Lindsey McPherson

Democrats will push back on national emergency in Congress and courts
Congress will defend its constitutional authority over spending ‘using every remedy available,’ Democratic leaders vow

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer promise that Democrats in Congress — hopefully joined by some Republicans — will push back against President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration in multiple arenas. 

“The President’s actions clearly violate the Congress’ exclusive power of the purse, which our founders enshrined in the Constitution,” the duo said in a joint statement Friday. “The Congress will defend our constitutional authorities in the Congress, in the courts, and in the public, using every remedy available.”

Why 19 Democrats and 109 Republicans voted against the government funding deal
Democratic defections were mostly Hispanic Caucus members, progressives concerned about immigration enforcement

House Democrats were just two votes short Thursday night of being able to clear a fiscal 2019 appropriations package without Republican help, while less than half of the GOP conference voted for the bill to avert another government shutdown.

That dynamic may foreshadow battles ahead as the new House Democratic majority will try to exert its influence over government spending while still having to deal with a Republican president and Senate. 

House passes appropriations package to avert shutdown, sends to Trump
President will sign legislation but declare national emergency to free up more money for border wall

The House passed a spending package Thursday night, completing congressional action to avert a government shutdown with barely a day to spare. 

The final vote was 300-128. Nineteen Democrats voted against the measure, while 109 Republicans, representing a majority of their conference, were opposed. 

House may vote on resolution to disapprove of Trump’s national emergency
Velázquez says chamber will vote on Castro disapproval resolution, but leadership says no decision made

Updated 9:34 p.m. | The House will vote on a resolution of disapproval that would push back on President Donald Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency to free up more funds for a wall along the southern border, according to New York Democrat Nydia M. Velázquez. But a leadership aide said no such decision about a vote has been made. 

Velázquez said the timing of the vote had not yet been settled on but added that the disapproval resolution sponsored by Texas Democrat Joaquin Castro would be the first vote taken. Castro, the chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said in a statement that he was “prepared to introduce a resolution to terminate the President’s emergency declaration under 50 U.S.C. 1622. (National Emergencies Act)” if Trump made such a move.

Legal fight expected for Trump’s national emergency declaration
Experts predict high court will back his power to do so, but maybe not accessing military monies

President Donald Trump will declare a national emergency at the southern border to redirect military funds to his border wall project after lawmakers gave him $4.3 billion less than his $5.7 billion ask. But the move is expected to bring court fights that could sink his plan. 

A House-Senate conference committee could only agree to give the president just shy of $1.4 billion for the barrier project as conferees struck a deal needed to avert another partial government shutdown. The president — who earlier this week said he couldn’t say he was happy about the contents of the compromise — reluctantly agreed to sign it into law after the Senate and House sign off during floor votes Thursday.

Congress pauses to remember its longest serving member, John Dingell
Dingell eulogized by his former House colleagues: Hoyer, Boehner, Upton and Lewis

In the last 24 hours of his long life, John D. Dingell, 92, was visited by a few old friends and House colleagues. One of them was House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who eulogized Congress’ longest-serving member Thursday, and recalled that even in his final hours, Dingell “was in command.”

“We talked for an hour about what was, what had been and what should be,” Hoyer said at Dingell’s second funeral Thursday.

House Democrats give leaders a pass on breaking 72-hour rule for spending deal
Few members, however, were willing to stake a position until seeing the bill

Most House Democrats are giving their leadership a pass for breaking a chamber rule that requires bill text to be released 72 hours before a vote so they can quickly move a funding package before Friday’s deadline to avert another government shutdown.

But many of the same Democrats also said Wednesday before the text of a seven-bill appropriations package was released that they couldn’t make a decision on how they’d vote until reading it — which they’d only have about 24 hours to do.

House votes to take stand against anti-Semitism in an unexpected way
Language on anti-Semitism was added to Yemen resolution through a surprising Republican motion

The House overwhelmingly voted Wednesday to take a stand against anti-Semitism in all forms and did it in an unexpected way.  

The vote was surprising because the language was added to an unrelated resolution on removing U.S. armed forces assisting the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen through a Republican motion to recommit. The motion to recommit is a procedural tool of the House minority, and it is typically used to message against a measure offered by the majority.

At ICE headquarters, Rep. Mark Pocan passes out ‘missing’ fliers for FOIA request on Wisconsin raids
Progressive caucus co-chair seeks justification for ICE raids as Democrats struggle with agency‘s detention policies

Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan says the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has been unresponsive to his inquiries about raids conducted in his home state. So the Democratic lawmaker was forced to resort to somewhat desperate measures.

Pocan stood outside ICE headquarters Wednesday morning in Washington, passing out fliers to employees as they headed into work that read in bold red type: “MISSING: HAVE YOU SEEN THIS FOIA REQUEST?”

