Patrick J Toomey

Republicans Grouse Over Tariffs but Lack Plan to Cool Trade Tiff
As China retaliates, lawmakers air unease without threatening to counter Trump

Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., urged the Trump administration to think of farmers in her state but stopped short of threatening legislative action on tariffs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When lawmakers return from recess next week, they are likely to be besieged by various industries seeking protection from the economic fallout of the trade fight between the Trump administration and China that threatens to impose $50 billion in retaliatory duties on U.S. exports.

But the Republican-controlled Congress may not be able to do more than collectively wring its hands, in contrast to the leverage lawmakers have under Trade Promotion Authority to accept or reject a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement.

Burr Says States Should Determine Age Limits on Guns
But says there are points of agreements on gun laws in Congress

Sen.  Richard Burr, R-N.C., right, said he is open to some gun measures but thinks age restrictions should be left to states. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Richard Burr said there are points of “common agreement” in Congress on gun laws, but that states should determine age restrictions on buying weapons.

Speaking to CBS 17 in Wilson, the North Carolina Republican responded to questions about tighter gun legislation in the wake of the shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, in February.

Rep. Beto O’Rourke Raises $6.7 Million in First Three Months of 2018
Texas Democrat looking to close the gap on incumbent GOP Sen. Ted Cruz

Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, raised $6.7 million in the first three months of 2018, his campaign announced Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Texas Senate hopeful Beto O’Rourke, who is challenging Republican incumbent Ted Cruz, raised a stunning $6.7 million in the first three months of the year, the Democratic congressman’s campaign announced Tuesday.

O’Rourke, who represents Texas’ 16th District in the state’s western tip around El Paso, had already raised roughly $1.5 million more than the incumbent last year.

Omnibus Unlikely to Defund 'Sanctuary' Cities
Senate appropriator says it would make it too difficult to pass

Sen. John Boozman said it was unlikely the Senate would move to defund sanctuary cities, as House conservatives are pushing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A top Senate appropriator said Tuesday the final omnibus spending bill would likely not include a provision to defund “sanctuary” cities that do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., suggested in two posts on Twitter that Congress should withhold federal grants for sanctuary cities in the omnibus. His remarks follow the Trump administration’s decision to sue California over three state immigration laws, escalating a battle over sanctuary jurisdictions that began shortly after President Donald Trump took office.

Trump Intensifies War on California’s Immigrant ‘Sanctuaries’
So far, little to show for effort to crack down on illegal immigration

Protesters arrive at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles during a march on Feb. 28. (David McNew/Getty Images file photo)

The legal struggle over immigrant “sanctuaries” is escalating, and deep-blue California is ground zero.

“This is basically going to war,” Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown said after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced last week that the Trump administration is suing the state over three recently enacted laws limiting local and state law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration agents.

Gun Debate Unfolds Outside of Senate Judiciary Panel’s Confines
Grassley uses White House meeting to brief Trump

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley used a meeting last week to explain to President Donald Trump the committee’s role in moving gun-related legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley used a White House meeting last week to explain to President Donald Trump the panel’s role in getting a consensus and moving legislation dealing with gun violence and school shootings.

But before the Iowa Republican could finish, Trump pivoted right back to negotiating provisions about age restrictions for gun purchases, a proposal championed by two senators who aren’t on the committee, Pennsylvania Republican Patrick J. Toomey and West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin III.

Trump Made No Promises to NRA, Sanders Says
‘We all ... don’t want gun control,’ gun lobbyist said after Oval Office meeting

Washington-area students and supporters protest against gun violence with a lie-in outside of the White House last month. President Trump met with NRA officials on Thursday night as he searches for a solution to school shootings. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump made no promises to NRA leaders during a Thursday night meeting other than a vow to “continue to support the Second Amendment,” his top spokeswoman said Friday.

Trump’s campaign-trail description of himself as a staunch defender of Americans’ right to purchase and possess firearms “is not something that he’s backed away from,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters at the White House.

Four Up, Four Down on Senate Immigration Proposals
Bipartisan, Democratic, Republican amendments all blocked

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., right, and Senate minority leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., were not able to convince enough senators on the other side of their respective aisles to advance any of the immigration proposals. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate voted down all four immigration proposals in front of it on Thursday, failing to cut off debate on each one of them and leaving the chamber at a loss on how to proceed, eventually, on the high-profile issue.

First up was a motion to cut off debate on a proposal from Arizona Republican John McCain and Delaware Democrat Chris Coons to provide conditional permanent residence to recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program if they meet certain qualifications, and would authorize $110 million annually, for fiscal 2018 through fiscal 2022, for grants for border security activities in states with international or maritime borders.

Senate Poised for Immigration Votes With Uncertain Outcome
None of the proposals appear to have support of at least 60 senators

An immigration proposal by Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley has the support of President Donald Trump but faces strong opposition from Democrats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate is likely to hold test votes Thursday on four immigration proposals, none of which has an obvious route to passage or a clear-cut coalition of lawmakers backing it.

Democrats emerging from a meeting late Wednesday were noncommittal about their support for a compromise reached by the so-called Common Sense Coalition, one of the four proposals likely to get a cloture vote when the chamber reconvenes Thursday. Sixty votes are needed to advance.

And They’re Off! Senate Finally Votes to Proceed on Immigration
Votes on amendments expected soon

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had some harsh words for his Democratic colleagues before the chamber approved the motion to proceed to immigration legislation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

After two days of the equivalent of a legislative staring contest, the Senate has decided to move along toward immigration legislation. But this is just the beginning, and feelings are a little raw over how things have unfolded so far. 

The chamber approved, by voice vote Wednesday morning, a motion to proceed to the expected legislative vehicle for an immigration overhaul.