Congress

Trump taps State Department’s top hostage negotiator to replace Bolton as national security adviser
Robert C. O’Brien served under Bolton when he was U.N. ambassador

Robert C. O’Brien was sent by President Donald Trump to Sweden in August to try to negotiate the release of rapper A$AP Rocky, who had been arrested on assault charges. (Michael Campanella/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday he has selected Robert C. O’Brien to replace John Bolton as national security adviser.

“I have worked long & hard with Robert. He will do a great job!” Trump tweeted from California, where he is holding fundraising events.

Senate panel wants probe into nuclear weapons glitches
Panel is concerned that problems might reflect fundamental oversight shortcomings that have broader implications

An Air Force F-16C carries a B61-12 bomb on a test flight at Nellis AFB, Nev. Problems with commercially manufactured electrical components have caused months of delays. (Staff Sgt. Brandi Hansen/U.S. Air Force photo)

The Senate Appropriations Committee wants to order the Energy Department to launch an investigation into technical problems that have recently plagued U.S. nuclear weapons programs.

The committee’s mandate is buried deep inside the report accompanying the $48.9 billion Energy-Water spending bill that the committee approved on Sept. 12.

Esper brings China focus as Defense secretary
Plan to seek savings in Pentagon operations could face roadblocks

In search of savings, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper is looking at spending by organization that provide back-office services to the Pentagon. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Like every new Defense secretary, Mark T. Esper says he wants to make the Pentagon more efficient. He will get some results, but not many and not quickly, experts say.

Esper, now a few months into the job, wants to save money to spend it on preparing for war against China, and to a lesser extent Russia.

Greta Thunberg goes to Washington, an epicenter of climate inaction
Teen climate activist testifies Wednesday at joint House hearing

Greta Thunberg, center right, sits with fellow youth climate activists at a Tuesday press conference on Capitol Hill to discuss climate change. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The Swedish teenager who has become a symbol for a young generation worried about climate change is in Washington this week to help change minds — a hard thing to do in a capital locked in partisan combat.

Greta Thunberg, who famously traveled to the U.S. last month in a sailboat so as to avert the carbon emissions of an airliner, is making the political rounds in Washington, appearing at a student protests outside the White House last week, and a news conference with Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday.

Congress responds to an Olympic cry for help with oversight hammer
Sens. Moran and Blumenthal want legislative action this fall

Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman, a survivor of sexual abuse by Larry Nassar, here at a July 2018 press conference on Capitol Hill, is among the abuse victims seeking action to protect future athletes. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With less than a year before the world gathers to ignite the Olympic flame in Tokyo for the 2020 summer games, two senators are pushing legislation that would provide the most significant congressional oversight in a generation of the board governing U.S. participation.

Spurred by numerous allegations from Olympic athletes of sexual abuse, a bill by Sens. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican, and Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, would make it easier for Congress to effectively fire members of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, or to decertify a governing body like USA Gymnastics in response to future scandals.

Health care riders, farm payouts slow stopgap deal
Bill pulled from House Rules agenda late Tuesday afternoon

Montana Sen. Jon Tester is among those objecting to potential provisions in a stopgap spending bill needed to keep the government open after Sept. 30. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Trade assistance for farmers hit by retaliatory tariffs and the details of several health care program extensions were standing in the way of agreement on a stopgap funding measure Tuesday, sources said.

According to a senior Democratic aide, the bill was likely to include an increase in the Commodity Credit Corporation’s $30 billion borrowing cap that the Trump administration asked for earlier this month. But provisions on “accountability and transparency” were still under discussion, the aide said.

Swedish teen Greta Thunberg joins senators, advocates seeking climate action
Appearance is first of several on Capitol Hill to promote global strike effort

Swedish youth climate activist Greta Thunberg, center, makes her way to a press conference to discuss climate change. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Ahead of a global strike for climate action, Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg joined fellow young advocates and Senate Democrats to draw attention to the peril of global warming.

Although she did not speak at a Tuesday news conference organized by Massachusetts Sen. Edward J. Markey and other Democrats, a representative for Thunberg said the 16-year-old was there to lend her support. She has, however, planned a blitz of activity around the Capitol this week that will culminate in the global climate strike.

