John Ratcliffe

House Judiciary Committee approves Violence Against Women Act reauthorization

Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and the majority Democrats on his panel approved a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved, along party lines, 22-11, a bill to reauthorize and expand programs designed to help victims of sexual and domestic violence.

The protections and programs authorized by the 1994 law lapsed during the partial government shutdown last year, but were reinstated in the January short-term fiscal 2019 spending deal. An extension was not included in last month’s deal that provided for spending through the end of fiscal 2019.

House eyes Violence Against Women Act reauthorization and expansion
VAWA extension was not included in last month’s spending package

California Rep. Katie Porter spoke of her experiences with law enforcement as a survivor of domestic abuse during an event to mark the introduction of the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Violence Against Women Act is back on the House agenda, with Democrats and at least one Republican leading a fresh effort to reauthorize and expand the domestic violence law.

A bill introduced Thursday would include updates to the landmark legislation, which was first enacted in 1994. The proposal is sponsored by California Democrat Karen Bass and Pennsylvania Republican Brian Fitzpatrick, a former FBI agent.

Former Rep. Ralph Hall, among the last WWII vets to serve in Congress, dies at 95
Hall, a Democrat-turned-Republican from Texas, served 17 terms

Former Rep. Ralph M. Hall of Texas died on Thursday. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Rep. Ralph M. Hall, who left Congress in 2015 as the oldest member at age 91 after losing a primary runoff after decades in office, died Thursday. Hall was 95.

A Democrat-turned-Republican, Hall was born on May 3, 1923, in Fate, Texas. He attended Texas Christian University and the University of Texas, eventually earning a law degree at Southern Methodist University.

Supreme Court to Hear Case on Administrative Power
At heart of case is deference courts have given to federal agencies

The justices agreed Monday to take up a case about overturning two Supreme Court rulings at the heart of administrative law. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court will decide whether federal agencies should stop getting such a strong voice when interpreting their own regulations, in a case that could significantly influence how judges decide challenges to environmental, health care, immigration, veterans benefits and other rules.

The justices on Monday agreed to hear arguments about overturning two Supreme Court rulings at the heart of administrative law, Bowles v. Seminole Rock & Sand Co. in 1945 and Auer v. Robbins in 1997. In the case, the court could accomplish part of what some conservative members of Congress have sought to do legislatively.

Wednesday Won’t Be Your Average Recess Hump Day
Rosenstein testimony, Senate Judiciary, Trump rally to showcase tribal warfare

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will be interviewed by the leaders of two House committees on Wednesday, part of a busy time at the Capitol and White House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Embattled Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein finally testifies. The Senate Judiciary Committee will continue its autumn of discontent. And President Donald Trump will sign opioids legislation before taking his midterms road show to Wisconsin.

No, Wednesday will not be your typical recess day. Rather, it will be a cable news bonanza chronicling the country’s era of tribal political warfare.

Democrats Defend DOJ’s Bruce Ohr Day After Republican Grilling
GOP meetings on potential bias at DOJ and FBI have Democrats crying foul

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., pictured above, and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., the top Democrats on the Oversight and Judiciary committees, respectively, refuted House Republicans’ claims about Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr’s involvement in the so-called Steele dossier. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats on the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees have jumped to the defense of Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, who met behind closed doors with Republican lawmakers Tuesday as part of their probe into potential bias at the top reaches of U.S. law enforcement.

Top Judiciary Democrat Jerrold Nadler of New York and Oversight ranking member Elijah E. Cummings said the private hearing with Ohr, the second of four meetings Republicans have scheduled with DOJ and FBI officials over the August recess, was meant to distract from President Donald Trump’s increasingly precarious legal position as special counsel Robert S. Mueller III secures guilty verdicts and plea agreements with multiple people in Trump’s inner circle.

Issa: Republicans Got ‘Solid Information’ About Steele Dossier From Ohr
‘Either Bruce Ohr’s lying or Glenn Simpson’s lying,’ Gaetz says about DOJ official and Fusion GPS founder

Rep. Darrell Issa and other Republicans questioned Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr about the infamous Steele Dossier and what part it played in the Russia investigation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Darrell Issa said career Justice Department official Bruce Ohr gave members of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees some “solid information” on Tuesday as they investigate potential bias at the top echelons of U.S. law enforcement.

Besides Issa, a former chairman of the Oversight panel, other attendees at the hearing included Reps. Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the respective current and former chairmen of the hard-line conservative House Freedom Caucus. 

Ethics Committee to Investigate Schweikert and Chief Over Finances
Arizona Republicans says there was a “clerical screw-up”

Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., is facing a House investigation into possible violations of campaign finance and congressional funds laws. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Ethics Committee has established an investigative subcommittee to discover whether Arizona Republican Rep. David Schweikert and his chief of staff, Oliver Schwab, violated multiple campaign finance and official congressional funds laws.

Committee members unanimously voted to continue the investigation, which Texas GOP Rep. John Ratcliffe will lead.

Heritage Action’s Dan Holler to Join Rubio Staff
Revolving door spins from conservative group to Congress, Trump administration

Sen. Marco Rubio's latest hire comes from the lobbying arm of a prominent conservative group. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Dan Holler, a founding staffer of Heritage Action for America, the conservative Heritage Foundation’s lobbying arm, will follow his former boss to the Capitol Hill office of Sen. Marco Rubio.

Holler will serve as deputy chief of staff for the Florida Republican, focusing on communications and outreach, he told Roll Call. The new gig will reunite him with his recent Heritage Action boss Michael Needham, who left in April to become Rubio’s chief of staff.

Word on the Hill: King of the Hill
Senate Democrats celebrating birthdays

Team photograph of The RBIs of Texas after winning the King of the Hill softball championship game. (Courtesy Bill Christian)

The Senate is the King of the Hill. Well, at least in staffer softball.

The annual King of the Hill softball championship game was Thursday and the RBIs of Texas, the Senate team, beat the Texas Republic, the House team, 16-12.