Charles E Schumer

All you need is ribs: Isakson barbecue brings hungry senators together
Leadership may have hated it at first, but the lunch is now a big hit

South 40 Smokehouse from Marietta, Ga., serves up brisket, pulled pork and ribs Thursday in the office of Sen. Johnny Isakson for his annual barbecue lunch. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The smell of pulled pork, Texas beef brisket, Saint Louis pork ribs, baked beans, and creamy mac and cheese wafting through the halls of the Russell Senate Office Building can mean only one thing: Johnny Isakson’s annual barbecue lunch.

Every year, for more than a decade, the senior senator from Georgia feeds his colleagues from both sides of the aisle a BBQ lunch prepared by a pitmaster from his home state. Despite being met with initial pushback from party leaders, the get-together has grown into a highly anticipated event.

After rebuke from Jon Stewart, panel approves 9/11 victim bill
Without funding, victims face cuts to promised compensation, as much as 70 percent

Former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, New York Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney and Speaker Nancy Pelosi talk on the Speaker’s balcony Tuesday after a meeting iabout funding for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee approved legislation extending the fund. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A day after comedian Jon Stewart chastised lawmakers for their sparse attendance at a hearing on legislation to help victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the House Judiciary Committee approved the bill without even calling a roll call vote, extending a victims fund for decades while offering whatever funding is needed.

Stewart and lawmakers representing the victims have expressed frustration with Congress’ pace in moving the legislation, even after the overseer of the victims fund, Rupa Bhattacharyya, announced in February that she would have to cut payouts to victims for lack of money.

National Democrats take sides in Iowa Senate primary
DSCC and EMILY’s List back Theresa Greenfield in race to take on GOP Sen. Joni Ernst

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, is running for a second term in 2020. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Update 3:26 p.m. | National Democrats are taking sides in the primary to take on Republican Sen. Joni Ernst in Iowa, with two groups and a presidential candidate backing Theresa Greenfield, who was an early favorite for a House race last year. 

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and EMILY’s List, which backs female Democrats who support abortion rights, both announced they were endorsing Greenfield in the race over two other Democrats who are running.

Dems pounce on GOP tariffs civil war and other takeaways from Trump‘s UK visit
Under Trump, U.S. is ‘standing around not doing much,’ former VP Biden says on trail

President Donald Trump inspects a honor guard at Buckingham Palace on Monday. He concluded a three-day state visit on Wednesday, making plenty of news along the way. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS - President Donald Trump ended his U.K. visit Wednesday in an uncharacteristic manner, sitting silently before the television cameras during an unplanned meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The moment offered a juxtaposition to his full-throated, unapologetic three days on British soil.

“The two leaders sat, smiling at the pool without saying a word,” wrote a reporter who was in Portsmouth, England, where the two leaders met briefly during a reception following a ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of World War II’s D-Day invasion.

It’s not just the citizenship question. 2020 census faces other woes
From cybersecurity concerns to untested methods, last-minute hurdles remain

The 2020 census is not the first to face last-minute challenges. Problems with handheld electronics during the 2010 census required the bureau to reintroduce paper enumeration. (Mario Tama/Getty Images file photo)

A project meant to be a decade in preparation, the 2020 census, still faces a number of uncertainties, which experts warn could lead to an inaccurate count with potentially large impacts on federal spending and congressional maps.

Though a pending Supreme Court decision over a citizenship question has dominated much of the conversation surrounding the census, other hurdles include the Census Bureau’s overall funding, cybersecurity concerns and untested methods.

Huawei accuses Congress of ‘tyranny’ in suit over federal contracting ban
The Chinese company faces legal and regulatory actions threatening access to U.S. markets and is fighting back in U.S. courts

The Huawei Technologies Co. logo is displayed at the Huawei Technologies Co. headquarters on March 29, 2019, in Shenzhen, China. Huawei, the worlds largest telecommunication equipment maker, reported on Friday its annual profit rose 25% to 59.3 billion yuan ($8.7 billion) despite being at the center of global scrutiny. Huawei Technologies faces a barrage of legal and regulatory actions threatening its access to U.S. markets, but it is fighting back with a lawsuit in U.S. courts challenging congressional authority. (Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images)

Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies faces a barrage of legal and regulatory actions threatening its access to U.S. markets, but it is fighting back with a lawsuit in U.S. courts challenging congressional authority to bar the federal government from contracting with the company as an unconstitutional bill of attainder.

The fiscal 2019 defense authorization law prohibits federal agencies from buying, or contracting with companies that use, certain Huawei equipment and services. The company contends that Congress violated Article I of the Constitution by engaging in a “trial by legislature.”

DC statehood bill set for hearing with new backing from Hoyer
House majority leader’s support means Democrats united, but action in GOP-led Senate unlikely

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., and District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the House Committee on Oversight and Reform will hold a hearing on making the district a state. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The District of Columbia statehood movement is heading to Capitol Hill this summer, now backed for the first time by Marylander and House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer. The chamber’s Oversight and Reform Committee has scheduled a July 24 hearing on legislation that would make the District the 51st state.

The measure is sponsored by Democrat Eleanor Holmes Norton, Washington’s nonvoting representative in the House, who announced the hearing Thursday at an event at the D.C. War Memorial on the National Mall. She was joined by the District’s mayor, Muriel Bowser, and D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson.

Senate mourns deaths of two beloved staffers
Barber David Knight and document room employee Bud Johnson both died recently

David Knight, here with, from left, barber Kim Coleman and manager Cindi Brown, cut hair in the Senate barbershop for 36 years. (Courtesy Senate Hair Care Services)

David Miles Knight spent 36 years as one of the Senate barbers, and he was a familiar face to everyone in the basement of the Russell Building, which has long played host to the barber shop.

Over the weekend, he lost his long fight with cancer, just a day before another longtime Senate employee, Berner Richard Johnson III, succumbed to his injuries from a violent attack, leaving the Senate family in mourning. 

Senate passes long-stalled disaster aid bill with Trump support
Negotiators agreed to revisit stripped border-related funding after the Memorial Day recess

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and chef Jose Andres talk after running into each other in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Thursday, May 23, 2019. Andres was on Capitol Hill for a briefing held by the Power 4 Puerto Rico Coalition, calling on Congress to help Puerto Rico achieve future growth and prosperity after the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. On Thursday the Senate approved a $19.1 billion disaster aid deal which included $600 million in nutrition assistance to Puerto Rico to help restore funding that ran dry in March. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After months of negotiations, Congress and the White House on Thursday reached agreement on a $19.1 billion disaster aid bill that will help communities recover from a series of deadly storms and wildfires. 

The draft bill does not include the border-related funding for migrants at the southern border sought by the Trump administration, the last hurdle that had been preventing a deal on the package.

Senate to take one last shot at disaster, border aid bill
The remaining sticking points are over immigration and oversight provisions related to Trump’s border funding request

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., arrives for a news conference after the Republican Senate Policy Luncheon on May 14, 2019. On Thursday McConnell said on the Senate floor, that his colleagues need to come up with a disaster aid compromise “today, because one way or another the Senate is not leaving without taking action.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Republicans were huddling behind closed doors Thursday morning to discuss their next move on supplemental aid for disaster victims and handling a huge influx of migrants at the southern border.

One emerging possibility was to drop billions of dollars in aid the White House is seeking for border-related agencies, including Homeland Security and Health and Human Services.