rules-and-procedure

House floor shenanigans punctuate start of spending season
Democrat calls GOP males ‘sex-starved,’ while Republicans use procedural delay tactics

From left, Republicans Justin Amash, Chip Roy and Jim Jordan are seen during a House Oversight and Reform Committee markup on Wednesday. Roy was requiring the House to conduct roll call votes on noncontroversial amendments. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional proceedings are usually pretty dry, but on Wednesday, House floor watchers might as well have been tuned into a reality TV show given all the shenanigans occurring as lawmakers debated their first spending package for the upcoming fiscal year.

Between a Democratic lawmaker calling her GOP male colleagues “sex-starved” and Republicans using a series of procedural tricks to delay proceedings, there was no shortage of tension to kick off the fiscal 2020 appropriations process.

Republicans move for House to adjourn over inaction on border crisis
GOP members use procedural delay tactic to highlight need for more funds at border

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, left, moved for the House to adjourn on Wednesday in protest over the Democratic majority not taking action on the president’s border supplemental funding request. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Frustrated over what they say is Democrats’ inaction on President Donald Trump’s request for more money to manage the migrant crisis at the border, a few House Republicans on Wednesday used a procedural motion to adjourn to protest on House floor.

The first motion to adjourn, offered by Texas GOP Rep. Chip Roy, was defeated 146-244. The second, offered by Arizona GOP Rep. Andy Biggs, was also defeated, 140-254. 

US-Mexico tariff talks resume Friday as implementation looms Monday
House Ways and Means chairman says if Trump imposes tariffs, he’ll introduce resolution to repeal them

Democratic Rep. Richard Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said he’ll introduce a resolution of disapproval to repeal President Donald Trump’s tariffs against Mexico if they go into effect on Monday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Mexico and the U.S. will continue talks Friday about efforts to curb the flow of Central American migrants to the southern U.S. border, Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said in a short statement late Thursday.

Mexico is trying to reach an agreement with the U.S. on migration in order to avoid a series of escalating tariffs President Donald Trump has threatened to impose on all Mexican imports. The first round of tariffs would begin Monday with a 5 percent duty on imports ranging from fruits to machinery.

On DREAM Act, 9 Democrats defect on rule vote, even as caucus shows more unity
Relatively rare for members of the majority to buck leadership in voting against a rule

Rep. Joe Cunningham, D-S.C., was one of nine Democrats voting against the rule for the DREAM Act on Tuesday, a high-water mark for the year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House votes on rules to begin debate on legislation are typically party-line tests. But when nine Democrats voted Tuesday against the rule for an immigration bill, it was a high-water mark for Democratic defections this year.

Still, Democrats are more unified on such votes than the House majority party has been in all but two years of the last decade. 

Retirement bill remains stalled amid Republican holds in Senate
Finance Committee chairman says as many as six GOP senators have issues with the bill ‘for different reasons’

Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden said the retirement savings bill, which has been worked on over the past three Congresses, “should have passed eons ago. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A handful of Republican senators are holding up what could be the biggest retirement savings bill in more than a decade.

After sailing through the House on a 417-3 vote May 23 before the weeklong Memorial Day recess, supporters hoped the legislation would garner unanimous consent for quick passage in the Senate the following day. But senatorial holds accumulated and continue to stall the measure.

Capitol Ink | Party Trick

After Mueller statement, Sen. Warren wants to throw out restrictions on indicting sitting presidents
Proposal from Massachusetts Democrat would reverse policy that constrained Mueller

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is pledging to overturn the policy that blocks indictments of sitting presidents. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s announcement that she would upend Justice Department policies against indicting sitting presidents seems likely to become a rallying cry for the 2020 White House hopefuls.

After Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III publicly announced he was prevented in part by a 1973 memo from even considering whether to indict President Donald Trump on charges related to obstruction of justice, the Massachusetts Democrat released a campaign proposal that involves changing the practice.

Rep. Chip Roy won’t object to disaster aid package today, but others may
Texas freshman's objection who held up passage last week

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, objected last week when the House tried to pass a disaster aid bill using unanimous consent during a pro forma session when most members were out of town. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Texas GOP lawmaker who blocked passage of a $19.1 billion disaster aid bill on Friday won’t be in the chamber Tuesday afternoon when the House reconvenes for another pro forma session. 

But with any lawmaker able to object to a new unanimous consent request, the odds of ramming the relief bill through the chamber without a recorded vote during this recess week remain shaky.

Judiciary Democrats may ask full House to formally approve their investigation into Trump
Jackson Lee says she thinks it is time for a resolution of investigation

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, says House Judiciary Committee Democrats may file a resolution of investigation to have the full House vote to approve the panel's probe into potential obstruction of justice and abuses of power by the Trump administration. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Some Judiciary Committee Democrats, concerned about the Trump administration escalating its stonewalling into their investigation of potential obstruction of justice and abuses of power by the president and his associates, want the full House to approve their probe. 

“I believe we are at a point now that we should issue a resolution of investigation,” senior Judiciary member Shelia Jackson Lee said Thursday.

Election assistance agency pleads for more money ahead of 2020
“What we are working on is the infrastructure of our democracy”

Senate Rules Chairman Roy Blunt noted Wednesday that budget cuts at the Election Assistance Commission came during the Obama administration. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Officials from the Election Assistance Commission, a federal agency responsible for overseeing voting machines used in thousands of jurisdictions across the country and helping states adopt good election administration practices, pleaded with lawmakers for more money to do their jobs ahead of the 2020 elections.

The federal agency is working with a staff and budget that are about half what they were 10 years ago, officials said Wednesday as lawmakers grappled with how to beef up the agency.