Tom Udall

Democrats Press Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg to Disclose More About Political Ads
Senators want voluntary disclosures about buyers of politically charged advertising

Democrats want Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to offer more voluntary disclosure about political ads. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A contingent of Senate Democratic Conference members want Facebook to voluntarily disclose more about the sources of advertising dollars on the social media platform.

The group led by New Jersey’s Robert Menendez, highlights in a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg efforts by Russia to use Facebook to spread political messaging to undermine the U.S. electoral process.

Informal Nature of Border Wall Request Roils Spending Debate
Trump still hasn’t submitted “budget amendment” on $5 billion demand

President Donald Trump still hasn’t put details of his $5 billion request for border wall funding on paper in any official capacity. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump’s $5 billion demand for a U.S.-Mexico border wall has held up the entire spending wrap-up for fiscal 2019. Yet Trump still hasn’t put the details of that request on paper in any official capacity, a departure from precedent that is in keeping with this president’s unconventional style.

The fact Congress hasn’t gotten a formal letter to change the border ask seems technical. But it has set a stage for debate where no one’s arguing on the same terms. And this has arguably let lawmakers and the White House escape a broader debate on the substance by simultaneously referring to an outdated budget request or a dollar figure that doesn’t exist formally on paper.

Chuck Schumer and Fellow Democrats Want to Stop ‘Grinch Bots’ From Stealing Christmas Toys
Latest effort with Sen. Richard Blumenthal and others seeks to curtail gift-buying bots

Democrats Want to Stop “Grinch Bots’ from stealing Christmas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

On Black Friday, a group of Democratic lawmakers want to stop “Grinch bots” from scooping up all the inventory of the year’s hottest Christmas presents.

“Grinch bots cannot be allowed to steal Christmas, or dollars, from the wallets of countless consumers,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said in a statement. “Middle class folks save up — a little here, a little there — working to afford the hottest gifts of the season for their kids but ever-changing technology and its challenges are making that very difficult. It’s time we help restore an even playing field by blocking the bots.”

Democratic Staff of Most Powerful Senate Committees Have the Least Racial Diversity
But Senate Republicans have not published their own statistics

Senate Appropriations ranking member Patrick Leahy appears in the Capitol last year. Three of the four Senate committees with the least diverse Democratic staffs this year are also the most powerful. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate committees with the whitest Democratic staffs are also some of the chamber’s most powerful.

Appropriations, Finance and Armed Services are three of the four least diverse panels, according to a Roll Call analysis of data released by the Senate Democrats. Just 5 percent, 6 percent and 13 percent of their respective staffs are non-Caucasian.

Latino Staffers Who Call the Shots on Capitol Hill
Seven aides discuss challenges they had to confront because of their backgrounds

Olivia Perez-Cubas is Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s communications director. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Latino staffers are leading offices on Capitol Hill, running communications operations and advising some of the highest-ranking members of Congress.

Many started out their careers as interns. Some got their big break through the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, or through someone looking out for them.

Senate Energy-Water Bill Advanced Amid Nuclear Weapons Debate
Concerns raised about funding low-yield nuclear weapon

Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was the lone vote opposing a $43.8 billion draft Energy-Water fiscal 2019 spending measure that the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced Thursday.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Appropriations Committee advanced 30-1 Thursday a $43.8 billion draft Energy-Water fiscal 2019 spending measure before entering into a lengthy consideration of how to dispose of 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium and the development of new low-yield nuclear weapons.

The bill would boost spending for the Energy Department, Army Corps of Engineers and related programs by $566 million compared to fiscal 2018 enacted appropriations and is $7.2 billion more than the Trump administration requested. The House version would fund the same agencies at $44.7 billion.

Democrats Pitch Voting Rights, Ethics Overhaul With Focus on Trump
Latest 2018 campaign theme reminiscent of 2006

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks at Monday afternoon’s “A Better Deal for Our Democracy” press conference hosted by House and Senate Democrats. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional Democrats have returned to a playbook that might look familiar to anyone around Capitol Hill back in 2006.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer are seeking to overhaul a number of laws and root out government corruption.

EPA’s Pruitt Faces Bipartisan Criticism at Senate Spending Panel
Discussion of agency’s budget takes back seat to scandals

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt faced some hard questions when he appeared before a Senate subcommittee on Wednesday. (Photo By Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt faced a bipartisan lashing at a Senate Interior-Environment Appropriation Subcommittee hearing where agency scandals largely eclipsed discussion of the fiscal 2019 budget.

“I am concerned that many of the important policy efforts that you are engaged in are being overshadowed because of a series of issues related to you and your management of the agency,” Subcommittee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said as she kicked off a hearing on the EPA’s fiscal 2019 budget.

GAO: Pruitt’s Pricey Privacy Booth Violated Federal Law
Monday report states funds were not legally available

A staffer exits the Senate subway on April 11 with a poster detailing EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s ethics issues. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The EPA violated federal law when it paid more than $43,000 to install a soundproof privacy booth for Administrator Scott Pruitt without first notifying congressional appropriators, the Government Accountability Office said.

The agency violated the law by using more than $5,000 of fiscal 2017 appropriated funds for an unintended purpose without giving lawmakers advance notice, GAO investigators wrote in a report released Monday.

When Allies Attack: Friction Between Democrats, Immigration Advocates
Hard feelings about groups pressuring minority party

Demonstrators with United We Dream and others rally in the atrium of the Hart Building in January to call on Congress to pass the so-called DREAM Act to protect young immigrants from deportation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Friction lingers between Senate Democrats and progressive advocacy groups after the chamber failed to advance a bipartisan bill in February to protect the young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers. 

Tensions came to a breaking point in the weeks before the Senate voted on several immigration-related proposals aimed at extending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, aides say. The rift was a long time in the making, as some Democratic lawmakers questioned the strategy that pro-immigration and progressive groups used to drive action over the past six months.