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Mayors see historic opportunity in presidential race
Bloomberg, Buttigieg make presidential pitches to mayors conference

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Democratic presidential candidate, touted a $1 trillion infrastructure plan at the U.S Conference of Mayors meeting at the Capital Hilton on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A promise to repair potholes won’t get a laugh at most presidential campaign events. 

But Michael Bloomberg knew his audience.

Trump administration restricts U.S. travel for pregnant foreigners
A new State Department rule targets 'birth tourism,' White House says

The rule issued by the State Department goes into effect Friday. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The State Department issued a new rule Thursday that will make it more difficult for pregnant women abroad to obtain visas to the United States, an attempt to curb what the White House is calling "birth tourism."

The department will grant visa officers more discretion to deny nonimmigrant visas to women they believe are entering the United States specifically to obtain citizenship for their child by giving birth here, a State Department spokesperson told reporters during a background briefing.

Do Republicans hate or respect Adam Schiff? Maybe it's both
Some GOP senators have complimented Schiff for his impeachment trial presentation

Reps. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., left, the lead House impeachment manager who's drawn unexpected praise from some Republicans, is seen in the Capitol before the continuation of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on Thursday, January 23, 2020. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

To President Donald Trump and his House Republican allies, Rep. Adam B. Schiff is public enemy no. 1. But as the lead House impeachment manager makes his case against Trump in the Senate, he’s drawn some surprising compliments from a few Republican senators.

That’s not to say that Trump will stop attacking the California Democrat, whom he calls “Shifty Schiff,” or that other Republicans won’t use Schiff as the scapegoat for all the things they think are wrong with House Democrats’ impeachment charges. But knowing the House is seeking Trump’s removal from office regardless of what they think, some Republicans acknowledge Schiff, a former federal prosecutor, is the best person to present Democrats’ case.

Green card gridlock: When will Congress agree on a solution?
The waiting lists for residency status grow ... and grow.

Hundreds of thousands of people may find themselves waiting for decades in green card limbo. (CQ Roll Call)

On Dec. 18, immigration reform stalwart Richard J. Durbin’s announcement on the Senate floor about a rare bipartisan breakthrough flew largely under the radar, overshadowed in the chaotic flurry of impeachment. Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, and Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah had dueled two months earlier over unanimous consent requests on the Senate floor, and had since been deadlocked.

Each had pushed for his own solution to an important but often overlooked symptom of the broken U.S. immigration system: the employment-based green card backlog. Because of it, hundreds of thousands of people — overwhelmingly from India — wait in limbo, sometimes for decades.

Fear of ICE raids during census could hamper count of immigrants
Outreach organizations fear that Trump officials may try to deport immigrant communities they need to count

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Fugitive Operations Team members on a raid in Los Angeles. Some census outreach groups worry the Trump administration may try to deport immigrants they need to count. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

As census efforts ramp up this spring, outreach organizations fear that Trump administration officials may try to deport the immigrant communities they need to count.

A network of nonprofits, local governments and advocacy groups has fanned out to help the Census Bureau conduct its decennial count of America’s residents. Some advocates worry the administration, after its failed push to add a citizenship question to the census, may continue on-the-ground immigration enforcement efforts in a departure from previous censuses.

What day of the Trump trial is it? It turns out there’s no wrong answer
(But we say it started Wednesday)

Capitol workers wind the Ohio Clock in the Ohio Clock Corridor in the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When did the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump begin?

This publication says Wednesday, but depending on which news outlet you watch or read, Thursday could be the second, third or fourth day of the Senate’s impeachment trial.

At the Races: Trial vs. Trail

By Simone Pathé, Stephanie Akin and Bridget Bowman 

Welcome to At the Races! Each week we’ll bring you news and analysis from the CQ Roll Call team that will keep you informed about the 2020 election. Know someone who’d like to get this newsletter? They can subscribe here.

Impeachment trial takes vulnerable senators off the campaign trail, too
Some senators are refraining from sending fundraising emails

Alabama Sen. Doug Jones walks to the Senate chamber Wednesday before the start of the impeachment trial. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Doug Jones’ campaign is holding an event Friday, but the Alabama Democrat won’t be there. Instead, Valerie Jarrett, an adviser to former President Barack Obama, is hosting the forum on women in leadership in Birmingham.

Jones, the most vulnerable senator in 2020, will be in the Senate chamber for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, alternating between blue and red felt-tipped pens as he takes notes on opening arguments. Sitting with him will be other colleagues who face competitive races, either in November or sooner in party primaries.

Burr is giving senators fidget spinners to stay busy during trial
Impeachment arguments have tested lawmakers ability to sit still for hours at a time

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., leaves the Senate Republicans’ policy lunch in December. He hopes to help out his antsy Senate colleagues with a Carolina cookout. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Richard M. Burr is trying to help out his antsy Senate colleagues.

The North Carolina Republican is providing an assortment of fidget spinners and other gizmos to his GOP colleagues at this week’s Thursday lunch.

EPA finalizes clean water rollback amid science challenges
New rule removes federal authority over smaller bodies of water that feed larger water supplies. Opponents said states should handle such local regulation

President Donald Trump shows a hat that says “Make Counties Great Again” before signing an executive order in February 2017 to  roll-back of environmental regulations put in place by the Obama administration. (Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images file photo)

The Trump administration on Thursday finalized a rule that significantly reduces the federal government’s role in regulating waterways, fulfilling a campaign promise to farmers and energy interests and handing a win to conservatives who have pushed for changes to the Clean Water Act regulations.

The rule, which redefines what constitutes “waters of the United States,” revises decades-old standards for regulating waterways, a move environmentalists warn will lead to pollution of water that wildlife and people depend on, especially in low-income areas and communities of color. Several current and former EPA and Army Corps of Engineers employees and scientific advisers oppose the move, charging that political appointees blocked the use of scientific information in writing the rule.