hawaii

Republicans Won’t Probe Influence of Trump Friends at Veterans Department
Dems have questions about trio named in lawsuit

Veterans Affairs Chairman Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., speaks during a hearing of Veterans Affairs secretary nominee Robert Wilkie in front of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building Wednesday June 27, 2018. (Photo By Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 3:31 p.m. | Top Republican lawmakers have no plans to examine the alleged influence that a trio of President Donald Trump’s friends have at the Department of Veterans Affairs, even as Democrats call for an investigation.

The controversy peaked in recent weeks after reports that Marvel Entertainment Chairman Ike Perlmutter, Palm Beach doctor Bruce Moskowitz and D.C. lawyer Marc Sherman hold undue sway with VA leadership, including senior adviser Peter O’Rourke, who formerly served as acting secretary. Liberal veterans group VoteVets filed a lawsuit against the administration last week, claiming the VA is violating federal protocol related to private influence in matters of federal policy.

Free Press Gets a Boost With Senate Resolution Declaring It Is Not the Enemy
Action comes on same day newspapers coordinate on free press message

Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii is leading a resolution to defend press freedoms. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate on Thursday went on record declaring “that the press is not the enemy of the people” — a rebuke to President Donald Trump, who declares the opposite on a regular basis. 

Senators adopted by unanimous consent a resolution from Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York to declare the Senate’s support for a free press and the First Amendment protections afforded to journalists.

Hacking an American Election Is Child’s Play, Just Ask These Kids
Amidst election insecurity in Georgia, kids at this year’s DefCon show how easy systems are to hack

Daisy Capote, a Miami-Dade election support specialists, checks voting machines for accuracy at the Miami-Dade Election Department headquarters in Doral, Florida last week in preparation for the state’s primary later this month. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In March, Hawaii Democrat Rep. Tulsi Gabbard introduced the Securing America’s Elections Act to require the use of paper ballots as backup in case of alleged election hacking. Now voting advocates are suing Georgia to do the same thing.

Some voting systems are so easy to hack a child can do it. Eleven year old Emmett Brewer hacked into a simulation of Florida’s state voting website in less than 10 minutes at the DefCon hacking conference last week in Las Vegas, according to Time

Some House Members Flop In Bids for Governor
Colleen Hanabusa is the latest one to fall

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, lost her primary run for governor. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Hawaii Rep. Colleen Hanabusa’s loss in the state’s Democratic gubernatorial primary is the latest example of House members losing their bids for the highest office in a state. 

Hanabusa lost the primary Saturday to incumbent Gov. David Ige. Hanabusa returned to the House in 2016 after the death of former Rep. Mark Takai.

Ed Case’s Comeback Bid Continues in Hawaii Race for Hanabusa’s Seat
Former congressman wins crowded Democratic primary in 1st District

Hawaii Rep. Colleen Hanabusa lost her bid for governor Saturday night. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 7:52 a.m. | Former Rep. Ed Case won the Democratic nomination in Hawaii’s open 1st District on Saturday night, and is likely returning to Congress next year to represent the deep-blue seat. Case previously served two terms in the House from the 2nd District.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Case led a seven-way primary field with 40 percent of the vote, The Associated Press reported. Lt. Gov. Doug Chin and state Sen. Donna Mercado Kim trailed behind with 26 percent and 18 percent respectively.

Photos of the Week: Senate Summer Session Commences, and Breaks
The week of July 30 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., jokes with Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, as he walks down the Senate steps after the last vote of the week in the Senate on Wednesday. Risch was posing for a photo with interns on the steps. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate was at work this week passing a four-bill spending package, which completes the chamber’s 12 appropriations bills for the year. The House got its first week of summer recess under its belt, and by the end of the week, the Senate joined them. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is allowing for a truncated recess, with senators in their home states next week but expected back on the Hill on Wednesday, Aug. 15. 

Ryan Discovers He’s Part Jewish, and More Congressional Root-Finders
The speaker will appear on the fifth season of ‘Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr.’

PBS show traced Ryan back to his 10th great-grandfather. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Catholic Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan is a little bit Jewish.

Ryan taped an episode of the PBS series “Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr.” and found that he’s 3 percent Ashkenazi Jewish, the Associated Press reported. He traced his heritage back to his 10th great-grandfather, who was born in Germany in 1531.

It’s National Talk in an Elevator Day, Lawmakers Do a Lot of That
Proof: 10 photos of members of Congress talking in elevators

Republican members, including from left, Reps. Eric Cantor, Jeb Hensarling, John Carter and John Boehner, crowd onto an elevator on the 5th floor of the Longworth House Office Building following the House GOP's conference meeting on May 20, 2008. The elevator door would not close until Reps. Eric Cantor, R-Va., and John Carter, R-Texas, got off. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It’s the weather, the morning commute, how happy you are that it’s Friday. But mostly in the elevator, it’s awkward silence.

Not today!

Trump Trade Czar Talks Lobsters, ‘Farmers of the Sea’ and ‘Playing Chicken’
Robert Lighthizer tells Senate panel trade dispute with China won’t end soon

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says the Trump administration’s aggressive trade push will eventually result in better deals for American companies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told Senate appropriators Thursday it could take years to get China to change trade policies that he says undercut U.S. businesses. But he added that the Trump administration’s aggressive push for change in Beijing will eventually result in better deals for American companies.

While Lighthizer defended the administration’s tariffs action on Chinese imports, lawmakers on the Senate Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Subcommittee pressed for quicker action to open up additional export markets for U.S. products.

Lawmakers Welcome Easing of EU-US Trade Rift, Look to NAFTA
But tensions still evident, as U.S. trade representative finds out

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., sees progress in de-escalating trade tensions between the United States and the European Union. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Key agriculture Republicans say they are hopeful the Trump administration is starting to move farmers out of a trade crossfire under a limited agreement between President Donald Trump and the European Union to ease trade tensions as the two sides work to iron out their differences.

Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts called Wednesday’s agreement in principle “quite a startling development and positive development. If that happens and then we get NAFTA done, there are quite a few lights at the end of the tunnel.”