Congress

House effort on Steve King censure fizzles
Matter referred to Ethics Committee as some Democrats express disappointment

An effort to censure Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, for racist comments fizzled on Wednesday as the chamber voted to refer the matter to the Ethics Committee. (Bill Clark/Roll Call file photo)

An effort to further punish Rep. Steve King for racist comments fizzled Wednesday when the chamber voted to instead refer the Iowa Republican’s case to the House Ethics Committee.

On a voice vote, the House referred a censure resolution from Illinois Democrat Bobby L. Rush to the Ethics panel, instead of censuring him directly.

Support for ‘wall’ at all-time high among Republicans, low for Democrats, study finds
Pew study brings insight to the current Washington logjam

President Donald Trump’s border wall prototypes as seen from Tijuana, Mexico, in March. (Mario Tama/Getty Images file photo)

A new Pew Research Center poll finds Republican support for a southern border wall has reached an all-time high, while support among Democrats supporting the wall has never been lower.

The polling provides insight on deepening divisions between President Donald Trump’s $5.7 billion request for a border barrier and Democratic leaders’ opposition to any wall funding. It comes at a time when there’s no apparent end in sight for a partial government shutdown that’s now in its third week.  

Grassley wants IRS to give taxpayers a break if they messed up witholdings

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, center, thinks the IRS should give taxpayers a break if they did not withhold enough from their paychecks. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee does not want taxpayers punished if they end up owing an abnormally large amount of money to the IRS this tax season because of issues with the changes in tax withholding under 2018 tax code changes.

While Sen. Charles E. Grassley praised the efforts of the IRS and the Treasury Department to advise people of the importance of updating tax withholding figures, as well as the online calculator, he said that it was clear there could be issues.

New Inspector General named for Capitol Police
Michael A. Bolton has been serving as acting IG since last March

The Capitol Police Board announced Wednesday the selection of Michael A. Bolton to be the department’s inspector general. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Capitol Police Board announced Wednesday the selection of Michael A. Bolton to be the department’s inspector general. Bolton has been serving in the role in an acting capacity since March of last year and previously served as assistant IG for investigations.

“Mr. Bolton’s more than 30 years of law enforcement and auditing experience, and 16 years in the OIG community have been an asset to the USCP Office of Inspector General and the Department. I look forward to our continued partnership in ensuring that the USCP continues to promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in the administration of its programs and operations,” Capitol Police Chief Matthew R. Verderosa said in a statement.

Senate effort to block Russia sanctions relief comes up short
Clear majority of senators supported attempt to maintain sanctions on three Russian firms, but not 60 of them

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., fell short of 60 votes on his Russia sanctions measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer came up just short in his effort to get legislation through the chamber blocking the Treasury Department from easing sanctions on a trio of Russian companies.

Less than 24 hours after securing 57 votes to support a motion to proceed to the joint resolution disapproving of Treasury’s move to lift sanctions on three Russian firms that have been controlled by sanctioned oligarch Oleg Deripaska, the same number of senators voted to limit debate — but that was three short of the 60 needed to cut off debate and get the measure to a final passage vote.

Former Rep. Ruben Kihuen gets ratioed after announcing next campaign on Twitter
The House Ethics Committee concluded in November that Kihuen sexually harassed women he worked with

Former Rep. Ruben Kihuen's tenure in Congress was defined mostly by a sexual harassment scandal. Now he is running for city council in Las Vegas. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Former Rep. Ruben Kihuen’s brief tenure in Congress was defined largely by a sexual harassment scandal. When the former congressman announced his campaign for Las Vegas City Council on Twitter Tuesday, he received swift and negative blowback.

The Nevada Democrat only served one term, before revelations that he repeatedly sexually harassed women — including a former campaign aide — severely imperiled his chances for re-election. 

Steve King’s constituents in Iowa grapple with his ‘white supremacy’ comments
Some think Washington lawmakers are ‘overreacting,’ while others have said the Iowa Republican should resign

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, is under pressure from constituents in the 4th District for comments he made questioning when “white supremacy” became an offensive term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Top Republicans in Washington — including Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell and Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the No. 3 House Republican — have called for Rep. Steve King to resign from office over his comments about white supremacy and white nationalism to The New York Times last week.

