hawaii

Radel Dishes on His Career — and a Little About Cocaine
Former Florida congressman’s book released Tuesday

Trey Radel, then a Florida congressman, leaves court in November 2013 after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of cocaine possession. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Florida Republican Rep. Trey Radel, who resigned after he was convicted of cocaine possession, comes clean about his short-lived career in Congress and shares a little about the drug that doomed him.

“While my deepest personal weaknesses cut short my dreams and work in Congress, I picked myself up. As individuals and a country, we can do the same,” he sums up in “Democrazy: A True Story of Weird Politics, Money, Madness & Finger Food.” The 300-page account of his life and times was released Tuesday.

Gorsuch Avoids Missteps at Supreme Court Hearing
“I have no difficulty ruling for or against any party”

Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch testifies on the second day of his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Hart Building, March 21, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch spent 11 hours Tuesday abstaining from giving personal opinions on controversial issues and reassuring critics that he isn’t beholden to President Donald Trump, generally avoiding the kind of major slip that could trip up his confirmation.

Gorsuch adopted a solemn tone at times and tried to add dashes of levity at others, as he fielded gentle Republican questions and fended off Democratic queries on abortion rights, campaign finance and his previous decisions on administrative law and workers rights.

Trump Defense Boost Would Mean Big Gains for Some States
Democrats likely to hold line for parity with nondefense programs

Brian Schatz, whose state of Hawaii is the No. 3 recipient of per-capita defense spending, says there must be parity in domestic spending to go with any boost to national security programs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A request from the Trump administration for a double-digit increase in defense spending could be largely decided by lawmakers whose states are far from equal players when it comes to the benefits of a bigger military budget.

That’s long been the case, as geographic, historic and strategic differences across the country result in more of an economic boost in certain states. But the differences are even more starkly displayed in a new Pew Charitable Trusts analysis that shows the funding split across all 50 states and the District of Columbia on a per-capita basis.

Federal Judges Block Trump’s Modified Travel Ban
President says ruling ‘makes us look weak’

Demonstrators hold signs at Dulles International Airport on Jan. 29 to protest President Donald Trump’s first executive order on immigration. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland issued nationwide temporary restraining orders halting President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban, with one coming just hours before the executive action was set to go into effect.

A decision Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson in Hawaii was the second such ruling against Trump’s efforts to block temporarily certain immigrants, refugees and travelers from Muslim-majority nations from entering the country. A judge in Washington state blocked the original travel ban, which was broader in scope, shortly after it was signed Jan. 27.

More States Join Legal Challenge to Trump Travel Ban
Washington joined by Massachusetts, Minnesota New York and Oregon

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson on Thursday announced the state will fight President Donald Trump’s new executive order on immigration.  (Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

More states are joining the legal challenge to President Donald Trump’s new travel restrictions on immigrants from Muslim-majority countries.

Washington, which was the first state to sue over Trump’s original executive order, said it would renew its challenge and state Attorney General Bob Ferguson said New York asked to join its effort, The Associated Press reported.

Senate Democrats Adopt Staff Diversity Rules
New rules will increase the diversity in caucus staff, Schumer says

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, center, and Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz have been pushing for more diversity among Senate staff. Also pictured, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Democrats have taken a formal step to codify their push for staff diversity in the Senate. 

Lawmakers approved new conference rules at the Democrats’ policy lunch last Tuesday, which encourage offices to use the NFL’s “Rooney Rule,” the requirement named after the Pittsburgh Steelers’ owner Dan Rooney that teams interview at least one minority candidate for head coaching vacancies. Democratic offices are now formally encouraged to consider at least one minority candidate when interviewing for an open position.

Nevada’s Hill Sway Sinks While Other Small States Surge
New Roll Call Clout Index reveals big disconnects between population and Capitol influence

With the retirement of former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, the Nevada congressional delegation has lost much of its legislative leverage, Hawkings writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Harry Reid may have masterminded one of 2016’s biggest statewide Democratic sweeps as he headed toward retirement, but the Nevada congressional delegation he left behind has lost much of its legislative leverage as a result. 

In fact, only two delegations have less collective influence at the Capitol this year than the six lawmakers from the Silver State, the newest Roll Call Clout Index reveals.

It’s Huge: Trump Administration Sets Record with Empty OMB Director Slot
S.C. Republican Rep. Mick Mulvaney still waiting for confirmation

Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., President Donald Trump’s nominee to be director of the Office of Management and Budget, testifies during his Senate Budget Committee confirmation on January 24, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate’s slow pace in confirming Cabinet nominees appears to be holding up lawmakers’ work on major fiscal legislation while they wait for President Donald Trump’s budget shop to get up and running.

The White House needs to move on budget priorities and discretionary spending levels for fiscal 2018; a wrap-up of fiscal 2017 appropriations; and supplemental funding requests to boost military spending and begin construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Gabbard Trip to Syria Attracts Criticism, Puzzlement
Kinzinger slams fellow Iraq War vet; Pelosi unaware of details

Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger said it was inappropriate for a member of Congress to “visit a dictator.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

PHILADELPHIA — Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s secret trip to Syria this month continues to attract criticism from fellow members of Congress, as well as a washing of the hands from her own caucus leader.

Illinois GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who, like Gabbard, is a veteran of the Iraq War, slammed his colleague for meeting with President Bashar Assad and called on House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Speaker Paul D. Ryan to condemn the trip.

Sex Worker Solidarity Sparks More Controversy for Women’s March
Phrase ‘We stand in solidarity with sex workers’ rights movement‘ removed then reappears in platform

Just days before the Women's March on Washington, organizers are facing questions about their stance on the sex workers’ rights movement after  a supportive statement disappeared from their platform and then reappeared after criticism.

It’s not the first issue the march has faced in its short, tumultuous planning period. Controversy first erupted over the name “Million Woman March,” which some felt exploited a march of African-American women in 1997 and the fact that organizers were all white. Since plans to begin at the Lincoln Memorial fell apart, marchers will now gather at the Capitol at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning and march down Independence Avenue.