Pete Aguilar

‘Public charge’ rule creates Homeland spending bill headache
Amendment blocks proposed rules on immigrant access to Medicaid and food stamps

Rep. David Price, D-N.C., offered an amendment that would block the Department of Homeland Security's proposed "public charge" rule from going into effect. (File photo by Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

An amendment inserted into the House's fiscal 2020 Homeland Security spending bill by Appropriations Committee Democrats during the panel's June markup would bust the subcommittee's allocation by nearly $3.1 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Adopted on a 28-21 vote, the amendment from Reps. David E. Price of North Carolina, Pete Aguilar and Barbara Lee of California, and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin would block a number of Trump administration immigration policies, including protecting beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals from deportation and revoking Trump's travel ban against predominantly Muslim countries.

As Democrats head for border tour, reports emerge of agents ridiculing them on Facebook
Group to tour Customs and Border Patrol center likened to ‘torture facilities’

From left, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna S. Pressley and Rashida Tlaib are among a group of Democrats traveling to Clint, Texas, on Monday for a fact-finding mission hosted by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

More than a dozen Democrats on Monday are visiting a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol facility accused of child neglect and filthy conditions as reports emerged that border agents ridiculed them in a secret Facebook group.

Two Latina lawmakers slated to visit the center, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Veronica Escobar of Texas, were targets of sexist and racist derision in the Facebook group, according to an investigation by ProPublica. The group has 9,500 members, a number commensurate to nearly half of all agents who make up the CBP, though it’s not clear that every member of the group is a border agent.

For Colin Allred, Major League dreams are close to coming true
NFL veteran returns to his first sporting love at the Congressional Baseball Game

Colin Allred earned first-team all-district honors his sophomore and junior seasons at Hillcrest High School in Dallas. (Courtesy Office of Rep. Colin Allred)

As a kid, Rep. Colin Allred dreamed of playing baseball on a Major League field. The Texas Democrat will get that chance Wednesday night at the Congressional Baseball Game, and he could add significant heft to an already loaded Democratic squad.

It hasn’t been a typical path for Allred — college football, the National Football League, law school, a job in the Obama’s administration, and getting elected to Congress to represent the Dallas-area 32nd District.

Hearing on Congressional Research Service zeroes in on diversity issue
Rare look inside CRS at House Administration Committee

Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, said the Congressional Research Service should have a more diverse staff. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A rare public hearing on Thursday examining the Congressional Research Service revealed concerns about its lack of diversity in its leadership ranks, as members questioned its leader about hiring practices.

At Thursday’s House Administration Committee, Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., asked CRS Director Mary B. Mazanec about the staff closest to her, specifically if any were a person of color, which he defined as “African American, Latino, Asian American, Pacific Islander.” Mazanec said she had “about 12 direct reports,” and only one of them was a person of color.

House moves closer to undoing a ban on Dreamers working in government
An amendment to an appropriations bill was approved out of subcommittee Monday

An amendment to allow Dreamers to work in the federal government was approved out of subcommittee on Monday. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House moved one step closer this week towards unlocking civil service jobs for hundreds of thousands of Dreamers.

Young adult immigrants protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or Dreamers, cannot apply to jobs on Capitol Hill or with federal agencies because of a little-known provision in annual appropriations bills. But Rep. Pete Aguilar announced Monday that an amendment he proposed to override the provision was included in a $24.9 billion government operations spending bill. That bill was approved by the House Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee Monday night.

Hispanic Caucus to Homeland Security conferees: No more money for immigrant detention or a wall
Letter also calls for more oversight of immigration enforcement agencies

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, pictured with his son, as House members were sworn in on the first day of the 116th Congress on Jan. 3, led a letter to the Homeland Security appropriations conference urging them not to approve any more money for immigration detention or a wall. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Joaquin Castro and 20 members of his caucus sent a letter to the Homeland Security conferees urging them not to appropriate any more money for immigrant detention or a border wall.

“We urge you to oppose increases in funding for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for the purposes of immigration detention, Trump’s deportation force, the border wall — and ensure that certain types of detention are not expanded or replaced in ways that conflict with the goal of reducing detention overall.”

Unshackled by leadership, appropriators ready to deal on border

Top congressional leaders say they will leave a border security conference committee to work its will. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The top congressional leaders in both chambers have a message for the 17 appropriators making up the House-Senate conference committee on Homeland Security spending: Do your thing.

And that’s a positive sign for negotiations on border security funding that are going down to the wire again, with a Feb. 15 deadline to avert yet another partial government shutdown. Appropriators want to reach at least an agreement in principle by the end of this week, to be able to start putting pen to paper over the weekend.

Flower fund collects pocket change while appropriators tally billions
Chairwoman Lowey: ‘Make a contribution of $20 today’

Reps. Will Hurd, R-Texas and Ed Case, D-Hawaii, two of the junior members of the House Appropriations Committee, will lead the flower fund. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Reps. Ed Case and Will Hurd, two of the junior members of the House Appropriations Committee, found out Wednesday that they’ll be in charge of loose change and crumpled dollar bills instead of the billions of federal spending they probably expected.

Upon the announcement that Case, a Hawaii Democrat, and Hurd, a Texas Republican, were named co-chairs of the House Appropriations flower fund, other appropriators began pulling cash out of their pockets and handbags and passing it to the two newcomers with the flower power.

Katherine Clark Elected House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair
Massachusetts Democrat becomes second-highest-ranking woman, behind Pelosi

Rep. Katherine M. Clark, D-Mass., was elected to serve as the vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus in the 116th Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Massachusetts Rep. Katherine M. Clark was elected House Democratic Caucus vice chair for the 116th Congress, handily beating California Rep. Pete Aguilar

The vote tally was 144-90. 

Cicilline Announces Bid for Assistant Democratic Leader
Rhode Island lawmaker says he can go "toe-to-toe" with "other side"

Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., will run for assistant Democratic leader if his party takes back the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline will run for assistant Democratic leader next Congress if his party retakes the House, he announced in a letter to his colleagues Thursday.

“We need to make sure that we have a leadership team that can hit the ground running to pass our legislative agenda and to hold President Trump accountable for his actions,” Cicilline wrote. “In committee and on the Floor, I’ve proven that I can go toe-to-toe with the other side of the aisle and that I won’t back down.”