policy

Blame game in standoff over Violence Against Women Act
Ernst says Democrats motivated by her 2020 race; Schumer calls her ‘afraid of NRA’

Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst said talks with Democrats over renewing the Violence Against Women Act broke down because Democratic leaders did not want senators who are up for reelection next year like her to get legislation passed. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst said Tuesday that Democrats trying to undermine her 2020 reelection contributed to stalled talks to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.

Ernst had been working with Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California for months on a bipartisan reauthorization bill before both sides said the negotiations fell apart earlier this month.

New census data: About 1 million same-sex households in US
Same-sex married and unmarried couples make up about 1 percent of all homes

John Lewis, left, and Stuart Gaffney, of San Francisco, hold heart signs outside the U.S. Supreme Court before the start of oral arguments on marriage equality in 2015. The couple were plaintiffs in the 2008 court case challenging California's same-sex marriage ban. Same-sex couples now make up 1 percent of all homes, new census data shows. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Census Bureau estimates about 1 million same-sex married and unmarried couples are living together nationwide, according to new figures released Tuesday.

Same-sex households make up about 1 percent of all homes, according to data released as part of the Current Population Survey and the first time such figures were included in its main results. The estimates provide a limited glimpse into the LGBTQ population in America, which has not shown up in federal surveys for much of the nation’s history.

New polls show impeachment hearings having minimal impact on public sentiment
One survey finds more independents oppose impeachment after first week of hearings

From left, Reps. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and Scott Perry, R-Pa., attend Tuesday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Two polls released Tuesday show the House’s impeachment hearings are having minimal impact on public sentiment, with one conducted over the weekend revealing opposition to impeachment growing among independents.

A Politico/Morning Consult poll conducted Nov. 15 to 17 after the first week of public hearings found 47 percent of respondents support the House impeaching President Donald Trump, compared to 44 percent who oppose such action.

Trump calls Pelosi ‘incompetent’ for launching impeachment inquiry
White House official says Trump ‘is expected to sign’ short-term spending bill

President Donald Trump argues at December meeting about border security with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as Vice President Mike Pence looks on in the Oval Office. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Continuing their yearslong feud, President Donald Trump on Tuesday called Speaker Nancy Pelosi “incompetent” over House Democrats’ impeachment probe.

The president also lashed out at the media, saying their coverage of his unscheduled visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Saturday shows news outlets are “sick.” There also were indications from the president’s staff that he will not trigger another government shutdown later this week.

Impeachment news roundup: Nov. 19
Congressional investigators hearing from two aides who listened in on Trump’s July call with Zelenskiy

Jennifer Williams, left, special adviser for Europe and Russia to Vice President Mike Pence, and Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, director for European Affairs at the National Security Council, are sworn in before testifying in the House Select Intelligence Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House Intelligence Committee heard Tuesday afternoon from two witnesses called by Republicans on the panel in its impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Kurt Volker, the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, and Tim Morrison, the National Security Council’s former senior director for Europe and Russia policy both gave testimony Tuesday afternoon.

Banks see Fed payments proposal opening door to fintech rivals
Banking industry pushes for tight rules on companies moving into banking-like services

Prompted by the Federal Reserve’s plan to build an instant payment system, banks are pushing for tight rules on tech firms moving into banking-like services. (iStock)

A plan by the Federal Reserve to build its own network to transfer funds quickly has pitted technology firms seeking a foothold in the financial sector against banks that have traditionally dominated the payments business. 

Tech firms see the new payment system as an opportunity to get into the payments business, and banks, facing a new rival, are pushing for tight rules on companies moving into banking-like services, according to advocates on both sides of the issue.

In run-up to crucial impeachment hearings, president hits a rough patch
Despite Trump’s troubles, has impeachment ‘moved the needle?’ One Dem strategist says no

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch told House lawmakers she felt “threatened” and intimated by President Donald Trump. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

An embattled Donald Trump enters one of the most consequential weeks of his presidency on defense, reeling from self-inflicted wounds, political setbacks and a surprise hospital visit the White House is struggling to explain.

This week will keep the focus on the president as nine administration witnesses head to Capitol Hill to testify in the House impeachment inquiry. Several told lawmakers behind closed doors they understood Trump ordered military aid to Ukraine frozen until its new president agreed to publicly state he would investigate U.S. Democrats.

House to take up Dec. 20 stopgap measure Tuesday
House Appropriations Democrats released the draft stopgap measure Monday afternoon after a morning of last-minute haggling

Disputes over potential add-ons between lawmakers in Congress and the White House on Monday was holding up a potential deal to pass a monthlong stopgap funding measure needed to avoid a government shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House is moving forward to quickly take up a monthlong continuing resolution that would extend temporary funding levels for federal agencies. The measure will be on the floor Tuesday, according to House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md.

House Appropriations Democrats released the draft stopgap measure Monday afternoon after a morning of last-minute haggling over special additions. The measure would replace the current CR, which expires Nov. 21, with a new deadline of Dec. 20 to finish up fiscal 2020 spending bills. 

FDA nominee to face questions on issues from vaping to salmon
It might be hard for Stephen Hahn to win over Democrats because of a pending White House vaping decision

Stephen Hahn, President Donald Trump’s choice to head the Food and Drug Administration, faces a confirmation hearing on Wednesday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. (Courtesy The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center)

When President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Food and Drug Administration appears for the first time before a Senate panel on Wednesday, he’ll likely face tough questions about some policy issues that he may not have thought much about previously.

While the nominee, Stephen Hahn, is a highly regarded cancer doctor who has helped lead a research hospital with a budget nearly the size of the FDA’s, the confirmation hearing will be a reminder of the breadth of the agency’s work.

Impeachment news roundup: Nov. 18
Trump says he’ll consider testifying ahead of a packed hearing schedule this week

House Intelligence Committee Republican members Elise Stefanik and Jim Jordan talk during the  hearing on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump with former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch on Friday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats want to get grand jury materials from former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation in part to see if President Donald Trump lied in written answers, an attorney said Monday.

House General Counsel Doug Letter made the comments while arguing before a federal appeals court in Washington, that the House should get access to the normally secret materials as part of its impeachment investigation. A lower court ordered the Justice Department to turn over the materials, and the Trump administration has appealed.