Politics

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As a resignation and withdrawn Cabinet nominee rocked the White House this week, Congress was at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue proceeding through consideration of several other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 eight town hall meetings during the upcoming recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With increasing reports of liberal demonstrators filling the theaters and high schools where lawmakers give their constituents a chance to question them in town halls, next week’s Presidents Day recess is a chance for Republicans to either face the opposition or to try to avoid explosive headlines that have resulted from these recent meetings.

Democrats, though, 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.

Bob Michel, Last Leader of the ‘Old School’ House GOP, Dies at 93
Compromise and collegiality were hallmarks, but got him pushed aside by his caucus in the 1990s

Illinois Rep. Robert H. Michel, pictured at a news conference on Aug. 2, 1989, served as House Republican leader for nearly 14 years. (Laura Patterson/CQ Roll Call Archive Photo)

Robert H. Michel, who as the House minority leader from 1981 until his 1994 retirement became the longest-serving congressional Republican leader who never experienced majority power, died Friday. He was 93 and had lived on Capitol Hill much of the time since stepping down after 19 terms representing central Illinois.

Michel epitomized the congressional Old School in nearly every way, which worked to his advantage for almost all of his four decades in office. He prized collegiality, collaboration, civility and courtesy as essential political virtues. He evidenced a steady reverence for the institutional prerogatives, customs and limitations of what he fondly termed “the people’s House.”

Kamala Harris Aims for Influence as a Check on Trump
Even as a freshman, Calif. Democrat has started Senate career with a bang

California Sen. Kamala Harris has been sharply critical of President Donald Trump’s recent actions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Donald Trump received less than a third of the votes cast for president by California voters, and that’s something the state’s new senator, Kamala Harris, is well aware of.

Harris, the former state attorney general, had already spoken up on the Senate floor against the nominations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos by the time she gave her more traditional “maiden speech” Thursday. The freshman Democrat started by recounting how her mother, an Indian immigrant, chose to marry her Jamaican father in the U.S. instead of returning to India for an arranged marriage.

Hispanic Caucus Members Turned Away From ICE Meeting
Numbers limited for bipartisan meeting, so lawmakers barred at door

Grisham was stunned that fellow members were turned away from the meeting. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats left a bipartisan meeting Thursday with the head of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement baffled — not just by what they heard but by the fact that some of their colleagues were not allowed to attend the meeting.

ICE Acting Director Thomas D. Homan met with a bipartisan group of House lawmakers for about an hour Thursday to discuss the agency’s recent raids that have led to the apprehension of at least 683 undocumented immigrants. That was the number ICE provided during the meeting, but Democrats contend the number is actually higher.

Trump Comes Out Swinging Against Familiar Foes
Ignoring stumbles, president says administration is a ‘fine-tuned machine’

President Donald Trump focused on familiar targets in his news conference on Thursday. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Thursday handed the Senate a new Labor secretary nominee who has previously been approved by the chamber three times — but he used the next 75 minutes to rouse his base and goad his critics. 

Trump walked into the East Room of the White House and announced that Alexander Acosta, a former assistant attorney general, will be his second pick to run the Labor Department after fast-food mogul Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination on Wednesday.

Cummings, CBC to Trump: Wrong!
Maryland Democrat has "no idea" why Trump said what he did

Cummings said he is not sure why Trump made up an anecdote about him at a press conference. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., says President Donald Trump is making things up when he said he backed out of a meeting with the president.

Trump, answering a question at his Thursday press conference about whether he would include the Congressional Black Caucus in his agenda for inner cities, went off on a tangent about how he was supposed to meet with Cummings but that the Maryland Democrat decided against it because of politics.

Senate Democrats Plan All-Nighter Over EPA Nominee
But Scott Pruitt is likely to be confirmed despite objections

Scott Pruitt is the current attorney general of Oklahoma. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Democrats are planning to once again stage a series of overnight speeches on the Senate floor, this time in opposition to Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s nomination to head the EPA. 

“We intend to stand our ground,” said Delaware Sen. Thomas R. Carper, the ranking Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee. While Pruitt appears poised for confirmation, Carper said Democrats were not going quietly into the night.

DCCC Announces Vice Chairmen
Party hopes members will help make inroads to majority

California Rep. Ted Lieu is one of five new regional vice chairmen at the DCCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Thursday announced the election of its five new regional vice chairmen, completing a months-long process of the House Democrats’ expansion of their leadership circle to include more perspectives after the 2016 election disappointment.

Some Democrats have pointed to the DCCC as one of the reasons the party’s messaging last year failed to win them as many House seats as they had been projecting. They’ve said the campaign arm did not do enough to reach voters in middle America, particularly Rust Belt areas where jobs are a primary concern.