Juan C Vargas

Why 19 Democrats and 109 Republicans voted against the government funding deal
Democratic defections were mostly Hispanic Caucus members, progressives concerned about immigration enforcement

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined 18 other House Democrats and 109 House Republicans in voting against the compromise spending package Thursday night. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats were just two votes short Thursday night of being able to clear a fiscal 2019 appropriations package without Republican help, while less than half of the GOP conference voted for the bill to avert another government shutdown.

That dynamic may foreshadow battles ahead as the new House Democratic majority will try to exert its influence over government spending while still having to deal with a Republican president and Senate. 

House passes cryptocurrency, insider trading bills
Measures were delayed by debate over spending proposals

The House has passed three bills related to cryptocurrency and insider trading. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images file photo)

After a week of shutdown-related delays, the House has passed three financial services bills that had been expected to receive floor votes early last week, but were delayed as the House debated spending proposals.

Lawmakers agreed by voice vote Monday to pass under suspension of the rules a bill  co-sponsored by Reps. Ted Budd, a North Carolina Republican, and Stephen F. Lynch, a Massachusetts Democrat, that would create an interagency task force led by the Treasury secretary to research how new financial technology, or fintech, is being used in financial crimes and terrorism, and develop regulatory and legislative responses. The bill would also establish a grant fund for programs and ideas for preventing terrorists and other bad actors from using cryptocurrencies for nefarious ends.

House to take up three bills to curb cryptocurrency abuses
One measure would create interagency task force

Rep. Ted Budd, R-N.C., is cosponsoring a bill that would create an interagency task force led by the Treasury secretary to research financial crimes and terrorism, including those using cryptocurrency. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House is expected to take up and pass a trio of bills that focus on cryptocurrency’s ability to facilitate illicit activities.

The three bills were introduced in the last Congress and easily passed the full House with bipartisan support before stalling in the Senate. Two of the bills center on how new financial technology, or fintech, could be used by terrorists, and the third looks at fintech’s use in sex and drug trafficking.

Hakeem Jeffries Wins Democratic Caucus Chair Race Against Barbara Lee
Current DPCC co-chair moves up to No. 5 in leadership

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., won the House Democratic Caucus chairmanship on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, whom several Democratic colleagues view as a potential future speaker, narrowly won an intraparty contest for House Democratic Caucus chair Wednesday against California Rep. Barbara Lee

The vote was 123-113. 

‘Trump Show’ Makes Tour Stop in Capitol Basement
President calls out Mark Sanford, opts against sticking to immigration

Speaker Paul D. Ryan escorts President Donald Trump to the House Republicans’ meeting Tuesday in the Capitol basement. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans might have gone into their Tuesday evening meeting with President Donald Trump expecting a discussion about immigration policy, but what they got was an episode of what might be dubbed “The Trump Show.”

The president did discuss dueling immigration bills crafted by members of the GOP conference. And he urged them to send him a bill that closes what his team dubs “loopholes” that he claims compelled his administration to institute a zero-tolerance program that prosecutes all adult migrants who try to enter the United States illegally, a misdemeanor, even if they arrive with minor children.

Take Five: Claudia Tenney
New York Republican ‘couldn’t believe the level of angst and anger’ as she got death threats

Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., shows off her scarf touting Rome, New York, which is in her district. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Claudia Tenney, 57, a New York Republican, talks about the media, riding motorcycles with Rex Tillerson, and getting death threats after the shootings at the Republican baseball practice.

Q: What’s the most surprising thing about Congress so far?

Digital Staffers Focus on Getting on Message
Democrats fighting to catch up to Republicans in numbers and training

GOP Labs brings in companies to train staffers in social media and digital platforms. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Breaking through the noise is a typical goal in communications, but this year, staffers just want to speak with one voice. They’re making coordination a priority within their parties.

That coordination is most obvious when multiple congressional offices blast out the same message with the same graphics on the same day. Whether it’s criticizing the Republican tax plan or celebrating Ronald Reagan’s birthday, it’s all from the same script.

Word on the Hill: Carlson to Push Forced Arbitration Clauses
New military families program

Gretchen Carlson, seen here in 2013 when she was still on “Fox & Friends” with co-hosts Steve Doocy, left, and Brian Kilmeade. (Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images file photo)

Journalist Gretchen Carlson is on Capitol Hill today to push for legislation to stop the use of unfair forced arbitration clauses.

The former Fox News anchor is teaming up with Sens. Al Franken, D-Minn., Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., as well as three Democratic congressmen.

Foreign Affairs Staffers Group Connected to the World
Group provides access to foreign service institutes and professionals

From left, Varun Krovi, Francisco Bencosme, Sean Snyder, Katharine Denby, Aaron Allen, and Michael Mansour of the Foreign Affairs Congressional Staff Association. (Tom Williams/ CQ Roll Call)

Just like members of Congress, expertise in foreign policy can boost staffers’ careers.

Most staffers are interested in it in some form. But until three years ago, the Foreign Affairs Congressional Staff Association didn’t exist.

New Democrats Want a Piece of the Policy Pie
Coalition arranges task forces around top issues

Washington Rep. Derek Kilmer hopes the task forces gives the New Democrats a chance to help hone policy. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans are in control of Congress, but the House’s New Democrat Coalition does not plan to sit by and let the GOP generate all the policy ideas on issues like taxes, infrastructure and cybersecurity. 

In continuing with their effort to be leaders on policy issues and find potential areas of bipartisan compromise, the New Democrats are launching new task forces designed to generate policy solutions for issues on the GOP’s congressional agenda, as well as policy areas that may not get as much traction in a Republican-controlled Congress, Rep. Derek Kilmer, the coalition’s vice chairman of policy, told Roll Call.