Virginia

Panel approves pilot program to take military sexual assault cases outside chain of command
The number of sexual assaults at military service academies more than doubled 2013 to 2018, Speier said

Rep. Jackie Speier succeeded in getting her amendment to establish a program taking prosecution of military sex assault cases outside of the chain of command at the service academies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Advocates of taking the decision for prosecuting military sexual assaults — a persistent problem within the ranks — outside the chain of command scored a significant victory Wednesday when the House Armed Services Committee approved a pilot program that would do just that at the service academies.

Rep. Jackie Speier, chairwoman of the Military Personnel Subcommittee, pushed through a four-year program that would require the commandants of the service academies to follow the recommendation of an independent prosecutor in cases of sexual assault.

Democrats spar with State official over arms sales maneuver

Rep. David Cicilline accused a senior State Department official of gas-lighting Congress in his assertions about why the administration needed to subvert Congress on arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A senior State Department official on Wednesday appeared to blame Democrats for the administration’s decision last month to declare a state of emergency over Iran to avoid congressional review of billions of dollars of weapon sales to Arab Gulf states.

R. Clarke Cooper, assistant secretary of State for political-military affairs, attributed the emergency order to holds placed in spring 2018 by Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Robert Menendez on $2 billion in proposed precision-guided missile sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Menendez, D-N.J., placed the holds in response to the many civilian casualties in the Yemen civil war, in which the two Gulf nations are fighting against Iranian-backed Houthi insurgents.

Democrats join Trump in whining about tariffs on wine
Feinstein, others call on administration to push for removing duties on U.S. wine

Democratic lawmakers want the Trump administration to ensure any new trade agreements with China or Japan remove tariffs on U.S. wine. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Concerns about tariffs on wine are leaving a sour taste both on Capitol Hill and in the White House.

But this wine isn’t skunked, it’s tainted by retaliatory Chinese tariffs, lawmakers say.

Military bases unprepared for gathering climate change storm 
Responses to hurricanes, flooding already raising alarm bells in Congress and beyond

Months after Hurricane Michael struck Tyndall Air Force Base in October, the main hangar’s roof is badly damaged. (Elvina Nawaguna/CQ Roll Call file photo)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — A mangled red, white and blue patrol plane still lies across what was once a park here where families played and picnicked, nine months after Hurricane Michael stormed out of the Gulf of Mexico with its 155-mile-per-hour winds.

And beyond that wreckage and other detritus, about 300 of this Air Force base’s nearly 500 damaged buildings are slated to be razed. The Air Force wants at least $4.25 billion to rebuild Tyndall at its current location on the Florida panhandle, a process the 325th Fighter Wing commander, Col. Brian Laidlaw, said could take several years.

Why Ken Cuccinelli is persona non grata in the Senate
Trump tapped the Senate Conservatives Fund president in acting capacity for Citizenship and Immigration Services

Ken Cuccinelli has been named the acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump’s decision to appoint Ken Cuccinelli to lead the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in only an acting capacity should be no surprise considering that he would appear to have no shot of Senate confirmation.

That is owed to his tenure as president of the Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee with a long track record of working against incumbent Republican senators, challenging them from the party’s right flank.

Democrats running for president should run for the Senate. The state Senate.
State legislatures have taken over the issues that Washington can’t or won’t deal with

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s presidential race has inspired many, Murphy writes, but if the goal is to make a difference in people’s lives, he would have been better off running for the Indiana Legislature. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

OPINION — Maybe it’s the book sales. Maybe it’s the national press. Maybe they really do think they’re just “born for it.” Whatever the allure of running for president is this year, about two dozen Democrats are giving it a shot.

The fact that only about five of them have a legitimate chance of winning the nomination has left several hopefuls from purple states getting criticized for wasting a perfectly good chance to knock off an incumbent Republican senator and flip the Senate to the Democrats in the process.

Road ahead: House tackles first spending package and NDAA endurance contest
House also set to vote on a ‘not quite contempt’ resolution Tuesday

A man stands near the Mountains and Clouds sculpture in the Hart Building atrium on June 4. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House has blockbuster floor action teed up this week, including votes on the first spending package for fiscal 2020 and a measure that would authorize the Judiciary Committee to pursue civil lawsuits against Attorney General William Barr and other administration officials.

House lawmakers have been warned that late-night votes are on the schedule as they work through floor consideration of a five-bill package that amounts to about $990 billion in discretionary spending for fiscal 2020.

Bracing for impact: Is the military climate-ready?

Just one of the buildings that line the roads throughout the Florida Panhandle, exhibiting the widespread damage that still remains from Hurricane Michael. Nathan Ouellette/CQ Roll Call

When Hurricane Michael struck the Florida panhandle on Oct. 10, 2018, it rolled right over the top of Tyndall Air Force Base, damaging nearly every single structure on the base and decimating much of the surrounding area.

Rep. Ken Buck home after hospitalization for chest pains at congressional baseball practice
Colorado Republican stayed in D.C. hospital overnight with heart pains, but is ‘doing well’

Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., left the Republicans’ congressional baseball team practice on Wednesday with chest pains, but appears to be recovering. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Ken Buck is at home resting and appears to be in high spirits after experiencing chest pains and being rushed to the hospital earlier this week in Washington, D.C.

A spokeswoman for the Colorado Republican confirmed in an email to Roll Call Friday that the congressman was back home after an overnight hospital stay Wednesday night.

Trump: ‘Something pretty dramatic’ could happen with Mexico as tariffs loom
POTUS to allies at D-Day anniversary event: ‘Our bond is unbreakable’

President Donald Trump throws a MAGA hat to the crowd during a rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., in May. He has been critical and upbeat about talks with Mexico that could prevent his proposed tariffs. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Thursday breathed life into Republican members’ hopes that his administration might opt against imposing tariffs on goods entering the country from Mexico. And he also took a shot at Republican lawmakers who oppose the tariffs.

Mexican government officials met Wednesday at the White House with Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other administration officials. The two sides are slated to meet again Thursday — though Pence is scheduled to travel to Virginia and Pennsylvania for D-Day anniversary and political events.