Technology & Innovation

Trump Calls Spending Plan ‘Ridiculous’
President’s tweet raises doubts he’ll sign bill that would avert shutdown at end of month

President Donald Trump called the government spending package headed his way “ridiculous,” raising doubts about whether he’ll sign it. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump raised the odds of a government shutdown that lawmakers from both parties thought they had averted, calling a spending package headed his way to keep the federal lights on “ridiculous.”

“I want to know, where is the money for Border Security and the WALL in this ridiculous Spending Bill, and where will it come from after the Midterms?” Trump tweeted Thursday morning.

As Trump Waffles, House Republicans Confident They’ll Avert Shutdown
Still president, conservatives wary of GOP leaders’ government funding strategy

Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, is confident there will not be a government shutdown despite President Donald Trump’s mixed signals on the matter. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans prepare a legislative strategy with President Donald Trump seemingly on board, only for the president to catch them off guard with a last-minute tweet suggesting his opposition to the plan.

That scenario has played out a few times this year as lawmakers debated immigration and appropriations bills. And it could realistically happen again next week as Congress plans to pass legislation to avert a government shutdown that Trump has already signaled he might force.

Lawmakers Unhappy With Pompeo’s Lowered Cap on Refugees
New cap of 30,000 is a historic low

Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Bob Menendez called the Trump administration’s decision to lower the annual refugee cap “truly repugnant.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers of both parties are criticizing the Trump administration’s decision to lower the annual refugee cap to 30,000 people for fiscal 2019 — a sharp decrease from the 45,000 cap set for fiscal 2018, and also a historic low.

“At a time when we should be defending our values and ideals as Americans and working to alleviate the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, it is truly repugnant to see the Trump administration double down on its efforts to reject our foundational values and humanitarian duty of providing those escaping persecution the opportunity to seek protection and safe haven,” Sen. Robert Menendez, the ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement Monday.

Lawmakers Eye Cyber Bounties to Fix Bugs in Federal Networks
House panel approves Senate bill to set up pilot program at DHS

The House Homeland Security Committee approved a Senate bill last week that would set up a bug bounty program at the Department of Homeland Security. Above, Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and ranking member Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., at a 2014 hearing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers last week moved closer to mandating that the Department of Homeland Security start a bug bounty program that will pay computer security researchers to spot weaknesses in DHS’s computer networks. That requirement would bring the department in line with other U.S. agencies with similar cybersecurity programs.

The House Homeland Security Committee on Thursday by unanimous consent approved a Senate bill that would set up a pilot program at the department. The Senate passed the bill on April 17. The Pentagon, the IRS and the General Services Administration already operate such programs, and lawmakers have proposed legislation that would launch similar efforts at the departments of State and Treasury.

Democrats Fume Over Transfer of FEMA Money to ICE Before Hurricanes
Agency officials, some Republicans say funds could not be used for response

Sen. Jeff Merkley has released documents showing that nearly $10 million from FEMA’s budget was diverted to fund ICE’s detention facilities and deportation operations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

On the eve of Hurricane Florence hitting the U.S. coast, Democratic lawmakers expressed outrage that the Homeland Security Department transferred nearly $10 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to Immigration and Customs Enforcement in a reprogramming move this summer.

Sen. Jeff Merkley’s office on Wednesday released documents confirming that $9.8 million from FEMA’s operations and support budget was diverted to fund ICE’s detention facilities and deportation operations.

Dem Rep. Cuellar Asks Supporters to Donate to Vulnerable Republican
GOP Rep. John Carter is facing a tough challenger from Democrat M.J. Hegar in Texas’ 31st District

Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, raised eyebrows for attending a fundraiser breakfast for vulnerable Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, and asking his supporters to contribute to Carter’s re-election campaign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas invited his supporters to attend a fundraising breakfast for neighboring Texas Rep. John Carter on Tuesday.

The hook: Carter is a Republican in what experts expect to be one of the closest congressional races in the state.

Cybersecurity Background Key for New Information Officer at GPO
Sam Musa comes at a time of heightened scrutiny across government for cybersecurity

Sam Musa will take the helm at the Government Publishing Office as chief information officer. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Government Publishing Office, the agency that processes and publishes information from the federal government, has named a new chief information officer. Sam Musa, a longtime federal IT and cybersecurity expert, will be the new CIO for the agency.

“Sam brings a wealth of experience working in Federal Government IT and cybersecurity to GPO,” said acting GPO Deputy Director Herbert H. Jackson, Jr. “I look forward to his ideas of strengthening the agency’s IT operations, which will enhance our service to Congress, Federal agencies and the public.”

They’re Crying in the Cyber Wilderness
Attacking American institutions has become a lot simpler since 9/11

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats spent the summer warning that a democracy-withering cyberattack is “just one click of the keyboard away.” Is anyone listening? (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

Seventeen summers ago, 19 men had to make their way physically into the country, train to fly planes while avoiding scrutiny, and then crash them into buildings in order to pull off a devastating attack on a superpower.

