Executive Branch

That ’70s Show: Biden edition
Political Theater, Episode 93

Former Vice President Joe Biden arrives for his 2020 campaign kickoff rally at the Eakins Oval in Philadelphia on May 18. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Say this for the Democratic presidential field: Voters certainly have choices. From former vice presidents to tech entrepreneurs, from senators to mayors, from wizened veterans to young upstarts.

Out of this crowded roster, Joe Biden is arguably the most recognizable. The affable No. 2 to President Barack Obama and longtime former senator is among the most known political quantities.

Amid ‘Whistleblowergate,’ Trump again suggests his office has unlimited powers
‘I have the right to do whatever I want as president,’ president said in July

President Donald Trump makes remarks in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence stands nearby on August 5. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS | President Donald Trump on Friday insisted it “doesn’t matter” if he asks foreign leaders to target his domestic political foes, again describing the powers of his office as unlimited.

On yet another remarkable Friday that capped yet another remarkable week in his roller-coaster-like term, the president once again opted against distancing himself from allegations that would have amounted to a major scandal for anyone who held the unofficial title of “leader of the free world.”

Photos of the Week: A statehood hearing, climate activists and a new way to wear glasses
The week of September 20 as captured by Roll Call’s photojournalists

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser rides a double-decker bus on Monday with American flags featuring 51 stars down Pennsylvania Avenue along with 51 military veterans ahead of this week’s House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on making D.C. the 51st state. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Trump upends bipartisan consensus on homelessness
CQ On Congress, Episode 170

Henry Palmer, a homeless man living in one of the tents near Union Station in Washington, sweeps his area as he waits for DC city workers to load his belongings into a truck in 2016. The city ordered the small tent city, just blocks from the U.S. Capitol, removed. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Donald Trump has challenged the idea, pioneered in George W. Bush’s administration, that the best, and most cost-effective way to end homelessness is to offer people living on the streets homes, no strings attached, and to service their needs in a home setting.

A new report from the president’s Council of Economic Advisers says that has neither reduced homelessness, nor lowered costs. Richard Cho, who served in top positions at the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness during the Obama administration and now heads the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, joins the program this week to discuss how “Housing First” has worked and how it hasn’t.

De Blasio bows out of 2020 primary race vowing to help ‘working people’
New York City mayor never gained a foothold in the polls and has low favorability rating at home

New York mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Bill de Blasio addresses a crowd at The Galivants Ferry Stump on Monday in Galivants Ferry, S.C. On Friday he said he was dropping his bid for the Democratic nomination. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has ended his 2020 presidential campaign after failing to establish any real foothold in the Democratic primary race.

“I feel like I’ve contributed all I can to this primary election and it’s clearly not my time,” de Blasio said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Friday.

Trump: ‘It doesn’t matter what I discussed’ on call that drew whistleblower’s complaint
President announces sanctions at the ‘highest level’ against Iran after strike against Saudi oil facility

President Donald Trump is mired in another crisis, this time over an allegation he made a troubling “promise” to another world leader. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump on Friday did not deny discussing former Vice President Joe Biden with his Ukranian counterpart during a telephone conversation that reportedly prompted an intelligence community whistleblower to file a formal complaint.

“It doesn’t matter what I discussed,” Trump told reporters Friday, according to a pool report. The ever defiant president then ran toward the controversy, saying, “Someone ought to look into Joe Biden.”

Path to defeat Trump ‘doesn’t flow through the coast,’ Bullock tells teachers group
Despite sagging poll numbers, Montana governor forges ahead with 2020 presidential pitch

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, center, greets Randi Weingarten, left, president of the American Federation of Teachers, and Darrell Capwell, before a town hall at the AFT on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Montana governor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Steve Bullock didn’t qualify for the debate stage in September, and he is polling near the bottom of the 20 remaining White House hopefuls.

But at the American Federation of Teachers headquarters in Washington, D.C., Bullock said Thursday he can win back Trump voters from the American heartland while retaining support in traditional liberal strongholds. The self-described populist moderate with executive experience spent time taking questions from the audience focused on education issues. 

Meet the key appropriations players of the fall
List includes budget war veterans as well as relative newcomers

Eric Ueland has been the White House legislative affairs chief since June. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s the behind-the-scenes work of top legislative aides that makes the Capitol Hill machinery work, and that’s never truer than when lawmakers are trying to hash out spending bills as Congress and the White House will be focused on this fall and winter.

After initial decisions by Republican and Democratic clerks — the top staffers on the Appropriations subcommittees — full committee staff will step in to help work out any remaining issues. Leadership staff will be on hand to address the most intractable disagreements and questions about what legislation can ride with the spending bills, and to make sure the measures have enough votes to pass.

Writing a speech for the boss? Two White House pros show you how to nail it
The best speechwriters are advocates for the audiences they’re trying to reach, Eric Schnure says

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s “comfort level with who she is” comes across in her speeches, former Al Gore speechwriter Eric Schnure tells Murphy. President Donald Trump is another effective communicator, Schnure says, with his ability to speak “visibly.” (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photos)

OPINION — Most job interviews for Capitol Hill speechwriters go something like this:  “The senator needs remarks for tomorrow. You need to write the remarks.” No interview. No preparation. Just a last-minute assignment and an equally fast turnaround for a legislative assistant, a legislative correspondent or whichever press office staffer picked up the phone first.

Over at the White House, speechwriting jobs usually come with more requirements than physical proximity, but not always. Eric Schnure scored his first speechwriting job for Vice President Al Gore when he was working in the White House mail room and helping Gore’s understaffed speechwriter, Bob Lehrman, before and after sorting letters.

For Jim Hagedorn, being staffer in the minority was formative time
Freshman congressman worked for a Minnesota Republican, and was son to another

Minnesota Rep. Jim Hagedorn got his first taste of life in Congress as the son of a former congressman and as a staffer to Minnesota Rep. Arlan Stangeland. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)