Congress

Senate Democrats dodge vote on Green New Deal resolution
Republicans had hoped to force 2020 presidential hopefuls into a tight spot

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., questions William P. Barr, nominee to he Attorney General of the United States, during his confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats backed away from a Green New Deal resolution offered by Republicans, even though it copied the version introduced and cheered by many Democratic lawmakers, including those running for president.

With all Republicans voting in the negative on the procedural vote, the resolution introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was thwarted, 0-57, preventing further action on the measure.

As Democrats press for full Mueller report — all of it — GOP erects barriers
McConnell says he wants to avoid throwing ‘innocent people under the bus’

President Donald Trump takes questions from reporters he arrives with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for the Senate Republicans’ lunch in the Capitol on Tuesday, March 26, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats want to see the Mueller report in its full, unredacted form. President Donald Trump has suggested that that’s fine by him.

But Republican leaders on Capitol Hill nudged Attorney General William Barr to color out some significant redactions before he releases special counsel Robert S. Mueller’s report to Congress. House Democratic committee chairmen have given him an April 2 deadline to do so.

Supreme Court skeptical on stopping partisan gerrymandering
The court grappled with the issue last term, before punting back to lower courts without deciding the main issue

Police stand guard near protesters in front of the Supreme Court on the day new associate justice, Brett Kavanaugh, will hear his first arguments on Oct. 9, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court did not appear ready to put constraints on partisan gerrymandering after oral arguments in two cases Tuesday, as conservative justices aired concerns about how judges would decide when politics weighed too heavily in drawing congressional maps.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. and other justices who make up the conservative majority of the court repeatedly voiced concerns about what standard the Supreme Court could establish to guide state legislatures when carving up their state into federal districts.

This Democrat wants free tampons and pads available in all federal buildings
Rep. Grace Meng’s push for access to menstrual products includes schools and prisons

Rep. Grace Meng proposed a measure to require all public federal buildings, including those on the Capitol campus, to provide free menstrual products. (Katherine Tully-McManus/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Grace Meng introduced a bill Tuesday that would require all public federal buildings, including those on the Capitol campus, to provide free pads and tampons in the restrooms.

The bill, called the Menstrual Equity For All Act of 2019, would give states the option to use federal grant funding to provide students with free menstrual products in schools, and it would require Medicaid to cover the cost of menstrual products for recipients. The proposal would also amend the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to require the Department of Labor to issue a rule requiring private employers, with not less than 100 employees, to provide free menstrual hygiene products for their employees.

House set to approve committee funds; largest boost for House Ethics panel
Update of House Ethics Manual underway

The House on Tuesday approved funding levels for committee activities in the 116th Congress. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House is set to approve funding levels for committee activities in the 116th Congress later this week, providing the largest boost to the House Ethics Committee. 

The House resolution, advanced by the House Administration panel on Monday night, will authorize funding for all of the standing and select committee in the House, excluding the Appropriations Committee. It is expected on the floor before the end of the week. 

Capitol Police want $3.8 million for security at Democratic and Republican conventions
Local police typically focus on demonstrations and protests, so Capitol Police works to keep lawmakers safe

Decisions about funding for security at the 2020 Democratic and Republican conventions are underway. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Capitol Police are asking for an additional $3.8 million in next year’s general expenses budget to fund security efforts at next summer’s Democratic and Republican national conventions in Milwaukee and Charlotte.

That’s up from the fiscal 2019 general expenses budget, which totaled $81.6 million. The Architect of the Capitol also asked for $7 million in more funding to begin preparations for the 2021 inauguration.

House fails to override Trump’s veto of resolution ending his border emergency
The House vote fell short, mostly along party lines

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., tally votes before she won the speakership in the Capitol's House chamber on the first day of the 116th Congress on Jan. 3, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House on Tuesday failed to override President Donald Trump’s veto of a resolution that would have terminated his declaration of a national emergency at the southern U.S. border, leaving the matter to federal courts where several lawsuits challenging the decision have been filed.

A veto override requires two-thirds support, and the House vote fell short, 248-181. Only 14 Republicans voted with their Democratic counterparts to override the veto.

Senate Democrats are going to derail a vote on their Green New Deal
Democratic supporters are expected to vote ‘present’ on a cloture vote after a rally outside the Capitol

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., speaks during the press conference on the Green New Deal Senate vote at the Capitol on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats advocating for developing a big legislative package to combat climate change want nothing to do with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s move toward a Green New Deal vote.

