Kevin Yoder

Amid Mounting Criticism, Administration Digs In Over Migrant Separation Policy
'Congress can fix this tomorrow,' DHS secretary says as GOP complaints pile up

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is defending the administration's policies at the southern border, despite an ever-widening swath of criticism. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Facing an ever-widening swath of criticism, including from senior Republicans, Trump administration officials dug in Monday on their decision to separate migrant parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border, signaling they will only end the practice if lawmakers pass immigration legislation.

“Congress and the courts created this problem, and Congress alone can fix it,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said during a contentious press briefing at the White House. “Until then, we will enforce every law we have on the books to defend the sovereignty and the security of the United States.”

Elections, Retirements Could Ransack GOP Baseball Roster
Turnover in the Democratic lineup not expected to be as dramatic

Reps. Rodney Davis of Illinois and Ryan A. Costello of Pennsylvania confer during the 2016 Congressional Baseball Game. Costello is retiring this year while Davis faces a competitive re-election race. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The cold reality of the midterm elections could force Republicans into a completely different roster for next year’s Congressional Baseball Game. Due to retirements and competitive re-election races, over a third of the 36-member GOP team may not be returning in 2019, including more than half of last year’s starting lineup.

Three of the Republicans’ first six batters from 2017 are playing in their last game because they aren’t seeking re-election, including leadoff hitter Ryan A. Costello of Pennsylvania.

Rescissions Package On Hold While GOP Deliberates
GAO delivers relatively good news, even as schedule slips

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and his leadership team face a deadline next month to consider the rescissions package before procedural protections expire. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional auditors delivered some good news for the White House and House GOP leaders on Tuesday, saying in a report that President Donald Trump’s $15.2 billion spending cuts proposal mostly meets tests laid out in the 1974 statute establishing the “rescissions” process — even as leaders decided to put off consideration of the package until next month. 

The Government Accountability Office found that two Transportation Department accounts slated for $134 million in cuts can’t legally be “impounded,” or blocked by the administration during the initial 45-day period after submission of the requests to Congress. The rest of the cuts, including rescissions from mandatory spending accounts like the Children’s Health Insurance Program, are allowed to go forward under the 1974 law establishing the modern rescissions process, according to the GAO.

Another Judicial Pick Gets Hearing Despite Home-State Concerns
Top Democrat warns Senate is ceding its advice and consent role to the White House

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa,  and ranking member Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., have different views about blue slips for a judicial pick. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For the third time in the Trump administration, Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley has moved forward with a confirmation hearing for an appeals court nominee over the objections of Democratic home-state senators.

The Iowa Republican set a Wednesday confirmation hearing on Ryan Bounds to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, even though Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley have declined to give their consent through the committee’s traditional process.

House Appropriators Vote to End Perk for Former Speakers
Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi both back ending office space, funding for former speakers

Legislative branch operations would get a boost under legislation the House Appropriations Committee advanced, despite the bill’s deletion of a perk for former speakers of the House. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Appropriations Committee advanced its $3.8 billion fiscal 2019 Legislative Branch spending bill to the floor Tuesday, after adopting an amendment to eliminate funding for a Capitol Hill office perk for former speakers.

The panel backed the bill, 47-0, after adopting by voice vote a manager’s amendment from Legislative Branch Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Yoder of Kansas, which would end taxpayer funding for an office for former House speakers, along with staff and other resources.

GOP Women’s Group Runs Digital Ad for West Virginia's Carol Miller
The five-figure buy is Winning for Women’s first independent expenditure

Winning for Women is making a five-figure investment in digital ads for state Del. Carol Miller ahead of next week’s GOP primary in the 3rd District. (Screenshot)

Winning for Women Inc., a new group formed to boost Republican female candidates, is making its first independent expenditure of the 2018 cycle for a West Virginia woman facing a competitive congressional primary next week.

Winning for Women is spending five figures on a digital spot supporting state Del. Carol Miller, who is running for the GOP nomination in West Virginia’s 3rd District. Current GOP Rep. Evan Jenkins is running for Senate.

Name-Brand Food, Security and Voting Machine Funding Sought in House
Top officials testify before Legislative Branch Subcommittee

House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving gave testimony at the House budget hearing Tuesday. He's pictured here in January 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

This year’s budget request for the U.S. House of Representatives showed a few changes in the works for Capitol Hill, including heightened security, more brand-name food options, and new voting machines.

The House Appropriations Legislative Branch subcommittee hosted a hearing Tuesday where top officials testified about funding requests stemming from their departments.

Congressional Leadership Fund Reserves $48 Million in TV, Digital Ads
Super PAC is aligned with House GOP leadership

Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman is among the beneficiaries of the Congressional Leadership Fund’s fall ad reservations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Congressional Leadership Fund, the super PAC aligned with House Republican leadership, is making $38 million worth of television reservations for ads in the fall, and an additional $10 million investment for digital ads.

CLF is the first outside GOP group to make early advertising reservations ahead of the November elections, and it is investing four months earlier than it did in the 2016 cycle. Locking in airtime early allows the group to make the reservations at lower rates.

Not Coming Soon: The Federal Register
Spending law that ended shutdown hitched ride on bill to cut paper deliveries

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman wrote the Senate version of the printing legislation (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The legislation that ended the recent shutdown not only turned the government’s lights back on, but also took a small step toward that most elusive of goals: the paperless office. 

That’s because the vehicle for the continuing resolution that funds the government until Feb. 8 was legislation that prohibits the Government Publishing Office from distributing free printed copies of the Federal Register to congressional offices or other government employees, unless specifically requested. When congressional leaders needed a vessel to move their spending cargo, they hitched it to this otherwise innocuous bill. 

At the Races: 2018 Starts in PA-18
Our weekly newsletter on the latest in House and Senate races

Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter. Subscribe here. We want to hear what you think. Email us at at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé and Bridget BowmanThis week … Trump is wading into another special election, Democrats went after one of their own and Tim Pawlenty said “no thanks” to a Senate run.