politics

9/11 victims bill heads to Trump‘s desk after clearing Senate
Final action on the measure came after months of emotional lobbying by ailing first responders and their families

Jon Stewart, former host of The Daily Show, smiles as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks by at the Ohio Clock Corridor in the Capitol on Tuesday, July 23, 2019. The Senate will be voting later today on HR 1327: Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate cleared a measure Tuesday that would extend a financial lifeline to thousands of victims suffering health problems from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

By the lopsided vote of 97-2, the Senate agreed to a House-passed bill that would effectively make permanent a special compensation fund for first responders and other victims of the 2001 attacks, while providing however much money is needed to pay all eligible claims filed by Oct. 1, 2090.

Debt deal moving forward with key GOP, Democratic support
Fiscal hawks blast agreement: ‘Washington has all but abandoned economic sanity’

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin arrives to attend the Senate Republican policy lunches in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 7:10 p.m. | Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin visited Senate Republicans Tuesday to try to shore up support for a two-year spending caps and debt limit accord, amid bipartisan concern over tacking another $324 billion onto deficits — a figure that could more than quintuple when spread out over a decade.

Mnuchin sought to reassure Republicans at their weekly policy lunch that President Donald Trump in fact supports the deal he reached Monday with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby and others.

Senate confirms Esper to be Defense secretary
The vote ends an eight-month period during which the massive bureaucracy was led by a series of acting leaders

Chiarman Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., left, shakes hands with Secretary of Defense nominee Mark Esper before the start of Esper’s confirmation hearing in the Senate Armed Services Committee on July 16, 2019. He was confirmed by the Senate Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Mark Esper to be the next Defense secretary, 90-8, bringing to an end an eight-month period during which the massive bureaucracy was led by a series of acting leaders.

Esper, who has served as Army secretary since 2017, follows James Mattis as President Donald Trump’s second Senate-confirmed Defense secretary.

The Democrats who voted to keep impeachment options open
Why those who do not yet favor an impeachment inquiry voted against blocking Green’s articles

Rep. Lori Trahan, D-Mass., voted against tabling Rep. Al Green's impeachment articles to keep the option on the table but she does not yet support opening an impeachment inquiry. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A House vote last 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 it 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, or 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. 

Finance drug price bill faces GOP resistance before markup
Proposals target Medicare drug prices

Senate Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, on Tuesday offered a details on a drug price bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday outlined a long-anticipated drug price bill, but a planned Thursday markup may not go smoothly because of Republican discontent with the measure.

The bill is meant to slow the growth of Medicare’s prescription drug spending, limit cost-sharing for Medicare beneficiaries, and make it easier for state Medicaid programs to pay for expensive treatments, according to a summary.

Louisiana police officers fired over AOC post on Facebook
Ocasio-Cortez says Trump’s rhetoric that has incited threats is an ‘authoritarian’ tool to silence critics

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., responds to reporters questions in Rayburn Building about derogatory comments made by President Trump about her and other freshmen members last week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A police officer in Louisiana has been fired for writing on Facebook that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should be shot. 

The police chief in Gretna, a New Orleans suburb, announced at a news conference Monday that Officer Charlie Rispoli was fired for writing the post and another officer, Angelo Varisco, was fired for “liking” it, WBRZ reported.

Where are the members of the 115th Congress that left under scandal?
Only two scandal-tarred lawmakers from last Congress are still serving

Montana Republican Ryan Zinke, who was Interior secretary until last December, is now a managing director at cybersecurity and blockchain company Artillery One. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the #MeToo movement took hold in the past two years, nine members of the 115th Congress relinquished their seats amid allegations of sexual misconduct. That’s more than any Congress since at least 1901, based on an analysis of congressional departures by FiveThirtyEight.

Two other lawmakers left under scrutiny for financial or ethical improprieties, two who joined the Trump administration were later forced to resign their Cabinet posts, and two representatives indicted last year are still in office fighting the charges.

Antitrust is not regulation. It’s law enforcement
Lawmakers would do well to remember that antitrust is not for advancing social objectives

People calling for a crackdown on some of America’s most successful companies are ignoring the essential nature of antitrust, writes Sean Heather of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Antitrust for much of the last 20 years has been a quiet and sleepy conversation, left largely to practitioners and academics. But not anymore.

Antitrust has taken center stage on Capitol Hill as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle demand greater oversight of the tech industry. But those calling for a crackdown on some of America’s most successful companies ignore the essential nature of antitrust: It is not a political weapon but a tool of law enforcement. Its purpose is to ensure market competition, not to protect competitors, advance partisan aims or usher in sweeping social reforms.

4 things to watch when Mueller testifies
Former special counsel is unlikely to disclose any new information Wednesday

Former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III will face the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rarely does a congressional hearing have a longer, more dramatic buildup than former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s appearances Wednesday before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees — and the American public via television cameras.

The main question: Will his testimony change anything?

Republicans want an election about socialism. They likely won’t get one
2020 election will be about Trump and his Democratic opponent. Not ‘the squad’

Republicans are eager to make the 2020 election about their criticisms directed toward Democrats like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York instead of a referendum on President Donald Trump, Rothenberg writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — If there was any doubt congressional Republicans want to make the 2020 election about something other than President Donald Trump, look no further than the House GOP’s campaign chairman. 

“Republicans will make 2020 race a choice between socialism and freedom, NRCC Chair Emmer says, w starring role for AOC & Squad as ‘Speaker in fact,’ & rest of Democrats as the ‘new Red Army,’” New York Times reporter Julie Hirschfeld Davis tweeted last week about National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Emmer.