government shutdown

Mnuchin emerges, again, as key player in budget talks
Treasury secretary reprises role he played when he helped broker July agreement

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is again surfacing as the Trump administration’s liaison with Congress in spending negotiations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Pelosi sidesteps using Trump’s name in discussing funding talks
At weekly presser, speaker refers to ‘the administration,’ not president or White House

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, pictured talking to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer during the Democrats news conference on Tuesday, indicated Thursday that she doesn’t want President Donald Trump to be involved in appropriations negotiations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday went out of her way to avoid acknowledging President Donald Trump and the White House when asked about appropriations negotiations, as a Nov. 21 deadline to continue funding the government approaches. 

At her weekly press conference, a reporter asked Pelosi about her working relationship with the White House, noting that Congress will need to pass a continuing resolution the same week the House is conducting hearings to determine whether Trump should be impeached.

White House says Trump ‘too busy’ to watch ‘boring’ impeachment hearing
President cared more about Biden probe than corruption in Ukraine, diplomat testifies

President Donald Trump speaks at an event at the White House earlier this year. He said Wednesday he is not watching the first public impeachment hearing. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump — an avid cable news consumer — contended Wednesday he is “too busy” to watch the first public impeachment hearing, but he dismissed it as a made-for-television “hoax.”

The White House-Republican strategy for providing a counter message to testimony from acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent about two quid-pro-quos with Ukraine’s new president orchestrated by Trump began to unfold in the hearing’s first two hours.

Impeachment news roundup: Nov. 13
Two career diplomats first to offer public testimony, Trump tweets counteroffensive

William Taylor, the senior U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, and George Kent, deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, are sworn in at the House Intelligence Committee hearing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Two career diplomats who told congressional investigators behind closed doors of their concerns over President Donald Trump’s withholding of military aid to Ukraine and the “irregular channel” in dealing with the country conducted by Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani testified today in the first public hearings in the House’s impeachment investigation.

William Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, told investigators in a closed-door deposition in October that Trump used a stalled $400 million aid package to leverage Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and the involvement of his son Hunter Biden in a Ukrainian energy company. And George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, told the committees conducting the investigation in his closed-door deposition that it was his understanding that Trump wanted the Ukrainians to investigate the Bidens and whether the country tried to influence the 2016 election.

Senate budget writers offer up a revamped budget process
CQ Budget, Ep. 133

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) talks with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) talks with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) at the Capitol on October 24, 2019. Schumer said Wednesday the White House, Senate and House met to hopefully kick-start spending talks. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times)

The Senate Budget Committee drafted legislation for an overhaul of the broken budget process that includes a move toward biennial budgets. But any change is still an uphill fight, as Paul M. Krawzak and Kate Ackley explain.

Supreme Court cases could stir politics on ‘Dreamers’
Suits challenge Trump attempt to revoke Obama deportation protections

The Supreme Court building (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court hears oral arguments Tuesday in a trio of cases with the potential to reshape the nearly two-decades-old push in Congress for more permanent protections for immigrants who arrived in the United States as children.

The cases center on whether the Trump administration properly decided to cancel an Obama-era program that gives nearly 700,000 so-called Dreamers the ability to work and avoid deportation to countries they left at such a young age that they may not even remember.

White House backing off $8.6 billion demand for border wall funding
The most immediate decision to make is how long a second temporary funding bill should last

A section of the border wall stretches through the “Rio Grande Valley Sector” of the Texas border in August. The Trump administration is backing off its demand for spending on the fiscal 2020 border wall. (Jinitzail Hernández/CQ Roll Call)

The Trump administration is backing off its demand for $8.6 billion in fiscal 2020 border wall spending in negotiations with top congressional leaders and appropriators, according to a source familiar with the talks.

That’s not just a recognition of reality — Congress hasn’t appropriated more than $1.375 billion for the wall in each of the past two fiscal years. It also reflects a realization that the administration risks losing a substantial boost in military spending and other GOP priorities if current stopgap funds end up extended for the entire fiscal year.

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)

Road ahead: Impeachment to lead headlines, even with House away
Senate returns Tuesday to continue confirming judges

Impeachment will be making headlines at the Capitol, even with the House not in session. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House is not in session this week, and yet there might still be more attention on that side of the Capitol, with House committees led by the Intelligence panel continuing work on the impeachment inquiry.

The committees are seeking testimony from three officials Monday, but it is not yet clear who, if any, will appear for their scheduled closed-door depositions.

From impeachment’s high solemnity to high farce
Political Theater, Episode 98

House Judiciary Chairman Henry J. Hyde presided over the impeachment hearings of President Bill Clinton in 1998. At left is the portrait of Peter Rodino, the Judiciary chairman when the committee approved impeachment articles against President Richard Nixon.(Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

From lawmakers struggling with the “high solemnity” of their votes to impeach Richard Nixon in 1974 to the “high farce” of the impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998, each impeachment episode has its own distinct identity, according to CQ Roll Call contributor Finlay Lewis. 

In the latest Political Theater podcast, Lewis discusses his own coverage of Watergate for the Minneapolis Tribune and of the Clinton impeachment for Copley News. As the country gears up for another impeachment inquiry, there are some important echoes that Americans might want to heed. Sometimes things start with a so-called third-rate burglary. Sometimes they start with some weird real estate transactions in Arkansas. And sometimes they start with a phone call to Ukraine. Where they end can be anyone’s guess.