Politics

Critics Pan Plan to Publish Congressional Research
Transparency advocates say thousands of documents would be left off website

The Library of Congress’ Thomas Jefferson Building is pictured from the observation area at the top of Capitol Dome. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Government transparency advocates were thrilled last spring when Congress ordered its in-house think tank to publicly release its reports.

Now, groups that lobbied for years to end the secrecy surrounding the Congressional Research Service say the website scheduled to launch in September would leave out crucial documents and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars more than it should.

Trump Takes Putin’s Word for it on Russian Meddling in Elections
Putin says charges against Russians wouldn’t have a ‘fighting chance’ in U.S. courts

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin answer questions about the possible Russian meddling in the 2016 elections during a joint news conference after their summit on Monday in Helsinki, Finland. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Standing alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump said Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling into U.S. elections has hurt relations between the U.S. and Russia and has been a “disaster for our country.”

Taking questions from reporters, Putin denied his country had engaged in “so-called interference” and said it had no plans to do so in the future.

Proposals Would Help Homeowners, Make Ex-Presidents Pay for Office Supplies
Financial Services spending bill amendments also could affect local post offices

Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., wants to bar the U.S. Postal Service for expanding its offering of financial services. Other proposed amendments to the Financial Services spending bill would help homeowners with bad foundations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Local post offices would be barred from offering most banking services, homeowners with crumbling foundations would get some help and ex-presidents would have to pay for their own office supplies under proposals to amend the House’s fiscal 2019 Financial Services spending bill.

Proposed amendments also include some of the usual suspects: keeping the District of Columbia from enforcing certain local laws, allowing federally insured banks to take deposits from companies in the marijuana industry, and barring federal funds from being spent at properties owned by President Donald Trump.

Republican John Chrin Launches Opening Ad in GOP Targeted District
Chrin is challenging Democratic Rep. Matt Cartwright

Republican John Chrin is challenging Democratic Rep. Matt Cartwright in Pennsylvania's 8th District. (D.A. Banks/CQ Roll Call)

Republican John Chrin launched his opening argument in his campaign against Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Matt Cartwright on Monday. Republicans are largely on defense this cycle, but the 8th District is one of the areas they view as a pickup opportunity. 

Republicans hoping to stave off potential losses in the House are looking to win districts like Pennsylvania’s 8th, which is one of a dozen held by a Democratic lawmaker that President Donald Trump won in 2016.  

MJ Hegar Outraises Carter in Longshot Bid in Texas
Attributes much of it to introduction video that went viral

The Democratic challenger to Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, out raised him in the most recent fundraising quarter. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

MJ Hegar, who is challenging Texas Rep. John Carter, outraised the incumbent nearly 4-1 in the most recent fundraising quarter, according to Federal Election Commission documents.

Hegar, a U.S. Air Force veteran, announced her campaign raised $1.1 million in the last fundraising quarter while Carter raised $265,725.

Aaron Schock Trial Now Set for January
Comes as former congressman’s lawyers want Supreme Court to hear appeal

UNITED STATES - JUNE 8: Former Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., appears on the House floor after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress, June 8, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Trump, Putin Address Election Meddling Charges in Helsinki
Russian president denies what U.S. agencies have concluded he ordered

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive on Air Force One at Helsinki International Airport on Sunday for his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Updated 11:26 a.m. | Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the Helsinki summit “a success” and a “very fruitful round of negotiations,” but he said he denied any involvement in meddling in the last U.S. election when pressed by President Donald Trump.

Putin also said he hopes stabilizing Syria could be an example of increased “joint work” between his country and the Trump administration.

Republicans Put Immigration Divisions on Hold for ICE Messaging Votes
GOP members still want to vote on family reunification, agriculture guest worker program

Immigration has bedeviled Speaker Paul D. Ryan and House Republicans, but they will push messaging votes on it either this week or next. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lacking a unified strategy on most immigration policy, Republicans are looking to temporarily set aside their differences and highlight an issue that has divided Democrats. 

GOP leaders are planning two votes this week or next related to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which some Democrats say they want to abolish.

