Niels Lesniewski

Canoeists claim victory on access to Potomac River near Trump’s golf club
Coast Guard publishes a new rule creating an access corridor

A group of area canoeists is claiming victory after the Coast Guard announced new regulations that will make it easier for paddlers to float down the Potomac River while President Donald Trump is at his Northern Virginia golf club.

“The paddling community has a voice and we effectively used it to execute change,” Canoe Cruisers Chairman Barbara Brown said in a statement. “The Potomac River is for the American people and we’re glad to see their access to it restored.”

That congressional intern? He might play in the NFL
NFL player’s association continues off-season externship program for sixth year

Internships can put you in some tight spaces, even if you’re a lineman.

Now in its sixth year, the NFL Players Association’s externship program gives football pros a chance to explore other careers during the off season — including in the basement recesses of Capitol Hill.

Isakson defends McCain after Trump attacks, but still doesn't support renaming Russell
Isakson says Schumer is playing politics with effort to rename Russell building after the Arizona Republican

Senate Veterans Affairs Chairman Johnny Isakson is leading Republicans speaking out again against President Donald Trump’s bashing of the late Sen. John McCain, but the Georgia Republican reiterated Wednesday that he will not be joining the effort to put McCain’s name on the office building currently named for a favorite son of his home state.

“Lack of respect I would say is the right word,” Isakson said on Georgia Public Broadcasting’s Political Rewind referring to Trump’s latest criticism of McCain.

Cory Booker explains why he is a reluctant filibuster warrior
The Democratic presidential hopeful might prefer to use budget reconciliation

Presidential candidate and Sen. Cory Booker may have inched toward supporting elimination of the legislative filibuster, but the New Jersey Democrat shouldn’t expect the questions to stop.

In an interview for Wednesday’s episode of the “Pod Save America” podcast, Booker expanded on his long-held reservations about changing the Senate rules allowing contentious legislation to advance without needing 60 votes to get past procedural hurdles.

Mitch McConnell sets up Senate vote on a Green New Deal resolution
Democrats have decried the majority leader's move as a partisan stunt

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has followed through on his promise to call a test vote on a resolution supporting the Green New Deal, a vote that Democratic supporters have decried as a political stunt.

The Republican from Kentucky moved to limit debate on taking up a joint resolution supporting the Green New Deal, setting up a vote after the Senate recess next week.

Senate learns pushing back on Trump can be hard work
After rejecting U.S. role in Yemen war, senators will vote Thursday on terminating the border security emergency

The Senate is learning this week that exercising atrophied constitutional muscles can be hard work — and it comes with political repercussions.

Thursday’s chamber agenda features debate and votes on a joint resolution that would terminate President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency for border security, which is part of his attempt to move money around to build a wall at the border with Mexico. It will be considered under an expedited procedure that will allow for Senate passage without the need for 60 votes to overcome a filibuster.

Boeing faces increasing political pressure to ground 737 Max 8
Elizabeth Warren weighs in through her presidential campaign, for one

Amid concerns over the safety of new Boeing 737 Max 8 planes, the debate is spilling into presidential politics.

Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren was among those calling for the United States to join other countries in grounding the planes on Tuesday after two crashes abroad.

Georgia Senate delegation has women in charge again
Megan Whittemore's promotion means both Sens. David Perdue and Johnny Isakson have female chiefs of staff

Georgia’s Senate delegation again has two women leading the way at the staff level.

That is the result of Megan Whittemore, who has worked for Sen. David Perdue since he was campaigning for the seat in 2014, being elevated to chief of staff.

Stew’s next stop
Longtime McConnell spokesman is heading to the Association of Global Automakers

Don Stewart, the outgoing deputy chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and a Senate fixture for more than two decades, has his next destination.

Stewart is expected to finish up in the Kentucky Republican’s office this week before starting at the Association of Global Automakers on March 25.

Road Ahead: Budget week, sending a Mueller message, Senate vote on termination resolution
Committees will be particularly busy ahead of St. Patrick's Day recess.

House Democrats intend to send a message this week that the full report of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III should be sent to Capitol Hill and released.

So for the second week in a row, a nonbinding resolution will be among the headliners on the House floor. The Rules Committee is scheduled to meet Monday evening on the concurrent resolution introduced by House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York, with the backing of other Democratic chairmen.