The Senate is set to vote later Tuesday on the non-binding resolution, based on a proposal from Democrats in both the House and Senate, leading the rallying call for a Green New Deal. 

Schiff under siege: Republicans cite Intelligence Committee’s ‘vendetta’ against Trump
California Democrat shrugs off GOP criticism: ‘I would expect nothing less’

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., holds a media availability on the Intelligence Committee's Russia investigation in 2017. Republicans have dinged Schiff for statements about collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia now seen as hyperbolic at best. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans have made House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff their new bogeyman as they run a victory lap over Attorney General William Barr’s report on the special counsel investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Republicans have called for Schiff to resign as chairman for repeatedly declaring he had seen evidence of collusion between Russia and President Donald Trump, including a claim that “there is more than circumstantial evidence.”

A 25-cent gas tax hike has support, but is 5 cents a year enough?
Right now, the hike is needed to maintain current spending levels, and isn’t enough to pare down a growing project backlog

A pothole is visible on a road on April 25, 2017, in San Rafael, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

As Congress debates how to prevent the Highway Trust Fund from becoming insolvent, groups as disparate as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO are urging lawmakers to bite the bullet and raise the gas tax by 25 cents a gallon over five years.

But even if they bite it, a nickel increase every year for five years may not be a magic bullet. That’s because the extra money in the early years will be needed just to maintain the current level of spending, and provide nothing to attack a growing backlog of projects.

A pot banking bill is headed to House markup with bipartisan support
If passed, state-sanctioned marijuana growers and dispensaries would have better access to the financial system

Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., right, and Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., make their way to the Capitol before the last votes of the week in the House on Dec. 13, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the House Financial Services Committee takes up a pot banking bill with broad bipartisan support, the legal barriers preventing state-sanctioned marijuana growers and dispensaries from accessing the financial system may soon go up in smoke.

The pot banking bill is one of five scheduled for committee markup Tuesday, and with 143 co-sponsors — including 12 Republicans — it’s the one with the most support. First proposed by Colorado Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter in 2013, this version was introduced by Perlmutter and Washington Democrat Denny Heck, as well as Ohio Republicans Warren Davidson and Steve Stivers.

Trump, House Republicans meet to line up support for new NAFTA
The USMCA would replace NAFTA, if simple majorities in the House and Senate approve it.

President Donald Trump, flanked from left by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Thune, R-S. Dak., Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., stops to speak to the cameras following his lunch with Senate Republicans in the Capitol on Wed. Jan. 9, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with a number of House Republicans later Tuesday as the White House steps up efforts to increase support for the proposed trade agreement to replace NAFTA.

The afternoon meeting comes after Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer courted House Democrats earlier this month with closed-door meetings on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. It would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement if simple majorities in the House and Senate approve it.

Chicago mayor candidate has ‘alliance with the devil,’ Rep. Bobby Rush says
Chicago Democrat and longtime civil rights activist accused fellow Democrat Lori Lightfoot of protecting rogue police officers

Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., flanked by then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, speaks about his family's experience with gun violence in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Bobby Rush has vociferously denounced one of the two candidates in a runoff election for Chicago mayor as the pro-police option who has not done enough to curb police brutality in the city.

Rush, a civil rights leader and longtime Chicago Democrat in the U.S. House, reignited the conversation surrounding police brutality over the weekend when he accused Democrat Lori Lightfoot, one of the two candidates to emerge for the run-off, of protecting rogue police officers who use excessive force.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: Mueller discovering collusion could have ‘led to civil war’
Hawaii congresswoman has centered her 2020 campaign on her anti-war views

The presidential campaign of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, has not gained traction in early polls since her February kickoff event. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard appeared relieved that Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation did not establish a case that the Donald Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 election and urged her Democratic colleagues to move on.

The Hawaii congresswoman, who has centered her fledgling 2020 campaign on her anti-war views, raised the possibility that the discovery of collusion could have set in motion a “terribly divisive crisis,” and even a civil war.

Mueller report isn’t changing 2020 campaign dynamics — yet
Conclusions have emboldened some Republicans, but Democrats still aren’t talking about Russia

While some Republicans like South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham used the Mueller report to double down on defending Trump, Democrats signaled they’d continue their 2018 focus on economic issues  — and not the Russia investigation — heading into 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As news of the just-completed Russia investigation engulfs Washington, not much has changed on the campaign trail — for either party.

The full report by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has yet to see the light of day. And with the 2020 elections more than a year and a half away, plenty could change between now and then. But so far, the calculation on both sides isn’t too different from the past two years.