Homeland Security

Cost Isn’t Everything. Pentagon Should Judge Contractors on Cybersecurity, Report Says
Security would be ‘fourth pillar’ in weapons purchase decisions

Aerial view of the Pentagon building photographed on Sept. 24, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Pentagon should take into account the cybersecurity capabilities of defense contractors in addition to cost and performance measures when awarding contracts, a U.S. government-funded think tank recommended in a report published Monday.

Through its buying process, the Pentagon “can influence and shape the conduct of its suppliers,” the Mitre Corp. said in a report titled “Deliver Uncompromised: A Strategy for Supply Chain Security and Resilience in Response to the Changing Character of War.”

7 Ways the Senate Can Spend the Rest of August
A few real problems have bubbled up while senators were away

There’s no shortage of things for senators to do while in town this month, Murphy writes. Above, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., arrives at the Capitol for a vote in April. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Welcome back to the grind, senators and staff. If you were only watching cable news over your abridged recess, you might have been lulled into the idea that the only messes in Washington you would come back to were Omarosa’s habit of recording conversations in the Situation Room and what we’ve learned so far about Paul Manafort’s choice of outerwear from his trial — ostrich. So gross.

But while some in the D.C. media were caught up in the Trump train wrecks of the day, a few real problems bubbled up while you were gone. Somebody has to deal with them, so as long as you’re here — why not you?

House GOP Appropriators Facing Steep Turnover in 116th Congress
Both parties have endured upheaval in wave elections in the past

Two senior House GOP appropriators,  John Culberson, R-Texas, left, and Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., personify the challenged facing the Appropriations panel heading into the 2018 midterms. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Democratic “wave” this November, should one materialize, could result in the departure of as many as five senior House Republican appropriators, which would mark the biggest wipeout of major players from one side of the dais in 26 years.

Three subcommittee “cardinals” are facing tough re-election fights this November: Commerce-Justice-Science Chairman John Culberson and Military Construction-VA Chairman John Carter, both of Texas, and Homeland Security Chairman Kevin Yoder of Kansas.

Road Ahead: Senate Returning to DC for the Ides of August
Floor agenda will look familiar: judicial nominations and appropriation bills

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.,left, jokes with Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, as he walks down the Senate steps on Aug. 1 after the chamber’s last vote of the week. Risch was posing for photos with interns on the steps. Senators return Wednesday from their truncated district work period. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Thank goodness the Senate has “manufactured weather.”

That’s what Carrier called the system that was first installed to cool the chamber in the early 20th century. The modern air conditioning will be in full use this week as the Senate returns for a rare mid-August session.

Bill Nelson Says Florida Election Systems Compromised by Russians
Senate Intelligence Committee avoids confirming or denying Democratic senator’s statement

Sen. Bill Nelson, right said he and fellow Florida Sen. Marco Rubio were made aware of Russian penetration of Florida election systems. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee told Sen. Bill Nelson to alert Florida election officials about Russian interference in their systems, they aren’t saying.

Nelson, a Florida Democrat on the ballot in 2018, was quoted by the Tampa Bay Times Wednesday saying that, “We were requested by the chairman and vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee to let the supervisors of election in Florida know that the Russians are in their records.”

Border Apprehensions Down Two Months Running
Trump administration officials say the dip is directly tied to Trump’s zero-tolerance initiative

A Border Patrol agent Nicole Ballistrea watches over the U.S.-Mexico border in 2014. Since then, border apprehensions have plummeted. (John Moore/Getty Images file photo)

For the second month in a row, the number of individuals caught trying to enter the U.S. illegally at the southwest border declined, drawing praise from administration officials who say it is directly tied to President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance initiative.

In the month of July, border apprehensions declined by 7 percent, according to data released by Customs and Border Protection on Wednesday. In July, a total of 31,303 individuals were apprehended compared to 34,095 in June and 40,333 in May.

4 Things to Watch in Tuesday’s Primaries
Voters in Michigan, Missouri, Kansas and Washington head to the polls

Besides the four states holding primaries Tuesday, the final House special election before November also takes place in Ohio’s 12th District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Four states are hosting primaries Tuesday, which will decide the matchups in several contested House races and two Senate races.

Voters in Missouri, Kansas and Michigan will head to the polls, while Washington voters will head to their mailboxes, to choose nominees in a slew of competitive races. 

Democratic Aides on Hill Sour on Pelosi, Survey Finds
Many say California Democrat should step down, regardless of November result

Ousting House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi “would not be the smart thing to do,” a former spokesman says. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In a sign of the growing unrest on the left, a plurality of Democratic congressional aides surveyed by CQ Roll Call last month said the party should replace Nancy Pelosi as leader whether Democrats win a House majority in November or not.

The Capitol Insiders Survey, which CQ Roll Call emailed to aides on July 13 and remained open till July 18, drew responses from 191 aides, 103 of them Democrats, 84 Republicans and four independents.

Abolishing ICE Doesn’t Have to Mean Firing Federal Workers, Advocate Says
Cesar Vargas of the Dream Action Coalition says ‘priorities are terribly misguided’

Hundreds of women crowd the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building to protest Trump’s immigration policy in June. Capitol Police moved in to make arrests to clear the area. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Abolish ICE movement has split the Democratic Party. Some say the agency, formally the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of the Homeland Security Department, has lost all credibility for its involvement in separating immigrant families. Others say it’s the policy that is problematic, not the federal workers who carried it out.

Republicans, meanwhile, see it as a boon for their election prospects. President Donald Trump has cited it in fundraising appeals.

So... How Does the White House Really Feel About Russia?
Trump undercuts security officials again with ‘the Russian hoax’

President Donald Trump on Thursday dismissed criticism of his Finland summit with Vladimir Putin just hours after his national security team warned Putin is overseeing an ongoing campaign to upend the U.S. political system. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images file photo)

Senior U.S. national security officials were clear Thursday afternoon: The Kremlin was involved in meddling in the 2016 American election and continues to be oversee efforts to do so again. Hours later, however, President Donald Trump described himself and Russian President Vladimir Putin as buddies.

As it often does, the Trump White House on Thursday sent mixed — starkly opposite, really — messages about Moscow’s ongoing hostile actions to upend the American political system and U.S.-Russian relations. The confusion leaves those very officials and lawmakers — including Republicans who have criticized Trump as too weak on Putin — still searching for the official administration stance on election meddling and posture toward America’s Cold War rival.