Roll Call Staff

Trump Announces ‘Bump Stock’ Directive After Parkland Murders
Asks AG Sessions to expediently finalize guidelines

President Trump announced Tuesday he signed a directive ordering Attorney General Jeff Sessions to craft regulations banning “bump stocks” and other devices that turn semi-automatic firearms into automatic weapons.

The announcement comes as students lobbied state and federal lawmakers to take action after 17 were killed by a gunman with an AR-15 assault rifle at a school in Parkland, Florida.

Four Up, Four Down on Senate Immigration Proposals
Bipartisan, Democratic, Republican amendments all blocked

The Senate voted down all four immigration proposals in front of it on Thursday, failing to cut off debate on each one of them and leaving the chamber at a loss on how to proceed, eventually, on the high-profile issue.

First up was a motion to cut off debate on a proposal from Arizona Republican John McCain and Delaware Democrat Chris Coons to provide conditional permanent residence to recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program if they meet certain qualifications, and would authorize $110 million annually, for fiscal 2018 through fiscal 2022, for grants for border security activities in states with international or maritime borders.

And They’re Off! Senate Finally Votes to Proceed on Immigration
Votes on amendments expected soon

After two days of the equivalent of a legislative staring contest, the Senate has decided to move along toward immigration legislation. But this is just the beginning, and feelings are a little raw over how things have unfolded so far. 

The chamber approved, by voice vote Wednesday morning, a motion to proceed to the expected legislative vehicle for an immigration overhaul. 

Justice Department Drops Corruption Case Against Menendez
Decision comes after it recently said it would retry the New Jersey Democrat

The Justice Department is dropping its case against Sen. Robert Menendez, less than two weeks after it announced it would retry the New Jersey Democrat on corruption charges. 

The federal judge overseeing the case, U.S. District Judge William H. Walls, last week entered acquittals on seven of the 18 charges in the indictment against Menendez and his co-defendant, South Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen

Train Carrying GOP Lawmakers to Retreat Hits Truck
Reports: At least one dead, others injured

Updated 2:51 p.m. | A train transporting Republican lawmakers to the GOP retreat in West Virginia was involved in an accident with a truck late Wednesday morning.

Representatives were seen attending to injured people from the truck, according to a source on the train. At least one person was reported dead. 

Highlights From Trump’s State of the Union
Republicans cheer, Democrats sit on their hands as president lays out his vision

While he aimed to deliver a unifying speech, President Donald Trump was speaking to half of the House chamber on Tuesday on a number of the goals he carried from his campaign in his first State of the Union address.

The president hit the familiar themes of a wall along the southern U.S. border and making America great again, which got cheers from the Republican side of the room — even eliciting chants of “U-S-A!” from Republicans — but had Democrats sitting on their hands.

Hatch and Alexander Play Piano, Discuss Songwriting Legislation
 

 Video courtesy of the office of Sen. Lamar Alexander....
Judge Knocks Off a Few, But Not All, Counts Against Menendez
Justice Department would have fewer counts to pursue in a retrial

Less than a week after the Justice Department said it would seek to re-try Sen. Robert Menendez after his corruption trial ended in a mistrial last year, a federal judge has knocked out seven counts against him.

According to NBC 4 in New York, Wednesday’s decision by U.S. District Judge William H. Walls forbids the government from seeking retrial on those counts. The judge left the rest of the government’s case intact, though. Walls declared a mistrial in November after individually interviewing members of the jury after it deadlocked. 

No Deal After Trump-Schumer Meeting to Avoid Shutdown
‘The discussions will continue,’ minority leader says

An impending government shutdown continued to loom following a meeting between President Donald Trump and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer at the White House Friday afternoon.

Schumer made a brief statement to reporters outside the Capitol upon his return.

Capitol a Land of Confusion as Shutdown Approaches
House members not even sure if they are free to go home

A sense of general confusion gripped the Capitol on Friday as the Senate argued over the way forward on avoiding a government shutdown and House members were unclear about whether they were supposed to go home or not. 

