lobbying

Burned in the past, Democrats reluctant to give ground in wall fight
Democrats and allies concerned conceding would set a precedent for more rounds of brinksmanship

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-California, said she “absolutely” expects President Donald Trump would trigger additional shutdowns as a bargaining chip if Democrats make a deal with him on wall funding now. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The partial government shutdown, now in its record-setting 24th day, is about more than just a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Democrats and their allies are concerned that if party leaders cut a deal with President Donald Trump on wall funding, it would set a precedent for more rounds of dangerous brinksmanship in the months and years to come.

Harry Reid pushing for more UFO research
Wants a key senator to listen to stories from service members who claim sightings

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is continuing to advocate for UFO research. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is lobbying his former colleagues to do more to study unidentified flying objects.

“I personally don’t know if there exists little green men other places, I kind of doubt that, but I do believe that the information we have indicates we should do a lot more study,” the Nevada Democrat said. “We have hundreds and hundreds of people that have seen the same thing — something in the sky, it moves a certain way.”

Shutdown ripples hit K Street; businesses and unions anxious
Even seemingly unrelated interests say the impasse is starting to upend their policy agenda in Washington

K Street groups are pushing for an end to the partial government shutdown. Already this week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s biggest business lobby, sent a letter to lawmakers and the White House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lobbying groups and unions are stepping up their campaigns aimed at ending the partial government shutdown, making clear their mounting frustration as the financial pressures hit businesses and furloughed workers alike.

Some sectors, such as those in travel and tourism, are coping with direct disruptions to their businesses, with top destinations such as national parks shuttered. Even seemingly unrelated interests say the shutdown has begun to upend their policy agenda in Washington because the impasse is consuming the time of lawmakers and the administration.

Hello Congress, goodbye Twitter followers
Official member accounts must follow different set of guidelines than campaign ones

New lawmakers will be starting from scratch to build their following on newly minted official accounts. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As new House members say hello to their new life on Capitol Hill, they’re also saying goodbye (for now) to their campaign social media accounts and the hordes of followers they’ve amassed.

Newly elected members have been sharing their experiences on social media, giving their followers a look at what it’s like to transition into Congress. But some of their social media fluency will be reined in to conform with strict guidelines on how officials can use their platforms.

Former lawmakers, staff quickly set up on K Street
But many are finding a competitive job market downtown

Former Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., has returned to his previous job at lobbying and law firm Covington. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The revolving door between Capitol Hill and K Street kicked into hyper-spin this week, just days into the new Congress, as recently departed lawmakers and aides announced new gigs.

In an unusually fast repeat move, former Sen. Jon Kyl, the Arizona Republican who rejoined the Senate last year to temporarily fill the late Sen. John McCain’s seat, returned to his previous job at the lobbying and law firm Covington. He reported earning $1.9 million from the firm during part of 2017 and 2018, according to a recently filed 2018 financial disclosure form, and he will be subject to a two-year ban on lobbying Congress, as are all senators in the first two years after leaving office.

Trump’s use of border agents for wall pitch raises legal, ethical questions
Episode is latest example of president’s near-daily busting of Washington norms

Vice President of National Border Patrol Council Hector Garza speaks as President Donald Trump and NBPC Vice President Art Del Cueto, right, listen during a surprise visit to the White House briefing room on day 13 of a partial government shutdown. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump was meeting privately with U.S. Border Patrol agents in the Oval Office Thursday when he suddenly told them, “Let’s go out, see the press.” His idea was for them to explain to reporters “the importance of the wall.” But the spectacle that ensued raises legal and ethical questions.

Experts said the president’s use of the officers in what amounted to a border barrier infomercial on afternoon cable television likely did not run astray of a 1939 law that bars most federal employees from conducting political activities while in their official roles. But they indicated other federal laws and guidelines might have been breached in just the latest example of the 45th president’s insistence on making a splash almost daily and eviscerating Washington norms that have been followed by Republican and Democratic presidents alike for decades.

House Democrats unveil first major legislative package of voting, campaign finance and ethics overhauls
Committees will soon begin marking up aspects of the package ahead of floor vote on H.R. 1

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., plan to bring a bill to the floor in the coming weeks to overhaul voting and campaign finance laws. Democrats are introducing it as H.R. 1 to signal that it’s their top priority. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Automatic voter registration, independent redistricting commissions, super PAC restrictions, forced release of presidential tax returns — these are just a handful of the provisions in a massive government overhaul package House Democrats will formally unveil Friday, according to a summary of the legislation obtained by Roll Call. 

The package is being introduced as H.R. 1 to show that it’s the top priority of the new Democratic majority. Committees with jurisdiction over the measures will hold markups on the legislation before the package is brought to the floor sometime later this month or early in February. 

House Ethics reminds members and staff of rules for life after Congress
Memo came with just hours left in the 115th Congress

Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn., walks down the House steps following the final votes as the House of Representatives leaves town for their summer recess in July. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In a memo released Thursday with just hours left in the 115th Congress, the House Ethics Committee reminded departing lawmakers of criminal restrictions on certain job-hunting practices.

Outgoing members and staff have been planning their next career moves for months. The memo reminds members to “familiarize themselves with ... the criminal restrictions on post-employment communications.” It also says that members should be careful when negotiating for future employment, especially with anyone who could be “substantially affected by the Member’s performance of official duties.”

Divided government will pose an obstacle to lawmaking in 2019
Congress was most dysfunctional from 2011 to 2014 when control of House and Senate was split

The partial government shutdown is already casting a dark shadow for prospects of what Congress might accomplish in 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Washington tends to work best when one party controls both Congress and the White House. It’s most gridlocked, usually, when control of Congress is split.

The Congress of the past two years demonstrated the first principle. By any honest measure, President Donald Trump and his Republican colleagues in the House and Senate got a lot done in 2017 and 2018.

Trump Accuses Democrats of Playing Politics With Shutdown
Attack comes ahead of DHS briefing at White House for congressional leaders from both parties

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said Democrats were focused “on 2020” elections rather than negotiating a settlement to the standoff over funding parts of the government. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday accused Democrats of playing politics over the partial government shutdown, saying during a cabinet meeting he sees Democrats as focused “on 2020.”

Asked how long the shutdown might last, Trump responded: “As long as it takes.” He also indicated to reporters he might negotiate with Democrats to a border barrier funding amount less than his $5 billion demand. Democratic aides have grumbled that he has yet to be clear about just what he would accept, helping to stall pre-Christmas talks.