Mark Warner

Amid shutdown and snow, DMV lawmakers reach out to federal workers

Lawmakers across the Washington region spent the weekend touching base with federal workers affected by the government shutdown at roundtables, town halls and potlucks. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers across the Washington region spent the weekend touching base with federal workers affected by the government shutdown at roundtables, town halls and potlucks.

Rep. Anthony Brown held a town hall meeting in Largo, Maryland, on Saturday, where he took questions from constituents about the government shutdown.

Virginia senators concerned that shutdown could jeopardize security clearances
Furloughed workers cite compounding problems, such as health insurance lapse

Brian Uholik, right, a furloughed Justice Department employee, holds his infant daughter Wynnie while discussing with his wife Jamie how the government shutdown has impacted their family during a roundtable discussion with government employees and Sens. Mark Warner and Sen. Tim Kaine. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Brian Uholik is a proud father of a new baby daughter, but he’s also a furloughed trial attorney at the Department of Justice.

Uholik was among the federal employees from Northern Virginia who met Friday morning with Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, both Democrats who have been pushing for a quick end to the partial government shutdown.

At union rally, Hoyer connects forcing feds to work without pay to slavery
As the shutdown continues, tensions heighten ahead of missed paychecks

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., applauds for reporters who used to attend his briefings as minority whip, during a briefing in the Capitol on January 8, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As federal employees braced for their first missed paychecks starting Friday, tension over the government shutdown reached a fever pitch, with House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer equating forcing people to work without pay to slavery. 

Speaking Thursday to a rally of unionized federal employees and their supporters outside the AFL-CIO’s headquarters, the Maryland Democrat spoke of the “440,000 people that are being asked to work with no pay,” adding, “You know, back in the 1860s, they talked about working with no pay.”

Will Democrats stop the Senate from doing other legislating until the government shutdown ends?
Chris Van Hollen leads call to block other bills until the Senate votes on House-passed appropriations bills

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., is leading an effort in the Senate to do nothing until the chamber votes on House-passed funding bills to reopen the government. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Will Senate Republicans be stopped from working on anything else legislatively before the partial government shutdown ends?

Whether or not the Senate debates a new package of Syria sanctions and an effort to block boycotts of Israel this week could hinge on whether Maryland’s Democratic senators can convince their colleagues to do nothing until a deal is reached on ending the shutdown.

No Deal in Sight: Shutdown Here to Stay Amid Border Wall Stalemate
‘This is all just a political game to the President,’ says Democratic senator

Trash accumulates along the National Mall due to a partial shutdown of the federal government. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The Trump administration and Senate Democrats remain locked in a stalemate over how to end a partial government shutdown, with neither side reporting any progress or substantive talks since before Christmas.

The funding standoff, which affects about a quarter of the federal government, entered its sixth day Thursday with President Donald Trump returning to Washington around 5 a.m. from an unannounced trip to visit U.S. troops in Iraq. House GOP leaders didn’t even bother to summon members back to the capital for that chamber’s pro forma session this afternoon, and while the Senate will convene at 4 p.m., senators have not been summoned to vote on any shutdown-ending package.

Senate Hints It Doesn’t Oppose Sanctions Relief for Russian Linked to Putin, Manafort
Oleg Deripaska will relinquish majority ownership stake in three companies in exchange for sanctions relief from U.S. Treasury

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., right, and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., delivered a cautious statement Wednesday supporting the deal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee signaled Wednesday that they do not oppose the Treasury Department’s decision to loosen sanctions on three companies owned by a Russian oligarch with links to Russian President Vladimir Putin and key players in Ukrainian politics, including former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Congress has 30 days to nix the deal Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has struck with Oleg Deripaska, who currently owns the largest non-Chinese aluminum producing company in the world and two other multibillion-dollar energy companies.

FBI Details Intelligence Staffer Probe Ahead of Sentencing
Sentencing hearing for James Wolfe scheduled on Dec. 20

James Wolfe, a former Senate Intelligence Committee aide, leaves the FBI’s Washington Field Office after being booked on June 11. A sentencing hearing for Wolfe is scheduled for Dec. 20.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The FBI faced a dilemma and had to take “extraordinary” actions when it realized in 2017 that the former director of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee appeared compromised in his role safeguarding information and had a clandestine relationship with a national security journalist.

Had James Wolfe been an executive branch employee, the FBI would have notified intelligence agencies if a Top Secret clearance holder was compromised so they could protect national security, federal prosecutors wrote in a court filing Tuesday.

Senators Urge No Prison Time for Intelligence Committee Aide Who Lied to FBI
Prosecutors, on other hand, recommend two years in prison for James Wolfe

Senators urged leniency for former Senate Intelligence Committee James Wolfe, who lied to the FBI. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

While federal prosecutors on Tuesday recommended a two-year prison sentence for James Wolfe, a former director of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee who pleaded guilty in October to a charge he lied to the FBI about his contacts with journalists, his former bosses urged the judge to show mercy. 

A letter to the judge from current committee Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina, top Democrat Mark Warner of Virginia, and former chairwoman Dianne Feinstein of California urged no prison time for Wolfe, who was director of security for nearly three decades.

Congress Lauds Amazon HQ2, But Staffers Worry About Making Rent
An influx of wealth could magnify the city’s housing problems, with big implications for the Hill

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, center, is pictured in the Capitol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Amazon received a warm reception on Capitol Hill when it announced a new major outpost in the Washington area, with senators lauding the online retail giant’s entry just across the Potomac. But privately, some congressional staffers fume that “HQ2” will further escalate rents.

Congressional staffers have already been crushed by stagnating wages and climbing housing costs. And they worry Amazon’s new headquarters will mean they’ll have to allocate a larger chunk of their paycheck to their landlords. Some have taken up second jobs, and anticipate tough decisions about the future.

Richard Burr: ‘If You Lie to Us, We’re Going to Go After You’
Senate Intelligence chairman alludes to Mueller plea agreement with Michael Cohen

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard M. Burr, right, appeared with Vice Chairman Mark Warner on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard M. Burr said that Thursday’s guilty plea by Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former attorney, should be seen as a clear warning.

“It’s a loud message to everybody that is interviewed by our committee, regardless of where that prosecution comes from: If you lie to us, we’re going to go after you,” Burr said Friday. “Our mandate is at the end of this to get as close to the clear truth as we possibly can, and we can’t do it on conjecture. We’ve got to do it on facts.”