“I just don’t think they are in a position to tell us anything right now,” Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said, adding that there haven’t been any instructions from GOP leaders about whether members can leave following votes. 

17 of 2017’s Most Popular Stories
A look back at a contentious year on the Hill

With control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, Republicans had high hopes of pushing an ambitious agenda forward and making good on last year’s campaign promises.

But their long-held promise of repealing and replacing the 2010 health care law stalled in the Senate in one of the most dramatic moments of the year. Infighting derailed other agenda items that followed.

What Got Left in Our Notebooks in 2017
Reporter’s Notebook: An executive summary of Roll Call’s biggest stories, from the reporters themselves

With the first year of the 115th Congress as hectic as any other, some stories were bound to fall by the wayside. See the video for anecdotes from Roll Call reporters on what they wish they could’ve covered in 2017.

Once More With Feeling, House Votes, Again, on Tax Overhaul
After misfire, measure is on its way to the president for his signature

The House voted for the second time in as many days to pass the GOP tax overhaul, signing off on changes made by the Senate with a 224-201 vote and sending it to the president for his signature. 

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and his leadership team thought they were done with the tax measure on Tuesday, when they passed it 227-203 and sent it to the Senate. But a procedural hiccup delayed the GOP celebration.

With Tax Deal in the Works, Questions Turn to Timing
Deal could be announced as early as Tuesday, with votes next week

Capitol Hill was relatively calm Tuesday morning, even as the timing on two big-ticket items — voting on a tax overhaul package and what to do about year-end spending questions — hung in the air unresolved and the nation remained fixated on Alabama’s special Senate election, where voting is underway.

House Republicans meeting as a conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters said there was no specific timeline for voting on the tax package, as the formal conference committee is set to meet, perhaps for the only time, Wednesday.

Ethics Committee Expands Investigation Into Farenthold
Texas Republican accused of sexual harassment, retaliation

The House Ethics committee announced Thursday it unanimously voted to establish a subcommittee to build on its investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold.

So far, the panel has reviewed more than 200,000 pages and interviewed multiple witnesses, according to a statement released by Ethics Chairwoman Susan W. Brooks of Indiana and ranking member Ted Deutch of Florida. 

Report: Franken to Resign Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations
But Minnesota Democrat says “no final decision has been made”

Updated 5:28 p.m. | Minnesota Sen. Al Franken will resign Thursday, a Democratic official told Minnesota Public Radio.

The Democratic-Farmer-Labor senator was scheduled to make an announcement Thursday, his office said. He is facing several allegations of sexual misconduct. A sixth accuser alleged Wednesday that Franken had behaved inappropriately toward her.

John Anderson, Republican Who Ran for President as Independent, Dead at 95
Longtime House member made 1980 a three-way race

Former Rep. John B. Anderson, a Republican from Illinois who shook up the 1980 presidential race by running as an independent, died Sunday in Washington, D.C. He was 95.

From Rockford, Illinois, he was first elected in 1960 to the 87th Congress. He served 10 terms overall, and was a one-time chairman of the Republican Conference.

Report: State’s Tillerson Could Be Replaced by CIA’s Pompeo
Sen. Tom Cotton would move to CIA under reported White House plan

Updated 11:44 a.m.| President Donald Trump’s White House has developed plans to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, according to The New York Times.

Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton would move into Pompeo’s position, the news outlet said citing senior administration officials.

Senate Officially Begins Debate on Tax Overhaul Bill

The Senate voted Wednesday to officially begin debating the GOP tax overhaul bill, moving one step closer to a drastic rewrite of the nation’s tax code.

The Senate adopted the motion to proceed to the House-passed tax overhaul bill, 52-48.

Judge Denies Motion; Allows Mulvaney to Lead CFPB
Deputy director Leandra English had sued to block him from taking the job