Dingell honored by Biden, but congressional delegation misses funeral due to weather
Former vice president says Congress’ longest-serving member was one of the few colleagues he looked up to

Congress’ longest-serving member, John D. Dingell, was known for his sense of humor. So much so, that when his former colleagues traveling to his funeral in Dearborn, Michigan, were diverted back to Washington due to bad weather, the priest presiding over the service suggested Dingell was at work.

Rev. Terrence Kerner said he wasn’t supposed to preach at Dingell’s service. Father Pat Conroy, the House chaplain, insisted he knew Dingell better and should do so. But he was on the plane with the congressional delegation that was diverted back to Washington. 

Lawmakers hold service for John Dingell mid-air as weather tangles travel

A military plane carrying members of Congress to Michigan for former Rep. John Dingell’s funeral were turned around due to weather issues, prompting the group to hold a mid-air memorial for the longest serving member of Congress.

The Dingell family announced Sunday that Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. would join Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis and Michigan GOP Rep. Fred Upton in speaking at the service in Dearborn, Mich. Lewis and Upton were among those en route to the funeral in Dearborn, when weather in Detroit made landing unfeasible.

Top appropriators reach ‘agreement in principle’ on funding border security, rest of government
Agreement could avoid government shutdown

The top four congressional appropriators said Monday they had reached an “agreement in principle” that would fund the Department of Homeland Security and the rest of the federal government through the end of the fiscal year and could avoid a government shutdown if President Donald Trump signs off on it. 

The agreement is now being drafted into legislative text that the House and Senate hope to advance before Friday’s government funding deadline, the appropriators said.

Democratic leaders not looking to punish Ilhan Omar after her apology for anti-Semitic remarks
Omar will not be stripped of her committee assignments, Hoyer said

House Democratic leaders do not plan to strip freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar of her committee assignments or take other action against her for comments they said were offensive and invoked anti-Semitic tropes.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said he takes Omar at her word that she didn’t intend to be anti-Semitic when she said lawmakers took pro-Israel stances because of political contributions from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Omar apologizes for ‘anti-Semitic trope’ after criticism
‘My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole,’ Omar said in a statement.

Rep. Ilhan Omar issued a public apology for comments she made about the pro-Israel lobby buying lawmakers’ support for the country, which both Democrats and Republicans called an anti-Semitic trope.

“My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole,” Omar said in a statement. “We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologize.”

House Democratic leaders, chairmen criticize Omar for ‘anti-Semitic trope’
McCarthy says House Republicans will ‘take action’ this week

The House Democratic leadership team and key Jewish committee chairmen on Monday joined a chorus of criticism against freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar for tweets suggesting that a pro-Israel lobbying group was buying off members of Congress.

Republicans have been attacking the Minnesota Democrat for several weeks for supporting the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement and making comments against the Israeli government. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has said he is likely to take action against Omar and another BDS supporter, Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib — the first two Muslim women elected to Congress.

Road ahead: Border security deadline, celebrating The Dean and a new attorney general
Race against the clock to avoid another shutdown begins

Federal workers and lawmakers are already thinking about Friday, the deadline for a spending deal to avert another partial government shutdown. But there’s plenty of other action expected on Capitol Hill before then.

House and Senate negotiators have been working for more than two weeks on a border security funding deal that would clear the way for a final fiscal 2019 spending package.

McCarthy vows ‘action’ against Democrats for anti-Semitic remarks
Minority leader says Democratic leaders’ silence makes them ‘just as guilty’

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, frustrated with Democratic leaders’ refusal to rebuke progressive freshmen for what he views as anti-Semitic remarks, said he plans to take action. 

Republicans have criticized Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar, both of whom are Muslim, for remarks they’ve made in support of the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement and against the Israeli government.

Emerging border security deal will be first big test of Democratic unity
With some barrier funding expected, vote may show fractures among new House majority

When it comes to legislating, House Democrats are still in the honeymoon stage of their new majority. They haven’t had to take any difficult votes yet. But the rocky period is coming, and it will likely start next week with a vote on a border security funding package. 

House and Senate appropriators serving on a Homeland Security funding conference committee signaled Thursday that they’re narrowing in on a border security deal that could be finalized and ready for floor votes next week ahead of a Feb. 15 government funding deadline. 

Ocasio-Cortez says being left off climate select committee not a snub
Freshman New York Democrat said Pelosi invited her to serve on the panel, but she opted against it

Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Speaker Nancy Pelosi invited her to serve on a select committee studying climate change solutions, but she opted against it because she’s already on an Oversight and Reform subcommittee on the environment.

“She did in fact invite me to be on the committee,” the New York Democrat said. “So I don’t think this is a snub.”

Pelosi says she is done reacting to Trump, ready to focus on legislating

Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she is tired of reacting to President Donald Trump’s mischaracterizations and that she has too much else on her plate to weigh in on the political mess in Virginia. Put simply, the California Democrat is ready to get down to legislative business.

Opening her weekly press conference Thursday, Pelosi spent several minutes talking about the various committee hearings House Democrats have begun holding on a range of priority issues like health care costs, infrastructure, campaign finance and climate change.