Budget

Facebook, other social media sites pressured to protect census
Members of Congress are pushing social media companies like Facebook to protect the census from disinformation

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, arrives to testify during the House Financial Services hearing on Oct. 23, 2019. Members of Congress are pushing social media companies like Facebook to protect the census from disinformation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Members of Congress are increasing pressure on social media companies to protect next year’s census from disinformation online, concerned that foreign governments and internet trolls could disrupt the 2020 enumeration.

The latest push comes in a letter the Congressional Asian-Pacific American Caucus sent Thursday to Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, asking her to speak with group members about steps to both promote the census and “combat interference and disinformation on its platform.” Russia or another country may try to push the census off course, they say, and Facebook and other companies should be prepared.

House to take up CR, Export-Import Bank and voting rights legislation in November
Hoyer outlines floor schedule for November, says action on prescription drug bill delayed to December

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Friday he’s hopeful “that we can finish our work and fully fund the government before the end of the year.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House will take up a stopgap funding bill, legislation to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, and a voting rights measure in November, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said in a “Dear Colleague” letter Friday.

The House has been on recess this week and will return Tuesday after the Veterans Day holiday for two consecutive weeks of legislative sessions before recessing again for the week of Thanksgiving. 

Impeachment news roundup: Nov. 8
Mulvaney balks at investigators subpoena, committees drop Vindman and Hill transcripts

Bill Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine shown here arriving at the Capitol for his Oct. 22 deposition, will be one of House Democrats’ first witnesses in public hearings in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As House Democrats pivot to the public phase of their impeachment inquiry, they have filled the first slate of open hearings next week with three highly regarded, longtime civil servants to make the case that President Donald Trump should be impeached.

Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent will testify Wednesday. Taylor’s predecessor in Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, will testify on Friday.

December stopgap funding seems likely path forward for long-delayed appropriations
Another three- to four-week extension is expected as lawmakers hash out differences

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., left, said he had a “positive discussion” with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., about the path forward for stalled spending bills. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congressional leaders and the White House agree they’ll need another three or four weeks to wrap up negotiations on 12 annual spending bills, and are likely to extend stopgap funding to Dec. 13 or Dec. 20, a decision that may finally propel the fiscal 2020 appropriations process forward.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby said he had a “positive discussion” with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland on Thursday. Senate Democratic Leader Charles E. Schumer said in floor remarks that “we’re seeing some positive signs that we can get the process back on track.”

Taylor testimony: 5 key points expected to make a comeback at public hearings
Transcript release provides roadmap for next phase of the impeachment inquiry

William Taylor, center, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, will be the first witness for open impeachment hearings. Transcripts of his closed-door deposition were released Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The newly released transcripts of October testimony from William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine, give a window into the next phase of the impeachment inquiry. Taylor will be the first witness to return to Capitol Hill and testify in an open hearing Nov. 13.

What Taylor has already said behind closed doors and what questions lawmakers are asking offer clues about what evidence Democrats and Republicans will bring forward to the public hearings.

Impeachment news roundup: Nov. 6
Taylor transcript released, Schiff announces first public hearings, No. 3 State Department official testifying on ambassador’s ouster

President Donald Trump cited the testimony of former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, shown here arriving for his Oct. 3 deposition, as proof that House Democrats are conducting a “witch hunt.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democratic impeachment investigators Wednesday unsealed testimony of one of their potential star witnesses, William Taylor, who alleged some of President Donald Trump’s closest advisers sought a quid pro quo from Ukraine to advance the president’s political interests.

Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, told lawmakers at his deposition earlier this month that some top officials in the Trump administration, led from the outside by the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, pressured Ukraine to publicly announce anti-corruption investigations into the Bidens and other Democrats in exchange for the U.S. unfreezing $400 million in military aid.

Top Republicans say costs a hurdle to bipartisan tax deal
GOP leaders say House Democrats want too much in return for movement on a bill to renew tax breaks known as extenders

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, walks to the Senate floor for a vote in June. Republican leaders say House Democrats want too much in return for movement on a bill to renew tax breaks known as extenders. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Republican leaders say House Democrats are asking for too much in return for movement on a bill to renew 30-plus tax breaks known collectively as extenders.

Senate Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley said his office estimates one version of the House Democrats’ request at $710 billion for a package that would make both the tax extenders and a proposal by House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal, D-Mass., permanent.

Teens like vaping mint and mango Juul flavors over menthol and tobacco, study finds
The study comes amid speculation that the Trump administration may not include menthol in the flavored e-cigarette ban

A new National Institutes of Health-funded study found teens prefer mint and mango-flavored e-cigarettes over tobacco and menthol flavors. The study also found that of the teens who use vapes, two-thirds use Juul products. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A new National Institutes of Health-funded study published Tuesday said that menthol flavoring is one of the least popular e-cigarette flavors among teenagers, amid speculation that the Trump administration may not include menthol in the flavored e-cigarette ban it proposed in September.

That proposal cleared the White House Office of Management and Budget on Monday afternoon, which is the last step before public release.

The unglamorous job of federal budgeting
New budget reform legislation would help restore a broken process

Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi has joined with Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and other colleagues to introduce the Bipartisan Congressional Budget Reform Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — It is no secret that a vast majority of Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing. Too often our political debates are characterized by hyperpartisanship, rather than achieving meaningful outcomes for the American people. Nowhere is this problem more acute than when it comes to our inability to address our country’s unsustainable fiscal course.

Our current budget process is broken, as evidenced by mounting debt and deficits, a patchwork of temporary spending bills, government shutdowns, and budgets that, if passed at all, are quickly ignored. While process reforms alone won’t solve our fiscal challenges, we believe that realigning incentives, creating a more predictable budget pathway and encouraging active engagement in fiscal outcomes are steps in the right direction.

Congress struggles to agree on funding as November deadline looms
CQ Budget, Ep. 132

Fall leaves blanket the lawn on the east side of the Capitol on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)