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Congressional Offices Announced as Democracy Award Finalists to Help Establish Trust in Congress
Congressional Management Foundation picks finalists in four categories

Arizona Rep. David Schweikert and Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, right, are among the finalists. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

To try to “restore a little faith” in Congress, the Congressional Management Foundation on Friday announced the finalists for its first Democracy Awards.

The organization chose its finalists for their focus on constituent services, their workplace environment, innovation, and transparency.

GOP Frets as Trump Calls U.S. Stupid on Trade
Republicans warn president about setting off tariff battle

President Donald Trump signs a copy of the book ‘Let Trump Be Trump’ in the House chamber after his State of the Union address on January 30, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Several Republican lawmakers did Tuesday what few of their colleagues have since Donald Trump took office: They challenged one of the president’s core principles to his face.

Sen. Roy Blunt was among those who warned Trump against starting a trade war with other countries on which many U.S. companies buy goods and materials.

Senate Intel Leaders Look for Better Security Before 2018 Primaries
DNI testifies about importance of public information on Russian election meddling

FBI Director Christopher Wray, left, shakes hands with Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard M. Burr before a Tuesday hearing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee hope to make their findings public on improving election security before primary contests get underway.

That’s what panel Chairman Richard M. Burr, a North Carolina Republican, and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, said Tuesday in wrapping up the open portion of the annual hearing on “Worldwide Threats.”

House Appropriators Ready to Carve Up Budget Deal
Side deal among leaders would divide spending, and could divide members

House Appropriations member Steve Womack, who is also Budget chairman, said he and his fellow appropriators never like to have their work spelled out for them. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A side agreement among congressional leaders to allocate some of the new nondefense funding to opioid abuse prevention, infrastructure and several other priorities is complicating the plan to write a fiscal 2018 omnibus.

Even if that weren’t the case, appropriators say they don’t like being micromanaged.

Wyden Wants Details on NRA Links to Russian Bank Official
Senator requested documents from Treasury Department, gun group

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., requested documents linking a Russian central banker to the NRA. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Sen. Ron Wyden has questions for the National Rifle Association.

The Oregon Democrat requested any documents showing financial links between the organization and Russia, The Associated Press reported Friday.

State of the Union Latest Marching Order for Marc Short
Legislative affairs director is ultimate utility player for Team Trump

Marc Short, White House legislative affairs director, talks with reporters in the Capitol on Nov. 13. He has become an unlikely messenger for President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For Marc Short, the work began in earnest the moment President Donald Trump wrapped up his first official State of the Union address on Tuesday night.

Short, the White House legislative affairs director, played a role in crafting the president’s speech. But he told Roll Call in an interview on Monday that the work of crafting, editing and re-crafting the address fell to a team led by Stephen Miller, Trump’s top domestic policy adviser.

Trump Ups Infrastructure Spending Goal, but Offers No Details
White House may not have settled on a plan yet, Democrat says

Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling, left, and New Jersey Rep. Tom McArthur walk through Statuary Hall on Tuesday as crews set up television interview positions in preparation for President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump laid out a goal at his first State of the Union address Tuesday to spark $1.5 trillion in infrastructure spending from public and private sources and couple the new spending with an overhaul of permitting procedures for projects.

Trump spoke in broad strokes throughout the evening, and his brief mention of infrastructure left many questions unanswered about the administration’s long-promised and still undelivered plan. A House Democrat speculated Tuesday after a canceled White House briefing that the administration hadn’t itself settled on the answers.

State of the Union Guest List
Who lawmakers are bringing this year and what issues they represent

Claudia Sofía Báez Solá, left, who was sent to live with relatives in Florida after Hurricane Maria, will be going to the State of the Union as the guest of Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla. (Courtesy Rep. Soto’s office)

As President Donald Trump delivers his first State of the Union on Tuesday, a few issues will stand out in the crowd.

Members of Congress each get one guest ticket for the address. While some use them for family or friends, others bring a guest who puts a face to an issue they’re pushing.

Grassley Moves on Judicial Nominee Over Baldwin’s Objections
Lack of state commission recommendation, as well as blue slip process, being disregarded

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., objected to an appeals court nominee from her state, but Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, is disregarding her opposition, part of an erosion of Senate influence over the federal judiciary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a confirmation hearing Wednesday for an appeals court nominee from Wisconsin over the objections of Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a move that could portend a weakened influence of senators over federal judicial picks from their states.

By scheduling the hearing, Chairman Charles E. Grassley of Iowa sided with the Trump administration and the executive branch instead of his Senate colleague when it comes to the sway a senator has in recommending who should sit on the federal bench.

House Democrats Maintain Hard Line on Shutdown Demands
Pelosi: “There’s no point having the CR unless we have the terms of engagement”

From left, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Reps. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., and Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., are casting doubt they would support a possible GOP Senate-hatched deal to end the shutdown. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

If Republican leaders want to advance a three-week continuing resolution as a way out of the government shutdown, they will likely need to round up the votes among themselves. 

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Saturday rejected a fall-back plan by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to pass a continuing resolution lasting until Feb. 8 and hold an open floor debate on an immigration bill.