Congress

House Judiciary Democrats eye campaign finance measures
FEC member points out need for more commissioners

Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., continues to champion his Democracy for All Amendment to the Constitution that would essentially undo the 2010 Citizens United v FEC decision. “The deeply rooted problem of money in politics requires a constitutional amendment,” Deutch said Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Federal Election Commissioner Ellen Weintraub, in testimony to a House Judiciary subcommittee, tried to draw attention to her agency’s current predicament: It’s lacked enough commissioners for a quorum for more than five months.

“While I know this is not within the House’s purview, the FEC could really use some new commissioners to restore our quorum and let us do our job,” she said during a hearing of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties. “So tell your friends.”

House Democrats shut down GOP attempt to admonish Pelosi over ripping SOTU
Party-line vote tables resolution disapproving of speaker's actions

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., conducts her weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats on Thursday backed Speaker Nancy Pelosi in voting to kill a Republican resolution to disapprove of her ripping up President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech. 

Texas GOP Rep. Kay Granger, who’s facing a competitive primary this cycle, offered the resolution as a question of privilege, which forces the House to consider the measure. Rather than allow an up or down vote, Democratic leaders moved to table the resolution, which effectively kills it.

Trump reined in his style for this year’s State of the Union
Following impeachment, Trump improvised half as much as his previous two years

President Donald Trump prides himself on being extemporaneous.

Suspicious substance investigated outside of Schiff’s office
Capitol Police cleared the incident just before noon

Capitol Police officers block off a hallway as they investigate a reported suspicious substance in the Rayburn office of Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., on Thursday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

A suspicious substance was found outside lead House impeachment manager Adam B. Schiff’s congressional office Thursday morning but was ultimately deemed not hazardous and cleared by the Capitol Police, casting a cloud of grim reality over Schiff’s earlier comments expressing grave concern for his staffers.

The incident comes just a day after President Donald Trump was acquitted by the Senate in his impeachment trial on both charges: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Schiff, a California Democrat, spent days presenting the case for Trump’s removal from office.

Democrats pan, Republicans applaud Kraninger's tenure at CFPB
Director mum on agency's need to exist

Kraninger was unwilling to say her agency needs to exist. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

At a hearing Thursday, Democrats castigated Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Kathleen Kraninger, who wasn't willing to say that her agency needs to exist. 

Pelosi has 'no plans right now' for fight over Bolton testimony
Schiff says he thinks former Trump national security adviser would be hostile to House subpoena

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she thought former national security adviser John Bolton would be hostile to any attempts by the House to get his testimony. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that the House has “no plans right now” to engage in a court fight for former national security adviser John Bolton’s testimony.

Since Bolton had said he would testify in the Senate trial if subpoenaed, it was thought he would respond to a subpoena from the House Intelligence Committee.

Pelosi defends ripping Trump’s speech as message to American people about SOTU falsehoods
‘I don’t need any lessons from anybody, especially the president of the United States, about dignity,’ speaker says

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., conducts her weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on Thursday, February 6, 2020. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday defended her decision to rip up President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech, saying she decided about a quarter or third of the way through the address that something had to be done to indicate to the American people that his words were not the truth.

“I tore up a manifesto of mistruths,” the California Democrat said at her weekly news conference, noting the falsehoods in Trump’s speech on Tuesday evening were “dangerous to the American people if they believe what he said.”

Infrastructure plan could point to sea change for schools
Federal role in public school construction opposed by conservatives

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced the Democrats’ infrastructure plan on Jan. 30. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The nation’s roads and bridges may be falling down, but its schools aren’t far behind.

So education proponents paid attention last week when, unveiling a $760 billion legislative infrastructure framework, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested that any infrastructure package would ultimately include federal dollars for school construction.

Donald Trump: How to win kitsch and influence people
Political Theater, Episode 111

First lady Melania Trump awards Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom during President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address in the House chamber on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s State of the Union was a master class in deploying conservative rhetoric, entertainment kitsch and Americana tropes before a televised audience.

Critics of the president frequently fail to understand his appeal to his supporters, but many times that comes down to the somewhat elusive question of taste. It might just depend on whether you prefer “Game of Thrones” or “The Big Bang Theory.”

Like McCain before him, Romney rebukes President Trump
2008 and 2012 presidential nominees have been most forceful GOP critics in the Senate

Back in 2008, Mitt Romney spoke at the Republican National Convention to back the presidential candidacy of onetime rival John McCain. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The greatest rebukes of Donald Trump’s presidency from the Republican side of the aisle have come from the two previous standard-bearers for the GOP.

When Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, a freshman senator best known for being the 2012 Republican nominee for president, announced Wednesday on the Senate floor that he would vote to convict Trump of abuse of power, it evoked memories of the time when the late Arizona Sen. John McCain voted in 2017 to thwart the president’s desired repeal of the 2010 health care law.

Republicans attack bill to block Minnesota wilderness mining
Mining in Boundary Waters, bill critics say, will help meet U.S. renewable energy needs

Gosar led Republican attacks on the bill to protect a Minnesota wilderness from mining. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans on Wednesday ripped into a bill that would block mining in about 340 square miles of sprawling wilderness in northeast Minnesota, arguing the legislation would harm the expansion of renewable energy sources.

Leading the attack at a House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources hearing was Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz. At times bordering on shouting, Gosar said failing to ramp up U.S. mining would leave the country beholden to foreign powers and lead to exploitation of child workers abroad.

Senate votes to acquit Trump on both impeachment charges
Romney only defector in either party

Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., walks past protesters as he leaves the Capitol after the Senate impeachment trial proceedings on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate on Wednesday acquitted President Donald Trump on two articles of impeachment, swiftly ending months of investigation and public arguments that ultimately changed few minds on Capitol Hill. 

The Senate voted 48-52 to reject the House’s abuse of power charge and 47-53 to reject the obstruction of Congress charge. A two-thirds majority of the Senate is required for conviction.

Trump touts more than 100 miles of new border wall during State of Union
But all but one mile of it simply replaces old, existing barriers

A section of the border wall stretches through the Rio Grande Valley sector of the Texas border on Aug. 20, 2019. (Jinitzail Hernández/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump boasted during his State of the Union address that his administration has built more than 100 miles of barriers along the southwest border. The latest government data, however, shows that only one new mile of barrier has been constructed where none previously existed.

During his address Tuesday night to Congress, the president referred to ongoing construction of “a long, tall and very powerful wall” that echoed promises from his 2016 presidential campaign.

‘Taking off the gloves’: Pelosi ripping SOTU draws parties into their corners
House Democrats give speaker standing ovation, as she describes being ‘liberated’ after tearing copy of Trump’s speech

Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds up the copy of President Donald Trump’s speech that she ripped up at the conclusion of his State of the Union address on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi “is taking off the gloves.” The California Democrat “did what she needed to do,” and “she knew exactly what she was doing.”

That’s how House Democrats reacted Wednesday to Pelosi’s decision the night before to tear up her copy of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech on national television. 

Network overhaul shores up House Wi-Fi for State of the Union
Bandwidth boosted after years of unreliable access

Media covering President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address had an improved internet situation. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

A massive revamp of internet infrastructure in the House chamber and press galleries ahead of Tuesday’s State of the Union was born out of chaos in preceding years and aimed to facilitate improved media coverage of the speech, spin and surrounding pomp and circumstance.

It seemed to make a difference Tuesday, allowing reporters to fire off tweets and file story updates during the speech from inside the chamber. That hasn’t been the case in previous years and was a pleasant surprise for those in the chamber.