Congress

Mnuchin refuses to comply with subpoenas for Trump tax returns
The treasury secretary’s refusal sets up a court battle, which could begin as early as next week

Ways and Means chairman Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., stops to speak to reporters as he walks down the House steps after the final votes of the week on Friday, May 17, 2019. Neal told reporters he believes the fight over Donald Trump’s tax returns is headed to court as early as next week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House urges judge to block Trump’s border wall spending
‘As I think everybody in this courtroom knows, the executive branch can’t build this wall without Congress,’ the attorney said

A car drives along the U.S.-Mexico border fence on February 22, 2019 in Otay Mesa, California. An attorney for the House urged a federal judge in California on Friday to block the Trump administration from moving federal funds around to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. (Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

An attorney for the House urged a federal judge in California on Friday to block the Trump administration from moving federal funds around to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, calling the move “statutory sleight of hand, or, more accurately, three-card monte.”

Douglas N. Letter, the House general counsel, told U.S. District Court Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. that the government can’t claim the authority to divert billions of dollars for wall construction when Congress had just denied President Donald Trump’s demands to appropriate those funds.

Pentagon knew peace-talks fund would ‘likely’ benefit Taliban
Document suggests some money would give ‘material support to terrorists’

Aerial view of the Pentagon building photographed on Sept. 24, 2017. ( Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Pentagon leaders formally asked Congress in writing earlier this year for a $30 million fund to support peace talks with Afghanistan’s Taliban, even though, the Defense Department officials wrote, it was “likely” some of the money would materially support terrorists.

The legislative proposal, obtained by CQ Roll Call, suggests that the fiscal 2020 money to cover logistics involved in the negotiations may directly or indirectly provide financial support to violent groups in Afghanistan that have been fighting Americans and their own countrymen, including in targeted attacks on civilians, for nearly 18 years.

House Democrats seek details of Trump ethics waivers
Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings launched investigation earlier this week

House Oversight Chairman Eijah E. Cummings has launched an investigation into the Trump administration’s use of ethics waivers. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee, wants a status update on the state of the swamp in the Trump administration.

The Maryland Democrat launched an investigation late this week into the administration’s use of ethics waivers, which allow former lobbyists to work on matters they handled in their previous private sector jobs. Cummings sent letters to the White House and 24 agencies and Cabinet departments requesting copies of their ethics pledges and details of any waivers that could expose “potential conflicts of interest.”

These 8 Republicans voted for the Equality Act
3 House Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination did not vote

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., shown applauding during President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address in February, was one of eight House Republicans to vote for the Equality Act on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Eight House Republicans voted Friday with their Democratic counterparts for the Equality Act, which would broaden the definition of protected classes to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

The bill, a Democratic priority, passed 236-173 amid passionate speeches from both Republicans and Democrats. Debate over the bill was partisan, and at times, tense. 

Trump‘s car import move is getting panned
The decision to set an 180-day clock ticking on possible trade action has drawn criticism from industry, lawmakers and the EU

Brand new cars sit on a truck that is leaving a lot at the Auto Warehousing Company near the Port of Richmond on May 24, 2018 in Richmond, California. U.S. president Donald Trump has set a clock on possible trade action or tariffs against car imports from Japan and Europe. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The White House announcement Friday that President Donald Trump has set a 180-day clock ticking on possible trade action against imports of cars and car parts from Japan and Europe brought strong pushback from the private sector.

The president’s implied threat to use Section 232 authorities to impose tariffs or other trade measures if negotiations to limit imports are not successful cited national security and, in particular, the need to protect research and development by U.S. automakers.

A Census worker’s arrest for child sex assault raises hiring concerns in Congress
Commerce Department report: ‘The Bureau’s background check office is not fully prepared for the 2020 Census’

In this photo provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, tabulators in Washington record the information from the more than 120,000 enumerators who gathered data for the 1940 U.S. Census. (AP Photo/National Archives and Records Administration)

Some members of the North Carolina delegation have called for an investigation into the U.S. Census Bureau’s hiring practices following the arrest of a bureau manager in Charlotte on charges of sexually assaulting a child.

The employee already appeared on the sex offender registry when he was hired by the bureau because of a prior conviction involving a child, Fox 46 reported.

Air Force secretary: send disaster money ASAP
Officials say it will cost nearly $10 billion to repair recent storm damage at military bases

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson testifies during a Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support hearing in Russell Building titled “United States Air Force Readiness,” on October 10, 2018. On Thurday Wilson said the Defense Department needs money to fix nearly $10 billion in damage to military bases.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Heather Wilson, the outgoing Air Force secretary, said Thursday that the Defense Department desperately needs Congress to quickly bankroll recovery from recent storm damage at military bases, which officials say will cost nearly $10 billion to fix.

