Niels Lesniewski

Warren Responds to Trump’s ‘Pocahontas’ Nickname, Defends Family History
Massachusetts Democrat spoke about her family’s Oklahoma background

Sen. Elizabeth Warren directly confronted Trump’s nickname for her Wednesday.

The president has a habit, on Twitter and elsewhere, of referring to the liberal senator as “Pocahontas.” It’s directed at Warren’s claim of Native American heritage in her family tree, among the campaign flashpoints when she first ran for Senate.

Corker ‘Listening’ to Encouragement to Reconsider Senate Race
Blackburn campaign blasts ‘ego-driven, tired old men’

A spokesperson for Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker confirmed Tuesday night the Foreign Relations Committee Chairman is “listening” to pleas to reconsider his decision not to seek a third term.

“In recent days, people across Tennessee have reached out to Senator Corker with concerns about the outcome of this election because they believe it could determine control of the Senate and the future of our agenda,” spokeswoman Micah Johnson said in a statement.

Senate Intel Leaders Look for Better Security Before 2018 Primaries
DNI testifies about importance of public information on Russian election meddling

Leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee hope to make their findings public on improving election security before primary contests get underway.

That’s what panel Chairman Richard M. Burr, a North Carolina Republican, and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, said Tuesday in wrapping up the open portion of the annual hearing on “Worldwide Threats.”

FBI, White House Offer Different Timelines on Porter Clearance
FBI director testifies background check report was first completed in July

FBI Director Christopher Wray has offered a different account from the White House of the timeline for the security clearance investigation of former Staff Secretary Rob Porter.

“I can’t get into the content of what was briefed,” Wray testified Tuesday at the Senate Intelligence Committee. “What I can tell you is that the FBI submitted a partial report on the investigation in question in March, and then a completed background investigation in late July. Soon thereafter we received request for follow-up inquiry, and we did the follow-up and provided that information in November.

Maryland Democrats Blast FBI HQ Plan
Cardin, Hoyer concerned about effort to put new FBI building at current location

The Trump administration’s proposal to keep the FBI headquarters adjacent to the president’s hotel complex in downtown D.C., has raised the ire of Maryland lawmakers.

“Throughout the Bush and Obama Administrations, the FBI and GSA repeatedly told Congress that the FBI needs a new, fully consolidated headquarters, going so far as to stress the need for selecting a new site because the existing location does not allow the FBI to consolidate the almost 11,000 headquarters employees into one facility,” House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer said in a statement

In Louisville, Schumer Talks Bipartisanship, ‘Brooklyn Bourbon’
Previews the Senate’s immigration debate this week

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer used a visit to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s hometown Monday to set up this week’s freewheeling immigration debate back at the Capitol.

The Democrat from New York said the two-year budget agreement that the leaders hammered out last week — and got through the Senate in the wee hours of Friday morning — underscored the ability of the chamber to function under the leadership of the current duo.

Podcast: Trump Budget Could Conflict With Spending Plans
CQ Budget, Episode 48

Roll Call senior Senate reporter Niels Lesniewski and CQ appropriations reporter Jennifer Shutt preview the Trump administration’s fiscal 2019 budget request, which is being released just days after Congress passed a $153 billion increase to next year’s discretionary spending cap.

Show Notes:

Senate Passes Budget Deal With Shutdown Underway
Prospects for House action are less clear

The Senate passed the bipartisan budget agreement in the wee hours of Friday morning, with a brief government shutdown having already kicked in.

The 71-28 vote on the $320 billion package that would reopen the government through March 23 sends the measure to the House, where the prospects are believed to be more precarious. The House vote may not take place until some federal workers are already on their way to work Friday morning.

Rand Paul, Floor Objections, Golden Fleeces and the D.C. Streetcar
Kentucky Republican wants a vote on his amendment before one on a spending deal

As Congress lurched closer to a government shutdown, Senate leaders offered a bone to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who is objecting to an expedited vote on a spending deal unless he gets his way on an amendment to the package. 

