Lindsey McPherson

The Democrats who voted to keep impeachment options open
Why those who do not favor impeachment yet voted against blocking articles of impeachment

A House vote Wednesday to block Texas Rep. Al Green’s articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump led to some contortions from Democrats yet to support impeachment or opening an inquiry, but mostly came down to this: keeping those options open. 

About two dozen Democrats who had not been on the record in favor of impeachment proceedings voted with Green against tabling, basically killing, his articles. A total of 95 Democrats voted that way, but most of those members had previously called for Trump’s impeachment or an inquiry. 

Road ahead: All eyes on the budget and debt limit deal, except when Mueller testifies
House to tackle border issues, while Senate will confirm Defense secretary, clear 9/11 compensation bill

All eyes this week will be on whether House lawmakers are able to pass a deal to raise the debt limit and set spending levels for the next two years before leaving for the August recess on Friday.

That is except, of course, when former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III seizes all the attention when he testifies before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees.

House votes to raise federal minimum wage
Issue exposed rifts among Democrats. Legislation stalled in Senate

Updated 12:46 p.m. | The House voted 231-199 Thursday to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour incrementally over six years, but the Democratic effort was almost derailed by divisions between progressives and moderates.

Progressives on Wednesday had issued a last-minute warning to their moderate colleagues not to help Republicans make any last-minute changes to the bill through the procedural maneuver known as a motion to recommit, or MTR. If moderate Democrats helped the GOP add what the progressives considered poison pill language to the measure, members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus were prepared to vote against it, the group’s co-chairs, Reps. Mark Pocan and Pramila Jayapal, said. 

House blocks Al Green articles of impeachment of Trump

House Democratic leaders avoided a direct vote on Rep. Al Green’s articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump with Republicans’ help, as Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy moved Wednesday to table the Texas Democrat’s resolution.

The motion was agreed to, 332-95, with Oregon Democrat Peter A. DeFazio voting “present.” 

Tension between Democratic factions spills into minimum wage debate
Progressives say they have the votes to kill their priority minimum wage bill if moderates help Republicans amend it

Tension between the progressive and moderate factions of the Democratic Caucus are again spilling into public view ahead of a priority party vote to raise the federal minimum wage. 

A day before a planned Thursday vote on a bill to incrementally increase the current $7.25 federal minimum wage to $15, Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Mark Pocan and Pramila Jayapal issued a statement that served as a warning to their moderate colleagues. 

Pelosi: Debt ceiling, caps deal possibly on floor next Thursday
To make the deadline, talks would need to wrap up by this Friday night in order to post legislative text sometime over the weekend

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said negotiators on a sweeping package that would lift tight discretionary spending caps and raise the debt ceiling are aiming to have a bill on the House floor next Thursday.

Accordingly, the California Democrat said, talks would need to wrap up by this Friday night in order to post legislative text sometime over the weekend, required under the House’s rule that 72 hours’ notice is necessary for lawmakers to read bills before voting on them. “When we have an agreement we’ll write it up, and we have to do all of that by Friday evening,” Pelosi told reporters.

Leaders likely to sidestep direct vote as House considers Al Green impeachment articles
Pelosi opposes measure, which members expect to be tabled or to be referred to Judiciary to dispense of it

The House is likely to take up Rep. Al Green’s privileged impeachment resolution against President Donald Trump during a Wednesday evening vote series, two Democratic aides confirmed after the Texas Democrat told reporters the vote would occur then. 

Democratic leaders had not yet decided how to dispense with the measure as of midday Wednesday, but several members said they expect a motion to refer it to the Judiciary Committee or to table it rather than a direct vote.

House’s condemnation of Trump may just be the beginning
Now the debate is over push by some Democrats for impeachment

Although Tuesday’s long day of heated debate ended with the House voting to condemn President Donald Trump for racist tweets, the chamber’s brawl over the president’s behavior may be just beginning. 

The House voted, 240-187, to approve a nonbinding resolution that says the chamber “strongly condemns” Trump’s “racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.”

‘I abandon the chair’: House floor in chaos over Pelosi speech on Trump tweets

Amid debate over whether to condemn tweets by President Donald Trump as racist on Tuesday, the House descended into parliamentary chaos, with Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, who was presiding, abruptly dropping the gavel and saying, “I abandon the chair.”

It was an extraordinary moment on an extraordinary day, as the House considered a resolution condemning Trump’s tweets from the weekend that told four freshman Democrats from the House to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

House condemns Trump ‘racist’ remarks, but some Dems want to go further
Leadership pushes back against censure, impeachment suggestions

House Democrats were unanimous in condemning President Donald Trump for his “racist” remarks attacking four of their freshman members, but some caucus members want to do more to fight back.

The House voted Tuesday evening, 240-187, on a nonbinding resolution that affirms support for immigrants and condemns Trump’s comments from Sunday, when he said Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” (Only Omar, a refugee from Somalia, was born outside the United States.) 

‘His plan to pit us against one another:’ Progressive ‘squad’ responds to Trump attacks
Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley, Omar and Tlaib say they won’t let president distract from Democrats’ agenda

The “squad,” as four progressive Democratic freshman minority women call themselves, responded Monday to President Donald Trump’s repeated calls for them to leave the country by calling it a “distraction” — even as they said the House should impeach him. 

