Politics

House Schedule for Next Week ‘Fluid and Subject to Change’
Absent deal, partial government funding ends Dec. 21

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., conducts her weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center as Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., is seen on the House floor via a monitor on December 13, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy stated the obvious on Thursday when he noted that the chamber’s schedule for next week remains “fluid and subject to change.”

Outside of the big remaining item of business — a deal to extend government funding for nine departments and assorted agencies amid the congressional standoff with President Donald Trump over funding for a border wall — there is a dwindling list of legislative business for the chamber to attend to before the adjourning of the 115th Congress. 

House Republican Leader Invites Democratic Freshmen to Meet With Him
McCarthy sends letter to newly elected Democrats, responding to their message about prioritizing legislation

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is seen on the chamber floor via a television monitor as Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi conducts her weekly news conference Thursday. Later that afternoon, McCarthy sent a letter to incoming Democratic freshmen offering to meet with them to foster bipartisan relationships. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy has a message for the newly elected Democrats who swept dozens of his colleagues out of office and his party into the minority: I’ll work with you. 

“When the new Congress is sworn in, we will all bear the ‘solemn responsibility’ of acting on behalf of our fellow citizens, as you wrote in a letter to your party’s leadership earlier this month,” McCarthy wrote in a letter to the incoming Democratic freshmen, obtained by Roll Call. 

At the Races: The Ghost of Midterms Past
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

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Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman.

This week … Some Republicans started worrying about retirements, Mainers have been recounting ballots faster than expected, and one Pelosi rebel faced a primary threat.

Senate Flexes Congress’ War Powers Authority, For First Time Ever
Resolution would end military assistance to Saudi Arabia over war in Yemen

Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn., was one of the sponsors of the resolution to pull U.S. support of the Saudis in Yemen. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate on Thursday ordered the Pentagon to cease its military involvement on behalf of Saudi Arabia in the Yemeni civil war. It marked the first time since the 1973 passage of the War Powers Act that the Senate has ordered the executive branch to end an unauthorized military campaign.

The Senate passed, 56-41, the joint resolution, as amended, that would direct the president to remove U.S. armed forces from hostilities in or affecting the Republic of Yemen, except forces engaged in operations directed at Al Qaeda or associated forces, within 30 days of the joint resolution’s adoption of the joint resolution, unless and until a declaration of war or specific authorization of such use of force has been enacted.

Search for Third Chief of Staff Down to Five Candidates, Trump Says
Some GOP insiders wonder just who can get along with president for very long

President Donald Trump speaks to the media before boarding Marine One to depart from the White House on Dec. 7. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump has narrowed the search for his third White House chief of staff to five “mostly well known” people, he told reporters Thursday.

“We are interviewing people now for chief of staff,” the president said five days after he announced John Kelly would leave the post at the end of the year. Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, turned him down Sunday and is leaving the White House to leave Washington and work for a pro-Trump political action group.

Pelosi Calls Trump’s Oval Office an ‘Evidence-Free Zone’
President’s argument that Mexico will pay for border wall through trade deal ‘doesn’t make any sense,’ she says

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says President Donald Trump’s assertion that Mexico will pay for a border wall through savings from a revised trade agreement “doesn't make any sense.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

After publicly confronting President Donald Trump at the White House two days ago about his frequent citing of false information, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday continued to question his grasp of facts. 

“I think the Oval Office is an evidence free zone,” the California Democrat said. “You’ve got to have facts, data, evidence, truth in order to make an agreement on how you go forward.”

Democrats Press Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg to Disclose More About Political Ads
Senators want voluntary disclosures about buyers of politically charged advertising

Democrats want Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to offer more voluntary disclosure about political ads. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A contingent of Senate Democratic Conference members want Facebook to voluntarily disclose more about the sources of advertising dollars on the social media platform.

The group led by New Jersey’s Robert Menendez, highlights in a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg efforts by Russia to use Facebook to spread political messaging to undermine the U.S. electoral process.