The floor procedure is a bit complicated, but here goes. 

Senators Call for Special Committee to Investigate Olympic Abuse
Bipartisan group of 18 senators unveils resolution

Two days ahead of the opening ceremonies for the Winter Olympics, a bipartisan group of senators is trying to set up a special committee to investigate the U.S. Olympic Committee.

The 18 senators, led by Republican Joni Ernst of Iowa and Democrat Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, unveiled their resolution Wednesday.

Senate Leaders Strike Budget Deal
Agreement between McConnell and Schumer may not yet have Pelosi support

Senate leaders announced Wednesday the contours of a bipartisan deal to raise defense and nondefense spending by nearly $300 billion over the next two years.

The agreement, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced on the chamber floor, would raise defense spending by $80 billion in the current fiscal year and more next year, and nondefense spending by $63 billion in fiscal 2018 and $68 billion in fiscal 2019.

Cleared of Corruption Charges, Robert Menendez Regains Top Foreign Relations Post
New Jersey Democrat stepped aside in 2015 after indictment

Sen. Robert Menendez is resuming his duties as the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, with the Senate Democratic Conference reaffirming his position now that he has been cleared of federal corruption charges. The New Jersey Democrat might not be out of the woods yet, though, because the Senate Ethics Committee is free to look into his case now that federal prosecutors are done with him. 

According to multiple Democratic senators, the conference acted to restore Menendez’s position during Tuesday’s policy lunch.

Schumer to Speak at McConnell Center Next Week
Visit to Louisville could demonstrate ability to work together

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is heading to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s home turf.

But unlike when some Democrats enter the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the New York Democrat is doing so at his counterpart’s behest. Schumer confirmed Tuesday morning on the Senate floor that he had accepted the majority leader’s invitation to speak next week at the University of Louisville.

Pence Talks Stocks, North Korea
Vice president leads delegation to Olympics

Debate Over Sanctions Misses Real Issue: Lax Funding for Enforcement
 

Congress last year overwhelmingly passed tough sanctions to punish Russia for interfering in the 2016 election — a bill that President Donald Trump grudgingly signed into law. But enforcing those and the many other sanctions required by law means more money and personnel, two things sorely lacking at the Treasury Department....
Democrats Respond (and Respond) to Trump’s State of the Union
Handful of Democratic responses highlighted by Sanders and a Kennedy

Before an audience of students at a vocational high school in an old Massachusetts manufacturing city, Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III offered the official Democratic response to the State of the Union.

But he had plenty of company in reacting to Trump on camera.

Senate Clears Bill to Protect Young Athletes From Sexual Abuse
Measure hailed by former Olympic gymnasts heads to President Donald Trump

The Senate cleared by voice vote on Tuesday legislation that would impose new reporting requirements on a wide variety of amateur sports, including gymnastics.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein joined former Olympic gymnasts and a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers at an event earlier in the day to celebrate the anticipated Senate action.

Senate Democrats Ask Why Trump Let Russian Spy Chief Into United States
Also question Treasury secretary on Russia sanctions implementation

Leading Senate Democrats want to know why the Trump administration allowed a top Russian spy onto U.S. soil.

Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer led other Democrats in raising concerns Tuesday about a reported visit by Sergey Naryshkin, Russia's foreign spy chief and an ally of President Vladimir Putin.

What You Won’t See On Camera at the State of the Union
 

The annual tradition of the president delivering the state of the union is a chaotic, busy and tiring day on Capitol Hill. Roll Call reporters who have lived it before give you insight into what goes on before and after the address and what the national cameras won’t catch....
Congress Closes In on New Rules for Olympic and Amateur Sports, Including USA Gymnastics
Feinstein wants House to call up and pass her bill to require reporting of alleged sexual misconduct

Congress is close to finalizing legislation that imposes new requirements on amateur and Olympic sports organizations to report suspected sexual abuse, something that would coincide with increased public pressure to address scandal within the Olympic community.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a statement that the chamber planned to take up a final bill Monday.