government shutdown

Are GOP Retirements Draining the Swamp?
Congressional retirements and resignations clearing some space

House Republicans, such as Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent, have opted not to run for re-election in part due to frustrations with the way President Donald Trump is running the White House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

On the campaign trail, President Donald Trump pledged over and over to “drain the swamp,” promising to gut what he said was a gridlocked Washington political establishment.

His supporters chanted the catchy slogan at rallies and kept doing so at Trump events even after the reality television figure moved into the White House.

Disaster Program Issues Loom Over Future Aid
As lawmakers dole out millions for Texas and Puerto Rico, oversight problems remain

A U.S. Army soldier tosses bottled water provided by FEMA to be passed on to residents in a neighborhood without grid electricity or running water on Oct. 17 in San Isidro, Puerto Rico. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

As lawmakers shuttle multiple supplemental spending packages through Congress to address the devastation from one of the worst hurricane seasons on record, federal audit reports show major ongoing problems with federal agencies’ ability to ensure money is spent correctly.

Tens of billions of dollars are expected to flow from two major sources: the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund and the Community Development Block Grant program, administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. But multiple federal watchdog reports demonstrate that lawmakers are in some cases funding repairs with little ability to ensure the work complies with federal law.

Opinion: The Women in Washington Staying for the Fight
Collins, Feinstein and Pelosi want to keep fighting for their causes

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is among the women in Congress planning to stick around and keep fighting for their causes. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Bob Corker’s leaving the Senate, and who can blame him? At a certain point, life’s just too short to get called “Liddle Bob” on Twitter by anyone, especially by the president of the United States.

But even as Corker announced that he’d retire at the end of his term, two of the Tennessee Republican’s female colleagues decided last week they’re not going anywhere, at least not if they can help it. Both women said while they had considered leaving Washington, the job in the Capitol was too important to walk away from.

Podcast: Trump Kneecapping Obamacare Adds to Year-End Spending Hurdles
Budget Tracker Extra, Episode 35

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks back to his office after speaking to reporters on Oct. 3, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Health care, border wall funding and legislation for Dreamers and an assortment of other issues are piling up and likely to complicate efforts for a year-end spending deal to avert a partial government shutdown, says CQ Budget reporter Jennifer Shutt.

 

Nominations Fill Legislative Void in Senate
Work stalled in the chamber amid partisan health care and tax effort

Callista Gingrich, nominated to be Vatican ambassador, is one of many nominees awaiting a vote from the Senate. She’ll get hers on Monday afternoon. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Republicans have repeatedly accused the Democratic minority of slow-rolling the process of confirming President Donald Trump’s nominees for hundreds of vacant federal and judicial positions. But after engaging in a partisan agenda for most of this year, the GOP may need those confirmation votes just to fill up floor time in the chamber.

The major tenets of the Republican agenda are largely stalled, with the legislative health care effort in tatters and an overhaul of the U.S. tax code still in development.

This Senator Has Gotten Two Audiences with Trump in Four Days
Monday dinner focused on border security, immigration system changes

Sen. Tom Cotton boards a shuttle bus that transported senators to the White House on April 26. Cotton has met with President Donald Trump at the executive mansion twice this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

One lawmaker who could be crucial to Donald Trump’s goal of signing an immigration overhaul bill into law met twice with the president at the White House this week. But it wasn’t Speaker Paul D. Ryan or Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, or the chairmen of the House or Senate Homeland Security or Judiciary committees.

It wasn’t even Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, perhaps the senior-most Republican senator with much at stake from an immigration bill since he represents Texas and its 1,240-mile border with Mexico. Rather, it was the relatively junior GOP senator who hails from thousands of miles from the border: Arkansas’s Tom Cotton.

Mike Pence Showered With Praise Despite Stalled Agenda
Members in both chambers say they’re still big fans of Veep

Vice President Mike Pence and Pennsylvania GOP Sen. Patrick J. Toomey talk in the Capitol before the Senate Policy luncheons on Sept. 19. Pence has not been able to help secure 50 Republican votes on a health care overhaul bill this year. But GOP lawmakers don’t blame him. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Vice President Mike Pence has spent countless hours behind closed doors with congressional Republicans negotiating on health care and other issues, yet the GOP legislative agenda has largely stalled. But Republican lawmakers are not blaming President Donald Trump’s Capitol Hill “insider” — quite the contrary, in fact.

Pence, once part of the House GOP leadership team, was billed as Trump’s get-things-done guy. So far, the vice president’s appreciable legislative accomplishments are scant. He broke several ties in his capacity as president of the Senate and worked with fellow Republicans on unsuccessful efforts to pass a health care overhaul measure that would get rid of Barack Obama’s 2010 law.

Trump Issues Revised Travel Restrictions on Eight Countries
Targeted nations are not satisfying new vetting standards, president says

The new restrictions on travelers from eight countries go into effect Oct. 18. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Donald Trump on Sunday issued a revised travel ban targeting citizens of eight countries, adding North Korea, Venezuela and Chad to a list of nations the administration says pose a threat to national security.

Restrictions will remain on the majority-Muslim countries of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Sudan was dropped from the list of countries originally targeted by sections of a March 6 executive order that expired Sunday.

Trump Considering New Travel Restrictions as Ban Expires
DHS has notified numerous countries that their vetting standards are inadequate

President Donald Trump received a list from the Homeland Security Department of countries that have indicated they will not comply with new screening procedures (Alex Wong/Getty Images File Photo)

President Donald Trump is weighing whether to place travel restrictions on visitors from countries considered noncompliant with new vetting procedures established by the Homeland Security Department, officials said Friday.

Trump’s temporary travel ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen expires Sunday.

Opinion: How Donald Trump Made Congress Great Again
It may help the country — if not the president

President Donald Trump’s rocky relationship with lawmakers has made Congress free enough to act in the country’s best interests, Murphy writes. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

If you were a member of Congress, especially a Republican member of Congress, you could be forgiven for having at least some contempt for President Donald Trump.

He’s used the GOP-led Congress as a punching bag and a scapegoat. He demands absolute loyalty from Republican members, but abandoned them last week the moment he saw an opening to strike a deal to raise the debt ceiling with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.