Jose E Serrano

New $44 Billion Disaster Aid Request Paltry, Lawmakers Say
Extensive offsets could also prove controversial

Rep. John Culberson of Texas said the White House’s most recent aid request “would sabotage what has been an incredible response by President Trump to Hurricane Harvey up to this point.” (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In its third emergency aid request since August, the White House on Friday asked Congress to approve $44 billion for ongoing hurricane recovery efforts, a figure seen as insufficient on both sides of the aisle. 

At the same time, the White House asked lawmakers to consider a lengthy list of offsets, noting in a letter that the administration “believes it is prudent to offset new spending.”

An Immigrant’s Path to Congress: Ruben Kihuen’s First Year in Photos
Roll Call looks at the Nevada Democrat’s journey from the campaign trail to D.C.

OCT. 19, 2016: Ruben Kihuen, then a Democratic candidate for Nevada’s 4th District, shakes hands with demonstrators in front of the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas during the Culinary Union’s Wall of Taco Trucks protest — the day of the final presidential debate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Every two years, a new crop of freshmen descends on Washington and every two years, Roll Call follows one such member through their first year. 

For the 2016 election, Nevada Rep. Ruben Kihuen was one of only several Democrats to unseat a House Republican. His story is similar to those of millions of Americans — his family came to the U.S. seeking a better life — but on Nov. 8, 2016, he became the first formerly undocumented person to be elected to Congress (along with New York Democratic Rep. Adriano Espaillat, who was elected the same day). Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Kihuen’s dreams of playing professional soccer were dashed by an untimely injury. It was then that he turned his attention to politics. 

Sessions to Testify in Public Hearing on Tuesday
Attorney general follows explosive Comey testimony before Intelligence panel

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the investigation into possible ties between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will testify Tuesday in an open hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee for its ongoing probe into Russia’s interference in last year’s presidential election.

The public hearing was announced Monday by Intelligence Chairman Richard M. Burr and Vice Chairman Mark Warner.

Trump Taking a Bite Out of the Big Apple’s Police Budget
President’s New York protection costs estimated at $300,000 a day

New York Rep. Dan Donovan wants to see New York City law enforcement reimbursed for extra expenses when President Donald Trump is in the Big Apple. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A New York Republican is adding his name to the growing list of lawmakers who want to see local law enforcement reimbursed for the costs associated with protecting President Donald Trump when he isn’t at the White House. 

Rep. Dan Donovan on Tuesday asked the House Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Subcommittee to allocate additional money for the city of New York in the subcommittee’s fiscal 2018 spending bill. Donovan said the $7 million added to a continuing resolution in December does not come close to the actual costs incurred by the city to protect Trump and his family.

Photos of the Week: Biden Schmoozes Through Last Swearing-In, Pence and Obama on the Hill
The week of Jan. 3 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. greets Barbara Grassley, wife of Iowa Sen. Charles E. Grassley, during the swearing-in ceremony in the Capitol’s Old Senate Chamber on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

BY BILL CLARK AND TOM WILLIAMS

The 115th Congress has officially convened and members have been sworn in. While Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is officially on his way out, he didn’t go quietly. His last Senate swearing in was filled with hugs, stories, selfies, and, yes, kisses.

Dems Take Photos on House Floor to Protest Proposed GOP Fine
New House rules package includes $2,500 fine for such actions

Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar, left, helps Massachusetts Rep. William Keating take a selfie on the House floor before the official swearing-in of the 115th Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Several Democrats took pictures Tuesday on the House floor as the chamber held a quorum call to kick off the 115th Congress — a violation of House rules that Republicans want to start punishing with a fine of up to $2,500.

Roll Call spotted Democrats taking photos in an apparent protest to the proposed fine, which the House adopted later on Tuesday as part of a vote on a package of rules governing operations of the lower chamber. However, the photos were snapped during the brief period at the start of a new Congress when the House has no rules in effect so technically, the Democrats did nothing wrong.

Word on the Hill: Trump Coma
Four House Democrats celebrate birthdays

“The only thing worse than Trump being elected is you being conscious after he’s elected,” businessman Mark Cuban jokes in a new Funny or Die video.

In the video, the billionaire Hillary Clinton supporter invents the satirical “Trump coma” as a solution “if the thought of living through a Trump presidency sounds like a hideous nightmare to you.”

House Would Slash Budget for Ex-Presidents
Large cut forecast for office space rentals

Barack Obama's post-presidential pension and other expenses in fiscal 2017 were pegged at $359,000. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

The treatment of America’s soon-to-be five former presidents is one of the many differences between the House and Senate Financial Services spending bills.  

The fiscal 2017 House bill would slash the budget for former presidents’ pensions, office staff, leases and other expenses by 41 percent from the fiscal 2016 enacted level, despite the addition of Barack Obama to the cohort.