california

House passes plus-upped disaster aid package

Relief for Puerto Rico after deadly hurricanes is among the issues hanging up a broader disaster aid package in Congress. (Angel Valentin/Getty Images)

The House passed a $19.1 billion disaster aid package to help victims of recent storms and flooding rebuild, with the price tag growing by about $1.8 billion on the floor through amendments to add funds for repairing damaged military facilities, highways, levees, dams and more.

The vote was 257-150, with 34 Republicans crossing the aisle to support the bill drafted by the Democratic majority. President Donald Trump and GOP leaders tried to tamp down defections on the bill, which they oppose because it would pump more money into Puerto Rico, which hasn’t yet been able to spend much of the $20 billion previously appropriated after 2017′s Hurricane Maria.

States spend big on make-or-break 2020 census
California has already allocated $100 million as citizenship question looms

People gather outside the Supreme Court in April to protest the Trump administration’s census citizenship question. The question will lead to inaccurate population counts, opponents say. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

Freed from the budget constraints that dogged them during the last census and with a growing understanding of what accurate population counts mean for the possibility of federal dollars, states are spending at an unprecedented rate on efforts to boost census outreach.

California has already allocated more than $100 million on efforts aimed at getting all its residents counted in the 2020 census. No state approaches that total, but 10 others have enacted laws to spend a total of $31.7 million to make sure as many residents as possible are counted, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

California remains ground zero for data privacy fight
New law seeks to define internet users’ rights

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra will be tasked with rulemaking for the state’s first-in-the-nation data privacy law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Gov. Jerry Brown signed it almost a year ago, but it’s still unclear what California’s first-in-the-nation data privacy law will look like in practice. 

The law was the first in the United States to attempt to define internet users’ rights over their personal data that companies often sell for marketing purposes. But ahead of the law’s Jan. 1, 2020, implementation date, the state is still grappling with the balance between consumer protection and a light regulatory approach that has allowed the tech sector to become a major part of the California economy.

California Democrats brand attack by Duncan Hunter campaign ‘racist’
Republican renewed effort to tar challenger Campa-Najjar as ‘national security threat’

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., faces condemnation from two Democratic members of the California delegation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A California lawmaker ripped Rep. Duncan Hunter for relying on a “racist” campaign strategy by repeatedly describing his challenger, who has Palestinian heritage, as a “national security threat.”

Democrat Rep. Mike Levin called on the Hunter campaign to stop relying on anti-Muslim conspiracy theories to undercut his challenger in the 2020 race, Ammar Campa-Najjar.

Democrats worry Trump will replace Nielsen with an immigration hard-liner
White House aides struggle to clearly explain what president wants from replacement

Kirstjen Nielsen is on her way out as Homeland Security secretary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic lawmakers are concerned Donald Trump will replace outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen with an immigration hard-liner, but the White House has yet to clearly explain what the president wants her successor to do differently.

Nielsen’s coming departure will only complicate the Senate calendar, adding another senior administration position the chamber might have to process in coming weeks or months. Senators on the relevant oversight panels will be taken away from other work — such as annual spending bills — to focus on grilling nominees.

Trump’s double backtrack ‘probably won’t matter very much’
Teflon president not likely to pay any political price for health care, border retreats

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., John Thune, R-S. Dak., Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., look on at the Capitol on Jan. 9. His recent moves have irked his own party. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — Donald Trump irked even his fellow Republicans last week with his health care and border closure pushes, only to back off both, capping one of the most turbulent weeks of his chaotic presidency. But it’s unlikely to hinder his re-election fight.

Eager to hit the campaign trail with a reprise of many of the same themes that fueled his 2016 bid, Trump caught his party off guard by trying once again to repeal and replace the entire Obama-era health care law, before delaying any vote until after Election Day 2020. At the same time, he threatened for days to shutter ports of entry at the U.S.-Mexico border, before replacing that threat with one to first slap tariffs on Mexican-made automobiles.

‘If you can climb that, you deserve whatever you can get’ Trump says on wall visit
President heads to California one day after backing off — sort of — closure threat

President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference to announce his national emergency delclaration for the situation at the southern border on Feb. 15 in the White House's Rose Garden. He traveled to the border on Friday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

ANALYSIS — One day, President Donald Trump seemed dead set on closing ports of entry at the U.S.-Mexico border. The next, he had shelved that threat — maybe — for another aimed at pressuring Mexican officials to curb migrant flows into the United States.

That followed a retreat by the president on trying to pressure congressional Republicans into another attempt to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s entire 2010 health law. Fittingly, the latest roller coaster-like week of the Trump era ended with a presidential trip to the southern border.

Schiff under siege: Republicans cite Intelligence Committee’s ‘vendetta’ against Trump
California Democrat shrugs off GOP criticism: ‘I would expect nothing less’

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., holds a media availability on the Intelligence Committee's Russia investigation in 2017. Republicans have dinged Schiff for statements about collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia now seen as hyperbolic at best. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans have made House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff their new bogeyman as they run a victory lap over Attorney General William Barr’s report on the special counsel investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Republicans have called for Schiff to resign as chairman for repeatedly declaring he had seen evidence of collusion between Russia and President Donald Trump, including a claim that “there is more than circumstantial evidence.”

For Nancy Pelosi, a woman is chief
Terri McCullough returns home to the Hill in pinnacle role as speaker’s chief of staff

Terri McCullough, incoming chief of staff for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is photographed in the Capitol on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Terri McCullough is coming home.

The 50-year-old San Francisco Bay Area native, who began her career as an intern for Rep. Nancy Pelosi and has spent more than half her life since working for the California Democrat, is returning to the Hill on Monday.

He wrote the background check bill. He also shoots a mean pigeon
Mike Thompson won ‘Top Gun’ at a congressional tournament

Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., talks strategy with Olympic gold medalist Kim Rhode during the 2005 Congressional Shoot-Out in Maryland. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After demolishing target after target in a hotly contested shooting tournament, Rep. Mike Thompson earned the title of “Top Gun.” He’s owned guns for as long as he can remember, loves a good duck hunt and eats all the meat he kills.

Oh, and he’s also the one who introduced the background check bill poised to pass the House this week.