leadership

Members Join Rubio in Criticizing Trump Over China Talks
President says he is not satisfied with outcome of latest trade negotiations

Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., left, and James Risch, R-Idaho, attend a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in January 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It was Sen. Marco Rubio, not Donald Trump, who used a morning tweet Tuesday to help shape the day’s agenda. The Florida Republican slammed the president’s trade talks with China, prompting other members to voice their concerns.

Rubio wrote that China is “out-negotiating the administration & winning the trade talks right now,” criticizing the Trump administration for putting on hold tariffs aimed at Beijing while moving ahead with efforts to save troubled Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE. He also panned the White House for not forcing concessions from Chinese officials.

Rescissions Package On Hold While GOP Deliberates
GAO delivers relatively good news, even as schedule slips

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and his leadership team face a deadline next month to consider the rescissions package before procedural protections expire. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional auditors delivered some good news for the White House and House GOP leaders on Tuesday, saying in a report that President Donald Trump’s $15.2 billion spending cuts proposal mostly meets tests laid out in the 1974 statute establishing the “rescissions” process — even as leaders decided to put off consideration of the package until next month. 

The Government Accountability Office found that two Transportation Department accounts slated for $134 million in cuts can’t legally be “impounded,” or blocked by the administration during the initial 45-day period after submission of the requests to Congress. The rest of the cuts, including rescissions from mandatory spending accounts like the Children’s Health Insurance Program, are allowed to go forward under the 1974 law establishing the modern rescissions process, according to the GAO.

Growth in Domestic Oil and Natural Gas Poses New Policy Issues
Republicans want to make overseas shipment of liquefied natural gas easier

The United States is flush with supplies of oil and natural gas — and that has lawmakers contemplating policy changes. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images file photo)

When it comes to U.S. energy supplies, Congress’ default setting for decades had been worry: worry that America did not have enough energy to meet its needs and worry that OPEC would hold the U.S. hostage by jacking up the price of — or withholding — its oil.

That setting has changed. With the U.S. flush with supplies of oil and natural gas over the past few years, Congress has permitted the export of domestic oil and raided the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to reduce the budget deficit and offset costs of unrelated legislation. And now Republicans want to make it easier for producers to ship liquefied natural gas overseas.

Paul Ryan Pushes Back on Pressure for Early Exit
Republican leaders defend capabilities amid caucus disagreements

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., right, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., left have had to answer tough questions about the future of the House leadership situation and reports of McCarthy's role in pushing Ryan aside. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan defended himself Tuesday amid reports of threats to his leadership position and reiterated his view that it’s not in Republicans best interest to have a divisive leadership race before the November midterm elections.

“Obviously I serve at the pleasure of the members; those are the people who drafted me in this job the first place,” the Wisconsin Republican said when asked if he is confident he will remain speaker through the election. “But I think we all agree the best thing for us is to complete our agenda and not wedge into the completion of our agenda divisive leadership elections.”

Partisan Split Over Election Security Widens as 2018 Midterms Inch Closer
House given classified briefing on what DHS, FBI, DNI are doing to secure elections at state, local levels

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, left, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee address the media after a briefing on election security with House members in the Capitol Visitor Center on May 22, 2018. FBI Director Christopher Wray and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats also attended. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats and Republicans struck drastically different tones about their confidence in federal agencies’ efforts to secure voting systems and stamp out foreign state-sponsored influence campaigns ahead of the 2018 midterms after a classified meeting on the subject for House members Tuesday.

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, and FBI Director Christopher Wray were among the officials who briefed lawmakers and answered their questions about what their agencies are doing to combat potential Russian, Iranian, Chinese, and other nations’ attempts to undermine the midterms.

Cárdenas Faces Calls to Resign Ahead of Primary
Judge allows civil suit from minor who says congressman touched her in 2007 to proceed

Protesters called on Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-Calif., to resign amid allegations of sexually abusing a teenage girl in 2007. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic Rep. Tony Cárdenas faced calls to resign ahead of California’s primary next month amid  after a judge allowed a civil suit accusing him of sexually abusing a teenage girl in 2007 to move forward.

Around 20 protesters descended on Cárdenas’ office in Van Nuys on Monday, saying they believe his accuser, the Los Angeles Daily News reported.

House Republicans Break Record for Closed Rules in Single Congress
Ranking Democrat on Rules Committee: ‘It’s like the majority is allergic to an open process’

The House Rules Committee under Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, has broken a record for the number of closed rules reported during a single Congress. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Rules Committee broke a record Monday night for the number of closed rules — a mechanism for setting up floor debate on a bill without amendments — reported in a single Congress. 

The panel tied and then surpassed the previous record set during the Republican-controlled 113th Congress of 83 closed rules when it reported out two closed rules.

3 Ways Nancy Pelosi Won’t Be Speaker Next Year
GOP could well lose the boogeywoman who keeps its base energized

There are at least three scenarios in which House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi won’t become speaker again, Gonzales writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Nancy Pelosi is a drug that Republicans just can’t quit, and the GOP hopes that the threat of her becoming speaker of the House again will awaken any potentially apathetic base voters. While that might work for Republicans for yet another cycle, it might be the last cycle with their favorite boogeywoman, considering there are at least three scenarios in which the California Democrat won’t regain the leadership mantle.

Given the presence of a polarizing President Donald Trump in the White House and historical midterm trends, falling short of a majority in November would be a catastrophe for Democrats.

DCCC Launches Joint TV Ad With California’s Harley Rouda
Democrats work to avoid getting shut out in 48th District jungle primary

California Democrat Harley Rouda attends a campaign rally in Laguna Beach, Calif., on Sunday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. — The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is teaming up with businessman Harley Rouda on a joint television ad two weeks before the critical California primary.

Rouda is the DCCC-backed candidate in the 48th district held by Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher. The ad, shared first with Roll Call, is part of a Democratic push to mobilize voters to vote in the June 5 primary.

Campaign Staff for Archie Parnell Quit After Candidate’s Past Abuse Revelations
South Carolina Democrat is running for the 5th District

South Carolina Democrat Archie Parnell says he will remain in the 5th District race despite revelations that he physically abused his ex-wife in the 1970s. (Simone Pathé/CQ Roll Call file photo)

South Carolina Democrat Archie Parnell physically abused his former wife in the 1970s, according to court documents unearthed by his campaign and obtained by The (Charleston) Post and Courier.

Parnell’s campaign manager and his finance manager have quit, according to a source close to the campaign.