Capitol Ink | Pardon Party

After Spicer Quits, Scaramucci Vows Aggressive Communications Shop
New communications director took job due to 'love' for president

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned on Friday, refusing to work for new Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci. His replacement, however, said he “loves” Spicer. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Longtime Wall Street investment banker Anthony Scaramucci made his White House debut Friday, expressing his “love” for Donald Trump and promising a much more “aggressive” strategy of communicating the president’s message.

On a day of upheaval at the executive mansion, Sean Spicer resigned as press secretary and acting communications director amid reports he told Trump he believed Scaramucci’s hiring was a major mistake. What’s more, Scaramucci made his first major announcement as part of Trump’s team when he announced Spicer’s top deputy, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, will be the new press secretary.

Spicer’s Departure is Quickest Resignation for Press Secretary Since 1974
Trump’s first press secretary will leave after 223 days in the role

White House press secretary Sean Spicer leaves the Newseum in  April. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sean Spicer said on Friday that he would step down next month after just 223 days as White House press secretary. It will be the quickest voluntary exit for the position since Jerald terHorst resigned in 1974 after just a month — in protest of President Gerald Ford’s pardon of former president Richard Nixon. 

Late Night Votes Ahead: House Considering 4-Bill Spending Package Before Recess

Republican House leadership is confident they have the votes to pass a four-bill “minibus” spending package before heading out for the August recess. They’re slated to leave town Friday, July 28. The minibus includes Defense, Energy-Water, Legislative Branch and Military Construction-VA funding (66 percent of discretionary spending for the government), as well as funding for a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, according to Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. See the video for more details on the House’s busy week.

Former CBO Directors Confront Assaults on Agency
Both Republicans and Democrats alike decry attacks

Douglas Elmendorf, as well as all his fellow former directors of the Congressional Budget Office, sent a letter to Congress protesting recent attacks on the nonpartisan budget scorekeeper. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

All eight former directors of the Congressional Budget Office — Democrats and Republicans alike — sent a letter to Congress on Friday protesting the ongoing attacks on the agency’s integrity and urging that Congress continue to rely on CBO estimates.

In the letter, the former directors registered what they said was their “strong objection to recent attacks on the integrity and professionalism of the agency and on the agency’s role in the legislative process.”

Sean Spicer’s Highlight Reel
Ex-Trump press secretary spent much of his tenure with his foot in his mouth

Sean Spicer takes pictures before Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on the West Front of the Capitol on Jan. 20. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Confusing, offensive, and downright strange incidents and statements often punctuated Sean Spicer’s six-month tenure as White House press secretary. 

That ended abruptly on Friday, when he announced his resignation.

GOP Senators Take Sessions’ Side in Spat With Trump
Former colleagues provide cover to beleaguered attorney general

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is under fire from President Donald Trump, but his former colleagues in the Senate have nothing but nice things to say about him. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Confronted with the rare and awkward choice of siding with either a president of their party or a Cabinet member who’s a former colleague, Senate Republicans are sounding of single mind:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, until five months ago a senior GOP senator from Alabama, has done nothing to merit the upbraiding he’s been taking from President Donald Trump.

At the Races: Things Might Be Getting Mo Strange in Alabama

The campaign of Alabama Sen. Luther Strange criticized one of his primary opponents, Rep. Mo Brooks, as hypocritical. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Do voters care about floor procedure? Two candidates in a crowded special Senate primary are spending time feuding over the filibuster, so they might find out next month when they, and several others, face off for the GOP nod. 

When Rep. Mo Brooks released the first ad of his Alabama Senate campaign, he made a splash by threatening to filibuster — by reading from the King James Bible — any spending bill that doesn’t fund President Donald Trump’s border wall.

House Appropriators Ignore Trump’s Proposed Cuts to Arts
NEA, NEH would each receive $145 million

Nevada Rep. Mark Amodei, a member of the Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, said he was happy to see the arts funding preserved. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Federal arts and humanities programs targeted for elimination by the Trump administration would get a lifeline from House appropriators willing to ignore the president’s proposal and keep them running.

The $31.5 billion fiscal 2018 Interior-Environment spending bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday includes $145 million for the National Endowment for the Arts.

Durbin and Graham Are Still DREAMing
Lawmakers unveil updated legislation to grant legal status to certain immigrants

Sens. Lindsey Graham and Richard J. Durbin held a news conference to discuss the bipartisan “Dream Act of 2017" in the Capitol on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Lindsey Graham thinks that despite all the campaign rhetoric, President Donald Trump might be the one to build consensus among Republicans on immigration.

Graham said that unlike either Barack Obama or George W. Bush, Trump might be able to reach elements who are the most fearful of immigrants.

Filibuster Fight Makes Its Way Into Alabama Senate Race
Strange campaign accuses Brooks of ‘flip-flopping’

Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks is rejecting charges of flip-flopping from Senate rival Luther Strange’s campaign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When Rep. Mo Brooks released the first ad of his Alabama Senate campaign, he made a splash by threatening to filibuster — by reading from the King James Bible — any spending bill that doesn’t fund President Donald Trump’s border wall. 

On Wednesday, he took to the House floor to blast the Senate’s legislative filibuster, calling it a “murder weapon” that’s “killing” Trump’s agenda. That’s not a new position for Brooks.

Opinion: The Freewheeling John McCain — An Appreciation
Flawed, but still the embodiment of honor, civility, patriotism and bipartisanship

Arizona Sen. John McCain deserves to be ranked among the two or three leading Senate figures of the last quarter-century, Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For all their outward cynicism, campaign reporters tend to be closet idealists who dream of covering a candidate who will summon forth the better angels of the American people. Such a mythic candidate is not aloof like Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama, but rather is a flawed figure who transforms himself in the act of running for president.

The doomed Bobby Kennedy of 1968 was that kind of uplifting candidate for an earlier generation of reporters. For a few short months during the primaries, Kennedy rose above his life of privilege and his reputation for ruthlessness to become the tribune of the poor and the dispossessed of all races.

Amid Trump’s Shifting Health Care Stances, a Recurring Infatuation
President keeps bringing up letting 2010 law fail

President Donald Trump have often said Democratic leaders like Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will eventually come to him to make a deal on health care. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday again appeared to change his stance on just which path he wants Republican senators to take on health care. But he has long been infatuated with the notion of House and Senate Democratic leaders asking — begging, even — for his help on health care.

This week, the president and his aides have been posturing to put that very scenario in play, even as his own party attempts to resurrect a measure that would repeal most of and partially replace the 2010 health care law in one swoop.

Why Ted Lieu Trolls Donald Trump
California Democrat, a prolific tweeter, sees president as a “bully”

California Rep. Ted Lieu has become one of President Donald Trump's main Twitter antagonists on the Hill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The first thing you see outside California Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu’s Washington office is a piece of paper taped to his nameplate that says, “Alternative Fact Free Zone, Period.”

The sign is meant to poke fun at White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s now infamous pronouncement about the crowd size at President Donald Trump’s inauguration and it is indicative of Lieu’s approach on social media in response to Trump’s prolific and provocative tweets.

Opinion: For Whom and What Do Faith Leaders Pray?
White evangelicals still strongly in president’s corner

President Donald Trump attended a worship service at the International Church of Las Vegas in October as a candidate. He reached out to evangelical Christians for support during the 2016 campaign. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Were their prayers answered?

White — most of them, anyway — evangelicals, recently photographed laying hands on President Donald Trump perhaps were praying that the proposed Senate health care bill, the one estimates predicted would result in millions losing care or Medicaid coverage, would fail.