Homeland Security

Congresswomen to Trump: Appoint an Election Security Czar
Rice and Stefanik send a letter to the president as talk of Russia grips House floor

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., leaves the House Republicans' last month. Stefanik and Rep. Kathleen Rice wrote a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to appoint an elections security coordinator.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two New York congresswomen on Thursday urged President Donald Trump to appoint an election security czar to combat election meddling.

Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice and Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik sent a letter calling for a “centralized, senior position” to knock down “silos” and bring together efforts at federal agencies such as the FBI and Department of Homeland Security. 

Senate Democrats Question ICE Arrests of Spouses of U.S. Citizens
Cite examples of separations at USCIS offices

Sen. Robert Menendez has led a letter questioning immigration enforcement practices. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Some Senate Democrats are alarmed by what may be a pattern of ICE making arrests when immigrants are conducting routine business at citizenship and immigration services offices.

In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and the acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement chief Ronald Vitiello, a group of 10 Senate Democrats cited examples of married couples being separated at USCIS facilities when one partner may not have legal status but the other member of the couple is an American citizen.

Thune Adding TSA, NTSB Bills to FAA Authorization
‘This may be our one shot at actually moving a major piece of legislation’

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman John Thune is including additional transportation-related bills in the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization, he said in a Wednesday interview.

In an effort to broaden the appeal of a four-year FAA authorization bill, he was including other committee-approved bills to authorize the Transportation Security Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board. The move is also an effort to clear as much of the committee’s business as possible when an opportunity for floor time arises, he said.

Budget Chairmen Weigh in on Veterans Funding Fight
‘Proponents of the effort argue that it is needed to ensure adequate care for our veterans. We disagree.’

Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Budget Chairman Steve Womack, R-Ark., and Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., wrote to top appropriators in both chambers Tuesday insisting that funding for veterans private medical care be kept within the topline $597 billion nondefense spending cap for fiscal 2019. 

That’s a direct shot at the Senate Appropriations leadership on both sides, who want to exempt from budget limits additional funds for the so-called Veterans Choice Program, enacted after the 2014 wait-time scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Opinion: Push to Abolish ICE Is the New ‘Repeal and Replace’
Lost in the uproar is the fact that the agency does much more than deport people

Activists call for the end of ICE at a June 29 rally in New York organized by the Democratic Socialists of America. Such demands sound a lot like the cries of “repeal and replace” that greeted the 2010 health care law, Ramón and Lapan write. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images file photo)

Immigrant advocates have made #AbolishICE a rallying cry against the Trump administration, and the victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the New York Democratic primaries last month only turned up the volume.

As activists press Congress to defund U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement out of existence, several Senate Democrats have proposed to replace the agency or fundamentally reform it. But one key point bears repeating: Attempting to make policy by hashtag is not a recipe for success. Just as cries on the right to “repeal and replace” Obamacare failed to answer the logical next question — replace with what? —proponents of #AbolishICE haven’t done enough to grapple with what their campaign would mean in the long term.

Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi Let Fly the Shark Jumping, Russia Zingers
Normally staid Thursday pressers get lively

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, pictured here, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi let loose the zingers at their Thursday news conferences. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Thursday’s weekly House leadership press conferences were full of lively remarks, with Speaker Paul D. Ryan saying Democrats on the left “jumped the sharks” in their push to abolish ICE and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi suggesting Russia has leverage over President Donald Trump.

The Wisconsin Republican and California Democrat hold weekly press conferences every Thursday with reporters in the Capitol to discuss news of the week. Their answers are mostly predictable and often mundane but occasionally they bring some zeal.

DHS: Russia Not Targeting Election Systems Like 2016
No evidence of a robust campaign aimed at tampering with midterms

DHS official Christopher Krebs says he has yet to see a robust election tampering effort aimed at the midterms. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

U.S. intelligence agencies and the Department of Homeland Security are not seeing evidence so far of a concerted effort by Russia to hack or penetrate American election systems during the 2018 midterms, top Homeland Security officials told lawmakers Wednesday.

Although the 2018 “midterms remain a potential target for Russian actors,” the intelligence community has yet to see evidence of a robust campaign aimed at tampering with our election infrastructure along the lines of 2016 or influencing the makeup of the House or Senate races, Christopher Krebs, the top DHS official overseeing cybersecurity and elections security, told the House Homeland Security Committee.

As Trump Officials Are Heckled at Restaurants, Lieu Boasts About Free Dessert
Democratic rep highlights contrast over migrant family separation policy

Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., received a free slice of baklava at a Greek restaurant recently. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Apparently no one’s chanting “Shame!” at Rep. Ted Lieu when he dines at Mexican restaurants, to the point he feels compelled to leave without finishing his dinner. Bartenders aren’t following him out onto the street from sushi bars to flash him middle fingers and curse at him.

Nope.

Maxine Waters Cancels Events in Alabama and Texas After Threats
California rep urged supporters to protest Trump administration officials at restaurants and other businesses

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said she received a serious death threat ahead of her scheduled visit to Texas this weekend. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Maxine Waters will not be traveling to Alabama and Texas this weekend for two scheduled appearances, citing an increase in threatening messages sent to her congressional offices this week, including at least one death threat.

“As the President has continued to lie and falsely claim that I encouraged people to assault his supporters, while also offering a veiled threat that I should ‘be careful,’ even more individuals are leaving [threatening] messages and sending hostile mail to my office,” the California Democrat said in a statement, CNN reported.

House Republicans Hope to Resuscitate Immigration Issue
July votes expected on family separation, and guest worker and E-Verify

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said GOP leaders will keep their promise for a July vote on an agriculture guest worker program and mandatory E-Verify and are also discussing legislation to address family separations at the border. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans’ thorniest issue, immigration, is not going away after Wednesday’s embarrassing defeat of their “compromise” bill.

GOP leaders are planning votes in July on two more narrow bills that are also not guaranteed to pass. Some rank-and-file Republicans want to continue talks on a larger measure in hopes of finding an elusive path to passage.