Executive Branch

Podcast: Trump Misses NAFTA Deadline
CQ on Congress, Episode 103

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says NAFTA partners are ''nowhere near'' a deal to update the trade pact. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump's trade agenda is in disarray after his negotiators failed to reach a deal to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico by May 17, when congressional Republicans said they would need it in order to ratify it by year's end. CQ trade reporter Ellyn Ferguson explains what is holding Trump's team up.

Trump Vows to Sign Compromise Prisons Bill
President made similar promise on immigration, then helped sink bipartisan measure

President Donald Trump addresses the press before departing for Dallas, Texas, on May 4. (Photo By Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump on Friday did little to help resolve lawmakers’ standoff over differing House and Senate prison overhaul bills, opting against using his bully pulpit to pressure either side.

Instead, Trump gave both sides leverage when he said his administration “strongly supports these efforts,” referring to each chambers’ bill. The remark was something of a shift for the president. Previously, his administration has voiced support for a measure awaiting House floor action but been cooler to a Senate version that includes proposed sentencing changes.

Republican Divide, Mistrust Dooms Farm Bill in House
Failure is major blow to House Republican leaders

Despite pleas from Speaker Paul D. Ryan and his leadership team, Republicans did not united behind the farm bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 5:20 p.m. | The farm bill’s defeat Friday wasn’t the outcome House Republican leadership was expecting. 

GOP leaders headed to the floor for the vote with an inconclusive whip count. They knew the vote would be close. But they felt fairly confident based on private conversations they had throughout the week that their commitment to hold a vote on immigration legislation in the coming weeks would sway enough Freedom Caucus members whose votes they needed.

Photos of the Week: Rain, National Police Week and Smokey Robinson
The week of May 14 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

The dome of the U.S. Capitol is seen through rain drops on the skylight of the Capitol Visitor Center on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A rainy week in Washington is coming to a close (though the rain seems intent on sticking around through the weekend). Some of the events this week on Capitol Hill included: a presidential visit to the GOP policy lunch, testimony from singer-songwriter legend Smokey Robinson, the premiere of Sen. John McCain's HBO documentary and oh, more rain.

Here's the entire week in photos:

Rep. Tipton Files Resolution for Return of North Korea-Seized U.S. Ship
USS Pueblo has been on display in North Korea since its capture in 1968

Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., filed a resolution Tuesday seeking the return of the U.S.S. Pueblo from more than 50-year captivity in North Korea. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Scott Tipton introduced a resolution in the House this week seeking the return of a U.S. Navy spy vessel that has been in North Korean captivity for more than half a century.

Tipton’s request for the North Korean government to return the USS Pueblo comes less than a month before the planned summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean President Kim Jong-Un on June 12 in Singapore.

Rep. Espaillat Files Complaint Against Lawyer Who Unleashed Racially Charged Rant
Man in video identified as 42-year-old Aaron Schlossberg

Rep. Adriano Espaillat, D-N.Y., filed a grievance against lawyer Aaron Schlossberg on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New York Rep. Adriano Espaillat filed an official grievance through the state court system against a man who was filmed this week going on a racially charged rant in a Midtown Manhattan lunch market.

The video, in which the man berates two workers at the market for speaking Spanish and taking his money through the “welfare” system before threatening to call U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to deport them, has since gone viral.

Analysis: Giuliani Escalates Effort to Erode Legitimacy of Mueller Probe
Trump lawyer attacks Sessions, Comey and casts president as victim of ‘crimes’

Former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani prepares to speak at the Conference on Iran earlier this month shortly after being added to President Donald Trump’s legal team. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Former FBI Director James Comey is a “proven liar” and Attorney General Jeff Sessions “didn’t step up” to shut down an “unjustifiable investigation.” Those were just two of the claims made Friday by Rudy Giuliani, one of President Donald Trump’s lawyers, as he continued an escalating effort to erode the legitimacy of the Justice Department’s Russia probe.

As Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III and his team continue their probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, possible coordination with the Trump-Pence campaign, and whether the president obstructed justice, Giuliani — joined by Trump and others — are executing a strategy intended to raise doubts about the necessity of the investigation, whether Mueller and the FBI are out to get Trump, and the special counsel’s tactics.

Brooks Defends Blaming Falling Rocks for Rising Sea Levels
‘Erosion is the primary cause of sea level rise in the history of our planet,’ Alabama congressman says

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., argued with a climate scientist in a committee over the cause of rising sea levels. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks defended his statement saying falling rocks and erosion were the reason for rising sea levels.

Brooks earned national headlines when at a Wednesday House Science, Space, and Technology Committee hearing, he argued with a climate scientist.

Congress Doesn’t Report Diversity Because It Doesn’t Have to
While federal agencies must report the diversity of their employees, there is no such requirement of Congress

Kemba Hendrix, director of the House Democrats’ Diversity Initiative, took on her role in November. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 10:30 a.m. with figures for House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer’s staff | If you ask a House or Senate office to break down the diversity of its staff, chances are it won’t. Because it doesn’t have to.

While the executive branch has to provide data on the racial and ethnic makeup of its staff for the public record, there is no rule mandating that congressional offices do the same.

Success Stories: Creating a More Diverse Capitol Hill
Jennifer DeCasper and Hope Goins on how they have done it

Hope Goins says half of her staff are women of color. (Bian Elkhatib/ CQ Roll Call)

Some offices on Capitol Hill make an extra effort to reflect the diversity of America. And while the lawmakers they serve might get the credit, the office directors in charge of hiring are the ones who make it happen.

“It’s been a huge priority of our office, just because our boss is obviously a diverse candidate, we come from a diverse state, and so our office needs to represent our state,” said Jennifer DeCasper, chief of staff for Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina. “Diversity means that it includes everything of value to your constituency. Our constituency is not homogeneous, and so my office should not be homogeneous.”