John Garamendi

House may vote on resolution to disapprove of Trump’s national emergency
Velázquez says chamber will vote on Castro disapproval resolution, but leadership says no decision made

Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., said the House will vote on a resolution to disapprove of President Donald Trump declaring a national emergency to build the wall. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 9:34 p.m. | The House will vote on a resolution of disapproval that would push back on President Donald Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency to free up more funds for a wall along the southern border, according to New York Democrat Nydia M. Velázquez. But a leadership aide said no such decision about a vote has been made. 

Velázquez said the timing of the vote had not yet been settled on but added that the disapproval resolution sponsored by Texas Democrat Joaquin Castro would be the first vote taken. Castro, the chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said in a statement that he was “prepared to introduce a resolution to terminate the President’s emergency declaration under 50 U.S.C. 1622. (National Emergencies Act)” if Trump made such a move.

Bill would honor Rep. Walter Jones by repealing AUMF
Late North Carolina Republican was among the fiercest critics of 2001 military force authorization

Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., motions to an aide during a news conference in 2011 to announce legislation he co-sponsored calling for an exit strategy from Afghanistan. (Bill Clark/Roll Call file photo)

A new bill named after the late Rep. Walter B. Jones, who left behind a legacy of dogged opposition to war, would repeal the military force authorization passed in the days after the 9/11 attacks.

Colleagues and constituents have heaped praise on the longtime North Carolina Republican, who died Sunday on his 76th birthday and whose funeral will be held Thursday at his parish church in Greenville.

I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. Trump
The State of the Union provides a spotlight for more than just the president

Get ready to see a lot of this at Tuesday’s State of the Union and its aftermath. Above, California Rep. John Garamendi, left, waits to do a TV news hit in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

All eyes will be on the House chamber this coming week, with plenty of drama surrounding both the State of the Union deliverer in chief, President Donald Trump, who just might use the occasion to declare a national emergency on the southern border, and no small number of congressional Democrats who want his job and have already declared their presidential campaigns. Roll Call elections analyst Nathan L. Gonzales and I talked about the dynamic on the latest Political Theater podcast.

Speaking of that chamber of rivals Trump will be facing, Stu Rothenberg has a two-part column this week about questions the Democratic Party should answer as the nomination process gets under way in earnest. 

2018 in 5 Minutes: The Best of Congressional Hits and Misses
 

As the 115th Congress limps across the finish line with several unfinished spending bills and a partially shutdown federal government, Hits and Misses takes a look back at our favorite funny, awkward and downright bizarre moments from the House and Senate in 2018.

House Democrats Elect 4 Members to Run Messaging Arm
Cicilline will chair DPCC, and Lieu, Dingell and Cartwright will serve as co-chairs

Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., will lead House Democrats’ messaging arm next Congress as chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline will again lead House Democrats’ messaging arm next year, after being elected Thursday by acclamation to a newly created top position at the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. 

Cicilline will be the new DPCC chair, ranking higher than three DPCC co-chairs the Democratic Caucus also elected Thursday. He had served as one of the three co-chairs for the 2018 cycle. 

House Democrats’ New Leadership Team Will Be Mostly Same People
Five to seven current leaders expected to be elected again Wednesday, some in new roles

When House Democrats select their new leaders this week, the faces at the top of the ticket will likely be unchanged from the last 12 years: From left, Rep. James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, Nancy Pelosi of California and Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

All the talk of a new generation of House Democratic leaders looks like it won’t materialize into any significant changes, as five to seven members of the current leadership team are likely to be elected to the new one. 

The Democratic Caucus will meet Wednesday — and possibly into Thursday — to nominate a speaker candidate for the Jan. 3 floor vote and to elect its other leaders for the 116th Congress. 

The Lone Leadership Hopeful Not Yet Backing Pelosi for Speaker
Most leadership candidates have made sure to let the press know they support Pelosi

Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., who is running for one of the three Democratic Policy and Communications Committee co-chair slots, is the only leadership candidate who has not yet committed to supporting Nancy Pelosi for speaker. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

All but one House Democrat running for an elected leadership position is supporting Nancy Pelosi for speaker. 

The lone candidate who hasn’t yet backed the California Democrat in her quest to retake the gavel is Pennsylvania Rep. Matt Cartwright

These Planes Will Fight Fires, If You Can Wait 10 Years
Stalled Air Force conversions show how a seemingly straightforward job can take years in the arcane federal acquisition system

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., spearheaded the recent legislative mandates to convert the transport planes into fire tankers. It’s taking too long, she says. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In 2013, Congress ordered the Air Force to convert seven Coast Guard transport planes into firefighting tanker aircraft, but now the first of the planes may not be ready to fight fires for several more years, nearly a decade after the initial plan was launched. 

The story of the seven planes illustrates how a seemingly straightforward job can take years in the arcane federal acquisition system, even when the equipment is a matter of life and death. 

Incoming Freshman Chrissy Houlahan Running for Democratic Leadership Post
Pennsylvania member-elect announces bid for Democratic Policy and Communications Committee co-chair

Rep.-elect Chrissy Houlahan, D-Pa., is running to be one of three co-chairs of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Pennsylvania member-elect Chrissy Houlahan is launching a bid for Democratic leadership, arguing that the nearly 60 incoming freshmen should be represented as the caucus crafts its messaging strategy for defending its newly obtained majority.

“I think that people recognize that there is this great big class of people who are coming in with kind of fresh experience and fresh legs and fresh ideas and that if we would like to maintain the majority that we need to make sure that we’re listening to everybody,” she said in an interview. 

Coast Guard Bill Returns ‘Delta Queen’ Steamboat to Spotlight
Senate reauthorization measure would exempt boat from safety regulations

A provision in the Senate’s Coast Guard authorization bill would allow the Delta Queen, a wooden steamboat, to operate as an overnight cruise ship despite safety concerns. (Al Behrman/AP file photo)

Senate votes this week will help determine whether a 91-year-old wooden steamboat can be revived as an overnight river cruise ship — even though the Department of Homeland Security calls that prospect an “unacceptable” fire risk.

A provision buried deep in a recently modified version of the Senate’s Coast Guard authorization bill would exempt the Delta Queen paddle wheel boat from federal law and Coast Guard regulations that require vessels with overnight accommodations for 50 or more passengers to be made of fireproof materials. The boat’s owner envisions the vessel as a Mississippi River cruise vessel for up to 174 passengers.