hawaii

Armed Services experience is ‘in’ for 2020 presidential
Gillibrand, Warren and Gabbard will play up their national security cred as they vie to be commander in chief

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard greets veteran Celestino Almeda in 2017. The Hawaii congresswoman is one of three sitting Armed Services members eyeing the presidency. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Three sitting members of Congress who have announced plans to seek the presidency in 2020 have a few things in common: they’re all Democrats, they’re all women, and they all sit on their respective chamber’s Armed Services committee.

To date, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand have formed committees to explore a challenge to President Donald Trump in 2020, while Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has officially launched her presidential campaign.

Barr assures senators of his independence
AG nominee says Mueller investigation isn’t a ‘witch hunt,’ Sessions ‘probably did right thing’ in recusing himself

William Barr, nominee for attorney general, testifies during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 5:59 p.m. | William Barr appeared to be on a path to confirmation as the next attorney general Tuesday, after he gave senators key assurances about the special counsel probe into the 2016 elections and distanced himself from some of President Donald Trump’s comments about the investigation.

During more than seven hours of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Barr avoided the kind of missteps that might cost him votes of Republicans, who have a 53-47 advantage in the chamber. But some Democrats say he did not do enough to reassure them that he would protect Robert S. Mueller III’s probe and make the results public.

Tulsi Gabbard ‘regrets’ past anti-gay activism as she prepares for presidential race
Hawaii Democratic congresswoman announced she’s running for party’s 2020 nomination

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, received criticism for her past opposition to same-sex marriage. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s positions on same-sex marriage and LGBT rights have shifted dramatically, from working for her father’s anti-gay marriage organization in the early 2000s to joining the Congressional Progressive Caucus as a U.S. House member.

The Hawaii Democrat announced Friday that she will seek the Democratic party nomination for president in 2020. She has already received criticism for her past anti-gay activism.

Health law appeal paused as shutdown affects federal courts
Justice Department also asks for pause in suit concerning acting AG Whitaker

Citing the shutdown, Justice Department lawyers asked for a pause in a suit challenging the appointment of acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, pictured here. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The partial government shutdown halted a major challenge to the 2010 health care law among other civil litigation on Friday, as Justice Department lawyers sought the same in a challenge from three Senate Democrats to the appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit issued a two-page order granting the Trump administration’s request to halt the 2010 health care law case “in light of lapse of appropriations.”

Three things to watch in Trump’s border wall Oval Office address
Democrats expect more false, misleading statements as shutdown drags on

President Trump speaks in the Oval Office in February 2017 before Vice President Mike Pence swore in now-former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (left). (John T. Bennett/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s first Oval Office prime-time address will put the border wall — his signature campaign promise — center stage as he considers declaring a national emergency at the southern border and aims to shift public opinion about the government shutdown.

Senior administration officials on Monday did not rule out the president making what would be a contentious announcement during his Tuesday address. Vice President Mike Pence was one of those officials, and he made clear in a television interview that aired Tuesday morning that Trump could make a move that Democrats already are panning.

Here are lawmakers diverting pay in solidarity with shutdown employees
Thousands of civilian workers will not receive paychecks due next week if deal to end shutdown isn’t reached

Sen. Mazie Hirono said she will donate her paycheck to food banks in Hawaii during the shutdown. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Several lawmakers have declared they will decline their paycheck or will donate it to charity in solidarity with civilian workers furloughed or working without pay.

Federal workers received their regular paychecks last week for work completed before the shutdown, but if a spending agreement is not reached soon, thousands could see a delay in paychecks scheduled for next Friday.

GOP disaster aid leftovers reflect fresh chance for Democrats
Approps panel ‘will bring up a comprehensive disaster package in the coming weeks’

Incoming House Appropriations Chairwoman Rep. Nita M. Lowey criticized a package from the GOP last year that included $7.8 billion in disaster aid. Now Democrats have a chance to up that sum. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The shutdown fallout may have handed Democrats an unpleasant start to their new House majority. But it also created a fresh opportunity for political victory on a bigger, broader disaster aid package that could hit the House floor in the coming weeks.

Billions are needed to rebuild after recent hurricanes, floods, fires and other natural disasters that ravaged the U.S. in 2018, such as Hurricanes Florence and Michael; mudslides and fires in California, including the Camp Fire that razed the town of Paradise, Calif.; floods and tornadoes that ripped across various parts of the nation; volcanic eruptions in Hawaii and a major earthquake in Alaska; and typhoons that devastated Pacific island nations and territories ranging from the Philippines to Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

House adopts rules package with few Democratic defections over PAYGO provision
Package establishes two select committees, requires committee action before floor votes, among other changes

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., swears in members in the House chamber on the first day of the 116th Congress on Jan. 3, 2019. Later that afternoon the House adopted its rules package for new Congress. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House on Thursday adopted the bulk of a rules package for the 116th Congress that featured dozens of changes designed to restore more committee and bipartisan involvement in the legislative process, increase transparency and clamp down on ethics violations. 

The measure, adopted 234 to 197, was crafted by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rules Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., with input from members across all factions of the House Democratic majority.

Rep. Hank Johnson compares Trump to Hitler in a foreboding speech
Georgia Democrat referred to Trump as an ‘authoritarian, racist, anti-immigrant strongman’

Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., said democracy "teeters on the brink of failure" in an intense speech on Tuesday. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Hank Johnson warned his constituents against creeping authoritarianism in an intense speech peppered with historical references Tuesday, likening the political moment that brought President Donald Trump to power to the rise of Adolf Hitler.

“Our democracy teeters on the brink of failure,” the Georgia Democrat said at an event held by the Atlanta NAACP earlier this week. “Americans elected an authoritarian, racist, anti-immigrant strongman to the nation’s highest office.”

Amid Crises, Trump Slips Out of Washington to Visit Troops in Iraq
President had caught flack for opting against a warzone visit in first 23 months in office

President Trump quietly left Joint Base Andrews early Wednesday morning on Air Force One to make his first visit as commander in chief to U.S. troops deployed in a combat zone. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Amid a government shutdown and multiple crises at home, President Donald Trump slid out of the White House early Wednesday morning for a holiday season trip to visit troops in Iraq.

Trump faced bipartisan criticism for not visiting any U.S. forces deployed in combat zones since he took office in January 2017. There were rumors last week that he might travel to Iraq or Afghanistan during what had been planned as a 16-day holiday season vacation at his South Florida resort, but White Houses, for security reasons, keep such trips under wraps.