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White House Presses Vulnerable Dems on Pompeo Nomination
Sen. Cotton dubs Foreign Relations Democrats ‘two-bit Talleyrands’

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., right, meets with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of State, in the Capitol on March 19. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House circled the wagons Wednesday around CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s nomination to become secretary of State, arguing vulnerable red-state Democrats will feel “consequences” in November if they vote against him.

The Trump administration dispatched Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas to argue Pompeo is highly qualified for the top State Department position and to press Democrats running for re-election in states won by President Donald Trump to vote in favor of his nomination.

House Chaplain Patrick Conroy to Step Down In May
Jesuit priest has served in the role since 2011

House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy, right, attends a swearing-in ceremony for the new Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden in 2016 with Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Md., center, and Roy Blunt, R-Mo. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The in-house chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives is stepping down next month after seven years in the post.

Rev. Patrick J. Conroy, 67, a Catholic priest of the Jesuit order, has served in the post since 2011, when then-Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pegged him for the post.

Meet the Dogs of the Senate, Round III
Canine friends in the offices of Blunt, Merkley, Kennedy and Ernst

Juneau’s smile adds one to the face of everyone in Sen. Jeff Merkley's office. (Courtesy Sen. Jeff Merkley’s office)

There are a lot of dogs available for belly rubs or paw-shaking roaming the halls of Congress.

We gave you another round of dogs of the House on Monday. And back by popular demand, here is another round of dogs of the Senate.

GAO: Pruitt’s Pricey Privacy Booth Violated Federal Law
Monday report states funds were not legally available

A staffer exits the Senate subway on April 11 with a poster detailing EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s ethics issues. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The EPA violated federal law when it paid more than $43,000 to install a soundproof privacy booth for Administrator Scott Pruitt without first notifying congressional appropriators, the Government Accountability Office said.

The agency violated the law by using more than $5,000 of fiscal 2017 appropriated funds for an unintended purpose without giving lawmakers advance notice, GAO investigators wrote in a report released Monday.

Intel Committee Democrats Renew Calls to Declassify Parts of Haspel’s Record
Members express concerns about public information campaign supporting CIA director nominee

Sens. Ron Wyden and Martin Heinrich joined Dianne Feinstein on a letter calling for declassification of information about Gina Haspel, who has been nominated to replace Mike Pompeo as the head of the CIA. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A trio of Democratic members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are signaling they have seen problematic classified information about CIA director nominee Gina Haspel’s career at the agency.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico and Ron Wyden of Oregon made the assertion in a letter sent Friday to CIA Director Mike Pompeo that was circulated publicly on Monday.

Congressional Gridlock Plays Central Role in Internet Tax Case
Supreme Court could reshape online commerce nationwide this term

Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., introduced a bill on the online sales taxation issue last year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Tuesday in a major internet sales tax case, and it won’t be the first or last time the justices will try to figure out whether gridlock in Congress plays a role in their decision.

But usually the gridlock is not quite on this scale. The Supreme Court could reshape online commerce nationwide when it decides this term whether to overturn its 1992 ruling that bars states from collecting sales tax from out-of-state vendors.

Analysis: Trump’s Syria Strikes Highlight Congress’ War Powers Impotence
‘I would be absolutely astonished if Congress did a thing,’ expert says

President Donald Trump, flanked by new national security advisor John Bolton, on April 9 at the White House. Four days later, he ordered new cruise missile strikes in Syria. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Even as President Donald Trump has in recent weeks built a more hawkish national security team and again fired missiles at Syrian targets, Congress is not likely to take back the war-making powers it has steadily given up.

The days leading up to Friday night’s strikes by U.S., French and British forces on Syrian President Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons infrastructure offered a telling illustration of how this Congress, like most since World War II, has struggled to play its constitutional role in America’s armed conflicts.

Nathan’s (Mostly) Political One-Liners: Florida, Curious George, and the NFL
What’s running through my head on Thursday, April 12

From left, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Chief Deputy Whip Patrick T. McHenry, R-N.C., and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., arrive in the basement of the Capitol on Wednesday as reports of Speaker Paul D. Ryan not running for re-election spread. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Arizona’s 8th District Special: Welcome to the big leagues, Democrat Hiral Tipirneni, who we’re learning hasn’t treated patients since 2011 and settled a malpractice lawsuit.

Baseball Movies: It’s still hard to believe Aaron Sorkin made “Moneyball” into a watchable movie.

Man Pleads Not Guilty to Threatening Speier’s Staff
California man repeatedly called office, threatened to torture staffers, told them to ‘go sell their bodies’

A man plead not guilty to threatening staff for Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A California man pleaded not guilty to threatening to kill staffers for California Rep. Jackie Speier in a series of “bizarre” messages to her office. 

Ronald Lafaye, 52, was charged with making criminal threats and threatening a public official, along with the lesser misdemeanor charge of calling to annoy or threaten, San Francisco's CBS affiliate reported.

Facebook’s Lobbying Team Faces Test With Zuckerberg on Hill
Zuckerberg intends to approach appearance in a contrite and humble manner, sources say

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook, is leaning on an expanding roster of well-connected lobbyists and message-shapers at his company, as well as a team of outside consultants, to prepare for questions from members of Congress this week. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images file photo)

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg’s highly anticipated debut as a congressional witness this week marks an unprecedented step in the company’s decade-long effort to wield influence in the nation’s capital.    

The social media titan is leaning on an expanding roster of well-connected lobbyists and message shapers at his company, as well as a team of outside consultants, to prepare for a host of questions from senators on Tuesday and House members Wednesday. Lawmakers plan to probe everything from a scandal involving Facebook users’ data to the secretive sources of campaign ads on the platform.