Joint Budget Committee Will Meet on the Side to Work It Out
Members face November deadline for developing legislation and report

Co-Chairman Steve Womack and the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform will meet on the side to see if they can work out their differences. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The 16 lawmakers tasked with overhauling the budget and appropriations process will begin meeting informally this month to determine if they can agree on bipartisan changes before the end of November, according to House Budget Chairman Steve Womack.

The Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform has an uphill climb before it can produce the type of legislation that a majority of its Democrats and a majority of its Republicans will support — let alone the type of bill that a majority of each chamber will vote to enact.

Higher NATO Defense Spending May Not Help U.S. Contractors
European countries would seek to spend dollars at home, analysts say

President Donald Trump gives a news conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton at NATO headquarters in Brussels on July 12. (Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump emerged from the NATO summit in Brussels touting a renewed commitment from members to increase their defense spending, but U.S. defense firms might want to hold off on the champagne — at least for now.

Trump claimed that European leaders had pledged to accelerate their individual efforts to reach the goal of spending 2 percent of their country’s gross domestic product on defense, possibly hitting that target sometime next year rather than by 2024 as originally planned.

A Visit to the Balkans Casts Light on the Divisions in America
Balkan-like partisanship in the U.S. set to get more intense, experts say

The “Warrior on a Horse” statue in downtown Skopje, Macedonia. American politics has increasingly taken on a Balkan flavor with party affiliation coming in the way of finding policy solutions. (Boris Grdanoski/AP file photo)

SKOPJE, Macedonia — A statue depicting an ancient soldier, thrusting a sword skyward, on horseback, rises in the main square here. Across the Macedonian capital’s famed Stone Bridge is another, of Philip II, urging on his son.

But locals are quick to provide visitors to the Balkan nation this advice: Whatever you do, “do not” refer to the equine-mounted fighter as Alexander the Great. The statue is known simply as “Warrior on a Horse.” For now, at least.

Republican Main Street Partnership Backs Four More Candidates
Three of the four endorsees are women

Republican Main Street Partnership is endorsing West Virginia state Del. Carol Miller in the 3rd District after originally backing one of her opponents in the primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Republican PAC that supports lawmakers from the “governing wing of the GOP” is endorsing four more candidates Monday.

The Republican Main Street Partnership’s endorsement comes with a $5,000 PAC check. The group made its first 10 nonincumbent endorsements in April. Three of those endorsees have since lost their primaries. 

California Democratic Party Endorses Dianne Feinstein Opponent Kevin de León
De León took 65 percent of the delegate vote

California state Sen. Kevin de León is challenging Sen. Dianne Feinstein in the all-Democratic general election in November. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The California Democratic Party has endorsed state Sen. Kevin de León over Sen. Dianne Feinstein, backing a challenger who is taking on a longtime incumbent.

The endorsement came after Feinstein had encouraged party leaders not to endorse either candidate for Senate in the name of party unity. But on Saturday, de León won 65 percent of the delegates’ votes, surpassing the 60 percent threshold necessary to secure the endorsement.

Trump Sets Notably Low Bar for Putin Summit
President also calls European Union a ‘foe’ on trade matters

President Donald Trump waves while playing a round of golf on Sunday at Trump Turnberry Luxury Collection Resort in Turnberry, Scotland, during his first official visit to the United Kingdom. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Updated 10:43 a.m. | President Donald Trump has a message for his critics about his upcoming meeting with Vladimir Putin: Don’t worry, it’ll be fine — just trust me. And, in a stunning remark, he called the European Union a “foe” of the United States on trade matters.

Trump continues to set low expectations for Monday’s summit with Putin amid concerns he could give into the Russian leader’s demands while getting little — if anything — in return. 

Mitch McConnell Expects Vote on Brett Kavanaugh Before October
Senate majority leader cites examples of previous justices

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, left, expects a vote on Brett Kavanaugh before the October Supreme Court term begins. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaking in Louisville on Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell re-affirmed the timeline for considering the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court.

“The timetable typically, for recent Supreme Court Justices, if we stuck to that timetable, and I intend to, would give us an opportunity to get this new justice on the court by the 1st of October, and all of you may know that’s what’s called the October term,” McConnell told reporters back in his home state.