First impeachment hearing becomes test of Judiciary Committee sway
Hearing looks unlikely to produce much, other than once again demonstrating White House resistance to congressional oversight

Corey Lewandowski, former campaign manager for President Donald Trump, testifies before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler launched a series of hearings Tuesday highlighting President Donald Trump’s actions to educate the public and other lawmakers on reasons for impeachment — but the witnesses and the White House had other plans.

Two of the three witnesses don’t plan to show up on the orders of the White House, part of the Trump administration’s fight-all-the-subpoenas approach that leaves the committee to either file lawsuits to enforce the subpoenas or hold the witnesses in contempt.

Senate Democrats prepare marathon floor session on gun violence
Late night is expected as 22 senators are prepared to call for legislation

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., will lead nearly two dozen senators in a marathon of floor speeches on gun violence Tuesday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Nearly two dozen Senate Democrats plan to make it a late night on Tuesday, speaking out on the Senate floor about the impact of gun violence and legislative proposals Congress could explore.

The speeches are expected to begin around 5:30 p.m. and run late. Connecticut Democrat Christopher S. Murphy is leading the effort, spurred by mass shootings in Texas and Ohio during the August recess and the lack of clear response from the White House on what, if any, gun control measures they could agree to.

China trade war has Massachusetts lawmakers wanting new export markets for lobsters
China has imposed a 25 percent tariff, hurting exports from New England

Lobsterman Jason Grindle unloads his catch from the Gulf of Maine at the Stonington Lobster Co-op in Stonington, Maine, in July. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)

New England lobster trappers have been among victims of the trade tensions between the United States and China.

Members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation want the Trump administration to help their home state lobster industry by seeking new export markets for the crustaceans.

Committee launches probe of Chao’s ties to family’s business
Seeks information about media reports that Chao appeared alongside her father in Chinese media interviews

A House committee seeks information from Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao about ties to her family's company by the end of September. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Monday said the committee was launching an investigation into whether Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao used her office to help the shipping company owned by her father and sisters.

In a letter to Chao, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Maryland, requested information and documents about media reports that Chao had appeared alongside her father in at least a dozen Chinese media interviews, sometimes behind the official seal of the Department of Transportation, in order to benefit Foremost Group, the family shipping company.

With 5G in mind, senators plan big boost for Pentagon cybersecurity
Much of the future infrastructure is being developed by China

The Trump administration has sought to stop close U.S. allies from adopting Huawei’s 5G technologies. Above, monitors at a Huawei campus in Shenzhen, China. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images file photo)

Lawmakers are proposing to add more than half a billion dollars to the Pentagon’s 2020 budget for cybersecurity measures, in particular asking the department to include security features enabling its weapons and information systems to safely operate on future 5G worldwide wireless networks.

Much of that future infrastructure is being developed by China and could become the global standard.

Nadler revs up Trump inquiry
Lewandowski scheduled Tuesday; no time for probe of Kavanaugh

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said his committee could not prioritize an investigation into Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is scheduled to testify at an impeachment hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, but Chairman Jerrold Nadler expects he will try to “improperly exert” executive privilege on some questions.

Lewandowski — the scheduled star witness at the committee’s first hearing related to its impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump — played a lead role in an episode laid out in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report on the president’s efforts to interfere in the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Senate panel backs special $1 billion military ‘readiness’ fund
Some experts are skeptical that the Defense Department will spend the funds effectively.

The new military readiness fund in the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Defense spending bill would come with very few strings or stipulations attached. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images file photo)

The Senate Appropriations Committee’s new Defense spending bill would create a $1.1 billion fund for yet-to-be-determined programs that build military “readiness,” a word that has come to mean just about anything in the Pentagon budget.

The fund, created at a time when military preparedness levels are on the rise after nearly two decades at war, would come with very few strings or stipulations, an unusual move for appropriators who typically guard their power of the purse.

House Republicans’ 2020 strategy is all about Trump
At retreat, GOP hypes up president as key to their effort to win back the majority

President Donald Trump greets House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Thursday at the House GOP retreat in Baltimore. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

BALTIMORE — House Republicans are embracing President Donald Trump as a critical asset in their effort to win back the majority in 2020 and are building their policy agenda and campaign strategy around him.

During a 48-hour retreat here Thursday through Saturday, GOP lawmakers lauded Trump for helping them win a North Carolina special election and said they looked forward to riding his coattails in districts across the country next year.