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Impeachment news roundup: Dec. 13
Judiciary Committee returns to vote on articles after abrupt and rancorous end to Thursday’s markup

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., speaks with Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, right, and Rep. Louie Gohmert, D-Texas, during Thursday’s Judiciary Committee markup of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Less than 10 hours after they left the Capitol with some hard feelings, the House Judiciary Committee will resume its markup of impeachment articles against President Donald Trump.

The committee was expected to vote on the abuse of power and obstruction of Congress articles against Trump, but after 14 hours and a number of amendments on Thursday, Chairman Jerrold Nadler unexpectedly gaveled the committee out.

At the Races: Walking and chewing

By Bridget Bowman, Simone Pathé and Stephanie Akin

Michigan Democratic Rep. Haley Stevens reminded a group of reporters yesterday, “It’s sort of the metaphor of walking and chewing gum at the same time that everybody likes to use around here.”

Official: White House not worried Senate’s lack of input might sink USMCA
Trade pact biggest ‘casualty of Speaker Pelosi’s impeachment obsession,’ McConnell says

House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., conducts a news conference Tuesday on a deal reached with the White House on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The White House has no concerns that Republican senators might jump ship on President Donald Trump’s sweeping USMCA trade pact after they were told Thursday a deal with House Democrats will leave them unable to press for further changes.

“We haven’t heard any Senate Republicans come out and say they’re opposing the deal on substance,” a White House official said Thursday, granted anonymity to be candid. “I have no concerns.”

J. Brett Blanton on track to become next architect of the Capitol
Nominee was most recently deputy vice president for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

J. Brett Blanton, nominee to be architect of the Capitol, right, introduces his family to Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy Blunt, R-Mo., before the start of his confirmation hearing on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Most of J. Brett Blanton’s nomination hearing before the Senate Rules Committee to be the next architect of the Capitol on Thursday was essentially a one-on-one public interview between him and Chairman Roy Blunt, as the remaining 18 members of the committee were absent for the majority of the hearing.

No opposition to Blanton, a Virginia resident, is evident, making him likely to be confirmed as the 12th architect of the Capitol. If confirmed, Blanton said he expects to start leading the agency by mid-January.

Democratic Tri-Caucus to track diversity of witnesses in House hearings
Initiative would have committees send witnesses diversity surveys

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, is one of the leaders of the Tri-Caucus, along with Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., and Congressional Asian Pacific Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Callfile photo)

The chairs of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus announced Thursday that starting in January 2020 they will track the diversity of witnesses testifying in House committee hearings. 

Collectively known as the Tri-Caucus, the groups want to ensure diversity of witnesses that help inform policies and legislation to ensure the laws Congress passes are “inclusive and work for Americans of all backgrounds.”

Nadler pushes votes on impeachment articles to Friday morning
Expected approval amid partisan fighting will line up a contentious House floor vote next week

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., left, and ranking member Doug Collins. R-Ga., speak with their aides before the start of the House Judiciary Committee markup of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, in the Longworth Building on Thursday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The House will come one step closer to impeaching President Donald Trump Friday when the Judiciary Committee is expected to approve charges of obstruction of Congress and abuse of power.

The panel abruptly recessed after 11 p.m. Thursday night after more than 14 hours of debate just before they were expected to take final votes on the articles, extending the impeachment markup into a third day.

Impeachment news roundup: Dec. 12
Pelosi defends Democrats’ approach to impeachment

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., left, and ranking member Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., interrupt one another during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the impeachment articles against President Trump on Thursday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

As the House Judiciary Committee debated the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday again declined to explain to reporters why certain charges were left out of the articles.

On Tuesday she was dismissive when asked why Democrats did not include obstruction of justice as outlined in the special counsel report on its investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and Trump’s campaign. During her weekly news conference on Thursday, it was the exclusion of bribery she didn’t want to explain.

Ways and Means offers its own plan on surprise medical bills
New proposal could complicate efforts to enact a rival bill before year’s end

Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., and ranking member Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, said the committee would take up the proposal early next year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Voting rights, a partisan issue? Yes, Republicans have fallen that far
‘Party of Lincoln’ seems to believe it can only win by placing as many obstacles to voting as possible

Reps. John Lewis, right, and Terri A. Sewell and Sen. Patrick J. Leahy at a news conference before the House passed the Voting Rights Advancement Act on Dec. 6. Only one Republican voted for the bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Stacey Abrams has it right, for right now. She lost her 2018 race to be the governor of Georgia to Republican Brian Kemp, who as secretary of state was in charge of the election, a situation that would not pass the sniff test in North Korea.

OK, that comparison is a little far-fetched, but only a little.

Judiciary kicks off impeachment articles markup with expected polarization
Democrats try to set the occasion as solemn, while Republicans decry that as a ruse

Ranking member Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., makes an opening statement as Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., looks on during the House Judiciary Committee markup of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump in the Longworth Building on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House Judiciary Committee’s markup of two articles of impeachment charging President Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress kicked off Wednesday with Chairman Jerrold Nadler trying to set a “solemn” tone and ranking member Doug Collins accusing that of being a ruse. 

Nadler opened the markup with a note about why he was breaking the custom of having only the chairman and the ranking member deliver opening statements to provide each panel member the opportunity to give five minutes of opening remarks.