Tom Udall

Campus notebook: China Daily stresses a senator and a drug arrest at the Capitol
Library of Congress’ Veterans History Projects gets senatorial endorsement

Florida Sen. Rick Scott is no fan of China Daily. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

This week’s campus notebook reminds us that the U.S. Botanic Garden is technically a legislative branch entity and that methamphetamine is still not welcome in the Capitol Visitor Center. 

A visitor to the Capitol Visitor Center was stopped Tuesday after being found with a glass pipe and a bag containing a “white, rock-like substance.” A field test confirmed the substance was methamphetamine. The suspect was arrested and charged with misdemeanors of possessing meth and drug paraphernalia.

Impeachment news roundup: Nov. 5
Sondland reverses himself on Ukraine quid pro quo; investigators want to hear from Mulvaney

Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, arrives at the Capitol for his deposition on Oct. 17. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, revised his initial testimony significantly, amending it to say he told a top Ukrainian official that the country would “likely” not receive military aid unless it announced investigations into President Donald Trump’s political rivals, according to a transcript released Tuesday by the committees conducting the impeachment inquiry.

In an amendment to his transcribed testimony, Sondland said his recollections were “refreshed” after reviewing opening statements from diplomats William Taylor and Tim Morrison.

Boeing chief at Senate 737 Max hearing: ‘We made mistakes’
Senators question whether Boeing held back key information and whether its culture contributed to unsafe aircraft

Nadia Milleron, whose daughter Samya Stumo was killed in the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, holds a sign with victims of the crash Tuesday behind Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg, foreground, during the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing on aviation safety and the future of the Boeing 737 MAX. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As he prepares for Wednesday’s oversight hearing with the embattled Boeing CEO, House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter A. DeFazio must sort through a corporate culture that he believes compromised safety and find out what, if any, legislative remedies there are to be had.

The crash of two Boeing 737 Max aircraft over the past year — Lion Air Flight 610 in October 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in March — took the lives of 346 people and profoundly wounded the reputation and bottom line for the Chicago-based aircraft maker. The aircraft has been grounded in the U.S. since March.

Awkward pauses, THC and a geography lesson: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of Oct. 21, 2019

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., at podium, speaks during a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center outside the Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense, deposition related to the House's impeachment inquiry on Wednesday, October 23, 2019. The Republican members were calling for access to the deposition. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans pulled a high school prank, Delaware Democratic Sen. Thomas R. Carper gave a geography lesson and no one could remember how basic floor procedure worked.

All that plus Sen. John Cornyn learned the basics of marijuana plants, lawmakers forgot each others’ home states, and Democratic D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton challenged Democratic Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee to a World Series wager.

State Department aides won’t rule out existing authorizations allowing for attack on Iran
Officials would not commit on seeking congressional approval for military action, either

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, left, and ranking member Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., look to reconcile differences over congressional authorization for the use of military force. (File photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senior State Department officials wouldn’t commit to a Senate panel Wednesday that the Trump administration will seek congressional authorization for a potential military conflict with Iran, nor would they promise that existing military authorizations would not be reinterpreted to allow attacks on Iran.

Rather, the Trump administration officials said they would consult and inform lawmakers of any administration plans to carry out military strikes on Iran, including actions related to the defense of U.S. troops and partner forces.

Senate Democrats want GAO to probe Trump Independence Day spending

Senate Appropriations Committee ranking member Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is among three Democratic Senators calling for an investigation into Fourth of July financing.(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats on the Senate Appropriations Committee are asking the Government Accountability Office to investigate the costs of President Donald Trump’s Independence Day celebration and examine whether the spending is legal.

Appropriations ranking member Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, Tom Udall of New Mexico, and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland want GAO to provide a comprehensive cost estimate for all the events, including Trump’s “Salute to America,” which was the subject of criticism for its incorporation of military equipment, potential high cost and the possibility for an apolitical holiday event to be politicized.

DC to Trump: ‘Tanks but no tanks’
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton says president is trying to turn July Fourth into ‘Bastille Day’

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-DC, said modeling the Fourth of July celebration after France's Bastille Day is "not an American way" to approach the holiday. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

District of Columbia Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton forcefully pushed back on plans by President Donald Trump to include U.S. Army tanks in the Fourth of July celebration on the National Mall, saying that “can’t happen.”

Norton, along with D.C. officials, has expressed concern that the 60-ton armored vehicles could grind up the National Mall and restyle a patriotic “hometown celebration,” which attracts thousands of tourists each year and is broadcast live on national television, into a nationalistic presidential rally.

Both parties scored political points in war powers debate
Senate debate was feisty, fierce and principled — and transparently tailored for partisan effect

An amendment offered by Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., spiced up debate on the annual Defense bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS — The Senate’s debate last week on presidential war powers was substantive, serious and passionate — with the added benefit of enabling each party to score some political points.

The debate pertained to whether and how to hem in President Donald Trump’s authority to attack Iran amid heightened tensions in the Middle East that spiked this month when Iran shot down a U.S. drone and Trump pulled up just short of launching a counterattack.

Senate rejects efforts to limit Trump’s ability to launch war with Iran
The issue will likely be debated next month in the House, when that chamber takes up its own version of the defense bill

Sens. Tom Udall, D-N.M., right, and Tom Carper, D-Del., talk with reporters in the basement of the Capitol before the Senate Policy luncheons on Tuesday, June 25, 2019. Udall had offered an amendment to the defense authorization bill that would have blocked President Donald Trump from launching a war with Iran without congressional approval. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate on Friday rejected an amendment to its annual defense authorization bill that would have blocked President Donald Trump from launching a war with Iran without congressional approval.

The issue will likely be debated next month in the House, when that chamber takes up its own version of the defense bill.

Senate sets new record for longest vote
Senators began voting at 5:02 a.m. Friday

Senators began voting at dawn and have made history as the longest Senate vote in modern history. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Friday’s prolonged roll call vote to limit debate on a Tom Udall amendment that would bar U.S. attacks on Iran without Congressional authorization made history as the longest Senate vote in modern history.

The vote opened at 5:02 a.m., to allow Senators with early morning flights to vote and then leave town for the Independence Day recess. It is being held open to accommodate the Democratic Senators who were in Miami this week for presidential primary debates. The vote was held  open for a total of 10 hours and 8 minutes, gaveling closed at 3:10 p.m. New Jersey’s Cory Booker was the first of the 2020 candidates to return, casting a yea vote just after 7 a.m.