Iowa

Unorthodox Senate deal clears path for Thursday NDAA vote
Democrats had threatened to filibuster the defense bill unless the Iran amendment received a vote on Friday

From left, Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., James Inhofe, R-Okla., and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, conduct a news conference in the Capitol after the Senate Policy luncheons on Tuesday, June 25, 2019. As part of a compromise on the NDAA, McConnell said Wednesday he would allow a vote on language blocking President Donald Trump from launching a war against Iran without congressional approval. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate leaders struck an unusual deal Wednesday afternoon to hold a vote on language that would block President Donald Trump from launching a war against Iran without congressional approval, paving the way for a final vote on the massive Pentagon policy measure on Thursday.

But the vote on the Iran amendment will happen on Friday, to accommodate Senate Democrats participating in presidential debates this week, a GOP aide said. If the chamber adopts the language, which has the support of at least two Republican senators, it would then be retroactively included in the fiscal 2020 defense authorization bill.

Trump jets to Japan to wing it at G-20 summit as Iran tensions build
Official unable to lay out agenda for high-stakes meetings with Xi, Putin and MBS

Air Force One arrives with President Donald Trump for a rally in Montoursville, Pa., on May 20. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After a week of brinksmanship and backing down, President Donald Trump  heads to a G-20 summit in Japan on Wednesday for talks with other world leaders amid a volatile confrontation with Iran and stalled trade talks with China.

Senior administration officials made clear this week that Trump, who admits his negotiating style is based on gut feelings and big bets, will largely wing it at the meeting. Officials declined to describe any set agenda for the president’s talks with world leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

NDAA future uncertain amid amendment disputes

From left, Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., John Thune, R-S.D., James Inhofe, R-Okla., Todd Young, R-Ind., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., conduct a news conference in the Capitol on Tuesday after the Senate policy lunches. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate is barreling toward a procedural vote Wednesday on the fiscal 2020 defense authorization bill, but the typically bipartisan measure could become the victim of a filibuster amid a battle over amendments.

Democrats could block cloture on the bill if they don’t receive assurances from Senate Republicans of a vote on an amendment that would stop President Donald Trump from launching a war against Iran without congressional approval.

Odd bedfellows share concerns over Pelosi drug plan
Conservatives and progressives wary of drug price arbitration, but for different reasons

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is developing a drug price plan that focuses on drug price arbitration. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Jessica Cisneros wants to put her old boss out of office
Insurgent Democratic challenger was an intern in Henry Cuellar’s office five years ago. Now she’s running against him

A staffer in Rep. Henry Cuellar’s office referred to Jessica Cisneros as “Congresswoman Jess” when she was interning for the Texas Democrat. (Courtesy Jessica Cisneros for Congress)

Five years ago, Jessica Cisneros was a 20-year-old intern in Texas Democrat Henry Cuellar’s Washington office.

Now, two bachelor’s degrees and a law degree later, she’s running against him in the 2020 Democratic primary for Texas’ 28th District with backing from the group that helped New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sweep out longtime Democratic leader Joseph Crowley in a primary last year.

From front-runner to also-ran: Looking back on the Dean ‘scream’
Staffers with 2020 contenders should prepare to put aside hard feelings, focus on Trump, former Howard Dean spokeswoman says

Tricia Enright, center, talks with Sen. Cory Booker, left, as he and her boss, Sen. Robert Menendez, arrive at a 2013 immigration event. Enright was communications director for Vermont Gov. Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign, which never recovered from an Iowa speech that ended in “the scream.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It was the second time Tricia Enright had seen a campaign fly high and crash hard. 

Presidential contender and Vermont Gov. Howard Dean had just finished a disappointing third in the 2004 Iowa caucuses when a pep talk urging supporters to keep up the fight ended with an otherworldly yell.

These 103 House Democrats have a message for the presidential candidates
Moderate New Democrat Coalition wants to talk with hopefuls about issues important to their voters

Washington Rep. Derek Kilmer, the chairman of the New Democrat Coalition, is inviting all of the Democratic presidential candidates to sit down with the coalition’s 103 members. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

More than 100 House Democrats, including many of the freshmen who won in moderate districts, want to talk to the Democratic presidential candidates. 

The New Democrat Coalition, the largest ideological group in the House Democratic caucus, is sending a letter to all the Democratic presidential candidates on Thursday requesting individual meetings with them. 

Trump energy plan faces legal blitz over weaker emissions standards
Democratic state AGs join environmental groups saying they’ll sue the federal government over the rule

Emissions spew from a large stack at the coal fired Brandon Shores Power Plant in Baltimore. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

Blue states and green groups are gearing up to sue the Trump administration over its new carbon emissions rule finalized Wednesday, which critics say fails to address climate change and the public health risks associated with pollution from the power sector.

The EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy rule rescinds the Obama administration’s ambitious Clean Power Plan and replaces it with less stringent guidelines for states and coal-fired power plants to reduce their emissions.

Dems push craft beer tax break renewal, and more in bill headed for markup
House Ways and Means announced its markup of tax legislation, which includes credit expansions for lower-income workers and families with kids

Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., talks with reporters as he walks down the stairs after the last vote before the Memorial Day recess at the Capitol in Washington on May 23, 2019. Neal has long complained about the quick passage of the 2017 tax overhaul, which led to “technical” errors in the bill. He has proposed new fixes along with tax credits and renewals in new tax legislation. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Legislation that would beef up the refundable portions of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit for 2018 and 2019 also includes a repeal of the so-called ″church parking tax,″ that left some nonprofits paying taxes on transportation-related fringe benefits for their employees as part of a change made by the 2017 tax overhaul. Those and other changes in the bill would cost a total of $102.5 billion over a decade, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, with no offsetting revenue increases or spending cuts.

The panel will take up four separate pieces of legislation Thursday, including the tax extenders measure, which also would provide tax benefits for victims of natural disasters that occurred in 2018 and this year. Two other bills on tap would extend some retroactive tax benefits to same-sex married couples and add $1 billion in each of the next two fiscal years for child care funding under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

Susan Collins casts her 7,000th consecutive Senate vote
Republican senator from Maine hit another milestone with the first floor vote Tuesday

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, arrives for a committee hearing on Tuesday. She has never missed a vote — even after breaking her ankle over Christmas in 2016.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:39 p.m. | Neither snow nor rain nor broken ankles can stop Susan Collins from making it to work.

Tuesday brings a new milestone: The first roll call vote of the day was the 7,000th in a row for the Republican from Maine, who takes pride in having never missed a vote since arriving in the Senate back in 1997.