Politics

Texas Rep. Defends ‘Fixer Upper’ Stars
Republican Bill Flores tweets support for reality TV couple

Chip and Johanna Gaines star in the hit home improvement show “Fixer Upper.” (HGTV)

Texas Rep. Bill Flores is defending the hosts of a home improvement show who have come under fire because of their church.

Chip and Joanna Gaines, the stars of the hit home improvement show “Fixer Upper,” were the subjects of a controversial BuzzFeed News report detailing their connection to an nondenominational, evangelical “megachurch.”

Booker on DeVos: ‘I'm Not Saying Anything’
New Jersey senator sat on school choice board with Trump’s choice for Education secretary

Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, sat on a board of a (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, wasn't saying whether he would support the confirmation of Betsy DeVos, despite having worked with her on education issues in the past.

At an event to discuss criminal justice reform at Google's Washington office on Thursday, Booker voiced his concerns about President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general.

Durbin and Graham Plan Bill to Give DREAMers Legal Status
Hope to have legislation ready before President-elect Donald Trump takes office

Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Illinois, left, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, are working to try and give young undocumented immigrants legal status, possibly before President-elect Donald Trump takes office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sens. Richard J. Durbin, D-Illinois, and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, are working to draft legislation to give young undocumented immigrants legal status.

The action comes after President Barack Obama said he would not take action to pardon DREAMERs — undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children who meet the requirements of the Development, Relief, and Education for Minors Act — before he left office.

Mattis Could Clash in Confirmation Over PTSD, Women in Combat
Trump's Defense pick supports Iran treaty,

Retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, right, has said that women might not be suited for combat and has suggested that veterans might be convinced that they have PTSD if enough people tell them they do. . (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, President-elect Donald Trump's choice for defense secretary, has ruffled feathers within the Obama administration with his controversial opinions on women in combat and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The former head of U.S. Central Command has said in various speeches that women may not be suited for the “intimate killing” of combat, and allowing men and women to work in close quarters would be detrimental to their success in combat zones, according to Military.com

Incoming Rep. Correa Plans Wait and See Approach With Trump
California Congressman spent much of early life in Mexico; says he’ll do battle over immigration, if necessary

Incoming Reps. Lou Correa, D-California, and Ruben Kihuen, D-Nevada, both spent parts of their childhood in Mexico and have criticized President-elect Donald Trump's immigration policy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep.-elect Lou Correa, D-California, said despite being a moderate Democrat, he plans to oppose President-elect Donald Trump's proposed mass deportations.

Correa, who will represent California's 46th Congressional District, was born in East Los Angeles and lived in Zacatecas, Mexico, for five years as a child before moving to Anaheim. His grandfather immigrated from Mexico early in the 1900s and was deported during the Great Depression.

Warren Supports Former Rival Brown for Top VA Post
Also says she would support Mitt Romney if Donald Trump nominates him for secretary of State

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts told reporters that former Republican Sen. Scott Brown, who she beat in 2012, is the right man for the job. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Thursday she would endorse former political rival Scott Brown for Veteran Affairs secretary, surprising many who knew the pair as bitter campaign rivals. 

In an interview with Boston public radio station, WGBH, Warren told reporters she believed Brown was the right man for the job.

Feisty Trump Says Democrats Are Ready to Stop ‘Endless Gridlock’
President-elect lets nationalistic side show in remarkable Ohio rally

President-elect Donald Trump acknowledges the crowd after speaking at U.S. Bank Arena on Thursday in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Ty Wright/Getty Images)

Congressional Democrats are ready to work with the president-elect to break Washington’s era of gridlock, Donald Trump said Thursday evening during a bombastic rally in Ohio.

Trump Threatens US Firms with ‘Consequences’ of Moving Abroad
President-elect suggests carrot-and-stick approach to big business

President-elect Donald Trump boards his airplane at LaGuardia Airport in New York City en route to Indiana and Ohio on Thursday. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

President-elect Donald Trump threatened U.S. companies with “consequences” if they try to move all or parts of their businesses to other countries while proposing to slash tax rates for those that stay home.

