Nydia M Velazquez

GOP Power Play in Hurricane-Ravaged Puerto Rico
Conditional funding gains support amid talk of new Marshall Plan

Workers in Caguas, south of San Juan, Puerto Rico, repair electrical lines on Oct. 25, more than a month after Hurricane Maria hit the island. (Ramon Tonito Zayas/AP file photo)

In late September, just over a week after winds of 155 miles per hour flattened homes and struck down power lines and more than 30 inches of rain inundated parts of the island of Puerto Rico, a leader of the recovery efforts with the Army Corps of Engineers offered his blunt assessment of the damage.

“This is a massive undertaking, one in which I don’t think we’ve undertaken before in terms of this magnitude,” Col. James DeLapp told CNN. The closest thing he could think of by way of comparison? “When the Army Corps led the effort to restore … electricity in the early stages of the Iraq war in 2003 and 2004.”

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.”

Senate Democrats Doubt Validity of Puerto Rico Death Toll
Reports of full morgues may signal incomplete official count, senators say

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren joined 12 of her Democratic colleagues in signing a letter to acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke raising questions about the official death count in Puerto Rico. (Tom Williams/Roll Call)

As Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló travels to Washington to meet with President Donald Trump on Thursday, a group of Senate Democrats is asking the administration about the accuracy of the island territory’s death toll.

Thirteen senators, led by Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, have written a new letter to acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke expressing concern that reports about morgues at Puerto Rican hospitals being full may signal that the official tally of 48 fatalities may be incomplete.

Watch: Members Talk About Their Hispanic Heritage
 

Word on the Hill: Mid-Women’s History Month
Congressional basketball lineup is out

From left, Reps. Grace F. Napolitano, Jackie Speier, and Nancy Pelosi of California, Cheri Bustos of Illinois, Barbara Lee and Nanette Barragán of California, Nydia M. Velázquez of New York, Katherine M. Clark of Massachusetts, and Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico wear red as they descend the House steps to support “A Day Without Women” on March 8. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s the middle of Women’s History Month and we want to hear about your experiences so far this March.

We covered International Women’s Day last week. Do you have another story to share or plans coming up?

Members Join International Women's Day
House Democratic women wore red and walked out of the chamber on Wednesday

From left, Reps. Grace Napolitano, Jackie Speier, and Pelosi of California, Cheri Bustos of Illinois, Barbara Lee and Nanette Barragan of California, Nydia Velazquez of New York, Katherine Clark of Massachusetts, and Michelle Lujan Grishamof New Mexico wear red as they descend the House steps to support “A Day Without Women.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House Version of ‘Law and Order’
A sentencing, some commutations and other House news

Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson speaks with New York Rep. Louise M. Slaughter during a press conference by House Democrats in November 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Bennie Thompson’s chief of staff was sentenced Tuesday to four months in prison for failing to file income tax returns.

Issac Lanier Avant was also ordered to pay $149,962 to the IRS for failing to file tax returns from 2009 to 2013 after he had assumed the role of Democratic director for the House Homeland Security Committee, earning more than $165,000, the Justice Department said in a statement.

Pelosi Has Support of Four-Fifths of Members Needed to Beat Tim Ryan
As of 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Ryan has 12 endorsements to Pelosi’s 80

Nancy Pelosi faces Ohio’s Tim Ryan for the House Democratic leadership position on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As of 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had garnered public endorsements from at least 80 Democratic members — four-fifths of the total she needs to hold onto her leadership post.

The Californian, who has been the top Democrat since 2003, is facing a challenge from Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, who had only 12 public endorsements as of 8:30 p.m. 

Word on the Hill: Orientation Returns
A few events to attend this evening

Maryland Rep.-elect Anthony Brown arrives at the Capitol Hill Hotel for orientation on Nov. 14. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Newly elected House members are back in Washington for their second week of orientation.

Their only official event of the day, from 1 to 5 p.m., is another round of briefings in the Capitol Visitor Center auditorium.