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York,  Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and  Rashida Tlaib of Michigan said they will not let Trump’s attacks — “a continuation of his racist, xenophobic playbook” as Omar called it — distract them from Democrats’ agenda.

Is there consensus on the new House consensus calendar?
While seen as encouraging bipartisanship, some worry about unintended consequences

Rep. Joe Wilson was the first member to take advantage of a new House rule designed to bring broadly supported bipartisan bills to the floor. The South Carolina Republican’s legislation to end the so-called widow’s tax received a vote Friday, but it was not the vote he envisioned.

Wilson’s bill, the Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act, would end a disparity between government payments made to surviving spouses of servicemembers who die on active duty. The “widow’s tax,” as the current complication in the law is known, requires the surviving spouses to forfeit much of their Department of Defense Survivor Benefit Plan annuity when they receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs by deducting from the former the value of the latter.

Pelosi: Debt limit vote possible before August recess
‘We certainly do not want any thought of default on the part of the full faith and credit of the United States of America,’ Pelosi said

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Tuesday didn’t rule out voting on a debt limit increase before the August recess, though she indicated the need to raise the discretionary spending caps for fiscal 2020 is still an integral part of the discussions.

“Let’s see how the conversations go,” she said. “We certainly do not want any thought of default on the part of the full faith and credit of the United States of America. That’s never been what we’ve been about, but there are those on the Republican side who have embraced that again and again.”

Road ahead: War powers debate shifts to House
Senate turns back to nominations after brief period of legislating

Updated 5:02 p.m. | Congress could get a second opportunity this week to try and block President Donald Trump from going to war with Iran without congressional approval as the House debates its fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.

The Senate rejected an amendment seeking to add such language to its version of the measure before it left for the July Fourth recess. The overall measure passed 86-8.

House will vote ‘soon’ to hold Barr, Ross in criminal contempt over citizenship question
Pelosi announces plans for full House vote in dear colleague letter, also outlining legislative steps to protect migrants

The House will “soon” vote to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary William Ross in contempt of Congress for defying subpoenas for documents explaining the administration’s rationale for wanting to add a citizenship question to the census, Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a “Dear Colleague” letter on Monday.

The Oversight and Reform Committee last month approved a contempt resolution against Barr and Ross that included language to refer the matter to the U.S. attorney in Washington for possible criminal charges, as well as authorize the pursuit of a lawsuit.

Trump defends border patrol agents, need for citizenship question on census
‘Certain members of Congress say very bad things and lie and exaggerate,’ he said in defense of Customs and Border Patrol

President Donald Trump, departing the White House on Friday for a weekend at his New Jersey country club, celebrated the “fantastic evening” he had saluting the country during a July 4 speech from the National Mall, while facing questions about his controversial immigration policies. 

Many Democrats criticizing  Trump’s Independence Day celebration cited the poor optics of a military showcase amid reports of mistreatment of migrants being held at facilities along the border as they await their asylum claims to be processed. But Trump, speaking to reporters outside of the White House Friday before boarding Marine One, said he thinks Customs and Border Patrol agents who run many of the  shelters where migrants are held “do a great job with those facilities.”

House Democrats find common scapegoat for border bill split — Senate Democrats
Progressives and moderates point fingers at Democratic senators for lost leverage

Moderate and progressive House Democrats were split Thursday as a majority of their caucus reluctantly joined Republicans in clearing the Senate’s border funding bill for the president’s signature. But the two factions uniformly agreed on one thing: Senate Democrats had sabotaged their negotiations.

Emotions were raw Thursday as House Democratic leaders went through a tumultuous 24-hour period trying to force some of their priorities into the Senate’s $4.59 billion supplemental funding measure only to face obstacles from their own party. 

Democrats withdraw rule to amend Senate border bill as moderates prepared to rebel
About 15 to 20 moderate Democrats planned to vote against the rule, according to an aide

At least 15 moderate House Democrats were prepared to rebel against their leadership Thursday and vote against a rule that would amend the Senate border supplemental to include a handful of progressive priorities, prompting leadership to withdraw the rule.

The moderates’ objection is significant, as House Democratic leaders had hoped their caucus would unify around the proposed changes in an effort to give them more sway in negotiations with the Senate and the White House. 

Senate approves border bill; Pelosi and Trump talk compromise

Updated 10:35 p.m. | With the Senate’s passage of its version of a border supplemental funding bill Wednesday, and its rejection of the House measure, negotiations between the White House, Senate and House leaders will now attempt to nail down a compromise before Congress leaves for the July Fourth recess.

Several disagreements lie at the heart of Senate and House differences on the two bills. The Senate bill rejected some of the tight restrictions the House included in its measure on the care of migrant children in government custody. The Senate also added in more money than the House for border enforcement agencies and for more immigration judges.

House Democrats lose procedural vote to GOP minority for first time in months
Approval of Republican motion to recommit on Financial Services spending bill added a last-minute Iran amendment

The House Democratic majority on Wednesday lost a procedural vote to the Republican minority for the first time in four months, as 37 Democrats joined Republicans in adding a last-minute Iran amendment to the Financial Services spending bill.

The amendment was approved through a Republican motion to recommit, or MTR — a procedural tool of the minority used primarily for messaging.