Raul Ruiz

California Democrats seek EPA watchdog help amid Trump threats
Members want to know if political influence played a role in retaliation against their state

California Democratic Reps. Doris Matsui, left, and Anna G. Eshoo, seen after a caucus meeting in the Capitol, both signed on to the letter to the EPA watchdog. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group of California Democrats on Monday pressed the EPA’s internal watchdog to investigate whether the agency has retaliated against their state for political reasons, including by threatening to withhold federal funds for multiple transportation projects.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler threatened in a Sept. 24 letter to the California Air Resources Board, the state’s air agency, to withhold federal funding for highway projects if local regulators did not implement plans, known as “state implementation plans,” or SIPs, to improve air quality.

Divided House Democrats punt border bill until after recess
‘We want to make sure we do what we’re going to do right,’ Hoyer says

Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar represents El Paso, which has seen a huge influx of migrants. Some Democratic aides said her immigration bill “demonized” U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Disagreement in the House Democratic Caucus finally derailed a bill that would have provided more oversight over border agencies coping with an influx of asylum seekers from Central America.

“We want to make sure we do what we’re going to do right,” House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer told reporters Thursday afternoon. “There are a number of things that need to be dealt with on the policy. … I think we need to do that in a thoughtful way.”

Our 10 best photos from the 58th annual Congressional Baseball Game
Roll Call photographer Caroline Brehman covered it from start to finish

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise walks out to the field before the start of the 58th annual Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park on Wednesday night. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The Democrats’ 14-7 win at the Congressional Baseball Game on Wednesday night was the their eighth in nine years, behind another complete game effort from MVP pitcher Rep. Cedric L. Richmond of Louisiana — and solid hitting from the lineup.

Here are the photos that defined the evening at Nationals Park:

After Democratic divisions, House passes border spending bill
White House has already said president will not sign off on House measure

Speaker Nancy Pelosi had called for a “strong bipartisan vote” on the border supplemental funding package. In the end, only three Republicans voted for the measure. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

After a day heavy with negotiations between House Democratic leaders and more progressive members, the House passed, 230-195, a $4.5 billion supplemental funding measure to address the influx of migrants and children coming to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Four Democrats voted “no” on the bill, all of them freshman women from the party’s progressive wing: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. Three Republicans voted for the measure: Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Will Hurd of Texas and Christopher H. Smith of New Jersey.

House Democrats offer changes to woo liberals on border funds
Bipartisan Senate measure moving in that chamber, adding to flux

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., talks with reporters before attending a meeting with other House Democrats to discuss potential border bill changes at the Democratic National Committee on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 12:55 p.m. | House Democratic leaders sought to tamp down a rebellion among their party’s left flank Tuesday as they prepared for a floor vote on $4.5 billion in emergency funding for the surge of migrants at the U.S. southern border.

Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey offered a new manager’s amendment aimed at easing the concerns of Progressive Caucus and Hispanic Caucus members over the care of children who are in the custody of Customs and Border Protection. Her amendment would tack on requirements for CBP to develop standards for medical care, nutrition, hygiene and personnel training, as well as a plan to ensure access to translation services for individuals “encountered” by U.S. immigration agencies.

Emergency border funds face delays as money and time run short
House Democrats face possible revolt, Rand Paul threatens to hold up action in Senate

Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Mark Pocan says talk from the White House of raids of undocumented migrants have “have many people nervous and agitated.” His caucus has offered House Democratic leadership changes they would like to see to the emergency border package. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Swift passage of billions of dollars in emergency aid to help care for tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants, many of them children, was in doubt Monday night as House Democrats were facing a possible revolt and a lone Republican senator was holding up action across the Capitol.

Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus made their concerns known to Speaker Nancy Pelosi about their chamber’s $4.5 billion package that leaders wanted to put on the floor Tuesday.

Members of Congress are rich with student debt
Reauthorization of Higher Education Act could affect repayment, affordability

68 members, or 13 percent of Congress, reported that either they or their family members have student loan debt. (Illustration by Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

As lawmakers look to reshape the federal loan process in the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, a cohort knows firsthand the pain of rising college costs — 68 members, or 13 percent of Congress, reported that either they or their family members are mired in student debt.

Collectively, the 44 Democrats and 24 Republicans have higher education liabilities of $2.5 million, according to recent financial disclosures. The median student loan debt is $15,000, while average debt is $37,000.

Congressional Dads: Where Are the Baby Changing Tables?
Changing diapers in the men’s room can be messy, new Capitol parents say

Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Calif., with twins Sky and Sage and wife, Monica, at the Congressional Baseball Game. (Courtesy of Ruiz)

When parents bring their young children to the Capitol complex, it can be a struggle just to get them through the door.

And diaper time can turn into a treasure hunt, as some of Congress’ newest dads have found.

Lawmakers Call for More Resources for Separated Migrant Children
Murray questions whether HHS can handle the situation

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said she was troubled by the lack of information from the administration about the children in its care. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers and public health groups on Thursday urged the Trump administration to commit more resources to the health needs of the immigrant children who have been separated from their families at the border.

Even as Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar visited the Texas-Mexico border with first lady Melania Trump, questions remained about whether the department has adequate funding to handle the situation and how much more might be needed.

Cedric Richmond Isn’t Sure How Much Is Left in the Tank
Democrats’ star hoping another pitcher gets elected in midterms

Rep. Cedric L. Richmond, D-La., is cooled by Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., after running out a triple, then scoring on an error Thursday night at the Congressional Baseball Game. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Much of the Democrat’s 16-run win Thursday night at the 57th annual Congressional Baseball Game can be attributed to pitcher Cedric L. Richmond. But the game’s most dominant player for the last several years isn’t sure how much longer he can dominate.

When asked if he can keep up his streak year after year, the Louisiana Democrat said, “Absolutely not.”