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Wall funds, add-ons in play as spending talks enter final days
Negotiations moving to a trade-off that could allow each side to walk away with a win

A section of the border wall stretches through the Rio Grande Valley sector of the Texas border on Aug. 20, 2019. (Jinitzail Hernández/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congressional leaders wrestled with a host of unresolved issues kicked upstairs after a productive weekend of spending talks, ranging from border wall construction to unrelated riders such as surprise medical billing and satellite television legislation.

Wall funding has been the major impediment to a spending deal. Sources familiar with the talks said negotiators were moving toward a trade-off that neither side would be happy with, but could allow each to walk away with a win: President Donald Trump likely retaining authority to transfer funds from the Pentagon to border security accounts, but new wall funding staying flat at best from fiscal 2019 levels.

North Carolina ratings changes offer a taste of redistricting to come
After seats held by Holding and Walker lean more Democratic, one retires with the other deciding

North Carolina GOP Rep. George Holding announced his retirement after the makeup of his district changed dramatically. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ten years is long enough to forget the chaos of covering campaigns during redistricting. But North Carolina, bless its heart, was kind enough to offer us an early taste of the upcoming craziness of a redistricting cycle.

First, new congressional lines can put new pressure on members.

DOJ watchdog finds problems, not politics in Trump campaign probe
Report does not back president’s most sweeping criticisms of FBI investigation

Michael Horowitz, inspector general of the Justice Department, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee in July 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The FBI had enough evidence to launch a criminal probe into members of President Donald Trump’s campaign during the 2016 election, and political bias did not motivate that decision, a Justice Department watchdog concluded.

But DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz also identified “significant concerns” with how the FBI handled aspects of the investigation, particularly how it handled applications to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page to a secret court that handles such requests.

Rapinoe doubtful on Capitol Hill visit, won't seek office (for now)
The USWNT captain says U.S. Soccer wants the women to visit the White House, too

(Photo illustration by Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

Those hoping to find the world-conquering U.S. women’s soccer team roaming the halls of Congress may be disappointed. Despite an invitation from congressional leaders, it appears the U.S. Soccer federation doesn’t want to arrange a team trip without the team going to the White House as well.

Megan Rapinoe. the team captain, said she would like to “visit Congress with her team, but she doesn’t think U.S. Soccer is willing to organize a trip that skips the White House, with the World Cup coming to the U.S. in 2026,” according to an interview with Sports Illustrated magazine. The 2026 World Cup has nothing to do with the visit, according to U.S. Soccer.

Bill Huizenga: Our beer is better than your beer
Michigan Republican touts Grand Rapids brew over Asheville, N.C.

Is Rep. Bill Huizenga, right, talking about beer, Harry Potter or campaign finance with Capitol Hill personality Rick Hohensee? Perhaps we'll find out more as the ethics investigation into the congressman unfolds. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Bill Huizenga’s interview with the Office of Congressional Ethics regarding an investigation into whether he complied with campaign finance rules yielded some other interesting insights about his diet at Harry Potter World and whom he trash-talks with about beer.

During his July 10 interview, the Michigan Republican was asked by OCE what happens when a member of Congress is invited as a special guest to support a colleague’s fundraiser and who benefits from the funds donated.

Judges ponder lawmaker right to sue over Trump businesses
Legal challenge rests on the constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause

A lawsuit led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., claims President Donald Trump is supposed to get consent from Congress before accepting payments or gifts from foreign governments under the Foreign Emoluments Clause. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A federal appeals court suggested Monday that individual members of Congress can’t pursue a lawsuit against President Donald Trump over allegations he violated a constitutional ban on financially benefiting from the office.

An attorney for more than 200 lawmakers — led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. — told a three-judge panel that Trump is supposed to get consent from Congress before accepting payments or gifts from foreign governments under the Foreign Emoluments Clause.

Denny Heck really wants a cookie
Washington Democrat’s scheduler sounded the ‘sugar zone’ alarm

Rep. Denny Heck, D-Wash., really needed a cookie. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Denny Heck was in dire need of a cookie, so much so that his scheduler emailed a group of Democratic staffers to ask if anyone had a “cookie source.”

In late October, the Washington state Democrat’s scheduler, Lauren Meininger, sent the email to her Democratic colleagues with the subject line “A single cookie??”

Protester interrupts start of impeachment hearing

A protester interrupts the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Livestream: House Judiciary hears impeachment inquiry evidence

Impeachment news roundup: Dec. 9
Judiciary hears findings of impeachment investigation in contentious hearing

Daniel Goldman, left, majority counsel for the House Intelligence Committee, and Steve Castor, minority counsel, are sworn in to the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing Monday on the Intelligence Committee’s report on the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler’s gavel got a workout when Republicans raised a number of objections, unanimous consent requests and parliamentary inquiries in the committee’s impeachment hearing on Monday.

“The steamroll continues!” ranking member Doug Collins said as Nadler called upon Barry Berke, counsel for House Democrats. Republicans were shouting over each other and Nadler’s gavel as they attempted to submit their dissatisfaction with the proceedings.