Senate leaders are drafting a disaster aid supplemental bill that may contain a down payment in aid for Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. The House passed its own version last week with $1.5 billion to help military installations recover from hurricanes.

LGBTQ Equality Act passes House, pushing back on Trump’s religious freedom policies
Democrats and advocacy groups are attempting to counteract these policies through the courts and legislation

Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., poses with a rainbow flag at the House steps after the vote to pass the Equality Act on Friday, May 17, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Growing tensions over the Trump administration’s policies that aim to strengthen religious freedom protections for health care workers have led to a partisan tug-of-war playing out in the House.

The Trump administration has tried to strengthen religious liberty protections through numerous policies over the past several months. Those include providing federal funds to religiously affiliated foster agencies who don’t allow LGBT people to adopt children and broadening religious and moral exemptions for employers who do not want to cover birth control.

Grassley, Wyden want to end uncertainty over temporary tax breaks
Five task forces charged with coming up with solutions for so-called tax extenders

Senate Finance Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, right, and ranking member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., are seen at a hearing in February. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley announced the creation of five task forces charged with delving into what to do about 42 myriad tax breaks that continually get turned on and off by Congress, ranging from an incentive to sell cleaner-burning biodiesel fuel for trucks to a deduction for mortgage insurance premiums.

The joint announcement by the Iowa Republican and Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden, the committee’s ranking member, comes 16 and a half months after 26 tax “extenders” expired at the end of 2017. Grassley said the task force is charged with coming up with solutions by the end of June, including whether to consolidate or change certain provisions, make them permanent or allow them to lapse.

Ocasio-Cortez grills CEO of pharma company making billions on government-patented HIV drug
Daniel O’Day faced scathing questions over taxpayers funding research and development for blockbuster drug

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., was among the Democrats on the House Oversight Committee grilling Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day on Thursday over the high price of the HIV prevention drug, Truvada. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day faced scathing questions at a House hearing Thursday, with Democrats demanding answers on how the drug manufacturer could charge $1,700 a month for an HIV prevention drug discovered through taxpayer-funded research.

“How can Gilead do this? How can our system allow a company to take a drug treatment that was developed with taxpayer funds and abuse its monopoly to charge such astronomical prices?” Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah E. Cummings asked at the top of the hearing. “This lifesaving treatment would not exist but for the research funded by the CDC and the NIH.”

Pelosi: To woo Trump, border aid will likely be attached to disaster bill
Adding a border-related element to the disaster relief bill could garner the Trump administration’s support

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., holds her weekly press conference in the Capitol on May 16, 2019. She told reporters that a disaster aid package will likely include humanitarian assistance to address the surge of migrants across the southern border. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

An emerging multibillion-dollar disaster aid package will likely include humanitarian assistance to address the surge of migrants across the southern border, an element that could garner the Trump administration’s support.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday that lawmakers are planning to add funding to the unreleased package that would help stem the “humanitarian crisis.”

Judiciary Democrats may ask full House to formally approve their investigation into Trump
Jackson Lee says she thinks it is time for a resolution of investigation

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, says House Judiciary Committee Democrats may file a resolution of investigation to have the full House vote to approve the panel's probe into potential obstruction of justice and abuses of power by the Trump administration. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Some Judiciary Committee Democrats, concerned about the Trump administration escalating its stonewalling into their investigation of potential obstruction of justice and abuses of power by the president and his associates, want the full House to approve their probe. 

“I believe we are at a point now that we should issue a resolution of investigation,” senior Judiciary member Shelia Jackson Lee said Thursday.

Complaint says Rep. TJ Cox’s disclosures misled voters. He says it’s a GOP attack
Constituents say NRCC helped draft their complaint, but GOP group denies writing it

Rep. TJ Cox, D-Calif., is fending off accusations from constituents and the NRCC that he intentionally misled voters on his financial disclosure forms. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group of constituents from California’s 21st District are asking the Office of Congressional Ethics to review allegations that Rep. TJ Cox intentionally misled voters about his personal finances by failing to list certain business interests on his personal financial disclosure.

Cox, a Democrat, has dismissed the complaint as a partisan smear orchestrated by the National Republican Congressional Committee and a former staffer of David Valadao, the Republican he unseated last fall.

Sen. Rick Scott asks FBI to brief senators on Russian voter hacking in Florida
The FBI confirmed to Scott that two counties had voter files accessed by Russia ahead of the presidential election in 2016, he said

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., speaks with reporters on Feb. 14, 2019. Scott said the FBI confirmed to him on Wednesday that two counties had voter files accessed by Russia ahead of the presidential election of Donald Trump in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 2:36 p.m. | Sen. Rick Scott has asked the FBI to provide a briefing to any interested senators on Russian intrusion into Florida voter files.

Scott, who was the governor of Florida, said the FBI confirmed to him on Wednesday that two counties had voter files accessed by Russia ahead of the presidential election in 2016.