policy

GOP Congressman Floats Passing Border Wall Funding Through Budget Reconciliation
Process would allow for simple-majority vote in the Senate, but both chambers would need to pass a budget first

Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., says his legislation aims to prevent Democrats from continuing to “block our efforts to build a wall along our southern border.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Alabama Republican Rep. Bradley Byrne announced Monday that he has introduced legislation to use the budget reconciliation process to provide for up to $25 billion for President Donald Trump to construct his border wall before the end of his first term.

The bill, co-sponsored by 15 House Republicans, would allow the GOP to pass wall funding with a simple-majority vote in the Senate by using the reconciliation process — if the measure can withstand a “Byrd bath,” the scrubbing of the bill for violations of the Senate’s reconciliation rules. 

Pelosi Suggests 2020 Outcome Will Help Her Decide Whether to Stay in Congress
Democratic leader was prepared to retire if Clinton won in 2016, stayed on because of Trump

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., suggested Monday that the outcome of the 2020 presidential election will factor into her decision on how long to stay in Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who hopes to be speaker next year if Democrats win a chamber majority, suggested Monday that the outcome of the 2020 presidential election would factor into her decision on how long to stay in Congress. 

The 78-year-old California Democrat has long signaled that she sees her congressional career coming to an end in the not-so-distant future.

Kushner, Pelosi Discuss MBS, Journalist Khashoggi’s Death Amid Uproar
Administration has ‘eyes wide open’ but seeks to maintain relations, Kushner says

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is in the spotlight after the killing of a Saudi journalist. (Leon Neal/Getty Images file photo)

The Trump administration has “its eyes wide open” about what happened to a dead Washington Post columnist who was killed inside a Saudi diplomatic facility in Turkey, White House adviser Jared Kushner said Monday.

President Donald Trump’s son-in-law also said he personally told Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to “just to be transparent” about allegations his government ordered Saudi-born and self-exiled journalist Jamal Khashoggi killed inside its Istanbul consulate.

Trump Claims Migrant Caravan in Mexico Has ‘Unknown Middle Easterners’
President threatens to end U.S. aid to Central American countries

A boy and father from Honduras are taken into custody by U.S. Border Patrol agents near the U.S.-Mexico Border on June 12 near Mission, Texas. A caravan of other migrants largely from that country is heading for the U.S.-Mexico border. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Without offering evidence to support the claim, President Donald Trump on Monday contended a large caravan of Central American migrants also includes “unknown Middle Easterners.”

He also threatened to end foreign aid to countries from which most members of the caravan come. That list includes Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Trump has proposed foreign aid cuts before, only to have Republican and Democratic lawmakers reject them and allocate the funds via massive spending bills Trump was forced to sign to avert more government shutdowns on his watch.

Budget Overhaul Proposals Likely to Stay in Play After Nov. 30
Joint Committee expected to offer recommendations next month

House Budget Chairman Steve Womack, R-Ark., says that proposals that aren’t accepted by other lawmakers could work their way into future legislation. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The legislative proposals under development by the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform could enjoy a life of their own after the special panel’s work is done later this year.

Members of the 16-member bicameral committee are hoping to agree on a package of proposed changes to improve the budget process by a Nov. 30 deadline, allowing their recommendations to be submitted to Congress for action.

Trump — Again — Threatens to Send Military to U.S.-Mexico Border
And he would, again, face legal hurdles in Congress to deploy active-duty military troops there

President Donald Trump once again floated the legally dicey idea of sending U.S. military troops to the southern border. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Thursday dusted off the cobwebs of an old proposal from April to deploy military troops along the southern U.S. border in an effort to stem illegal crossings by immigrants.

“I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!” the president threatened, if Mexico does not heed his request to stop what he termed an “onslaught” of people crossing the border into the U.S.

3 Ways Congress Can Punish Saudi Arabia
Jamal Khashoggi’s alleged murder prompts bipartisan calls for action

Saudi officials arrive at the White House on March 20 ahead of a visit by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

Calls are mounting on Capitol Hill from Republicans and Democrats alike to impose stiff penalties on Saudi Arabia for its suspected murder of a prominent dissident journalist, as new gruesome details were leaked by Turkish intelligence on Wednesday.

The growing congressional outrage over the reported torture, beheading and dismemberment two weeks ago of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul is diametrically opposed to the signals coming from President Donald Trump, who has criticized the rush to judge the kingdom. A columnist for The Washington Post, Khashoggi was a resident of Virginia.

Blumenauer Sends Blunt Marijuana Blueprint to Democratic Leadership
Goal is to have Congress pass legislation by the end of 2019

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., wants Democrats to legalize marijuana if they take back the House majority. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer, one of Congress’s most vocal marijuana proponents, sent Democratic leadership a memo Wednesday outlining steps Congress should take to legalize the Schedule I drug.

“Congress is out of step with the American people and the states on cannabis,” Blumenauer wrote in the memo, citing polling showing that 69 percent of registered voters support legalizing marijuana. “We have an opportunity to correct course if Democrats win big in November.”

Democrats Spin McConnell Entitlement Comments Into Political Messaging
McConnell says Republicans cannot tackle program on their own but Democrats warn of GOP action

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., says a vote for the GOP is a vote to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, spinning Senate Majority McConnell’s comments that Republicans can’t execute that goal on their own. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats are spinning comments Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently made on overhauling entitlements to craft a political message that electing Republicans will lead to cuts in safety net programs. 

“Sen. McConnell gave the game up in his comment yesterday,” Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen, who chairs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said on a press call Wednesday. “It was very clear from what he said that a vote for Republican candidates in this election is a vote to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. That’s what he said.”

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