Iowa

Senate Finance Staff — Old and New — Ready for Tax Challenge
Staffers promoted to replace departed colleagues

From left, Senate Finance majority staffers Jay Khosla, Jeff Wrase, Jen Kuskowski, Julia Lawless, Chris Armstrong, Mark Prater, and Shane Warren in the committee’s Dirksen hearing room. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“A little bit like Bill Belichick.”

That’s how Jay Khosla, the new staff director for the Senate Finance Committee, described the personnel management style of Chairman Orrin G. Hatch.

Photos of the Week: Schumer, Pelosi Center Stage, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Taxes
The week of Sept. 11 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., attend a news conference on Thursday on the Child Care for Working Families Act, which focuses on affordable early learning and care. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The week of Sept. 11 is coming to a close, and it was another eventful one. President Donald Trump dined on Wednesday with Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, after which there was a debate about whether a deal was reached on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and border security.

“Hamilton” actor and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda was spotted several times on the Hill this week as he lobbied for arts funding. And discussions of a tax overhaul continued this week as it became clear the GOP wants to avoid another health care-like debacle

Word on the Hill: POW/MIA Recognition Day
Bottomless rosé wines, and the future of health care

Arizona Sen. John McCain was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for five and a half years. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Today is National POW/MIA Recognition Day, which honors missing service members and their families.

Currently in Congress, there are two lawmakers who endured time as prisoners of war during the Vietnam War: Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas.

Rank-and-File Lawmakers Not Feeling It on Grand Immigration Deal
Pairing DACA replacement with border security seen as a bad idea

House Democratic Caucus Vice Chairwoman Linda T. Sánchez says the so-called DREAM Act must be part of an immigration deal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated Friday 1:42 p.m. | President Donald Trump and congressional leaders see the most likely legislative path to replacing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program as pairing it with border security. But rank-and-file members of both parties think that’s a bad idea.

“We’re going to get ourselves in a quagmire if we allow there to be a linkage because of such disputes and debates here among the hard-line immigration crew about what should be linked,” Vermont Democratic Rep. Peter Welch said, adding that there were members for whom there could never be “enough security.”

Border Security Takes Center Stage in Debate Over 'Dreamers'

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., are working on an immigration deal that will include security measures as well as a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Now that President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders in Congress have agreed to pursue a deal that would boost border enforcement in exchange for legal status for young undocumented immigrants, the focus is shifting to what security measures the package could include.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said following a Wednesday night meeting with the president that they had agreed to table the administration’s request for money to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, a nonstarter for Democrats from the beginning.

Trump and Sessions: In a Relationship — and It’s Complicated
Strife with presidents is common for post-Watergate AGs

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was one of President  Donald Trump’s early supporters. But their relationship has become more complicated. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced last week that the Trump administration would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, he was also signaling a new act in one of the summer’s most riveting political dramas. 

Sessions had been considered a dead man walking since mid-July, when Trump began berating him in interviews and on social media for his decision to recuse himself from the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Yet here he was, on a podium, serving as a proxy for the president as he announced a controversial policy decision that Sessions has sought for years — and on which Trump was reportedly wavering. 

Senators Could Lose ‘Blue Slip’ Input on Circuit Judges
President would have less reason to consult with lawmakers

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley has signaled he might end a tradition that gives senators a de facto veto power over nominees to federal appeals courts. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A looming showdown over a Senate tradition could strip senators of a de facto veto power over nominees to federal appeals courts — and give President Donald Trump less reason to consult with senators about which judges should be appointed.

The Judiciary Committee’s “blue slip” process has required senators to return a blue slip of paper before the committee schedules hearings and markups of nominees for federal judgeships from their home states. No slip, no hearing. That has made it essential for the White House to get a senator’s buy-in on a nomination.

Congress Braces for Tense Debate on Surveillance Law
Spy agencies argue for permanent reauthorization of FISA amendments

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., is sponsoring legislation to reauthorize the 2012 FISA amendments with no sunsets. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers are facing a potentially bruising fight over a surveillance law that expires Dec. 31 and must be extended in time to preserve what U.S. spy agencies consider a vital piece of their arsenal.

Congress has to extend the 2012 FISA Amendments Act, which will pit the Trump administration and national security hawks in Congress who favor a permanent reauthorization with no changes, against lawmakers of both parties, libertarians, privacy advocates and communications companies seeking to tighten protections for U.S. persons whose communications may get caught up in the wide electronic net cast by spy agencies.

Photos: Remembering Sept. 11, 2001
A day that irrevocably changed our nation

Iowa Sen. Charles E. Grassley, center, and others leave from the East Front of the Capitol during the building’s evacuation after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Monday marks the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and United Flight 93, which crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Donald Trump Jr. Talks to Senate Investigators
But details beyond opening statement remain private for now

Reporters hold up their smart phones to try to catch a photo of Donald Trump Jr., as he returns to a meeting with the Senate Judiciary staff on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump Jr. spent about five hours Thursday answering questions from Senate Judiciary Committee staff about a meeting he set up between his father’s presidential campaign and a Russian lawyer, but the details beyond his opening statement remain private for now.

Several senators attended the closed-door, voluntary interview with the president’s son, part of the committee’s probe into possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Only Senate staffers asked questions, however, and the committee will have to vote at a later time on whether to make the transcript public.