congressional-operations

With no evidence, Nunes warns that Democrats are colluding with Mueller to create ‘narrative’
It’s common for committee staff to be in touch with witnesses to schedule hearings, negotiate time limits, set parameters of questioning

Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, claimed without evidence that Democrats were working with former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to create a “narrative” about his investigation into 2016 Russian election interference and whether President Donald Trump obstructed that probe. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Devin Nunes is raising concerns that Democrats are conspiring with former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to create a “narrative” about his 22-month investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections that paints President Donald Trump and his associates in a bad light.

Nunes, the top Republican on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that will interview Mueller on July 24, did not provide any evidence to support his claim.

Congress is Trump’s best hope for drug pricing action
But divisions remain between Republicans and Democrats, House and Senate

The administration will need congressional help to take action this year on drug prices. (File photo)

An upcoming Senate bill is the Trump administration’s best hope for a significant achievement before next year’s election to lower prescription drug prices, but a lot still needs to go right for anything to become law.

Despite the overwhelming desire for action, there are still policy gulfs between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, and another gap between the Senate and the House. And the politics of the moment might derail potential policy agreements. Some Democrats might balk at settling for a drug pricing compromise that President Donald Trump endorsed.

Mueller hearing might be delayed and lengthened so more members can question him
Republicans and junior Democrats on Judiciary panel had grumbled at original 2-hour format

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler had originally said Mueller’s testimony would be limited to two hours. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s testimony before Congress might be delayed until July 24, a week later than originally scheduled, to accommodate questioning from more members, multiple media outlets reported Friday.

Mueller and House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler have been negotiating the framework of the hearing for weeks and announced yesterday that the special counsel’s testimony, initially scheduled for next Wednesday, July 17, would last no more than two hours.

Senators mount pressure on equal pay for World Cup champs
More lawmakers introduce measures pushing equal pay for U.S. women's soccer team

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., are leading an effort in the Senate to make salaries for the men’s and women’s national soccer teams equitable. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As the U.S. soccer women’s team embarks on a whirlwind victory lap from its recent World Cup domination, more lawmakers are joining the four-time champions in calling for pay equity.

A group of senators led by Robert Menendez, Susan Collins and Dianne Feinstein introduced a resolution congratulating the team for winning the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup and asking U.S. Soccer to provide the players with pay comparable to their counterparts on the men’s team.

House modernization leaders seek consensus despite hurdles
Select committee is a long way from solving institutional problems

Reps. Derek Kilmer, right, and Tom Graves, leaders of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, are seeking ways to improve congressional operations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With 2019 half done, so is the lifespan of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. 

And the panel is still a long way from solving some of the big-scope institutional problems that House leaders asked it to. When it comes to some of the thornier political items — such as lawmaker pay raises and resurrecting earmarks — the panel is unlikely to agree.

CBO: Raising the minimum wage to $15 could boost pay of up to 27 million workers
The agency found nearly doubling the federal minimum wage could cost 1.3 million jobs when fully implemented by 2025

Protesters demanding a $15 minimum wage for federal contract workers chant as they march through the cafeteria in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on June 7, 2016. The House is expected to debate legislation next week that would raise the minimum wage to $15 in six annual increments. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Congressional Budget Office said in a report released Monday that nearly doubling the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour could cost 1.3 million jobs when fully implemented by 2025, though millions would see higher wages and the number of Americans living in poverty would decrease.

The report made clear that its estimate of 1.3 million potential job losses, which would equal roughly 0.8 percent of the workforce, was a median forecast, and that job losses could be substantially smaller — or larger. In a worst-case scenario, some 3.7 million jobs could be lost, the agency said. On the other hand, wages could rise for as many as 27 million workers.

Senate sets new record for longest vote
Senators began voting at 5:02 a.m. Friday

Senators began voting at dawn and have made history as the longest Senate vote in modern history. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Friday’s prolonged roll call vote to limit debate on a Tom Udall amendment that would bar U.S. attacks on Iran without Congressional authorization made history as the longest Senate vote in modern history.

The vote opened at 5:02 a.m., to allow Senators with early morning flights to vote and then leave town for the Independence Day recess. It is being held open to accommodate the Democratic Senators who were in Miami this week for presidential primary debates. The vote was held  open for a total of 10 hours and 8 minutes, gaveling closed at 3:10 p.m. New Jersey’s Cory Booker was the first of the 2020 candidates to return, casting a yea vote just after 7 a.m.

Trump’s 2020 re-election rally signals 2016 strategy may be used again
President used digs at Obama, Clinton to fire up supporters in key battleground of Florida

President Donald Trump concludes a rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., on May 20. It was one of his first events for his reelection campaign, which he formally kicked off Tuesday in Florida. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Donald Trump repeatedly railed against Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as a friendly Florida crowd cheered and jeered. Only it wasn’t 2016 — it was just six days ago.

The president took a crowd of supporters in Orlando on a journey through time last Tuesday as he formally announced his re-election bid. He dropped his now-familiar attack lines that elicited chants of “Lock her up” for Clinton and boos for Obama.

Congressional compensation: Isn’t there a select committee for that?
Panel tasked with modernizing Congress will look at staff but not member issues

Chairman Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., right, and vice chairman Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., during a Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress meeting in March. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As lawmakers engage in a contentious debate about whether to thaw a decadelong freeze on their pay, there’s a logical place where the underlying issues of member compensation and housing could be addressed — the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. 

But the panel currently has no plans to take up such matters, its chairman, Rep. Derek Kilmer, and vice chairman, Rep. Tom Graves, told CQ Roll Call. 

Senators (rich and not-so-rich) fight to keep lawmaker pay freeze
A bipartisan letter to appropriators follows weeks of strife on member pay

Sens. Rick Scott, R-Fla., (pictured) Kirsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Mike Braun, R-Ind., urge the extension of the lawmaker pay freeze. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A bipartisan group of Senators is speaking out against a pay raise for lawmakers.

The letter, cosigned by Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republicans Rick Scott of Florida and Mike Braun of Indiana, urges Legislative Branch appropriators to include language in their fiscal 2020 bill to extend the lawmaker pay freeze for another year.