Trump’s Action-Packed Week Previews a Wild Year Ahead
‘They would be impeachable offenses,’ Nadler says of campaign finance violations

President Donald Trump argues about border security with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as Vice President Mike Pence sits nearby in the Oval Office on Dec. 11. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS | Democratic hands in Washington spent the 2017 holiday season musing at cocktail parties about how little they would miss Donald Trump's first year in office, only to be shocked by an even more chaotic 2018.

Just wait until they see 2019.

Federal Judge Rejects Poliquin’s Challenge to Ranked-Choice Voting System
Poliquin lost his re-election to Democrat Jared Golden

Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, lost his re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A federal judge in Maine validated the state’s ranked-choice voting law Thursday, which was used for the first time in a federal election in the state’s 2nd District this year. 

U.S. District Court Judge Lance Walker rejected GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s legal challenge to the new system, according to the Portland Press Herald. Walker ruled that the new voting process did not violate the Constitution.

House GOP Tax Package Still In Limbo as Clock Winds Down
Time remaining in 115th Congress does not bode well for proponents

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, hopes the chamber can still pass a tax package in the time before the 115th Congress ends. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House is leaving in limbo an $80 billion package of tax breaks as it leaves for the weekend on Thursday, though in theory there’s still time to take up the measure next week before lawmakers leave town for the holidays.

The second time had been shaping up to be the charm for House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady’s now refurbished year-end tax bill, as Republicans appeared to be lining up behind it Wednesday. An earlier version expected on the floor two weeks ago never made it due to objections from rank-and-file Republicans.

Pelosi: ‘Four years? No, I Don’t Think That’s a Lame Duck’
Speaker hopeful says she’s ‘comfortable’ with term limit deal, just didn’t want one-term cap

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tells reporters after her weekly news conference on Thursday that agreeing to limit her pending speakership to four years does not make her a lame duck. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi doesn’t feel handicapped by the deal she cut Wednesday to limit her pending speakership to no more than two terms. 

“Four years? No, I don’t think that’s a lame duck, no,” the California Democrat said Thursday when asked if she felt she has made herself one by agreeing to the term limit.

Bustos Announces DCCC Senior Staff, With New Female Executive Director
Allison Jaslow will be the committee’s executive director in 2018

Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., is the new DCCC chairwoman.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Cheri Bustos, the new Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairwoman, announced her senior staff hires for the 2020 cycle Thursday. Her campaign manager Allison Jaslow will be the committee’s executive director. 

The DCCC is shifting to defense in 2020 after flipping 40 seats to take over the House. The committee will be tasked with protecting vulnerable new members, including 31 Democrats running for re-election in districts President Donald Trump won in 2016.

Congress Passes Sexual Harassment Bill By Unanimous Consent
Final legislation introduced shortly before both chambers passed it

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., chairman of the Rules and Administration Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House and Senate on Thursday passed new legislation overhauling the process for handling sexual harassment claims on Capitol Hill, one day after the announcement of a joint agreement on the measure. The legislation will head to the White House for President Donald Trump’s signature.

[Read the bill text]

Rep. Kihuen Preps Vegas City Council Run After Sexual Harassment Case Ends Congressional Career
Nevada Democrat’s congressional career cut short after sexual harassment controversy

Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., left, is preparing a Las Vegas city council run, according to documents he filed with the IRS this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Ruben Kihuen, who will leave Congress after just one term, is taking steps to run for Las Vegas city council, according to files submitted to the IRS.

A House Ethics subcommittee reported in November that Kihuen, a Nevada Democrat, had sexually harassed women who worked with him.

Senate Armed Services Chairman Inhofe Ditches Defense Stocks Under Pressure
Oklahoma Republican’s personal finances handled by third-party adviser, office says

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., has divested from defense contractor Raytheon after a news organization approached him about his recent investment. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Armed Services Chairman James Inhofe has ditched a stock purchase in one of the Pentagon’s leading defense contractors amid pressure from a news organization that was preparing a report on the connection between his official duties and personal finances.

Inhofe’s office distanced the senator from his personal finances, saying in a statement that all of his financial transactions are handled by a third-party adviser.