Homeland Security

Photos of the Week: A House Tax Marathon as Senate Starts Action
The week of Nov. 6 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

From left, Rep. Sam Johnson, Chairman Kevin Brady and ranking member Richard Neal open a House Ways and Means Committee markup of the Republicans’ tax overhaul plan in Longworth Building on Monday. Rep. David Schweikert also appears. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House Ways and Means Committee finished its marathon markup of the GOP tax overhaul plan Thursday, as attention shifted to the Senate, which will be marking up its own version of the bill next week. 

Here’s the entire week in photos:

Lawmakers Still Sending Thoughts and Prayers, Despite Criticism
Outcry over expressions of sympathy symptom of deadlock on guns

A small memorial near the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Wednesday, three days after a gunman killed more than two dozen people during a Sunday service. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Criticism of lawmakers who send “thoughts and prayers” to victims of mass shootings has attracted a lot of attention in the media. But it doesn’t appear to have caused many on Capitol Hill to find something else to say.

Roll Call reviewed statements by lawmakers after Sunday’s mass shooting during a church service in Sutherland Springs, Texas, which left 26 people, including an unborn child, dead, authorities said. The analysis found that dozens of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle reverted to some form of the expression, sparking an increasingly familiar backlash from gun control advocates and other critics who said the words have become meaningless in light of congressional inaction.

Summer of Storms Tests Energy Resilience
Lawmakers, administration battle over what it means to rebuild

A downed electric pole sits in mud in Jayuya, Puerto Rico, on Oct. 9, more than two weeks after Hurricane Maria hit the island. Puerto Rico experienced widespread damage including most of the electrical, gas and water grid. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

While the Trump administration proposes to make the nation’s electric grid more “resilient” by propping up nuclear and coal-fired power plants, a wide range of energy advocates say there are better — and greener — ways to achieve the same goal.

And they are urging leaders to heed the lessons provided by the massive storms that took down electricity lines in parts of Texas and Florida and left U.S. island territories in the Caribbean in the dark for weeks.

McSally Planning Senate Run in Arizona
Sources confirm McSally told her Arizona GOP colleagues she plans to run

Arizona Rep. Martha McSally is planning to run for Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Martha McSally told her fellow Arizona Republican House colleagues Monday that she plans to run for the state’s newly open Senate seat.

The Arizona political outlet Yellow Sheet Report first reported the news Monday night, followed by The Arizona Republic the following day.  Three sources with knowledge of the discussion confirmed the reports.

After Controversies, Members Want Kelly to Avoid Spotlight
Sen. Graham: Having an opinion ‘doesn’t mean you have to share it’

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly speaks during a White House briefing last month. Lawmakers from both parties say he should focus on running a less chaotic White House. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

Lawmakers from both parties, concerned that John F. Kelly has too often added to the White House chaos he was hired to tamp down, want the chief of staff to revert to managing President Donald Trump’s administration far away from the television cameras.

The retired Marine Corps four-star general and former Homeland Security secretary views his new job as that of an ultimate insider, according to senior White House aides who report to him. But in recent weeks, Kelly has at times taken on a different role — combative spokesman for the president. And that has only created more heartburn for the White House and its Republican allies on Capitol Hill.

Word on the Hill: Valor in D.C.
A distinguished Nebraskan, and your social calendar for the week

Screen shot of “Valor” trailer. (Courtesy CW)

Pairing a look at life in the military with an exploration of the opioid crisis, CW’s “Valor” is coming to D.C.

The cast will be at the Milken Institute School of Public Health this evening for a screening for veterans, active duty members and reservists.

Private Prisons Boost Lobbying as Federal Detention Needs Grow
Country’s largest prison companies have seen stocks rise in the Trump era

Border Patrol vehicles stand guard along the United States-Mexico border fence in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 2:25 p.m. | One of the country’s largest private prison companies is spending record amounts on lobbying amid efforts by the Trump administration to detain more undocumented immigrants, federal records show.

The GEO Group, which has contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Bureau of Prisons and the Marshals Service, has spent nearly $1.3 million on lobbying from Jan. 1 through Sept. 30, according to new lobbying records filed with Congress. That tops $1 million spent last year. The firm spent at least $400,000 on seven lobbying firms in the third quarter alone, the disclosures show.

Word on the Hill: Republicans Tour Jordan Airport
Pingree awarded, Veterans History Project discussion, and ‘The Long Road’

New York Rep. John Katko meets refugees at Zaatri refugee camp in northern Jordan. (Courtesy House Homeland Security Committee)

A delegation led by Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., over last week’s recess included a stop in Jordan. The group toured Queen Alia International Airport, the largest airport in the country, to observe aviation security procedures and employee screening.

The U.S. donated passenger screening equipment to Jordan and other countries in 2016 under the FAA Extension, Safety and Security Act.

Sex Trafficking Bill Would Narrow Protections for Internet Companies
Senators say the bill is aimed at Backpage.com, not Facebook or Google

Sen. Rob Portman, shown here in 2015, introduced the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act earlier this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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.