congressional-affairs

Mnuchin refuses to comply with subpoenas for Trump tax returns
The treasury secretary’s refusal sets up a court battle, which could begin as early as next week

Ways and Means chairman Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., stops to speak to reporters as he walks down the House steps after the final votes of the week on Friday, May 17, 2019. Neal told reporters he believes the fight over Donald Trump’s tax returns is headed to court as early as next week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Pentagon knew peace-talks fund would ‘likely’ benefit Taliban
Document suggests some money would give ‘material support to terrorists’

Aerial view of the Pentagon building photographed on Sept. 24, 2017. ( Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Pentagon leaders formally asked Congress in writing earlier this year for a $30 million fund to support peace talks with Afghanistan’s Taliban, even though, the Defense Department officials wrote, it was “likely” some of the money would materially support terrorists.

The legislative proposal, obtained by CQ Roll Call, suggests that the fiscal 2020 money to cover logistics involved in the negotiations may directly or indirectly provide financial support to violent groups in Afghanistan that have been fighting Americans and their own countrymen, including in targeted attacks on civilians, for nearly 18 years.

House Democrats seek details of Trump ethics waivers
Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings launched investigation earlier this week

House Oversight Chairman Eijah E. Cummings has launched an investigation into the Trump administration’s use of ethics waivers. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee, wants a status update on the state of the swamp in the Trump administration.

The Maryland Democrat launched an investigation late this week into the administration’s use of ethics waivers, which allow former lobbyists to work on matters they handled in their previous private sector jobs. Cummings sent letters to the White House and 24 agencies and Cabinet departments requesting copies of their ethics pledges and details of any waivers that could expose “potential conflicts of interest.”

These 8 Republicans voted for the Equality Act
3 House Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination did not vote

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., shown applauding during President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address in February, was one of eight House Republicans to vote for the Equality Act on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Eight House Republicans voted Friday with their Democratic counterparts for the Equality Act, which would broaden the definition of protected classes to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

The bill, a Democratic priority, passed 236-173 amid passionate speeches from both Republicans and Democrats. Debate over the bill was partisan, and at times, tense. 

Lawmakers seek solutions in Venezuela, Iran
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 153

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) shakes hands with Carlos Vecchio (3rd L), a representative of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, outside the West Wing of the White House after a meeting January 29, 2019, in Washington, DC. The Trump Administration has imposed sanctions on Venezuelan state-owned oil company in order to put pressure on President Nicolas Maduro to give up his power and step down. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Photos of the Week: Protests, celebrities and even some cute ducklings
The week of May 13 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

A protester with the group By The People is arrested by U.S. Capitol Police in the Cannon House Office Building rotunda on Tuesday. About 20 protesters gathered to occupy the rotunda to call for the House to initiate Impeachment hearings. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Trump‘s car import move is getting panned
The decision to set an 180-day clock ticking on possible trade action has drawn criticism from industry, lawmakers and the EU

Brand new cars sit on a truck that is leaving a lot at the Auto Warehousing Company near the Port of Richmond on May 24, 2018 in Richmond, California. U.S. president Donald Trump has set a clock on possible trade action or tariffs against car imports from Japan and Europe. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The White House announcement Friday that President Donald Trump has set a 180-day clock ticking on possible trade action against imports of cars and car parts from Japan and Europe brought strong pushback from the private sector.

The president’s implied threat to use Section 232 authorities to impose tariffs or other trade measures if negotiations to limit imports are not successful cited national security and, in particular, the need to protect research and development by U.S. automakers.

Air Force secretary: send disaster money ASAP
Officials say it will cost nearly $10 billion to repair recent storm damage at military bases

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson testifies during a Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support hearing in Russell Building titled “United States Air Force Readiness,” on October 10, 2018. On Thurday Wilson said the Defense Department needs money to fix nearly $10 billion in damage to military bases.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Heather Wilson, the outgoing Air Force secretary, said Thursday that the Defense Department desperately needs Congress to quickly bankroll recovery from recent storm damage at military bases, which officials say will cost nearly $10 billion to fix.

Senate leaders are drafting a disaster aid supplemental bill that may contain a down payment in aid for Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. The House passed its own version last week with $1.5 billion to help military installations recover from hurricanes.

LGBTQ Equality Act passes House, pushing back on Trump’s religious freedom policies
Democrats and advocacy groups are attempting to counteract these policies through the courts and legislation

Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., poses with a rainbow flag at the House steps after the vote to pass the Equality Act on Friday, May 17, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Growing tensions over the Trump administration’s policies that aim to strengthen religious freedom protections for health care workers have led to a partisan tug-of-war playing out in the House.

The Trump administration has tried to strengthen religious liberty protections through numerous policies over the past several months. Those include providing federal funds to religiously affiliated foster agencies who don’t allow LGBT people to adopt children and broadening religious and moral exemptions for employers who do not want to cover birth control.

Trump lobbies for Dem support of immigration plan even while using hardline rhetoric
Can POTUS have it both ways on a proposal that appears mostly about his re-election campaign?

President Donald Trump, here with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the Rose Garden in June 2017, unveiled his latest immigration overhaul plan on Thursday. Not even GOP lawmakers voiced support, however. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump on Friday lobbied for Democratic votes for an immigration plan that appears to have no traction while also throwing the kind of red-meat rhetoric toward his base that turns off those very Democrats.

In a morning tweet during a rare overnight stay at Trump Tower in New York, the president appeared be referring to polls like an April Washington Post-ABC News survey that showed a 17 percent jump in the number of Democrats who view the spike in migrant families showing at the U.S.-Mexico border as a crisis. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials say they made 100,000 apprehensions at the border in March, the biggest number in 12 years.