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A DC cannabis group protests in front of the U.S. Capitol on Monday, April 24, 2017, to call on Congress to reschedule the drug classification of marijuana (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call).

Hirono gives emotional plea for migrant children and families

Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, attends a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on Democrats' year end priorities including "reauthorizing the Children's Health Insurance Program, funding community health centers, and passing the Dream Act," on December 14, 2017. Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

House will vote ‘soon’ to hold Barr, Ross in criminal contempt over citizenship question
Pelosi announces plans for full House vote in dear colleague letter, also outlining legislative steps to protect migrants

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., sent a letter to colleagues Monday saying the House will “soon” vote to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with subpoenas seeking documents explaining the rationale for adding a citizenship question to the census. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House will “soon” vote to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary William Ross in contempt of Congress for defying subpoenas for documents explaining the administration’s rationale for wanting to add a citizenship question to the census, Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a “Dear Colleague” letter on Monday.

The Oversight and Reform Committee last month approved a contempt resolution against Barr and Ross that included language to refer the matter to the U.S. attorney in Washington for possible criminal charges, as well as authorize the pursuit of a lawsuit.

Trump defends border patrol agents, need for citizenship question on census
‘Certain members of Congress say very bad things and lie and exaggerate,’ he said in defense of Customs and Border Patrol

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media prior to his departure from the White House July 5, 2019, in Washington, DC. President Trump and the first lady will spend their weekend at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump, departing the White House on Friday for a weekend at his New Jersey country club, celebrated the “fantastic evening” he had saluting the country during a July 4 speech from the National Mall, while facing questions about his controversial immigration policies. 

Many Democrats criticizing  Trump’s Independence Day celebration cited the poor optics of a military showcase amid reports of mistreatment of migrants being held at facilities along the border as they await their asylum claims to be processed. But Trump, speaking to reporters outside of the White House Friday before boarding Marine One, said he thinks Customs and Border Patrol agents who run many of the  shelters where migrants are held “do a great job with those facilities.”

Road ahead: More on the Mueller report; floor action on Paris bill, nominations
Oversight matters will get most attention post-Mueller but House and Senate proceeding with normal business too

Attorney General William Barr appears on a television in the Capitol subway on April 18, 2019. He is testifying before the Senate and House Judiciary Committees this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Two days of testimony from Attorney General William Barr on the 448-page report from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III will largely define Congress’ return from its two-week recess, with the House and Senate heading in different directions. 

Senate Republicans, who will hear from Barr first on Wednesday, feel Mueller’s report is the appropriate conclusion to years of investigations into allegations that President Donald Trump’s campaign coordinated with the Russians to interfere in the 2016 election and that the president himself attempted to obstruct those investigations.

Why Democrats aren’t rushing to change immigration laws
They don’t agree with Trump and public sentiment doesn’t provide a mandate toward a solution

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., flanked from left by Assistant Democratic Leader Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, D-S.C., Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Cheri Bustos, D- Ill., and Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Katherine Clark, D-Mass., speaks to the press during the House Democrats' 2019 Issues Conference at the Landsdowne Resort and Spa in Leesburg, Va. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats are treading carefully on immigration as they attempt to show they can lead on the divisive issue heading into the 2020 elections.

President Donald Trump, who won election in 2016 on a campaign to crack down on immigration and what he often refers to as “open borders,” is planning to repeat the strategy heading into 2020. In recent weeks, he’s launched near daily attacks on Democrats for their refusal to change immigration laws — an accusation that, as with many things Trump says, is not entirely true.

Pelosi says Barr is ‘off the rails,’ raises concerns about DHS upheaval
‘This administration is just in a downward spiral of indecency,’ speaker says

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., stands off to the side as other leaders speaks at the House Democrats' 2019 Issues Conference opening press conference at the Landsdowne Resort and Spa in Leesburg, Va., on Wednesday, April 10, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

LEESBURG, Va. — Attorney General William Barr is “going off the rails,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Wednesday after the head of the Justice Department told Senate appropriators that U.S. intelligence agencies spied on President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. 

Barr later walked back those comments,  saying, “I am not saying that improper surveillance occurred. I am saying I am concerned about it and looking into it, that’s all.” 

Capitol Ink | Political Black Hole

Pelosi rejects DHS request for authority to deport migrant children to home countries
'Democrats reject any effort to let the administration deport little children,' speaker says

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says House Democrats will not grant the Department of Homeland Security's request to pass legislation giving the department authority to deport unaccompanied migrant children from Central America. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that House Democrats are rejecting the Department of Homeland Security’s request to pass legislation authorizing the department to send all unaccompanied children who try to cross the border back to their home countries. 

DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen sent a letter to Congress Thursday asking lawmakers to pass legislation providing additional financial resources and legal authority for the department to manage the migrant crisis at the border. 

Emerging border security deal will be first big test of Democratic unity
With some barrier funding expected, vote may show fractures among new House majority

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., said he expects to oppose whatever border security funding agreement appropriators reach because he does not support any funding for a border barrier. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When it comes to legislating, House Democrats are still in the honeymoon stage of their new majority. They haven’t had to take any difficult votes yet. But the rocky period is coming, and it will likely start next week with a vote on a border security funding package. 

House and Senate appropriators serving on a Homeland Security funding conference committee signaled Thursday that they’re narrowing in on a border security deal that could be finalized and ready for floor votes next week ahead of a Feb. 15 government funding deadline.