Mike Thompson

Disaster aid bill could grow, block diversion of funds to wall
Measure unlikely to go far in Senate

Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., (left), is pushing for a disaster aid package. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., opposes an amendment Democrats are preparing that he describes as an “exercise in futility. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House is scheduled to take up a $12.1 billion disaster aid package Wednesday that would reopen the nine closed Cabinet agencies for three weeks and, if approved during floor debate, prevent President Donald Trump from tapping the bill’s emergency funds for building a border wall.

The underlying bill would direct aid to victims of recent calamities such as hurricanes that hit Florida and the Carolinas, wildfires that ravaged California and typhoons that struck island territories in the Pacific, House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., told the Rules Committee on Tuesday.

Photos of the week: Shutdown approaches fourth week in Washington
The week of Jan. 7 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., who has opposed the shutdown from the start, speaks during the National Air Traffic Controllers Association rally to “Stop the Shutdown” in front of the Capitol on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The shutdown is in its 21st day, and with talks stalled and Congress gone through Monday, its likely to continue through the weekend. 

Here’s the entire shutdown week in photos:

House Democrats target private gun sellers with bipartisan background checks bill
Universal background checks bill indicates gun law reform will remain near top of Democratic agenda

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during the event to introduce the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 in the Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats introduced bipartisan legislation Tuesday that would require all gun sellers, including private vendors, to conduct background checks on potential buyers, indicating the issue will be a top item on the Democratic agenda during the 116th Congress.

Under current law, only federally licensed vendors must conduct background checks. Private sellers who do not have licenses do not fall under the same compliance mandate.

These Planes Will Fight Fires, If You Can Wait 10 Years
Stalled Air Force conversions show how a seemingly straightforward job can take years in the arcane federal acquisition system

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., spearheaded the recent legislative mandates to convert the transport planes into fire tankers. It’s taking too long, she says. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In 2013, Congress ordered the Air Force to convert seven Coast Guard transport planes into firefighting tanker aircraft, but now the first of the planes may not be ready to fight fires for several more years, nearly a decade after the initial plan was launched. 

The story of the seven planes illustrates how a seemingly straightforward job can take years in the arcane federal acquisition system, even when the equipment is a matter of life and death. 

House Democrats Briefly Consider Upping Speakership Vote Threshold, Drop Proposal for Now
Idea expected to be raised again in the caucus after Nov. 6

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., faces potential backlash from her caucus should her party win back the House in November. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats on Wednesday briefly discussed a proposal to require their candidate for speaker — in case they win the chamber in November — to secure 218 votes in the caucus vote instead of a simple majority. The proposal was dropped, for now.

A shift from a simple majority to a 218-vote threshold would align the caucus rules with House rules that require a speaker to be elected by a majority of the full House.

McKinley ‘on a Mission’ to Help Veterans Hear
Hearing-impaired congressman wants to make it easier for vets to get cochlear implants

Rep. David B. McKinley, R-W.Va., has a visible hearing aid on his right ear. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. David B. McKinley is thankful to hear birds chirping in the morning and wants others to have that opportunity.

The West Virginia Republican, who has a cochlear implant in his left ear, has made improving the lives of people like him a personal goal.

Democratic Veterans Slam Trump Tweets on Syria
‘We know that launching missiles is serious business‘

Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., and other Democratic veterans criticized President Trump’s use of Twitter in the Syria conflict. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic members of Congress who served in the military criticized President Donald Trump’s tweets on Syria and Republicans’ unwillingness to rein in the use of military force in a press conference Friday.

Rep. Mike Thompson of California said the president’s tweeting was a disservice to veterans and the humanitarian crisis that has emerged in Syria.

Pelosi Optimistic About Gun Control Bill Short of Assault Weapons Ban
More than 200 co-sponsors of comprehensive background checks bill 'is remarkable,' minority leader says

UNITED STATES - MARCH 01: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., conducts her weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on March 01, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was optimistic Thursday about the chances that a Republican-controlled Congress could pass comprehensive gun safety legislation, signaling that the current debate is different than past ones that have led to inaction. 

GOP Leadership Confident on Votes for House Tax Bill, Brady Says
Both versions still violate Byrd rule by raising deficit after 10 years

From left, Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., ranking member, and Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., attend a House Ways and Means Committee markup. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady told reporters Monday changes could be made to the House tax overhaul bill before it reaches the floor Thursday but they would not be substantive.

“We don’t anticipate major changes,” Brady said of the possibility that Rules Committee would adopt an amendment to the bill when it meets Wednesday. “A lot of the work has been done.”

House Panel Approves GOP Tax Measure
Chamber’s version differs markedly from Senate proposal

From left, House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, ranking member Richard E. Neal and California Rep. Mike Thompson attend a committee markup of House Republican tax bill on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday approved the Republican tax plan after making key changes such as raising repatriation tax rates on corporate cash held abroad, restoring the adoption child credit and changing the bill’s treatment of “pass-through” businesses.

Committee members voted along party lines, 24-16, to approve the legislation setting up a likely House floor vote next week. The substantive changes Thursday came in a so-called manager’s amendment from Chairman Kevin Brady who unveiled the package less than an hour before the panel took it up, prompting an outcry from Democrats.