congressional-affairs

House Cancels Votes for Billy Graham to Lie in Honor in Capitol Rotunda
Senate will remain in session Wednesday and Thursday

Hawaii Sen. Daniel K. Inouye lies in state on Dec. 20, 2012, on Capitol Hill. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House is shortening its Feb. 26 work week, canceling votes that Wednesday and Thursday, for the late Rev. Billy Graham to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda.

“As is traditional, votes are no longer expected in the House on Wednesday, February 28, or Thursday, March 1,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office announced. “Last votes next week will now occur during the evening hours of Tuesday, February 27.”

‘Harden’ Schools to Combat Shooters, Trump Says
Calls for offensive measures, training and arming teachers

Washington, D.C., area students and supporters protest against gun violence outside the White House on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump wants to “harden” schools to secure them like banks, but the security guards he envisions would be teachers and other school employees.

For the second consecutive day, the president pitched the notion of giving firearms and specialized training to some teachers and school staffers so they could combat individuals who enter schools with the intent of killing people. He further drove home that he opposes existing laws allowing individuals under the age of 21 to purchase assault rifles.

Protesters Flock to Lawmakers’ District Offices for Gun Control
Parkland school shooting reignites gun debate, high schoolers take frontlines

Students calling for Congress to act on gun control demonstrate on the east lawn of the Capitol on February 21, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As more than a thousand high schoolers from the Washington, D.C., area marched from Capitol Hill to the White House to protest for more gun control Wednesday, Americans all over the country joined from afar.

From Upstate New York down to the Florida panhandle, protesters gathered outside conservative lawmakers’ state and district offices to call for legislative action to prevent deadly shootings and pressure members not to accept money from pro-gun lobbying groups.

Trump Backs Minimum Age of 21 for Some Gun Buys
Rubio also opposes allowing 18 year olds to buy assault weapons

Washington, D.C., area students and supporters protest against gun violence with a lie-in outside of the White House on Monday. President Trump is pushing new age restrictions on some gun purchases. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump on Thursday endorsed setting an age restriction of 21 on certain gun purchases, his most aggressive move yet in endorsing gun access changes after last week’s Florida high school massacre.

The president is eager to do something in the wake of last week’s gun massacre in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 students and teachers dead, aides say. Until late Wednesday afternoon, Trump had mostly focused on enhancing the background check system, improving information sharing among local, state and federal law enforcement, and addressing mental health problems that plague many mass shooters.

House Oversight Probes Scott Pruitt’s Travel Expenses
EPA administrator has been under fire for first-class travel and luxury hotel stays

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is among several Trump administration officials under scrutiny for possible travel violations . (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As questions about the official travel habits of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt mount, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is demanding documents and other information on his first-class flights, as it looks into whether federal laws were broken.

Pruitt has for several months been under fire for incurring high travel costs at taxpayer expense. After recent news reports of Pruitt’s use of expensive first-class flights and stays at luxury hotels, an EPA spokesman said the administrator had been given a “blanket waiver” to fly first class for security reasons.

Justices Air Differences on Value of Congressional Reports
High court appears as divided as ever on giving weight to legislative history

While the Supreme Court agreed unanimously on Dodd-Frank whistleblower protections, justices disagreed on the reliability of congressional committee reports. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An opinion Wednesday shows the Supreme Court is as divided as ever on whether congressional committee reports should be used to help understand what Congress meant when drafting and enacting a law.

All the justices agreed that the 2010 Dodd-Frank law only protects whistleblowers who tell the Securities and Exchange Commission about corporate wrongdoing. But the decision became a platform for justices to air their judicial philosophies about the long-contested idea of whether to give weight to legislative history.

Shooting Survivors, Victims’ Families Tell Trump Emotional Stories
Father of Parkland victim: ‘I’m pissed … I’m never, ever going to see my kid again’

Students calling for Congress to act on gun control demonstrate on the East Lawn of the Capitol on Wednesday. Later, President Trump met with survivors of three school shootings at the White House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 5:38 p.m. | President Donald Trump heard powerful testimonials Wednesday from survivors and family members of teenagers killed in last week’s Florida high school shooting massacre. But he signaled his focus is on related issues, not gun control.

The president started an emotional “listening session” at the White House vowing to be “very strong on background checks” and “very strong” on tackling mental health issues. He initially only vaguely referred to also being strong on “other things,” but later floated ideas such as arming specially trained school workers, setting age restrictions on some guns and opening new mental institutions.

White House: ‘No’ Chance Ivanka Trump Meets With North Korean Officials
President’s daughter is leading U.S. delegation to Winter Olympics closing ceremony

Ivanka Trump at a State Department ceremony last June. She is leading the official U.S. delegation to the Pyeongchang Games’ closing ceremony. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Ivanka Trump is not expected to meet with any North Korean officials later this week when she leads the White House’s official delegation to the closing ceremony for the Winter Olympic Games.

Asked if the president’s daughter and senior adviser could meet with North Korean officials while in Pyeongchang, South Korea, a senior official replied, “No.”

Man Admits He Threatened to Kill Rep. Katko for Opposing Net Neutrality
Faces up to five years in prison

A man pleaded guilty this week to threatening to kill Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., and his family if he did not support net neutrality. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Syracuse man admitted he threatened to kill Rep. John Katko and his family if Katko did not support net neutrality, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.

Patrick D. Angelo, 29, pleaded guilty to interstate communication of a threat. He faces a maximum five years in prison and $250,000 fine.

Pence: Give Police, Families Tools for Mentally Disturbed
VP vows massive job creation via beefed-up space program

Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr., D-Va., speaks with D.C.-area students and supporters as they hold a protest against gun violence with a lie-in outside of the White House on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Trump administration intends to give law enforcement and families the “tools they need to deal with” people who have health issues that might drive them to commit violent acts like mass shootings, Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday.

As during similar remarks late last week, however, the vice president did not specify how much that might cost or whether the administration will seek emergency funds or push Congress to include the required monies in fiscal 2018 and 2019 spending measures.