Trump on Thursday described what amounts to a carrot-and-stick strategy, saying his administration will treat American firms well, later adding that there will be a reckoning if firms cross him.

Defense Bill Would Expand U.S. Missile-Defense Policy
Reservist survivor benefits, Guard bonuses also addressed

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., is the House's main advocate for changing the missile-defense policy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In a potentially momentous departure from longstanding law, the fiscal 2017 defense policy bill Congress will send President Barack Obama in the coming days would expand the aims of America’s strategic missile-defense policy.

In 1999, Washington enacted a law that expressed the purpose of U.S. defenses against intercontinental ballistic missiles as “limited.” The concern then was that endorsing a more expansive system would lead to fielding of an unnecessarily costly shield and would confirm fears in Russia and China that incipient U.S. antimissile systems were aimed at taking out those nations’ nuclear deterrents.

Himes Elected Chairman of New Democrat Coalition
Polis elected vice chairman, along with DelBene, Kilmer, Sewell

Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes was elected chairman of the New Democrat Coalition on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The New Democrat Coalition on Thursday elected Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes as its chairman for the 115th Congress. 

Himes, 50, beat Colorado Rep. Jared Polis, 41, for the top spot in the moderate caucus. Virginia Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, 66, dropped out of the race before the vote, saying he thought it would help diffuse some of the tension arising from a three-way race. 

Manchin’s Office Refutes Reports He’s Being Considered by Trump’s Team
Politico reported West Virginia senator eyed for Energy secretary

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III’s office has denied reports that he is being considered for Energy secretary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Joe Manchin’s office on Thursday denied reports that the West Virginia Democrat is being considered for a job in President-elect Donald Trump’s administration.

Earlier Thursday, Politico reported that Manchin was being considered for Energy secretary, citing three sources close to the discussions. The story pointed out that Manchin is up for re-election in 2018 in a state that is becoming more Republican. (Trump carried the state by 42 points last month.)

Democrats Want to Require Trump Nominees to Provide Tax Returns
Senators expressed concern about extremely wealthy Cabinet picks

Protests followed Donald Trump’s refusal to release his own tax returns during the campaign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Democrats are pushing to require President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees to release their tax returns, something Trump refused to do during his campaign.

Currently the only Senate committees that can require such information are Finance, Budget, and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. But Democrats want to expand that authority to other committees that hold confirmation hearings, and plan to propose changing the rules when committees convene for the next Congress in January.

Former Sen. Domenici Going Home to New Mexico
Six-term senator will serve as senior adviser to state land commissioner

Former Sen. Pete Domenici, R-New Mexico, a senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center Institution, is heading back to New Mexico to work as a senior adviser to the state land commissioner. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Sen. Pete Domenici is leaving Washington after 40 years to move back to New Mexico after accepting a position as senior adviser to state Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn Jr.

Domenici has served most recently as a senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center, where he is co-chair of its debt reduction task force. He announced in 2008 that he wouldn't seek re-election after six terms.

Udall, Heinrich Ask Obama to Intervene in Pipeline Protests
New Mexico senators concerned about increased violence at protests over Dakota Access pipeline

Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., wrote a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to take action to peacefully resolve the escalating violence occurring between law makers and protestors over the Dakota Access Pipeline. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

U.S. New Mexico Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich appealed Wednesday to President Barack Obama to take action to protect the safety of demonstrators protesting the Dakota Access pipeline.  

Udall and Heinrich each wrote to the president citing examples of violence in North Dakota against Standing Rock Sioux Tribe members and demonstrators camping in the area, The Albuquerque Journal reported. 

House Democrats Change Rules to Elect Leaders
Campaign, messaging arms to be chosen by full caucus

By Rema Rahman and Lindsey McPherson CQ Roll Call

The House Democratic Caucus decided Thursday that it will fully elect leaders to its campaign and communications arms as lawmakers eye taking back control of the chamber in 2018.