Vermont

New $44 Billion Disaster Aid Request Paltry, Lawmakers Say
Extensive offsets could also prove controversial

Rep. John Culberson of Texas said the White House’s most recent aid request “would sabotage what has been an incredible response by President Trump to Hurricane Harvey up to this point.” (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In its third emergency aid request since August, the White House on Friday asked Congress to approve $44 billion for ongoing hurricane recovery efforts, a figure seen as insufficient on both sides of the aisle. 

At the same time, the White House asked lawmakers to consider a lengthy list of offsets, noting in a letter that the administration “believes it is prudent to offset new spending.”

Grassley Prepares to Bypass Franken to Move Trump Appeals Court Nominee
Rejects policy of allowing blue slip to be used as a veto

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is announcing his interpretation of the “blue slip” policy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley is ready to move forward with President Donald Trump’s appellate judicial nominees, even when home-state senators have formal objections.

Grassley is going to move ahead with confirmation hearings for Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras to be a judge on the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Politico reported ahead of a formal announcement by the chairman.

Senators Unlike Judicial Nominee’s Tweets
Judiciary Committee not amused by Don Willett’s social media output

Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett, nominated for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A darling of #AppellateTwitter, Don Willett is a Texas Supreme Court justice whose wit earned 104,000 followers on the social media website before President Donald Trump nominated him to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

But the Senate Judiciary Committee took a bit of shine off the Lone Star State’s officially designated “Tweeter Laureate” on Wednesday, when senators tore into him for some tweets and even told Willett it would be a good idea to just stop tweeting altogether.

Wasserman Schultz Ducks Questions On Brazile Accusations
Brazile accused former DNC chair of handing 2016 ops to Clinton campaign

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., ducked questions about accusations by former DNC chairwoman Donna Brazile that she turned over DNC operations to the 2016 Clinton campaign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has put on a clinic for the Five Ds of Dodgeball since Donna Brazile publicly accused her of prematurely turning over the Democratic National Committee to the Clinton campaign in 2016.

Back home in Florida Monday, the Florida Democrat and former DNC co-chair repeatedly declined to comment on the allegations her successor, Brazile, levied against her.

Please Don’t Call It a Push Poll: Transgender Edition
Survey either measures public opinion or it doesn’t

Virginia state House candidate Danica Roem complained about a “push poll” run against her last month. (Courtesy Danica Roem for Delegate/Facebook)

Danica Roem and Bob Marshall are facing off in an unusually high-profile race for the Virginia House of Delegates — Roem, a transgender Democrat, is challenging Marshall, a conservative Republican. The race reached a new level in the final weeks when allegations of a so-called push poll came to light.

My longtime colleague Stuart Rothenberg jokes that there are some columns that need to be written over and over again. The debate over push polls is one of those topics.

Trump Urges DOJ to Investigate His Political Foes
Rare move by a president follows Twitter rant before Asia trip

President Trump wants Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate the Democratic Party, a rare statement by a sitting president. They are pictured here on the campaign trail. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Trump made his most clear statement yet about the Justice Department and how the Democratic Party handled the 2016 election, stopping just shy of directing a DOJ probe into the matter. Such a move is unusual for a sitting president.

“But honestly, they should be looking at the Democrats. They should be looking at [Tony] Podesta and all of that dishonesty,” Trump said of the Justice Department. “They should be looking at a lot of things. And a lot of people are disappointed in the Justice Department, including me.”

Trump: Dems Must ‘Guarantee’ All Wall Funding in DACA Bill
President's demand could complicate work on immigration bill

Aurelia Lopez and her daughter Antonia overlook construction of border wall prototypes in October  in Tijuana, Mexico. The prototypes are being built just north of the U.S.- Mexico border. (Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images file photo)

Updated at 10:07 a.m. | President Donald Trump will insist Democrats give him a formal “guarantee” for the full amount of federal dollars for his proposed southern border wall, a demand that will further complicate work on a bipartisan immigration bill.

Trump in early September ended the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program, giving Congress six months to pass an immigration bill that addresses those affected by his cancellation plan. Weeks later, the White House released its priorities for that measure, which included full funding for the border wall project.

Clovis Latest Casualty of Russia Probe, Withdraws Nomination
Trump adviser identified as communicating with Papadopoulos

Sam Clovis, seen here high-fiving then-candidate Donald Trump in Iowa last year, has withdrawn his nomination to a top post at the Agriculture Department. (Scott Olson/Getty Images file photo)

Sam Clovis, the nominee for the Agriculture Department’s top scientific post, has withdrawn from consideration after being identified as one of the Trump campaign officials with whom former campaign aide George Papadopoulos communicated about his Russian contacts.

“We respect Mr. Clovis’s decision to withdraw his nomination,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

Word on the Hill: Trump and the Awkward Buffet
Breast cancer info, a McCain anniversary, and the devilishly handsome Angus King

Samantha Yeider of the Senate Press Gallery, clears a path for Minnesota Sen. Al Franken in the basement of the Capitol on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s been a hectic week between budget talks, President Donald Trump’s trip to Capitol Hill and Republican senators taking shots at their president.

Then imagine Trump having to fend for himself in a buffet line in front of a roomful of senators, one of whom the president had engaged in a war of words with that morning.

Democrats Drop Congeniality as They Fire Away at Sessions
‘Give me a break,’ attorney general implores at one point

From left, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Delaware Sen. Chris Coons and Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal talk Wednesday as Sessions arrives for the Senate Judiciary oversight hearing on the Justice Department. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions took an unusual path to the witness table before Wednesday’s Justice Department oversight hearing. He looped behind the dais to smile and shake the hands of his former Senate Judiciary Committee colleagues and pat them on the shoulder.

But the next four hours made it clear that congeniality has faded for the former Alabama Republican senator. Democrats lectured him on immigration policy, questioned his truthfulness in previous testimony about Russia and criticized his implementation of the Trump administration’s conservative policies.