 

Protesters disrupt EPA confirmation hearing, held despite shutdown
The group objected to the activating of furloughed staff to help the acting administrator prepare for the hearing

Demonstrators were removed from the confirmation hearing for Andrew Wheeler, President Trump’s pick to lead the EPA. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Two demonstrators were removed Wednesday morning from the confirmation hearing of Andrew Wheeler —President Trump’s pick to lead the EPA.

Protesters in the hallway and hearing room objected to the business in front of the Environment and Public Works Committee, because the EPA remains closed as part of the partial government shutdown. The group of over a dozen protesters included people representing Code Pink and The Moms Clean Air Force, some with strollers and their children in tow.

Disaster aid bill could grow, block diversion of funds to wall
Measure unlikely to go far in Senate

Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., (left), is pushing for a disaster aid package. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., opposes an amendment Democrats are preparing that he describes as an “exercise in futility. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House is scheduled to take up a $12.1 billion disaster aid package Wednesday that would reopen the nine closed Cabinet agencies for three weeks and, if approved during floor debate, prevent President Donald Trump from tapping the bill’s emergency funds for building a border wall.

The underlying bill would direct aid to victims of recent calamities such as hurricanes that hit Florida and the Carolinas, wildfires that ravaged California and typhoons that struck island territories in the Pacific, House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., told the Rules Committee on Tuesday.

Pelosi asks Trump to delay State of The Union until government reopens
The speaker asked the president to delay the address scheduled for Jan. 29 or deliver it in writing

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., holds her weekly on camera press conference in the Capitol on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Wednesday asking he delay his Jan. 29 State of the Union address, or deliver it in writing, unless the government is reopened.

The California Democrat said a State of the Union address has never been delivered during a government shutdown “since the start of modern budgeting” in fiscal 1977. Pelosi also cited security concerns because the Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security are not funded.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announces 2020 presidential run
New York Democrat announced the news on ‘Late Night with Stephen Colbert’

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has promised to stay away from corporate PAC money and has said it has a "corrosive effect" in politics. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has formed an exploratory committee to begin fundraising for a 2020 campaign for president.

The New York Democrat announced the news on “Late Night with Stephen Colbert” on Tuesday, and laid out her answer to the question every candidate is asked: Why do you want to run for president?

Push intensifies for cryptocurrency industry to police itself
Group is working to establish an industry-sponsored regulator

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are legally considered commodities and occupy the same category as gold or oil, which are considered “exempt.” (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images file photo)

BY CHRIS MARQUETTE

Proponents who tout the revolutionary potential for digital assets may turn to a more traditional model to protect investors and pre-empt additional scrutiny: self-regulation.

For Steve King, colleagues continue calls for censure, resignation
Pelosi to rule Wednesday on two censure proposals

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, faced two reprimands already this week, and tougher punishments may be ahead. (Photo By Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Steve King has already faced two reprimands this week from his colleagues for his racist comments, but there could be tougher punishment ahead. Some Democrats are calling for an official censure, and a few fellow Republicans are calling for King’s resignation.

The clock is ticking down on two measures to officially censure King, offered Monday by Democratic Reps. Bobby L. Rush of Illinois and Tim Ryan of Ohio.

Senate votes to start debating Russia sanctions measure, but may lack votes to finish it
Joint resolution seeks to block sanctions relief for three Russian companies

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer has led the joint resolution. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Eleven Senate Republicans split from the Trump administration Tuesday afternoon, backing an effort by Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer to force a floor debate on sanctions on Russian firms.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had appeared at Tuesday’s Senate GOP lunch to make the case for letting sanctions relief for three sanctioned Russian companies to go forward.

Day 25 of the shutdown and the impasse held fast
Spending bill fails, president holds firm, House freshmen march

Freshman House members, including Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., leave the Capitol office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Tuesday after a visit to urge action on reopening the government. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

On the 25th day of the longest government shutdown in modern history, the House failed to advance a spending measure, the president was half-stood up for lunch, and freshman House Democrats marched on the Senate. 

In an already busy day on Capitol Hill, the House failed to advance a stopgap measure to fund shuttered federal agencies through Feb. 1, as Democrats sought to pressure Republicans to end the partial shutdown.