Henry Cuellar

Word on the Hill: Drawing a Line on Good Taste
Opioid discussion, one week until the Press Club’s spelling bee

From left, Steve Hendrickson as Frank Butley, Jacqueline Correa as Tania Del Valle, Dan Domingues as Pablo Del Valle, and Sally Wingert as Virginia Butley in “Native Gardens,” running through Oct. 22 at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. (Courtesy Dan Norman/Guthrie Theater)

Native Gardens” opened at the Mead Center for American Theater on Friday. The play runs until Oct. 22 at the center’s Arena Stage.

The comedy features actors Jacqueline Correa and Dan Domingues as Tania and Pablo Del Valle, a couple who move to Washington, D.C., next door to Frank and Virginia Butley, played by Steve Hendrickson and Sally Wingert. Pablo is a young lawyer and Tania is a pregnant Ph.D. candidate while the Butleys are a deeply rooted D.C. couple.

White House Aide Walks Back Trump’s Tax Hike for Rich Remarks
Democrats’ reactions, however, to president’s words were positive

President Donald Trump (right) meets with Democratic and Republican members of Congress, including Rep. Josh Gottheimer (left), D-N.J., in the Cabinet Room of the White House on Wednesday. A couple hours later, a senior aide sought to clarify his remarks. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Hours after President Donald Trump suggested he would be fine with a tax bill that raised rates on the richest Americans, a senior White House aide tried to walk back the idea. 

At the start of a mid-afternoon meeting with Republican and Democratic lawmakers, Trump told reporters that the wealthiest Americans “will not be gaining at all with this plan.”

Budget and Appropriations Members Rack Up Travel Time
Boots on the ground or paid vacation?

Staff travel makes up a significant chuck of the amounts spent on travel by the Appropriations and Budget committees. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Members of the Budget and Appropriations committees have spent about $2 million on foreign travel since the start of 2016, including trips to Argentina, Tanzania, Italy and the United Kingdom, according to an analysis of congressional records.

Appropriations Committee members far outpace their colleagues on the Budget Committee in the number of trips and how much they've spent on travel outside the United States. From Jan. 1, 2016 through March 31, 2017, Appropriations Committee members and staff spent $1.9 million on foreign travel and Budget Committee members and staff spent $36,000.

Hurd and Border State Members to Introduce ‘Smart’ Wall Bill
Moderates join in calls for partnership with Silicon Valley

Rep. Will Hurd's SMART Act would require DHS to have a comprehensive border wall plan before construction. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In an attempt to bridge the divide between President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to build a border wall and Republican moderates’ hesitation surrounding the plan, Rep. Will Hurd is looking to Silicon Valley for help.

The Texas Republican is leading a group of border state lawmakers, as well as moderates, to offer their own plan of building a “smart” wall, CNN reported.

House Defeats Amendment to Cut One-Third of CBO Staff
‘It was CBO’s reluctance to change their erroneous forecasts’

Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., offered the amendment that would have gotten rid of an 89-person CBO budget analysis division. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House on Wednesday night rejected, 116-309, an amendment that would have eliminated one-third of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The amendment, offered by Virginia Republican Morgan Griffith to the four-bill appropriations minibus the House is currently debating, would have abolished CBO’s 89-employee budget analysis division and saved a total of $15 million in salaries. Roughly half of Republicans joined Democrats in voting down the amendment.

Bipartisan Road Trip Arrives at the Capitol Just in Time for Votes
Reps. Will Hurd and Beto O'Rourke completed the trip from Texas

Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, left, and Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, walk up the House steps at the Capitol just in time for votes on on Wednesday, March 15, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Forty minutes before a House vote on Wednesday, Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Republican Rep. Will Hurd pulled up to the House steps, making the completion of their bipartisan road trip.

The two Texas congressmen decided to road trip together from San Antonio to Washington, D.C., after the East Coast’s winter storm caused flight cancellations earlier in the week. The more than 24-hour trip, which included several stops and a few hours for sleep, ended with a tight arrival to work.

Culture Before Politics Inspires Resistance to Trump’s Border Proposals
Border politics have never cleaved neatly along partisan lines

California Rep. Scott Peters has worked with his Republican colleagues to secure border infrastructure funding. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

California Democrat Scott Peters, a former environmental lawyer, represents a majority Anglo district near the Mexican border town of Tijuana.

Texas Republican Will Hurd, a 39-year-old former CIA officer who’s nearly two decades younger that Peters, represents a majority Latino district a thousand miles to the east that spans 40 percent of America’s border with Mexico.

Spending Bill Could Allow Trump to Fulfill Border Wall Promise
2006 law authorized, but didn’t fully fund, border infrastructure

A family talks through the United States-Mexico border fence that runs through the cities of Calexico, Calif., and Mexicali on the Mexico side. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President-elect Donald Trump might quickly make good on a campaign promise to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico if Republicans in Congress agree to include the money in a fiscal 2017 spending package, according to media reports.

Trump early Friday said that Congress would have to appropriate money so construction could get underway but it would be paid back, tweeting: “The dishonest media does not report that any money spent on building the Great Wall (for sake of speed), will be paid back by Mexico later!”

Newest Blue Dog Sides with GOP on Repeal of Midnight Rules
Democrat Josh Gottheimer campaigned as a fiscal conservative

New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer was one of only four Democrats to vote for legislation allowing for the repeal of recent regulations finalized by the Obama administration. (Courtesy Josh Gottheimer Facebook page)

The three Blue Dog Democrats who voted for the Republican-backed Midnight Rules Relief Act last November had some new company Wednesday night, when the House again passed California Rep. Darrell Issa’s reintroduced legislation.

The House voted 238-184 to allow Congress to repeal en bloc multiple regulations approved in the last 60 legislative days of President Barack Obama’s administration. 

Dems Take Photos on House Floor to Protest Proposed GOP Fine
New House rules package includes $2,500 fine for such actions

Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar, left, helps Massachusetts Rep. William Keating take a selfie on the House floor before the official swearing-in of the 115th Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Several Democrats took pictures Tuesday on the House floor as the chamber held a quorum call to kick off the 115th Congress — a violation of House rules that Republicans want to start punishing with a fine of up to $2,500.

Roll Call spotted Democrats taking photos in an apparent protest to the proposed fine, which the House adopted later on Tuesday as part of a vote on a package of rules governing operations of the lower chamber. However, the photos were snapped during the brief period at the start of a new Congress when the House has no rules in effect so technically, the Democrats did nothing wrong.