In the years since then, attacking the United States and its institutions has become a lot simpler: a few strokes on a keyboard can now disrupt elections or shut off a power grid.

Trump Waffles on Pledge to Avoid Government Shutdown
He says Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity say it would be ‘greatest thing’

Supporters of President Donald Trump rally for the his immigration and border policies during his visit to see border wall prototypes on March 13. (David McNew/Getty Images)

Just hours after saying he had assured congressional leaders he would not shut down the federal government in a few weeks, President Donald Trump — citing conservative radio and television hosts — on Friday said he sees it as good politics for Republicans.

Trump told Fox News in an interview taped Thursday night before a campaign rally in Billings, Montana, that aired Friday morning that he was — at least in that moment — inclined to shut the government down after Sept. 30 if he doesn’t get his way, but added: “I don’t want to do anything that will hurt us, or potentially hurt us.”

At Rally, Trump Says Democrats Would ‘Destroy’ Social Security
President tells supporters impeachment would be ‘your fault’

President Donald Trump, here at a campaign rally in 2016, was in Montana again on Thursday night. And he made Social Security a midterm election issue. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Less than two months from Election Day, President Donald Trump on Thursday night stepped up his rhetoric about Social Security and other federal benefit programs by warning Democrats want to “destroy” them.

The president had not focused on the federal retirement, disability, and survivors' benefits program at previous political rallies. But as the midterm elections near, he debuted some new — and sharp — lines at a rally in Billings, Montana.

Trump Says He Will Delay Border Fight Until After Midterms
President’s comments on op-ed don’t align with treason provision of U.S. Code

Aurelia Lopez and her daughter Antonia overlook construction of border wall prototypes on October 5, 2017, in Tijuana, Mexico. Prototypes of the border wall proposed by President Donald Trump have been built just north of the U.S.-Mexico border. (Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images file photo)

Updated 6:17 a.m. | President Donald Trump on Thursday said he and lawmakers will delay a border security fight until after November’s midterms. He also accused the author of an sharply critical anonymous op-ed and newspaper that published it of treason.

Trump told Fox News in an interview taped before a rally in Billings, Montana, set to air Friday morning that he is inclined to shut the government down after Sept. 30 if he doesn’t get his way, but “I don’t want to do anything that will hurt us, or potentially hurt us.”

The Battle for House Control Plays Out in … Kansas?
GOP Rep. Kevin Yoder works to withstand a potential blue wave

Kansas GOP Rep. Kevin Yoder greets paradegoers in Bonner Springs, Kan., on Aug. 25. (Bridget Bowman/CQ Roll Call)

BONNER SPRINGS, Kan. — When it comes to battlegrounds for the midterm elections, Kansas might not be the first place that comes to mind. But the fight for control of the House is well underway in the Kansas City suburbs. 

Rep. Kevin Yoder was confronted with his re-election dilemma here while crisscrossing the street as the sun beat down on the Tiblow Days parade one Saturday last month.

Trump Administration Moves to Detain Immigrant Children Longer
New proposal from DHS would remove 20-day limit established by Flores settlement

A police officer and a U.S. Border Patrol agent take a group of Central American asylum seekers into custody on June 12 near McAllen, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images file photo)

The Homeland Security Department is proposing a new rule that would allow for the prolonged detention of undocumented migrant children by replacing a 1997 legal settlement that President Donald Trump has called a “loophole” causing more illegal immigration.

The 203-page proposed rule, published jointly with the Health and Human Services Department in the Federal Register on Thursday, would trigger the end of the so-called Flores settlement. A federal judge has ruled the settlement means children cannot be held in detention for longer than 20 days and should be released with a parent if possible.

Summer Renovations Yield New House Voting System
While chamber was away, new voting infrastructure went up

New voting machines and voting cards debuted in the House this week. Former Speaker John A. Boehner holds his old one up a few years ago. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House lawmakers had new hardware to try out Tuesday night — new voting cards and voting machines.

Over the August recess the Office of the House Clerk installed new voting machines in the House chamber for tallying roll call votes. Members descended on the Speaker’s Lobby  to pick up their new cards. 

Republicans Have Questions for Twitter, and They’re Not About Election Meddling
When tech execs head to the Hill on Wednesday, Walden wants to talk about censorship

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, and Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO, arrive to testify before a Senate hearing on Wednesday on the influence of foreign operations on social media. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The world’s largest social media companies are due Wednesday on Capitol Hill as lawmakers grapple with how to protect American voters from foreign influence operations and deal with charges that conservative views are being censored online.

First some top brass — Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey — will face questions from the Senate Intelligence panel, which is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election. While the panel had also invited Google co-founder and Alphabet CEO Larry Page, the search engine giant decided to send its chief legal officer instead.