Schumer says Trump ‘redefined chutzpah’ when he called the Democratic Party ‘anti-Jewish’
New York senator, who is Jewish, was responding to comments made outside the White House

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer says that President Donald Trump calling the Democratic Party the “anti-Israel, anti-Jewish party” has “redefined chutzpah.”

“For the president, who when neo-Nazis marched in Charlottesville in front of a synagogue and said ‘burn it down’ and he said ‘both sides’ are to blame, this is a new divisive low,” the Democrat from New York, who is Jewish, wrote on Facebook.

With clocks springing ahead, lawmakers want more sunshine
Florida senators lead effort for year-round daylight saving time as Markey touts 2005 expansion

Ahead of this weekend’s move to “spring ahead” the clocks, Florida lawmakers announced an effort to get rid of time changes altogether.

With the “Sunshine Protection Act,” Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott and Rep. Vern Buchanan want to make daylight saving time permanent, eliminating the switch back in the fall. Rubio introduced the same bill in the last Congress.

Senators unveil new plan to counter Vladimir Putin’s energy influence in Eastern Europe
Chris Murphy and Ron Johnson leading bipartisan effort to improve energy infrastructure

Bipartisan lawmakers are unveiling Thursday the latest Capitol Hill effort to counter Vladimir Putin’s energy activities in Eastern Europe.

This time, a contingent of senators led by Democratic Sen. Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut and Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is introducing a bill that would authorize as much as $1 billion in financing for the next few years for energy sector projects in Europe.

Tim Kaine and the war on zombie wars
Virginia Democrat says he is slowly gaining support for a more robust congressional role in military adventures

Little by little, Sen. Tim Kaine thinks fellow members of Congress are coming around to his point of view that the legislative branch should be more assertive when it comes to war powers.

The Democrat from Virginia has been among the most persistent advocates for the Senate debating and voting on authorizations for using military force when needed, and pulling them back when it’s past due. His latest push is against what he calls “zombie authorizations.”

Democrats vow Judge Chad Readler will be 2020 issue
Murray and Schumer among Democrats blasting his role in targeting health care law

Democrats say they will remember the Wednesday afternoon vote to confirm Chad A. Readler, one of President Donald Trump’s most contentious judicial nominees.

The 52-47 vote to install Readler on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Ohio could easily be lumped in with many other Trump choices pushed through the Senate by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Nancy Pelosi joins House and Senate Democrats launching new push to restore net neutrality
Legislation expected to move quickly in the House

The House Democratic majority intends to move quickly on legislation that would revive and codify net neutrality, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Wednesday.

Joined by Democrats from both chambers including Pelosi and top party leaders, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. said the bill would be a priority for his committee. It would codify the 2015 open internet order from the Federal Communications Commission during the Obama administration, which was rolled back after President Donald Trump took office.

Financial transaction tax will be a test for Democratic presidential candidates
Questions will be asked about whether others will join New York’s Gillibrand in support

The many congressional Democrats making runs for the White House will have to decide whether to support a new tax on traders and investors.

With Democrats on both sides of the Capitol unveiling proposed taxes on financial transactions that they say would target high frequency trading while providing new revenue for Democratic priorities, the issue could put several candidates on the record. 

McConnell confirms Senate has votes to disapprove of Trump’s emergency declaration
The legislation is expected to face a presidential veto

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said senators were still looking into whether the joint resolution to stop President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration can be amended.

But, the Kentucky Republican also said he anticipated the Senate would pass the measure disapproving of the border security emergency.

Donald Trump is going to have to veto a congressional effort to stop his border security national emergency
With Sen. Rand Paul on board, the disapproval measure should have the votes to pass the Senate

It appears President Donald Trump is going to have to veto bipartisan legislation that would stop his border security national emergency declaration.

The straightforward joint resolution disapproving of the emergency declaration appears to have reached the threshold of support needed to pass the Senate.

Congress glad Trump walked in Vietnam, but questions trust in Kim Jong Un
Criticism of his accepting Kim’s denial of knowledge of Otto Warmbier’s treatment

Members of Congress are glad President Donald Trump didn’t emerge from his meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with a bad bargain, but some are blasting the president’s taking the dictator at his word about the deadly treatment of U.S. citizen Otto Warmbier.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for instance, said she’s “glad that the president walked away” from the North Korean leader’s offer to denuclearize only if the United States lifted all sanctions against his country.