congressional-affairs

Trump, Pelosi engage in 29-hour war of insults worthy of ‘Veep’ storyline
HBO series has wrapped, but president and speaker keep its spirit alive as relationship sours again

President Donald Trump and Speaker Nancy Pelosi argue over border security in the Oval Office on Dec. 11. They are back it, engaging in a war of words after he abruptly ended a meeting Wednesday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

ANALYSIS — HBO’s hit series “Veep,” with its hysterically dysfunctional depiction of official Washington, wrapped its seven-season run earlier this month. Or did it?

The president called the speaker of the House “crazy” after she pleaded for White House aides and his family members to hold an “intervention” for the leader of the free world. No, that’s not a scene from the Julia Louis-Dreyfus-starring show. It’s just the latest shenanigans from two of the most powerful officials in Washington — and on the entire planet, for that matter.

Judge questions whether House can sue over border wall funding
The judge was skeptical whether federal courts should jump into the ‘ugly dispute between the political branches’

The border barrier between the U.S. (L) and Mexico runs down a hillside on May 20, 2019, as taken from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. A federal judge heard arguments Thursday over whether to block the Trump administration from transferring Defense Department funds to pay for border wall projects. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

A federal judge in Washington expressed skepticism Thursday about whether the federal courts should jump into the middle of an “ugly dispute between the political branches” over the Trump administration plan to move around federal funds to build a border wall.

U.S. District Judge Trevor N. McFadden said that a House lawsuit to block the Trump administration’s spending was in “unusual territory,” since higher courts have never ruled on whether the legislative branch could sue the executive branch.

Senate passes long-stalled disaster aid bill with Trump support
Negotiators agreed to revisit stripped border-related funding after the Memorial Day recess

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and chef Jose Andres talk after running into each other in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Thursday, May 23, 2019. Andres was on Capitol Hill for a briefing held by the Power 4 Puerto Rico Coalition, calling on Congress to help Puerto Rico achieve future growth and prosperity after the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. On Thursday the Senate approved a $19.1 billion disaster aid deal which included $600 million in nutrition assistance to Puerto Rico to help restore funding that ran dry in March. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After months of negotiations, Congress and the White House on Thursday reached agreement on a $19.1 billion disaster aid bill that will help communities recover from a series of deadly storms and wildfires. 

The draft bill does not include the border-related funding for migrants at the southern border sought by the Trump administration, the last hurdle that had been preventing a deal on the package.

Alexander, Murray outline plan to lower health costs
Alexander he hopes it will get a committee mark up next month and the Senate will debate a bill in July

Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and ranking member Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., conduct a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled "Vaccines Save Lives: What Is Driving Preventable Disease Outbreaks?" on March 5, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two influential senators released draft health care legislation Thursday, a package of narrowly tailored proposals that will likely be part of a measure to lower health care costs that lawmakers hope to pass this year.

The draft bill, from Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and ranking member Patty Murray, D-Wash., targets five areas: banning surprise medical bills; speeding low-cost generic drugs to market; increasing transparency; improving public health; and enhancing health information technology, according to a summary.

‘For the good of the country’: Pelosi hopes Trump family or staff stage an intervention
Speaker says president deployed ‘bag of tricks’ to avoid infrastructure meeting he was unprepared for

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., conducts her weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s family or staff should stage an intervention, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday, noting she’s concerned for his well-being and that of the country.

“I pray for the president of the United States,” the California Democrat said. “I wish that his family or his administration or his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country.”

Senate to take one last shot at disaster, border aid bill
The remaining sticking points are over immigration and oversight provisions related to Trump’s border funding request

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., arrives for a news conference after the Republican Senate Policy Luncheon on May 14, 2019. On Thursday McConnell said on the Senate floor, that his colleagues need to come up with a disaster aid compromise “today, because one way or another the Senate is not leaving without taking action.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Republicans were huddling behind closed doors Thursday morning to discuss their next move on supplemental aid for disaster victims and handling a huge influx of migrants at the southern border.

One emerging possibility was to drop billions of dollars in aid the White House is seeking for border-related agencies, including Homeland Security and Health and Human Services.

Reps. Crenshaw, Gallagher, Waltz urge more GOP veterans to run for Congress
Republicans cite Democratic successes in 2018 midterms, and seek to recruit more veteran GOP candidates

Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, and two other Republican House members are making a push to elect more GOP military veterans to Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Three Republican congressmen who served in the military are relaunching a PAC to help recruit more GOP veterans like themselves to run for Congress.

Reps. Dan Crenshaw of Texas, Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin and Michael Waltz of Florida announced Wednesday they are forming the War Veterans Fund PAC this cycle, which aims to recruit Republican veterans of U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to run in their home districts and assist them with funding.

Trump calls Dems ‘DO NOTHING PARTY’ after Pelosi says he ‘took a pass’ by storming out
White House official walks back president’s threat, signals shutdown-averting talks will continue

Marine One, with President Trump aboard, departs the White House earlier this week. Trump and congressional Democrats are trading barbs again after yet another contentious meeting. (John T. Bennett/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump, increasingly in re-election mode, on Thursday labeled Democrats the “DO NOTHING PARTY!” a day after their leaders accused him of being unprepared for a meeting on an infrastructure plan and simply “taking a pass” on the issue.

But even as the president suggested dealmaking on major legislation is frozen until House Democrats’ probes end, a White House official signaled talks on bills that must pass to avert another full or partial government shutdown will continue.

A new era for the ERA?
Equal Rights Amendment measures gain traction in Congress and beyond after #MeToo

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., right, and Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., attend a June 2018 news conference in the House Triangle on the need to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In a moment of reckoning for women’s equality, lawmakers and investors are teaming up to push for change in corporate boardrooms, executive suites, and across the country — and that’s generating renewed interest in an Equal Rights Amendment.

Propelled by the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, women are flexing their power to confront everything from gender pay disparities and harassment to the lack of legal protections and corporate diversity.

Retirement savings bill seeks small business buy-in
Bipartisan momentum for change comes as retirement crisis looms

House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal’s retirement savings bill would create incentives for businesses to provide access to workplace savings plans for some of the most underserved groups. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House on Thursday will take up what could be the most significant changes in retirement savings policy in more than a decade.

But the bill’s backers acknowledge it’s just an initial step in addressing what critics call a huge hole in Americans’ nest eggs, at a time when traditional pension plans are increasingly rare and Social Security is facing financial headwinds.