Louisiana

Pelosi, Mnuchin appear close to spending caps, debt limit deal
Agreement would likely include a two-year extension of the debt limit and spending levels

Pelosi reiterated Tuesday her view that in addition to "parity" for nondefense and defense spending increases, funding should be added for Department of Veterans Affairs health care. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are close to making an announcement about spending caps and the debt limit.

“We have a clear understanding of what we want to agree to, and I think that's progress,” Pelosi said Tuesday afternoon after speaking with Mnuchin, who was preparing to leave Wednesday for the G-7 meeting in France. “We'll have an announcement about something soon, one way or the other.”

Officers who saved lives during baseball shooting get one of highest law enforcement honors
David Bailey, Crystal Griner honored with the Congressional Badge of Bravery

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., right, presents the Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery Award to Capitol Police Special Agent Crystal Griner on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Just over two years since a gunman opened fire on an Alexandria, Virginia, baseball diamond and turned a Republican lawmaker practice into a national tragedy, the Capitol Police officers who saved lives were honored Tuesday with the Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery.

Special Agents David Bailey and Crystal Griner of the Capitol Police — both of whom are Maryland residents — were presented with one of the highest honors in law enforcement in the Capitol by the Maryland congressional delegation for their heroic roles in preventing what could have been a massacre. The award honors exceptional acts of bravery in the line of duty by federal, state and local law enforcement for those who have been at risk of injury or injured. It is awarded annually by the U.S. Attorney General and is presented by the recipients’ congressional delegation.

McCarthy pitches monthlong debt ceiling stopgap, if deal can’t be reached
He suggested a 30-day extension to avoid default in early September, if a compromise on discretionary spending caps can’t be reached

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is floating a fallback plan to pass a 30-day extension of the debt limit in the absence of a broader deal before the August recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House’s top Republican suggested that lawmakers pass a 30-day extension of the debt ceiling to avoid default in early September, if Democrats and the White House can’t agree on compromise discretionary spending caps before leaving for the summer break.

“We should not leave for August without dealing with that. And I would say if we can’t get this done, we should do a 30-day [stopgap],” McCarthy told reporters Tuesday. He also said lawmakers ought to stay in town a few days past July 26, when House lawmakers are currently scheduled to leave town, if necessary. The Senate is slated to be in session for an extra week.

Resolution vote forces House Republicans to pick a side on Trump’s racist attack
Several Republicans have publicly criticized president’s tirade, while others defended him

From left, Reps. Ayanna S. Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar  and Rashida Tlaib talk to reporters in the Capitol Visitor Center on Monday responding to President Donald Trump’s attacks on them. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is moving forward with a resolution condemning President Donald Trump’s repeated calls for four non-white members of Congress to “go back” to “the crime infested countries from which they came.” 

Pelosi announced late Monday night that the House will debate the resolution Tuesday afternoon and the vote will occur at 7 p.m.

Facebook cryptocurrency stirs worry and support in both parties
Top Democrat urges Fed and regulators to protect consumers and economy from Facebook’s ‘monopoly money’

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, right, was peppered with questions about how the Fed would deal with Libra, Facebook’s new cryptocurrency. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Facebook Inc. got a preview Wednesday of what to expect next week when executives come to testify about plans to launch Libra, a digital currency and online payment system.

At a hearing Wednesday morning, Democrats and Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee peppered Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell with questions about how the central bank would respond to Libra.

Lawmakers push new bills to deter call centers from leaving the US
Measures adds to ongoing legislative efforts at the state level

Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey has reintroduced a bill to protect U.S. call center workers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Anyone who’s had to call customer service in recent years knows the current reality: A vast majority of companies have moved their call centers overseas to save money.

But states, urged on by advocates for U.S. workers, have been fighting back. Two dozen have considered or are considering legislation to deter the moves, and a few have passed bills.

Acosta defends plea deal as Epstein child-sex scandal engulfs Trump
Labor secretary continues to play defense against criticism about accused child sex trafficker’s previous plea deal

Labor Secretary Alex Acosta is interviewed during the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference in Oxon Hill, Md. Wednesday, Acosta defended himself against criticism after he cut a generous plea deal with accused child sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein while he was U.S. Attorney in South Florida. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As President Donald Trump struggles to shake a child-sex scandal involving a former friend, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta defended a 2007 plea deal he offered billionaire financier and accused sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

Acosta used an afternoon press conference to call alleged sex-trafficking by Epstein “despicable,” and said his actions deserve a “stiffer sentence” than the 13 months he served last decade. He called a new New York case against him that included charges filed Monday an “important opportunity to more fully bring Epstein to justice.”

GOP senators sound optimistic about Trump’s new Fed picks
They’re at least faring better than the president’s last two picks

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., spoke highly of Federal Reserve nominee Christopher Waller. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A week after President Donald Trump tweeted his intention to nominate Judy Shelton and Christopher Waller to the Federal Reserve Board, GOP senators are expressing cautious optimism about both picks, despite Shelton’s unorthodox views on monetary policy.

They’re at least better than the president’s previous two picks — Stephen Moore and Herman Cain dropped out before they were officially nominated — said Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Alabama. “Well, we haven’t evaluated them yet, but the previous two were lacking in a lot of things,” he said.

Senate Republicans tiptoe around Acosta, largely defer on his future
Labor secretary's role in cutting deal with Jeffrey Epstein

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says he’ll defer to the president on Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta’s future. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Some Republicans in Congress are looking for more answers about Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta’s conduct as U.S. attorney, but they’re  not joining calls by Democrats that he step down because of a generous plea deal he cut with accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

One Republican member of the Judiciary Committee said Tuesday that Acosta should explain his handling of the plea agreement with Epstein.

Hearings on Facebook’s Libra could dim cryptocurrencies’ sheen
Lawmakers have already made up their minds about fintech, some in the industry fear

Two congressional committees are preparing for hearings on Facebook’s new cryptocurrency, Libra.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The financial technology industry is anticipating a windfall of attention and possible scrutiny following upcoming House and Senate hearings on Libra, the new cryptocurrency announced by Facebook last month.

Advocates for the growth of blockchain technology and digital currencies say Facebook’s entry into fintech is an exciting development for an industry that still exists in relative obscurity because of public misconceptions about the technology and lack of clear regulations governing their use.