were in the room. “See the millions of cars they sell in the U.S., terrible. We will stop this.”

Opinion: A GOP Guide to Running for Cover on Health Care
Three ways to overcome troubling diagnosis from the CBO

Cheered on by President Donald Trump, it was easy for House Republicans to believe that the CBO would find that their health care bill provided quality affordable health insurance for every single American while saving the Treasury trillions of dollars,  Walter Shapiro writes. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

Long ago (that is, back in the days when James Comey was still FBI director), House Republicans rushed their health care bill through by a two-vote margin without waiting for the verdict of the Congressional Budget Office. That early May, haste was understandable since the victorious House Republicans were due at the White House for an Oval Office celebration of a bill that (“Whoops, we forgot about the Senate”) had not actually become a law.

There appeared to be no need for House Republicans to fret about the CBO score since, after all, Donald Trump had already promised in a tweet that “healthcare is coming along great … and it will end in a beautiful picture!” So it was easy for GOP legislators to imagine that the nonpartisan experts at the CBO would find that their bill provided quality affordable health insurance for every single American while saving the Treasury trillions of dollars.

Opinion: Democrats May Be Too Optimistic About 2018 Gains
Ghosts of racial discord still haunt the South

Congressional districts in North Carolina were too racially driven even for a Supreme Court dominated by conservatives, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Republican-drawn congressional districts in North Carolina turned out to be too racially driven for a Supreme Court dominated by conservatives — with Justice Clarence Thomas siding with the majority.

Who’d have thought it?

Annual Capitol Insiders Survey: The Trump Effect
Tensions on the Hill from last year have carried over into 2017

Republicans staffers on Capitol Hill are still not comfortable with President Donald Trump, the latest Capitol Insiders Survey finds. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Last year’s election was humbling for pollsters, and the Capitol Insiders Survey was no exception. The vast majority of congressional staffers surveyed by CQ Roll Call in the days before the election — 91 percent — predicted a Hillary Clinton win. Only 6 percent thought Donald Trump could pull it off.

Still, the results reflect how Trump’s win blindsided the Washington establishment. The majority of Republican aides said consistently during the campaign that they wouldn’t vote for Trump.

Opinion: Mick Mulvaney’s Compassion — Not for the Needy
Republican budget funds big programs, pulls back safety net

OMB Director Mick Mulvaney not only dumped the concept of compassionate conservatism, he literally redefined what compassion should mean in today’s Washington, Patricia Murphy writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When George W. Bush ran for president in the late 1990s, he did it on a platform of “compassionate conservatism,” a smooth-edged rebranding of the conservatism that had become synonymous with callousness in the age of Newt Gingrich. Bush’s compassionate conservatism assured voters that he wasn’t going to waste their money the way he said Democrats would, but that he also wasn’t going to hurt people in the process, especially the least among us.

Bush won, but the concept of conservatism took a beating under his administration, as federal budgets ballooned and his vision of the role of government expanded at home and abroad.

Opinion: Congress Needs to Raise Budget Caps
Economic and national security investments vital to our long-term success

Not raising the budget caps risks shortchanging the next generation by leaving behind an ill-prepared workforce, a crumbling infrastructure, and a stagnant economy, Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

We begin the 2018 budget process facing arbitrary and irresponsible spending caps that threaten our security, our economy, and our nation’s standing as a global leader of research and innovation. Yet, the budget proposal put forth by President Donald Trump does not respond to this simple truth. In fact, it will take our country in the opposite direction.

The president would provide additional funds for one important aspect of government — defense — but would do so at the expense of all other investments. That’s not a responsible proposal — and it should not be treated as one. Even some of my Republican colleagues have criticized these misguided priorities of President Trump. House Budget Committee member Tom Cole, R-Okla., called the president’s proposed cuts “short-sighted,” saying, “These are investments the country ought to be making.”

Trump’s ‘Taxpayer-First Budget’ Slashes Domestic Spending
President proposes $4.1 trillion in spending for fiscal 2018

A worker assembles the budget for Fiscal Year 2018 at the Government Publishing Office's plant on North Capitol Street before a visit from OMB Director Mick Mulvaney and GPO Director Davita Vance-Cooks on May 19, 2017. The budget will be released next week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The fiscal 2018 budget that will be unveiled by the White House Tuesday would wipe out the deficit in 10 years through trillions of dollars in spending cuts and new revenue generated by economic growth, based on data provided by the administration.

President Donald Trump proposes to spend $4.1 trillion in fiscal 2018, measured as outlays. The spending plan projects collecting $3.65 trillion in revenue in 2018, resulting in a $440 billion deficit in the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

Flynn May Have Lied During Security Clearance Renewal, Says Cummings
Oversight ranking member asks chairman to subpoena records from White House

Rep. Elijah Cummings, left, has asked House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz, right, to subpoena records from the White House about Michael Flynn. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is asking the panel’s top lawmaker to use his subpoena power to ask the White House for documents related to former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

Rep. Elijah Cummings wrote to Chairman Jason Chaffetz that the committee had in its possession documents that appeared to show Flynn lied to investigators in 2016 when he was getting his security clearance renewed.

Supreme Court Rejects Two Black-Majority N.C. Districts
High court upholds lower court ruling on improper use of race in redistricting

The Supreme Court on Monday unanimously upheld a lower court ruling that North Carolina state lawmakers improperly used race to alter the 1st District, represented by Rep. G.K. Butterfield. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that North Carolina unconstitutionally used race to draw two congressional districts with substantial increases of black voters, in a voting rights case that could influence how states can consider race when redistricting.

The justices found that a lower court correctly decided that state lawmakers used race as the predominant factor in significantly altering the 1st and 12th congressional districts, held by Democratic Reps. G.K. Butterfield and Alma Adams, respectively, both African-Americans.

ISIS Strategy Gets an Update
National security officials outline Trump administration changes

Defense Secretary James Mattis and other officials outlined new tactics in the fight against ISIS. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senior national security officials Friday outlined what they claim is a new approach to addressing the Islamic State, the same day President Donald Trump left for an extended overseas trip with the first leg of the journey touching down in the Middle East, in Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Trump has authorized a change in tactics in the fight against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. The tactical shift moves to a campaign aimed at surrounding and then seizing ISIS’ urban strongholds in order to prevent the escape of fighters.