Louisiana

Disaster aid bill could grow, block diversion of funds to wall
Measure unlikely to go far in Senate

Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., (left), is pushing for a disaster aid package. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., opposes an amendment Democrats are preparing that he describes as an “exercise in futility. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House is scheduled to take up a $12.1 billion disaster aid package Wednesday that would reopen the nine closed Cabinet agencies for three weeks and, if approved during floor debate, prevent President Donald Trump from tapping the bill’s emergency funds for building a border wall.

The underlying bill would direct aid to victims of recent calamities such as hurricanes that hit Florida and the Carolinas, wildfires that ravaged California and typhoons that struck island territories in the Pacific, House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., told the Rules Committee on Tuesday.

Trump to try again to court moderate House Democrats on border wall
Goal for Situation Room meeting is funds for ‘real border security and the wall’

President Donald Trump, flanked by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, speaks earlier this month in the White House’s Rose Garden. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet Wednesday with the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus in the Situation Room as the White House tries to cobble together votes for a shutdown-ending bill that includes funding for his proposed southern border wall.

The Problem Solvers group is composed of just under 50 Republican and Democratic House members. The session will mark the second time in as many days the White House has attempted to court moderate and deal-minded House Democrats.

Amid shutdown, White House, Democrats, can’t even agree on lunch

A man holds a "end the shutdown build wall" sign as Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, holds a news conference on border security outside of the Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

No House Democrats will attend a White House-organized lunch meeting on Tuesday with President Donald Trump as the partial government shutdown continues, a sign of how dug in both sides are with no deal in sight.

The White House invited a group of members from the chamber’s Blue Dog Coalition for a lunch discussion on the 25th day of the shutdown. 

The border wall blitz, brought to you by Donald Trump and Mike Pence
Dramatic week ends with president touting barrier of ‘steel that has concrete inside’

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence arrive to the Capitol to on Wednesday to urge Senate Republicans to hold the line on his proposed southern border wall and a record-tying partial government shutdown. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Eager to shift public opinion in favor of taxpayers funding a southern border wall as part of any legislation to reopen a quarter of the federal government, the White House has deployed its top guns, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, on a public relations blitz.

Several polls show about half of Americans blame the president for the shutdown, while around 35 percent blame Democrats. What’s more, Trump’s approval rating has dipped during the 21-day funding lapse that has left 800,000 federal workers furloughed and without paychecks Friday for the first time. Even a survey by Rassmussen Reports — typically more friendly to conservatives like the president — found most Republicans who responded see a wall as effective but not an emergency.

Shutdown could drag on as Trump won’t move ‘fast’ on national emergency for wall
Dug-in president calls on Congress to ’come back and vote’

President Donald Trump speaks as he is joined by Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise in the Rose Garden at the White House last week. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump signaled Friday that a partial government shutdown now in its record-tying 21st day could drag on for a while as he said he will not move “fast” to declare a national emergency to access border wall funds.

The president told reporters during a border security event in the White House’s Cabinet Room that he has the “right” and legal authority to make the move, which would allow him to access Defense Department dollars and shift them to the construction of a border barrier. But he made clear he plans to continue to press Democrats to give in to his demands before he issues such a decree.

‘That’s why I’m the majority leader and you’re the minority whip’
Hoyer, Scalise trade barbs in first House floor colloquy together

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., replaces Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in the 116th Congress as the No. 2 Republican leader who gets to participate in weekly floor colloquies with the No. 2 Democratic leader, Steny H. Hoyer. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“That’s why I’m the majority leader and you’re the minority whip,” House Democratic leader Steny H. Hoyer said to Republican whip Steve Scalise on the House floor Friday, just one of the ways Hoyer welcomed his new floor sparring partner to the fray. 

The comment was the most pointed and somewhat personal but far from the only political insult the No. 2 party leaders traded during their first colloquy together. 

Trump continues trying to rewrite his own Mexico paying for wall history
Reporter: ‘You proposed that in your campaign, sir.’ POTUS: ‘No.’

President Donald Trump twice on Thursday tried to explain that Mexico wasn’t going to literally write a check to pay for his southern border wall. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Friday morning continued practicing revisionist history over his campaign-trail pledge to make Mexico pay for his proposed southern border wall that has pushed a partial government shutdown into its 21st day.

The president twice on Thursday raised brows as he flatly denied ever saying that America’s southern neighbor would foot the bill for the border structure that he is struggling to obtain funds for from the U.S. Congress.

Fireworks and presidential threats send shutdown talks careening into chaos
Sides trade vicious barbs, allegations after Trump abruptly leaves Situation Room meeting

President Donald Trump, flanked from left by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Senate Majority Whip John Thune, R-S. D., Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., stops to speak to reporters in the Capitol Wednesday following his lunch about the shutdown with Senate Republicans. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Talks toward ending the partial government shutdown hit a new low Wednesday when fireworks broke out at the White House, with President Donald Trump abruptly leaving a meeting with congressional leaders after yet another flap over his proposed southern border wall.

The shutdown enters its 20th day Thursday with no end in sight after another round of fruitless talks and blunt warnings from Trump about his next possible move if he cannot secure a deal with congressional Democrats over his border wall demands — even as 800,000 federal workers and their families wonder about future paychecks.

Trump walks out of meeting as White House confab devolves
Day of meetings at Capitol and executive mansion produce only recriminations

President Donald Trump, flanked from left by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Senate Majority Whip John Thune, R-S. D., Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., stops to speak to the cameras Wednesday following his lunch with Senate Republicans in the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A White House meeting Wednesday between President Donald Trump and his team and congressional leaders quickly devolved into another series of finger pointing as the Situation Room confab ended shortly after it began.

Trump “got up and walked out” of the short meeting about his border wall and a government shutdown at the White House, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said.

On Appropriations, Daines, Lankford will not have their cake, eat it too
After being added to Finance Committee, cardinals get clipped

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala.: not a fan of cake, eating it, too. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate Appropriations Committee is about to get two new subcommittee chairmen after the top Republicans on the Financial Services and Legislative branch panels got approval to serve rare double duty on the Appropriations and Finance panels.

“There will be some changes,” Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby said Tuesday when asked whether Sens. Steve Daines, R-Mont., and James Lankford, R-Okla., would continue in their previous roles. “When they went to Finance they lost their seniority. They knew that.”