Tom Cole

Native American representation on Capitol Hill concerns House lawmakers
Appropriators take aim at what they call offensive art and disrespectful tours

House Appropriators are urging the Architect of the Capitol to work with the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian to contextualize portrayals of Native Americans on Capitol Hill. Former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo., a member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe and pictured here, spoke at the opening of the museum in 2004. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo.)

House lawmakers are raising issues about Native American representation in and around the Capitol — and they aren’t talking about the record number of Native American women in the 116th Congress.

A House Appropriations Committee report released Wednesday highlights disrespectful descriptions of Native Americans on Capitol tours and depictions in artwork around the Capitol campus, which “do not portray Native Americans as equals or Indian nations as independent sovereigns.” 

The net neutrality bill is dead in the Senate, but Democrats don’t mind
Democrats are confident they’ll be able to use it to skewer vulnerable GOP candidates next November

Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., leave the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already declared the Democratic net neutrality bill, which passed the House on Wednesday, “dead on arrival” in the upper chamber.

But Senate Democrats don’t seem to mind.

Violence Against Women Act clears House
Measure includes firearms restrictions and expansion of transgender rights

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick was the lone Republican co-sponsor of the Violence Against Women Act. He was one of 33 Republicans to support the measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House voted Thursday to renew the lapsed Violence Against Women Act, but the proposal stoked contention over provisions restricting gun rights and expanding rights for transgender individuals.

Lawmakers voted 263-158 to pass the measure, which highlighted divisions within the Republican caucus. While the bill does have one Republican co-sponsor, Pennsylvania’s Brian Fitzpatrick, other House Republicans objected to new provisions included in the VAWA reauthorization measure. In all, 33 Republicans voted for the measure, and one, Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska, voted present.

House Democrats launch push on VAWA expansion
The effort does more than extend the law — it adds a contentious gun control provision

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., pictured talking to Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., at a rally April 2, wants to pass an expanded version of the Violence Against Women Act rather than extend current law. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats take their first step this week to expand the Violence Against Women Act in an effort to prompt the Senate to do more than simply extend the lapsed domestic violence law — and they've included a contentious gun control provision.

The House is expected to pass the bill to reauthorize the 1994 law and add language to expand housing protections for victims, give more help to Native American women and enhance law enforcement tools through grants.

Battle over Mueller report moving to House floor
Rules Committee clears measure for consideration by chamber

House Rules Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said calling for the release of the Mueller report did not mean there was an prejudgment of the report's findings. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House moved a step closer on Monday to demanding the Justice Department release to Congress the full report special counsel Robert S. Mueller III submits of his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

The House Rules Committee passed the nonbinding resolution by voice vote Monday. That sets up a floor vote on the measure Thursday, according to a spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which would be among the last things the chamber does before breaking for a weeklong recess.

Appropriators scold agency for poor student loan oversight
Aftershocks of inspector general report reach Congress

Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., urged student loan servicers and the FSA to remember that people’s livelihoods are at stake. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Education Department has to do a better job of holding accountable the companies that service student loans and don’t always do what’s best for borrowers, House appropriators said Wednesday.

The hearing by the House Appropriations Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee comes after the Education Department inspector general issued a report last month that, among other things, said the Federal Student Aid program was inadequately overseeing loan servicers, who violated rules that prevented borrowers from choosing favorable repayment plans or even paying the correct monthly amounts.

3 Things to Watch: ‘Trump Show, Shutdown II’ heads to climactic scene
Will he or won’t he? Not even GOP lawmakers, WH staff seem to know

President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress in the Capitol on Feb. 5, during which he delivered hardline border security remarks. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

If Yogi Berra, the New York Yankees hall of fame catcher, was around to gaggle with reporters at the White House or in a Capitol hallway about the ongoing border security spending and government shutdown drama, he would likely note that it feels “like déjà vu all over again.”

Washington has entered a time warp of sorts as President Donald Trump and his top aides tiptoe up to the edge of declaring he will sign a bipartisan compromise package that would hand him $4.3 billion less for his proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall than he has for months demanded. By Wednesday morning, it became increasingly difficult to be sure whether it was December 2018 or February 2019.

Amid border wall debate, House and Senate Republicans aligned on spending issues, for once
GOP unity over border wall has lasted for seven-plus weeks now but could soon be tested

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, right, have largely been on the same page when it comes to border wall funding President Donald Trump, center, has advocated. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For years, House Republicans would blame the Senate if they didn’t get their way in spending negotiations. But now, amid an ongoing border wall funding dispute, GOP lawmakers in both chambers are finally on the same page.

The symbiotic relationship is oddly timed with House Republicans in the minority. In the previous two Congresses, Republicans held the majority in both chambers — first under former President Barack Obama and then under President Donald Trump — but rarely agreed on appropriations matters.

Border security bargainers get to work, still miles apart
First conference committee meeting does little to close the divide

From left, Senate Appropriations chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., House Appropriations chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., House Appropriations ranking member Kay Granger, R-Texas, and Senate Appropriations ranking member Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., talk before the start of the Homeland Security Appropriations Conference Committee on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats showed few signs of giving in to President Donald Trump’s demands for $5.7 billion for a border wall as a conference committee began talks Wednesday to strike a border security deal that would also fund the Department of Homeland Security for fiscal 2019.

But both sides expressed optimism and pledged to work toward an agreement by the Feb. 15 deadline that the president can sign, and thus avoid another partial government shutdown.

House Democrats drop Pence, cabinet pay freeze from federal worker raise bill
The bill’s lead sponsor said continuing the executive-level pay freeze would have jeopardized the broader bill

House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., is interviewed by CQ Roll Call in the Capitol on Jan. 7, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats are primed to remove a provision of federal worker pay legislation set for a floor vote Wednesday that would have continued a pay freeze for Vice President Mike Pence and other senior Trump administration officials.

The Rules Committee adopted the changes as part of a self-executing rule for floor debate on the underlying bill, which would give the roughly 2 million federal civilian employees a 2.6 percent pay raise this year. That would put civilian workers on par with military servicemembers, who got the same raise in the fiscal 2019 Defense appropriations bill enacted last year.