Iowa

Republicans have concerns about Trump’s emergency declaration, too
Congressional Republicans raised concerns, but didn't denounce Trump's radical maneuver

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said in a statement Friday that the president's national emergency declaration defies the Founders. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Some in the president’s party are wringing their hands about how the emergency declaration for a border wall might set a reckless precedent.

While Congressional Republicans have raised concerns, most held off on denouncing the president’s radical maneuver to circumvent Article I of the Constitution and devote federal funds to a border wall without their approval.

Senate confirms Barr amid questions about Mueller report
The Senate voted to confirm Barr as the next attorney general, mostly along party lines

William P. Barr, left, nominee for attorney general, greets former Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, upon arriving for his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Hart Building on Tuesday, January 15, 2019. Hatch introduced Barr to the committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

William Barr takes over the Justice Department on Thursday at a pivotal moment for the nation’s legal landscape, with his tenure closely tied to how he will handle the special counsel’s Russia investigation and any political pressure from the White House.

The Senate voted 54-45 to confirm Barr as the next attorney general, mostly along party lines. Senators have strong clues that he will continue the Trump administration’s conservative policies and legal arguments on immigration, civil rights enforcement and LGBT employment discrimination.

To run or not to run again? Failed 2018 candidates weigh 2020 options
House nominees who fell short consider repeat bids

Arizona Democrat Hiral Tipirneni, who lost two elections in the 8th District last year, is leaning toward running in the 6th District in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Carolyn Bourdeaux was at a thank-you party for her supporters in December when she decided she was running for Congress again in 2020. 

She’d just lost a recount in Georgia’s 7th District to Republican incumbent Rob Woodall — by 419 votes. 

One year after Parkland, gun control advocates eye 2020
Advocates say midterm results proved gun control was a winning policy issue

Students rally on the West Front of the Capitol on March 14, 2018 as they participate in a national school walkout to call for action on preventing gun violence. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

One year after the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that galvanized young voters and jump-started a movement to combat gun violence, gun control advocates say there’s still more work to be done.

“We’re just gearing up,” said Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat and proponent of stricter gun laws. “There were a lot of candidates who got it in 2018. But there are more candidates that are going to learn the lesson from 2018.”

Violence Against Women Act extension could complicate spending bill
The existing act has received bipartisan support, but Democrats want an expansion of the law.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says the Violence Against Women Act has arisen as a potential issue with the spending package. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that a potential extension of the Violence Against Women Act has emerged as a bit of a complication to passing the spending package. 

“The Speaker is objecting to a modest extension of the Violence Against Women Act,” the Kentucky Republican said on the Senate floor.

How Ralph Northam is spending his Black History Month
The African-Americans of his state have done a whole lot of forgiving since the first enslaved people were brought there centuries ago

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has been doing a lot of learning this month — about blackface, apologies and redemption. African-Americans who believe he should stay in his post are used to making political compromises to survive, Curtis writes. (Alex Edelman/Getty Images)

OPINION — The lessons of this February’s Black History Month commemorations have already veered far beyond the usual ones that begin and end by quoting a snippet of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech — the part about judging folks not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. A new curriculum is being written in real time, affecting real-life politicians and their constituents. And Virginia is hardly the only state not ready for the big exam.

Of course, the politician in question, Gov. Ralph Northam, has been learning as he goes — about blackface, about apologies and about redemption.

Canada and Mexico will act on new NAFTA once tariffs end, Grassley says
Country officials reaffirmed opposition to tariffs on steel and aluminum imports meetings last week

Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, arrives for the Senate Finance Committee organizational meeting and hearing on pending nominations on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Mexican and Canadian officials are serious about their countries not ratifying the proposed United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement unless the Trump administration ends steel and aluminum tariffs on their products, Senate Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley said Tuesday.

Grassley, R-Iowa, said the Mexican ambassador and the Canadian Foreign Affairs minister in meetings last week with him reaffirmed their countries’ opposition to the continuation of the 25 percent steel tariff and the 10 percent levy on aluminum imports.

Democratic leaders not looking to punish Ilhan Omar after her apology for anti-Semitic remarks
Omar will not be stripped of her committee assignments, Hoyer said

Post-It Notes with words of support are posted on the nameplate for Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., outside her office in the Longworth House Office Building on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Democratic leaders do not plan to strip freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar of her committee assignments or take other action against her for comments they said were offensive and invoked anti-Semitic tropes.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said he takes Omar at her word that she didn’t intend to be anti-Semitic when she said lawmakers took pro-Israel stances because of political contributions from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Joni Ernst repays D.C. $1,900 in taxes after claiming homestead tax break
In effect, the senator had claimed her Capitol Hill condo on as her primary residence

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, has re-paid Washington, D.C., for improperly claiming the homestead deduction. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Joni Ernst has paid back Washington, D.C., for improperly claiming a tax benefit reserved for people who make their primary residence in the District.

The Iowa Republican had claimed the D.C. homestead exemption, which reduces the value of primary residences for tax purposes. The Des Moines Register was first to report the senator’s repayment, which totaled almost $1,900 for taxes going back to 2016.

Trump revives campaign rallies with trip into heart of ‘Beto Country’
Expect shots at O’Rourke and a border wall pitch ahead of Friday shutdown deadline

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke speaks to the crowd at a rally in Austin, Texas, in September during his failed Senate bid. He is mulling a 2020 presidential run, and Donald Trump is holding a rally Monday in his native El Paso. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump ventures into Beto O’Rourke country Monday night, returning to the campaign trail in El Paso, the Texas border city home to the former Democratic congressman and potential 2020 Trump foe.

The president has held fire on a number of Democrats already running. But he has taken several shots at O’Rourke, the kind of youthful candidate who might be able to connect with both progressives and blue-collar voters who broke for Trump in 2016 in key states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.