Sheila Jackson Lee

Awkward pauses, THC and a geography lesson: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of Oct. 21, 2019

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., at podium, speaks during a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center outside the Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense, deposition related to the House's impeachment inquiry on Wednesday, October 23, 2019. The Republican members were calling for access to the deposition. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans pulled a high school prank, Delaware Democratic Sen. Thomas R. Carper gave a geography lesson and no one could remember how basic floor procedure worked.

All that plus Sen. John Cornyn learned the basics of marijuana plants, lawmakers forgot each others’ home states, and Democratic D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton challenged Democratic Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee to a World Series wager.

Rating change: Hurd retirement moves Texas district toward Democrats
Three-term Republican won his Clinton seat along U.S.-Mexico border by less than 1,000 votes in 2018

Texas Rep. Will Hurd will not seek another term in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Will Hurd of Texas has been considered one of the Republicans’ strongest incumbents. He proved that last fall, when he was one of just three in the House GOP Conference to win reelection in a district that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016.

But Hurd, who founded a cybersecurity firm before running for Congress, announced Thursday night that he will be returning to his roots.

Photos of the Week: Stewart smirks, Stevens at rest and Mueller milieu
The week of July 26 as captured by Roll Call’s photojournalists

Jon Stewart, former host of The Daily Show, smiles as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks by at the Ohio Clock Corridor in the Capitol on Tuesday. The Senate voted 97-2 later in the day to pass HR 1327 — a bill that would authorize funding for 9/11 first responders to be compensated. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It was a week for the history books on Capitol Hill. 

Washingtonians said goodbye to former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who died July 16 at age 99. Many on the Hill smirked at Jon Stewart’s now-famous smirk and, of course, the nation mulled over the Robert S. Mueller III hearings in the House.

Mueller shuns spotlight, but says probe didn’t ‘exonerate’ Trump
President has claimed investigation cleared him of obstruction of justice

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller leaves the witness table for a recess in the House Judiciary Committee hearing on "Oversight of the Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election" on Wednesday, July 24, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

On a day House Democrats hoped Robert S. Mueller III’s televised testimony Wednesday would animate the special counsel’s 448-page report for the nation, the star witness eschewed the leading role with a muted performance with few soundbites during the first of two back-to-back hearings.

Mueller’s answers were concise. He often said simply, “True,” or “I rely on the language of the report.” The 74-year-old gray-haired Marine veteran and former FBI director frequently didn’t speak into the mic.

Photos of the day: Mueller testifies, and a circus ensues around him in Washington
July 24 in photos as captured by Roll Call's photojournalists

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., takes a photo with his phone as former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III testifies during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on “Oversight of the Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election” on Wednesday, July 24, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is spending the day on the Hill, testifying at two House committees on his report and investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Images of the hearing splashed across phones and TV from Hill office buildings to local D.C. bars as the world watches.

Here’s the day in photos:

Ta-Nehisi Coates wants you to stop laughing about reparations
Writer takes aim at reparation critics like Mitch McConnell

Author Ta-Nehisi Coates testifies about reparations for the descendants of slaves during a hearing before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties on Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Dave Chappelle has a sketch imagining a future in which African Americans are awarded reparative damages due from centuries of American slavery and discrimination. The routine features newly rich black people “blowing” their payments on rims, menthol cigarettes and rap record labels. The sketch is a smorgasbord of stereotypes conveying the message that the concept of reparations is so preposterous that it’s OK to make fun of it.

But fewer people are laughing now. And that’s largely because of writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and his 2014 landmark essay “The Case for Reparations.” The 15,000-word article, published in The Atlantic, didn’t just deal with chattel slavery; it focused on housing discrimination and predatory lending practices that robbed many black Americans of their wealth. According to reparations proponents, that legacy is largely responsible for the ongoing racial wealth gap, wherein the typical white family owns 10 times the assets of the typical black family.

Democrats’ next move unclear after approving subpoena lawsuits
Resolution is House’s broadest step so far in response to Trump’s ‘oppose-all-the-subpoenas’ strategy

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., second from left, says the resolution approved Tuesday, which gives committees the authority to take Trump administration officials to court quickly, had a broader purpose than just getting to court to get documents related to the Mueller probe. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 7:13 p.m. | House Democrats voted Tuesday to bolster their oversight power by giving committees the authority to take Trump administration officials to court quickly, but it did little to settle broader questions in a caucus that is trying to balance competing political and legal strategies ahead of the 2020 elections.

The resolution becomes the House’s broadest step in response to President Donald Trump’s “oppose-all-the-subpoenas” strategy, because it allows the Democrats to skip the floor process to enforce committee subpoenas through the federal courts.

Judiciary Democrats may ask full House to formally approve their investigation into Trump
Jackson Lee says she thinks it is time for a resolution of investigation

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, says House Judiciary Committee Democrats may file a resolution of investigation to have the full House vote to approve the panel's probe into potential obstruction of justice and abuses of power by the Trump administration. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Some Judiciary Committee Democrats, concerned about the Trump administration escalating its stonewalling into their investigation of potential obstruction of justice and abuses of power by the president and his associates, want the full House to approve their probe. 

“I believe we are at a point now that we should issue a resolution of investigation,” senior Judiciary member Shelia Jackson Lee said Thursday.

House Judiciary votes to hold Barr in contempt over Mueller report release
Ahead of a House Judiciary vote to hold AG Barr in contempt of Congress, the Justice Department announced the president‘s decision

Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and ranking member Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., conduct a House Judiciary Committee markup in Rayburn Building on Wednesday, May 8, 2019, to vote on whether to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over the unredacted Mueller report to the committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House Judiciary Committee approved a resolution Wednesday to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress over access to the full special counsel report, escalating a broadening clash between the legislative and executive branches over congressional oversight.

The resolution, approved on a 24-16 roll call vote along party lines, came after days of negotiations with the Justice Department in public and private that came down to how many lawmakers and staffers could see and discuss the report from Robert S. Mueller III, and how much material they would see because of court orders protecting it

Nielsen out as Homeland Security chief
Trump faulted her for not clamping down on illegal border crossings

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is reportedly leaving her post. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 6:59 p.m. | President Donald Trump announced Sunday that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is leaving his administration.

The move by Trump comes after months of frustration with what he saw as her inability to clamp down on illegal crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border.