Trade

Trump raises possibility of amnesty, a move that could further infuriate his base
President also says he won’t insist on a reform bill that would include funds to deport millions here illegally

President Donald Trump, flanked from left by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Thune, R-S. Dak., Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., stops to speak to the cameras following his lunch with Senate Republicans in the Capitol on Wed. Jan. 9, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump Sunday raised the possibility of amnesty for  hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants who came to United States as children, a move that could further rankle his conservative base.

The announcement, via Twitter, comes a day after far-right groups panned immigration policy changes he proposed as a way out of the partial government shutdown.

White House flashes urgency on shutdown — but actual goal is murky
Do Trump and Pence want to ‘resolve this’ or blame Dems for missed paychecks?

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence arrive for lunch with Senate Republicans in the Capitol on Jan. 9. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS | Though faint, a crucial missing element to ending a partial government shutdown in its 29th day, was almost visible Saturday: Senior White House officials flashed a sense of urgency to end their standoff with Democrats.

But what was less clear on a cold and damp evening in Washington was whether White House officials bucked their own views about the stalled talks because they are eager to end the stalemate or eager to blame Democrats if nearly one million furloughed federal workers don’t get paid again next Friday.

Furloughed government contractors to Congress: ‘Pay us too’
Podcast, Episode 136

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., speaks during the National Air Traffic Controllers Association rally to “Stop the Shutdown” in front of the Capitol on Jan. 10. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ocasio-Cortez, Himes to teach Democrats how to up their Twitter game
Party will have to grapple with whether her followers came from AOC’s facility with the platform or her ideas

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., will coach her fellow Democrats on how to do Twitter well. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Freshman Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has swiftly become the most popular member of Congress on Twitter, will teach a class Thursday morning hosted by House Democrats’ messaging arm on how to make better use of the site.

The House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee tapped  Ocasio-Cortez and Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes to coach the Democratic caucus “on the most effective ways to engage constituents on Twitter and the importance of digital storytelling,” USA Today reported.

Pence signals little progress with China since Trump-Xi agreement
U.S. ‘remains hopeful’ Chinese officials will engage in serious talks

Vice President Mike Pence walks through Statuary Hall on his way to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's office in the Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 8. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Vice President Mike Pence Wednesday signaled that the Trump administration has made little progress in trade talks with China, even after what the White House portrayed as a breakthrough late last year.

Pence painted a picture of a new lull in U.S.-China trade talks even after President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed Dec. 1 over local steaks in Argentina to call a truce in what had been a tense tariff war that threatened to slow the global economy.

House moves to protect federal interns from harassment and discrimination

The House voted on a measure by Rep. Eijah Cummings, D-Md., to protect federal interns from workplace harassment and discrimination. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House took action Tuesday to protect the youngest members of the federal workforce, interns, from workplace harassment and discrimination.

The House passed by voice vote a measure from Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings, that would extend certain federal employee protections to unpaid interns in the federal government. Cummings is the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, and a version of his measure also passed in the 115th Congress.

John Thune’s new whip office staff learning the ropes and getting to work
Office features a mix of veteran Senate and House aides

Staffers for Sen. John Thune pose in his new whip office in the Capitol on Jan. 10. Front row, from left, David Cole, Scarlet Samp and Jason Van Beek; back row, from left, Cynthia Herrle, Geoffrey Antell, Brendon Plack and Nick Rossi. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate’s Republican majority has a new occupant of the whip’s office, and with it come some new people for senators and their staffs to interact with when trying to get legislation to the floor.

The leader of the operation for Majority Whip John Thune will be a familiar face from the South Dakota’s previous role as chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.

New members, meet the ‘slush fund’
Many Hill freshmen are already establishing leadership PACs despite association with abuse

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., left, and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., are among the more than two dozen freshman lawmakers who have established so-called leadership PACs, a type of fundraising committee critics say is too often abused. Ocasio-Cortez and Omar have pledged not to accept corporate PAC money. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The newest class of congressional lawmakers — some of whom campaigned against corruption and corporate influence in politics — is rapidly adopting a practice that critics say is among the swampier in Washington.

More than two dozen new members of the House and Senate — including prominent freshmen such as New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney — have established so-called leadership PACs, according to data compiled by government watchdog group Issue One. Leadership PACs are fundraising committees that allow lawmakers to raise money for their colleagues and candidates.

In major shift, Chamber of Commerce to rate lawmakers on bipartisanship
Change reflects business community’s frustrations with crisis governing

Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue says lawmakers should be “rewarded for reaching across the aisle — not punished.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a frequent ally of Republicans in Congress, will revamp its criteria for rating and endorsing lawmakers, relying more on bipartisanship in an attempt to rebuild the governing-focused political center, the group announced Thursday.

It marks the first major change in 40 years in how the nation’s biggest business lobby tabulates lawmakers’ support for the business community, said Thomas Donohue, the chamber’s longtime president. The new method will offer 20 percent credit for bipartisan work and leadership on what the chamber considers “good legislation,” even if such bills never come to a vote. The remaining 80 percent will come from votes.

‘That’s why I’m the majority leader and you’re the minority whip’
Hoyer, Scalise trade barbs in first House floor colloquy together

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., replaces Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in the 116th Congress as the No. 2 Republican leader who gets to participate in weekly floor colloquies with the No. 2 Democratic leader, Steny H. Hoyer. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“That’s why I’m the majority leader and you’re the minority whip,” House Democratic leader Steny H. Hoyer said to Republican whip Steve Scalise on the House floor Friday, just one of the ways Hoyer welcomed his new floor sparring partner to the fray. 

The comment was the most pointed and somewhat personal but far from the only political insult the No. 2 party leaders traded during their first colloquy together.