Executive Branch

Green New Deal: Some Democrats on the fence
Top Democrats who would oversee legislation in the House are reluctant to endorse plan that would remake economy

Democratic Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have championed the Green New Deal on Capitol Hill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A resolution outlining the goals of the Green New Deal capped off its first week of a somewhat messy rollout with mixed reviews, even from typically Democratic strongholds like labor unions.

In the House, the top two Democrats who would oversee any legislation that comes out of the plan have remained reluctant to fully endorse it, stopping at lauding the goals and the enthusiasm behind them. And Republicans quickly branded the Green New Deal as an extreme, socialist plan with unrealistic proposals to eliminate air travel and cows.

Democrats will push back on national emergency in Congress and courts
Congress will defend its constitutional authority over spending ‘using every remedy available,’ Democratic leaders vow

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Democrats will push back against the president's national emergency declaration in Congress, the courts and the public. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer promise that Democrats in Congress — hopefully joined by some Republicans — will push back against President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration in multiple arenas. 

“The President’s actions clearly violate the Congress’ exclusive power of the purse, which our founders enshrined in the Constitution,” the duo said in a joint statement Friday. “The Congress will defend our constitutional authorities in the Congress, in the courts, and in the public, using every remedy available.”

Photos of the week: Shutdown averted, national emergency declared
The week of Feb. 11 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

House Appropriations chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., walks across the Capitol from the House side for a meeting with House and Senate appropriators in an effort on Monday to revive spending talks and avert a second shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It appears Congress and the president have averted another partial government shutdown. On Thursday, both chambers passed a seven-bill spending package to fund the remainder of the government for the rest of fiscal year 2019.

On Friday, President Donald Trump addressed the nation to declare a national emergency, to secure additional funding for a wall on the Southern Border. 

Capitol Police crackdown on press escalates to physical altercation
Witness: ‘It got really ugly’

A Capitol Police crackdown turned physical Thursday, when police clashed with reporters attempting to speak with senators (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A Capitol Police crackdown turned physical Thursday afternoon, when officers clashed with reporters attempting to speak with senators in a location known as key territory for lawmakers and media to mix: the Senate basement.

Capitol Police officers physically shoved reporters away from senators heading to vote on the spending package, even when lawmakers were willingly engaging with the press.

Trump defends signing national emergency to build border wall
‘Walls work 100 percent,’ Trump said in a Rose Garden press conference

Donald Trump speaks on border security during a Rose Garden event at the White House on Friday. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump defended his executive action to access $6.6 billion in Pentagon and Treasury Department funds for his southern border barrier, accusing Democrats of opposing it as part of a “big con” and “a lie.”

Trump said Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Charles E. Schumer “know” border walls work, but they are resisting his proposal purely for political reasons.

Beto O’Rourke would ‘take the wall down’ between El Paso and Mexico
Possible 2020 candidate says political leaders are projecting ‘fear and anxiety’ that hurts residents along the border

Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, said that if it were up to him, he would tear down the border fence separating his hometown of El Paso, Texas, from Mexico. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Potential 2020 presidential candidate and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke said Thursday that if it were up to him, the border barrier separating his old El Paso, Texas, district from Mexico would come down.

“Yes, absolutely. I’d take the wall down,” the Texas Democrats said in an interview on MSNBC, on the American side of the border wall with a view into Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.

Republicans have concerns about Trump’s emergency declaration, too
Congressional Republicans raised concerns, but didn't denounce Trump's radical maneuver

Former Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., worries a Democratic president could use an emergency declaration to approve a Green New Deal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Some in the president’s party are wringing their hands about how the emergency declaration for a border wall might set a reckless precedent.

They wonder how a future Democratic president could circumvent Congress on liberal spending priorities like the Green New Deal — the sprawling plan supported by Democratic progressives to address climate change by restructuring the economy and phasing out fossil fuels. 

Trade talks with China ‘intensive’ but tariffs still set to balloon on March 1, White House says
‘Much work remains,’ Sarah Huckabee Sanders said ahead of new round next week

U.S. and Chinese officials made “progress” in trade talks this week in Beijing, the White House said. But spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not provide details as a new round of talks is slated for next week in Washington. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images file photo)

The White House on Friday said “intensive” trade talks this week with Chinese officials yielded “progress,” but there was no indication President Donald Trump is ready to delay a substantial ballooning of tariffs on Chinese-made goods set to take effect March 1.

“These detailed and intensive discussions led to progress between the two parties,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “Much work remains, however.”

White House: Wall funds would be ‘back-filled’ in 2020 budget request
Trump will take money from Pentagon and Treasury that would bring total wall funding to $8 billion

President Donald Trump talks to reporters during a meeting of his cabinet on Tuesday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Senior White House officials said Friday that the funds President Donald Trump will take from the Pentagon and the Treasury Department to pay for his wall along the U.S.-Mexico border would be “back-filled” in his 2020 budget request.

That means U.S. taxpayers would pay for every penny of the wall in fiscal 2019 — even though Trump long promised that Mexico would pay for it.

Why 19 Democrats and 109 Republicans voted against the government funding deal
Democratic defections were mostly Hispanic Caucus members, progressives concerned about immigration enforcement

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined 18 other House Democrats and 109 House Republicans in voting against the compromise spending package Thursday night. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats were just two votes short Thursday night of being able to clear a fiscal 2019 appropriations package without Republican help, while less than half of the GOP conference voted for the bill to avert another government shutdown.

That dynamic may foreshadow battles ahead as the new House Democratic majority will try to exert its influence over government spending while still having to deal with a Republican president and Senate.