Maria Mendez

Tsongas May Be Leaving, But Work on Sexual Assault Is Never Done
‘I’m more afraid of my own soldiers than I am of the enemy,’ nurse told her

Eleven years ago, the #MeToo movement wasn’t trending and sexual assault was a taboo subject. Yet Rep. Niki Tsongas was confronted with it twice during her first weeks in Congress.

The first was at an Armed Services Committee hearing, in which generals outlined the Pentagon’s efforts to combat sexual assault. “I have to say I was completely taken aback that it was such an issue that we had generals up there seriously trying to deal with it,” Tsongas said.

She Has Congress’ Loneliest Job
Puerto Rico’s resident commissioner appeals to colleagues as anniversary of Hurricane Maria approaches

In Congress, you have to know your place. Alliances matter, and traditions are as tough as weeds.

Not that Jenniffer González-Colón, Puerto Rico’s lone voice in Washington, needs reminding.

As Trump Looks to Outer Space, Senate Dems Put In a Word for Earth
They were there to hear about NASA’s ‘search for life,’ but Democrats wanted to talk about climate change

President Donald Trump may be known for flip-flopping on issues, but he hasn’t backed away from his lofty goals in outer space. His push for a military “space force” and boots on the Red Planet has some in Congress trying to bring him back to Earth.

As senators heard Wednesday about NASA’s “search for life” in the galaxy, some Democrats wanted to talk about climate change.

Another Day, Another Federal Intervention Spat for Puerto Rico
‘The people of Puerto Rico are not property,’ witness says at Natural Resources hearing

Exactly 120 years to the day after U.S. troops first landed on Puerto Rico, a debate over the island’s future played out once again in Washington. This time, all eyes were on its energy crisis.

Of the five witnesses who spoke Wednesday at a charged congressional hearing, only one was Puerto Rican, after Governor Ricardo Rosselló refused to attend.

Puerto Rico Governor Will Skip Hearing After Twitter Feud
No-show comes after Ricardo Rosselló demanded an ‘explicit, public apology’ for a tweet he found ‘shameful’

Updated July 25, 11:45 a.m. | After a Twitter feud that further soured relations between the governor of Puerto Rico and the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, one seat will be empty Wednesday.

Governor Ricardo Rosselló will skip an oversight hearing on “mismanagement and disarray” at the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, the island’s sole energy provider.

Congresswomen to Trump: Appoint an Election Security Czar
Rice and Stefanik send a letter to the president as talk of Russia grips House floor

Two New York congresswomen on Thursday urged President Donald Trump to appoint an election security czar to combat election meddling.

Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice and Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik sent a letter calling for a “centralized, senior position” to knock down “silos” and bring together efforts at federal agencies such as the FBI and Department of Homeland Security. 

Lawmakers Drop the D-Word After Trump and Putin Meet
What do Elizabeth Warren, John McCain and Donald Trump have in common? They all love the word ‘disgrace’

Witch hunt,” “collusion” and “13 angry Democrats” — the Justice Department’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election has spawned its very own vocabulary.

Monday saw another strong contender: the D-word.

When Things Get Heated in the Hearing Room
Strzok shouting match is hardly the first time emotions have erupted in the paneled recesses of the Capitol

FBI agent Peter Strzok felt the heat at Thursday’s House Oversight and Judiciary hearing, as tempers flared and points of order flew.  

Chairman Trey Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor, brought the interrogative theatrics. “I don’t give a damn what you appreciate, Agent Strzok,” the South Carolina Republican told the witness, who was removed from the bureau’s Russia probe last year over politically charged texts.

Warren Warns Nominee: ‘We Will Fight for the Soul of This Nation’
Protesters chant ‘Hell no, Kavanaugh’ late into the night outside Supreme Court

Chants of “Hell no, Kavanaugh” clashed with “Roe has got to go” outside the Supreme Court on Monday night, moments after President Donald Trump announced Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his pick.

As hundreds of protesters waving signs and megaphones gathered in front of the court, Sen. Elizabeth Warren struggled to be heard over the shouts.

Trump Defends Pruitt Until the Very End
A look at the times when the president — and others — rallied behind the former EPA chief

Embattled EPA administrator Scott Pruitt turned in his resignation Thursday, but right until the very end, he could do no wrong in the eyes — or tweets — of President Donald Trump.

“Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this,” the president tweeted in his announcement that Pruitt was stepping down.

Rep. Bishop Reminds Puerto Rico Oversight Board to Deal Fairly With Creditors
Utah Republican filed friend of the court brief Friday

As Puerto Rico’s financial oversight board works to restructure the territory’s debt of approximately $70 billion, a new brief by Rep. Rob Bishop reminds it not to overlook the best interests of the island’s creditors.

The Utah Republican, who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee, filed a “friend of the court” brief last Friday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit, cautioning in part that Puerto Rico would struggle to return to the capital markets if the oversight board did not “deal fairly with its existing creditors and respect their rights.”

Jayapal Among Nearly 575 Women Arrested at Immigration Protest
Washington Democrat joined demonstrators to rally against border policies

Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal was among nearly 575 women arrested Thursday during a sit-in on Capitol Hill, as part of what organizers called a “mass act of disobedience” to show their frustration with the Trump administration’s immigration policies.

“I'm proud to have been arrested with them, to put myself in the camp of people who believe that the United States of America is better,” Jayapal, a Washington Democrat, said in a video posted on Twitter after her arrest. 

Five Things to Know About Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Democratic socialist wants single-payer health care and guaranteed jobs for all

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unseated 10-term Democratic Rep. Joseph Crowley in Tuesday night’s primary and is expected to win the seat for New York’s 14th District.

“You can only dismantle a machine with a movement and a movement cannot be done with one person,” the Latina candidate from the Bronx said in an interview last week.

Gutiérrez to Give Up Chicago Address, Voting Power With Move to Puerto Rico
Relocation to hurricane-ravaged territory will come as the Illinois Democrat mobilizes Latino voters ahead of 2020 election

Retiring Rep. Luis Gutiérrez has served a quarter-decade in Congress. But by this time next year, he won’t have a voting representative of his own.

The Illinois Democrat, a fierce critic of President Donald Trump and longtime advocate of immigrant rights, will move to Puerto Rico in 2019, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Parkland Students Still Getting Pressed on ‘Genuine’ Activism
Deutch: ‘There is nothing more happening here than people who experienced something … and decided to do something about it’

Rain Valladares wiped tears from her eyes this week as she recounted the hours before a gunman invaded the halls of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, with an AR-15 and killed 17.

But she was in Washington to talk about the future of activism, not the past.

Poll: Kim Jong Un Looks Stronger Than Trump After Summit
North Korean leader extracted more from the negotiations, respondents say

Kim Jong Un appears stronger than President Donald Trump in the wake of their historic summit, according to a new Economist/YouGov poll.

Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed a week after the meeting said Kim is a strong leader, up from roughly half in April.

National Children’s Museum Means Changes for Federal Triangle
Beleaguered museum looks to make third time the charm

As the National Children’s Museum seeks to relaunch a half-block from the Mall, the Federal Triangle metro stop could get a rebranding of its own.

The museum — after years of nomadism and financial struggles — is slated to open in March, and a D.C. councilman says he will push to rename the stop.