Politics

McMaster Needs Senate Confirmation to Keep All Three Stars
New job would entail demotion unless Senate signs off

McMaster, left, was announced as the new national security adviser by President Donald Trump on Monday at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla. (Jenna Johnson/Washington Post/Print Pool)

National security advisers don’t need the consent of the Senate, but the decision by President Donald Trump to tap Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster for the assignment brings up an unusual question of military rank. Why? Without the Senate confirmation, McMaster would effectively be demoted as result of the new responsibilities, since three star generals generally have their rank tied to a particular function.

A National Security Council spokesman confirmed to Roll Call that McMaster is expected to face a Senate confirmation vote to maintain his three stars as a result of his new job, with the process already getting under way.

White House Not Dropping Travel Ban Court Fight
Justice Department had indicated otherwise, though Trump was murky

Passengers from a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight from Jeddah are greeted by protesters as they arrive at Dulles International Airport in Virginia on Jan. 29. Protests erupted at airports around the country following President Trump’s since-blocked executive order restricting travel from several Islamic countries. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Pool)

The Trump administration says it is keeping up its court fight to revive an executive order banning entry in the United States by people from Syria and six other Muslim-majority countries, despite Justice Department lawyers stating the opposite.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday the administration is moving ahead on dual paths: a new executive order that should be issued in a few days, and a continued legal fight over the initial order.

Ruiz Gives $2,600 From Controversial Donations to Planned Parenthood
NRCC asked congressman to return contributions from two men facing criminal complaint

Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Calif., returned donations from former Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet and developer Richard Meaney to Planned Parenthood. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Raul Ruiz gave money from two men facing charges to Planned Parenthood, despite the National Republican Congressional Committee’s call last week for him to return the donations.

The money was from former Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet and developer Richard Meaney made to Ruiz’s campaign for past elections — $300 from Pougnet in 2012, and $2,300 from Meaney in 2014.

Bustos Will Not Join Illinois Gubernatorial Race
She says with Trump presidency, ‘the stakes couldn’t be higher for our nation’

Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., said she could accomplish more in Washington than in Springfield. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos has decided against running for Illinois governor in the 2018 election, she announced Monday.

The third-term congresswoman announced that she plans on running for re-election in the 17th Congressional District instead of facing off against incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Clay Files Lawsuit Over Ferguson Painting’s Removal From Capitol
Congressman says Architect of the Capitol bowed to ‘enormous political pressure’

Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., left, speaks to the media after re-hanging the student art contest painting in January. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday over the controversial student art contest painting that was removed from the Capitol.

Clay’s office said in a news release that the removal by the Architect of the Capitol violated the constitutional rights of David Pulphus, whose “Untitled #1” was a winner in the annual high school competition in Clay’s district.

Former D.C. Del. Fauntroy Facing Foreclosure
Group of ministers is trying to raise $700,000 to pay off mortgage, penalties and interest

Former D.C. Del. Walter Fauntroy was arrested last year after returning to the U.S. from five years in Africa and the Middle East. (CQ Roll Call file photo).

Walter Fauntroy, who served as the first congressional delegate for the District of Columbia, is facing foreclosure of his Washington home.

Fauntroy and his wife Dorothy are receiving assistance from a group of ministers to raise $700,000 to help pay for the costs of mortgage liens, penalties and interests, WRC-TV in Washington reported.

New National Security Adviser: No Friend to Russia?
McMaster has warned against Russian military might, plans to disrupt Europe

Lt. Gen. Herbert Raymond “H.R.” McMaster, President Donald Trump’s new national security adviser. (Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army)

Lt. Gen. Herbert Raymond “H.R.” McMaster, President Donald Trump’s new pick as national security adviser, does not appear to be a friend of Russia. 

He’s warned that the Kremlin wants to disrupt the post-World War II security and political order in Europe. And he was behind the “Russia New Generation Warfare Study,” which was prompted by concerns over the country’s growing military might.

Senators Silent After Meeting With FBI Director Comey
Friday afternoon meeting came after votes finished for recess

Senators were not in a talkative mood after meeting with FBI Director James B. Comey on Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Not much can get between senators and a recess. Except, perhaps, FBI Director James B. Comey. 

Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, along with ex-officio member and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, huddled for a total of more than two hours on Friday with Comey.

Photos of the Week: Puppies, Pence and Press Conferences
The week of Feb. 13 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks with reporters after the Senate policy luncheons in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As a resignation and withdrawn Cabinet nominee rocked the White House this week, Congress was at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue proceeding through consideration of several other Cabinet nominees, debating Obamacare alternatives and much more. 

On the lighter side of this Valentine's Day week, some pets up for adoption stopped by the Capitol to bring love to staffers and members alike.

Congress Caught Unaware by National Guard Report
Mitch McConnell says he will ‘take a look’ at any White House proposal

Border protection agents during a service at the Capitol in 2008. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Congress was caught somewhat flat-footed Friday by reports that the Trump administration is considering calling on the National Guard to round up and deport undocumented immigrants. 

“I hadn’t heard about it,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said when asked about an Associated Press report on a memo drafted by the Department of Homeland Security. The document proposed mobilizing as many as 100,000 National Guard troops across 12 states to gather immigrants who were in the country illegally. AP reported that the memo, dated Jan. 25, bore the name of DHS Secretary John Kelly, and had circulated among DHS staff.

Despite Email Flap, Scott Pruitt Confirmed to Head EPA
Court order unsealing records prompted calls to postpone vote

Scott Pruitt was confirmed Friday as the new administrator of the EPA. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate continued powering through its march on Cabinet confirmations, approving on Friday the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA, despite questions surrounding the appropriateness of his contacts with the fossil fuel industry.

Senators voted 52-46 to confirm Pruitt.

Amid Liberal Protests, More Democrats Holding Town Halls This Presidents Day Recess
Republicans have held more than Democrats in recent years

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden plans to hold nine town hall meetings during the Presidents Day recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated on Feb. 21, 5:18 p.m. | Despite increased reports of liberal demonstrators disrupting Republican town halls, more lawmakers than usual are planning to meet with their constituents, including Republicans, according to CQ Roll Call data.

Democrats, especially, seem happier than usual to open themselves up this year.

Ted Nugent vs. Kid Rock in Michigan Race?
Motor City Madman threatens Senate run

The Michigan Republican committee member who floated the idea of Kid Rock as a Senate candidate said he has no inside info on whether the musician is interested in running. But another Michigan rocker is threatening to jump into the race.

Rep. Reed Surprises Sit-In Participants
New York Republican has two-hour discussion at district office

Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., surprised constituents who were requesting a town hall. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., surprised people staging a sit-in at a district office when he dropped by Thursday after a meeting with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in Washington.

Six people from Ithaca Catholic Workers began the sit-in on Tuesday to highlight that Reed not holding a town hall since May 2, 2016. Reed arrived around 10:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Chaffetz Wants Charges for Former Clinton Aide
Former State Department employee who set up private email server refused to testify

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, was criticized by ranking Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, who said apparently Chaffetz and President Donald Trump “are the only two people in Washington today who think we should still be investigating Secretary Clinton.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Jason Chaffetz is seeking charges for a former State Department employee who helped Hillary Clinton set up her private email server.

Chaffetz, R-Utah, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking to convene a grand jury or charge Bryan Pagliano, The Associated Press reported.