democrats

Kelly Admits Missteps With White House Aides’ Clearances
Embattled chief of staff to phase out interim security clearances

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, seen here with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, has altered how the West Wing handles aides’ security clearances after the Rob Porter domestic assault scandal. (AP/Andrew Harnik file photo)

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, under fire after a former staffer’s domestic abuse scandal, has admitted the Trump team mishandled aides’ background investigations, and ordered new steps in how the West Wing handles security clearances.

In a five-page memo to staffers released Friday afternoon by the White House, Kelly alluded to the Rob Porter scandal but also attempted to spread the blame for a process he said was flawed but was one he inherited.

Analysis: Trump’s Hawks Won Senate Immigration Debate (By Not Losing)
White House remains well-positioned for coming rounds as DACA deadline looms

White House aides Stephen Miller, fourth from right, and Marc Short, second from right, were instrumental in preventing bipartisan immigration proposals President Donald Trump opposed from passing the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump’s immigration hard-liners proved Thursday it is possible to win even when the outcome of a battle is, on paper, a draw.

An immigration overhaul amendment backed by the administration received fewer votes Thursday than three other Senate proposals that also failed to pass the Senate. But the White House emerged from that chamber’s underwhelming and unproductive floor debate in strong shape for future fights on the issue.

Democrats Push Bill They Say Could Have Prevented Parkland Shooting
Measure would provide states grants for passing Gun Violence Restraining Order laws

California Rep. Salud Carbajal and other House Democrats are pushing a bill in the wake of a Florida high school shooting that would reward states that create laws to allow courts to authorize temporary removal of guns when an individual poses a threat to themselves or others. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group of House Democrats on Friday highlighted a bill they’ve authored that they say could have prevented Wednesday’s mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school that left 17 dead.

The bill would authorize a federal grant program for states that enact Gun Violence Restraining Order, or GVRO, laws. These statutes allow law enforcement or family members to petition courts to temporarily remove guns from a person’s possession if they pose a threat to themselves or others. If passed, a separate appropriation measure would be needed to provide the funding for the grants.

Floor Charts for the Floor Show
Our favorite garish visual aids from a month of congressional floor-watching

(Screenshot from C-SPAN)

Botched votes, eight-hour speeches, endless milling around — watching the House and Senate floors can be a thankless task. But the floor charts make it all worthwhile.

Lawmakers like these oversized and sometimes garish visual aids because they help them get their point across. The Twitter handle @FloorCharts posts some of the daily highlights, and Roll Call now provides a monthly roundup of the best of the best.

Hoyer Heads to Rust Belt on Second ‘Listening Tour’
House minority whip will stop in Pittsburgh, Toledo and Indianapolis

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer is going on a listening tour this weekend to talk about entrepreneurship, education and infrastructure. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Democrats try to fine tune their economic message heading into this year’s midterms, House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer is hitting the road this weekend for his second “Make It in America” listening tour.

Starting Saturday and continuing through Tuesday, the Maryland Democrat will travel to Pittsburgh, followed by Toledo, Ohio, and finally Indianapolis with members of his House caucus. He’ll be meeting with small groups to talk about entrepreneurship, infrastructure and education.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing Around the Capitol?
Harry Reid headed to hall of fame, on the lookout for dogs on the Hill

Harriotte Ranvig, 71, of Somerville Mass., is escorted out of the House chamber on Thursday after she and a group of protesters disrupted the vote on The ADA Education and Reform Act on which makes it harder for disabled people to sue for discrimination. The aim of the legislation is to curb dishonest lawsuits. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

Trump’s Two Personas on Full Display After Shooting
President hints he will visit with families of victims this weekend

Students are brought out of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, after a shooting there left 17 dead. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The two public personas of Donald Trump were on full display Friday morning, illustrated by a pair of tweets posted just a dozen minutes apart.

In the first social media post, the president flashed the somber side he has shown in the midst of some national tragedies and disasters since he took office. Trump suggested he will be meeting with family members and others affected by the high school massacre in Parkland, Florida, over the long Presidents Day weekend.

Democratic, Republican Responses to Parkland School Shooting Vary Wildly
‘Part of it is a love affair with guns,’ New York Republican Peter King says

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., criticized his GOP colleagues for their response to the Parkland shooting. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As Democrats renewed calls this week for broader background checks and an end to military-grade weapons access, at least a handful of GOP congressmen agreed.

They remained cynical, though, that any substantive measures would pass into law.

Huffman Wants Investigation Into Trump Lawyer’s Payment to Porn Star
California Democrat wants to know if Trump campaign tried to ‘evade the fundamental disclosure requirements’

Adult film actress Stormy Daniels’ receipt of a $130,000 payment from President Donald Trump’s lawyer should be investigated, California Rep. Jared Huffman says. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images file photo)

California Rep. Jared Huffman wants the Justice Department to investigate a payment made to an adult film actress to keep silent about her alleged affair with President Donald Trump.

In a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the Democratic lawmaker pointed to a New York Times report that Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen admitted he paid Stephanie Clifford, whose stage name is Stormy Daniels, $130,000 out of his own pocket.

Lipinkski Wants Investigation Into Conservative Think Tank
Illinois congressman wants to know if CEO used money from Illinois Policy Institute to benefit for-profit companies

Rep. Daniel Lipinski, D-Ill., wants an investigation into the conservative Illinois Policy Institute. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic Rep. Daniel Lipinski wants the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the Illinois Policy Institute, a conservative think tank. 

Lipinski sent a letter asking the IRS to explore whether CEO John Tillman used money from the institute to benefit for-profit companies, according to ProPublica.