Illinois

Green card gridlock: When will Congress agree on a solution?
The waiting lists for residency status grow ... and grow.

Hundreds of thousands of people may find themselves waiting for decades in green card limbo. (CQ Roll Call)

On Dec. 18, immigration reform stalwart Richard J. Durbin’s announcement on the Senate floor about a rare bipartisan breakthrough flew largely under the radar, overshadowed in the chaotic flurry of impeachment. Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, and Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah had dueled two months earlier over unanimous consent requests on the Senate floor, and had since been deadlocked.

Each had pushed for his own solution to an important but often overlooked symptom of the broken U.S. immigration system: the employment-based green card backlog. Because of it, hundreds of thousands of people — overwhelmingly from India — wait in limbo, sometimes for decades.

At the Races: Trial vs. Trail

By Simone Pathé, Stephanie Akin and Bridget Bowman 

Welcome to At the Races! Each week we’ll bring you news and analysis from the CQ Roll Call team that will keep you informed about the 2020 election. Know someone who’d like to get this newsletter? They can subscribe here.

Impeachment cellphone ban gives Senate pages a workout
Teens stay busy relaying messages, fetching water, even pouring glasses of milk

Senate pages are getting in their steps this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Trump’s impeachment trial may be requiring senators to stay seated hour after agonizing hour, but there’s one group getting lots of exercise: Senate pages.

The blue-jacket-clad teens have been running all over the Senate floor, relaying messages between senators and staff, fetching water and even pouring the occasional glass of milk.

It’s still difficult to see Trump losing Iowa in November
He may not get as big a win as 2016, but he remains the favorite

A Pizza Ranch restaurant with a pro-Trump sign in Winterset, Iowa, in January 2016.  Donald Trump went on to win Iowa in the general election, beating Hillary Clinton by more than 9 points. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — Iowa gave Barack Obama a resounding 9.5-point victory over John McCain in 2008. Four years later, Obama’s margin shrunk to 5.8 points against Mitt Romney. But in 2016, something odd happened.

Donald Trump carried Iowa by 9.4 points — a dramatic change in the state’s recent voting behavior and close to the same winning margin as Obama’s eight years earlier.

View from the gallery: Senators struggle to sit in silence at Trump trial
Senators-turned-jurors sneak in snacks, lunge for phones during rare breaks to weigh in on arguments

Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, arrive at the Capitol on Tuesday for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Lindsey Graham looked restless during the first hour of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, when none of the senators had access to their cellphones and the president’s lawyers and the House managers traded procedural arguments.

It was an unusual first day of buttoned-down decorum for the exclusive club of 100 senators-turned-jurors, who were made to stay in their floor seats, not eat, not talk and not tweet during only the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history.

Was Hillary Clinton a terrible candidate?
Vote Above Replacement suggests she was more valuable than Trump

Hillary Clinton and campaign chairman John Podesta at a July 2016 meeting with Senate Democrats in the Capitol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ethics expert: GOP ‘crosses the line’ with House hallway ambushes
DCCC complaint says NRCC violated ban on using official resources for campaigns

Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., is chairman of the NRCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Having video trackers shadow candidates to get campaign dirt has become a common tactic, but the National Republican Congressional Committee  went too far if it directed aides to ambush Democrats in House office buildings, experts on congressional ethics said.

Though a GOP spokesman called it “frivolous,” the experts said there was merit to a complaint filed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee against the chairman of the NRCC, Rep. Tom Emmer. It could lead to the Minnesota lawmaker facing an investigation by the House Ethics Committee.

House Democrats push through measure to nullify Trump student loan rule
Democrats get only 6 GOP votes as effort moves to Senate

Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev., is the sponsor of the Democratic measure to overturn the Trump administration's revamp of the Obama-era student borrower debt forgiveness rule. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House on Thursday passed mostly along party lines a measure that would overturn a Trump administration rule rolling back protections for student loan borrowers, but the margin was well short of being veto-proof.

The joint resolution passed 231-180 with six Republicans joining 225 Democrats in favor. It now heads to the Republican-led Senate but must wait until after the presidential impeachment trial.

Pelosi picks reserved team of impeachment managers who didn’t seek the role
Diversity factors considered, unlike manager choices for Clinton trial

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a news conference to announce impeachment managers on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi picked impeachment managers who mostly didn’t seek out the job, opting for a reserved team over more boisterous members who wanted to be involved.

Although Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff, the lead manager, and Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler were picks who obviously wanted to serve, the other five managers — Zoe Lofgren, Hakeem Jeffries, Val B. Demings, Jason Crow and Sylvia R. Garcia — were not members who lobbied for the role. 

More votes to terminate Trump's border emergency in the works
Lawmakers can vote again starting Feb. 15, 2020 to terminate the emergency declaration

A section of the border wall stretches through the Rio Grande Valley sector of the Texas border on Aug. 20, 2019. (Photo by Jinitzail Hernández/CQ Roll Call)

Top Senate Democrats, led by Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York, said Wednesday that they intended to force another vote on termination of the national emergency that President Donald Trump has used to boost border wall spending.

"Bipartisan majorities in Congress have repeatedly rejected diverting money from critical military construction projects to build a single additional mile of border wall. Robbing the Defense Department of these much-needed funds in order to boost his own ego and for a wall he promised Mexico would pay to build is an insult to the sacrifices made by our service members," Schumer said in a joint statement with Appropriations ranking member Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, Armed Services ranking member Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin of Illinois and Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico.