Congress

Tension between Democratic factions spills into minimum wage debate
Progressives say they have the votes to kill their priority minimum wage bill if moderates help Republicans amend it

Reps. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., and Mark Pocan, D-Wis., co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, say their members will not vote for a priority minimum wage bill if moderate Democrats help Republicans adopt a poison pill amendment. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file)

Tension between the progressive and moderate factions of the Democratic Caucus are again spilling into public view ahead of a priority party vote to raise the federal minimum wage. 

A day before a planned Thursday vote on a bill to incrementally increase the current $7.25 federal minimum wage to $15, Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-chairs Mark Pocan and Pramila Jayapal issued a statement that served as a warning to their moderate colleagues. 

GOP spending hawks hang up 9/11 bill; passage still likely
Fiscal hawks, Sens. Lee and Paul, often oppose new spending unless paid for with cuts elsewhere in the federal budget

Comedian and advocate Jon Stewart, arrives on the Speaker’s balcony after a meeting in the Capitol about funding for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund on June 11, 2019. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and 9/11 responders attended the meeting. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A House-passed bill that would extend a financial lifeline to thousands of victims suffering health problems from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is facing some political resistance in the Senate.

Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee has a hold on the legislation, according to the nation’s top firefighters union. And Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky objected Wednesday when Democratic New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand sought unanimous consent to bring up the bill for a vote.

Pelosi: Debt ceiling, caps deal possibly on floor next Thursday
To make the deadline, talks would need to wrap up by this Friday night in order to post legislative text sometime over the weekend

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., holds her weekly news conference on Wednesday, July 17, 2019. Pelosi said negotiators on a deal to lift tight discretionary spending caps and raise the debt ceiling aim to have a bill on the House floor next Thursday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said negotiators on a sweeping package that would lift tight discretionary spending caps and raise the debt ceiling are aiming to have a bill on the House floor next Thursday.

Accordingly, the California Democrat said, talks would need to wrap up by this Friday night in order to post legislative text sometime over the weekend, required under the House’s rule that 72 hours’ notice is necessary for lawmakers to read bills before voting on them. “When we have an agreement we’ll write it up, and we have to do all of that by Friday evening,” Pelosi told reporters.

Leahy casts his 16,000th vote, joining an exclusive Senate club
No currently serving senators have cast more career votes

Sen. Patrick Leahy cast his 16,00th vote Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

“Just a little perspective, imagine taking 16,000 pennies and stacking them one on top of the other, they’d surpass the height of the Washington Monument. They’d more than double the height of the Capitol dome,” said Schumer. “It’s a reminder that a multitude of smaller actions and the accumulation of smaller accomplishments over a lifetime of quiet dedication can amount to a great monument of achievement.”

After accolades and congratulations, Leahy had some words of his own. 

NASA chief warns yearlong stopgap could cripple return to moon
Sen. Moran asked Administrator Bridenstine for help winning over former House colleagues

The image of a Saturn V, the rocket that sent Apollo 11 into orbit on July 16, 1969, is projected on the Washington monument on July 16, 2019, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to land the first man on the moon. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With celebrations underway marking the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, the NASA administrator is warning that a full-year stopgap spending bill, like one recently floated by the Trump administration, would be “devastating” to U.S. efforts to get back to the moon.

Administrator Jim Bridenstine was at the Senate Commerce Committee Wednesday for a hearing on space exploration to the moon and Mars, when Commerce Chairman Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican, asked about the potential consequences of a yearlong continuing resolution, or CR.

Rep. Cleaver: ‘Forget’ Trump's tweets... ‘We can't continue to react to this’
Missouri Democrat abandoned House presiding chair amid partisan bickering over vote to condemn Trump’s racist tweets

Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver abandoned the presiding chair of the House Tuesday amid partisan bickering over a resolution to condemn President Donald Trump’s racist tweets against four Democratic congresswomen. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A day after Rep. Emanuel Cleaver abandoned his post presiding over House proceedings in frustration over bickering between Republicans and Democrats, the Missouri Democrat urged lawmakers and the American people to ignore President Donald Trump’s online antics as he “tweets away his presidency.”

“We can’t continue to react to this,” Cleaver said Wednesday on CNN’s “New Day” about the chaos that ensued as Democrats tried to hold a vote to condemn racist tweets the president posted over the weekend attacking four minority female congresswomen.

McConnell-backed tax treaties sail through Senate, despite Paul
Paul said McConnell ‘sabotaged’ efforts to put privacy protections into treaties with Spain, Japan, Luxembourg and Switzerland

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., challenged Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., over tax treaties package saying that McConnell had ‘sabotaged’ his effort for privacy protection. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate ratified three tax treaties with Japan, Luxembourg and Switzerland on Wednesday, joining a fourth pact with Spain that won approval a day earlier.

The votes were lopsided as no more than three senators opposed each of the deals, which update rules aimed at reducing taxes on multinational companies operating in both the U.S. and treaty partner nations.

Defense conferees to decide fate of firearms export oversight
Decision nears on blocking the Trump administration from weakening regulations on the export of firearms

Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif. added an amendment restricting the administration from moving forward with its plan to shift export control of firearm sales from the State Department to the Commerce Department (File photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Among the many thorny issues Senate and House negotiators have to hash out as they negotiate a final annual defense policy bill this summer is whether to block the Trump administration from weakening regulations around the export of firearms.

The House version of the fiscal 2020 defense authorization measure contains a provision that would restrict the administration from moving forward with its plan to shift export control of firearm sales from the State Department to the Commerce Department.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to meet one-on-one
A rift between Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez has deepened in recent weeks

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., center, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., left, pose for a group photo of House Democrats in the Capitol Visitor Center, at the State of the Union address earlier this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Leaders likely to sidestep direct vote as House considers Al Green impeachment articles
Pelosi opposes measure, which members expect to be tabled or to be referred to Judiciary to dispense of it

Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, is pushing for a vote as soon as possible on his articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House is likely to take up Rep. Al Green’s privileged impeachment resolution against President Donald Trump during a Wednesday evening vote series, two Democratic aides confirmed after the Texas Democrat told reporters the vote would occur then. 

Democratic leaders had not yet decided how to dispense with the measure as of midday Wednesday, but several members said they expect a motion to refer it to the Judiciary Committee or to table it rather than a direct vote.

Pricey pension rescue headed to House floor next week
Bill would provide financial lifelines to union pension plans

House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., confirmed the pensions bill is ready for a floor vote. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats will bring a $64.4 billion measure that would provide financial lifelines to union pension plans to the floor next week.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer and House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal, the bill’s author, on Tuesday confirmed the schedule for the legislation, which has gone through the Ways and Means as well as Education and Labor panels.

Pelosi, Mnuchin appear close to spending caps, debt limit deal
Agreement would likely include a two-year extension of the debt limit and spending levels

Pelosi reiterated Tuesday her view that in addition to "parity" for nondefense and defense spending increases, funding should be added for Department of Veterans Affairs health care. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are close to making an announcement about spending caps and the debt limit.

“We have a clear understanding of what we want to agree to, and I think that's progress,” Pelosi said Tuesday afternoon after speaking with Mnuchin, who was preparing to leave Wednesday for the G-7 meeting in France. “We'll have an announcement about something soon, one way or the other.”

House’s condemnation of Trump may just be the beginning
Now the debate is over push by some Democrats for impeachment

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and senior aide Wendell Primus leave the House floor on Tuesday as turmoil gripped the chamber. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Although Tuesday’s long day of heated debate ended with the House voting to condemn President Donald Trump for racist tweets, the chamber’s brawl over the president’s behavior may be just beginning. 

The House voted, 240-187, to approve a nonbinding resolution that says the chamber “strongly condemns” Trump’s “racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.”

Senators press census chief on cyber, outreach fears
After citizenship question abandoned, worries continue

Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., arrives in the Capitol building for a vote on April 10, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Census Bureau’s chief on Tuesday pushed back on concerns about cyberattacks and outreach in rural areas in testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

In the first congressional testimony by a bureau official since the Trump administration dropped a citizenship question from the 2020 census, the issue was only briefly addressed. Senators instead focused on the implementation of the count next year, which will be the first to rely primarily on online responses. That change has raised fears of cyber intrusions and technology shortfalls.

Officers who saved lives during baseball shooting get one of highest law enforcement honors
David Bailey, Crystal Griner honored with the Congressional Badge of Bravery

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., right, presents the Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery Award to Capitol Police Special Agent Crystal Griner on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Just over two years since a gunman opened fire on an Alexandria, Virginia, baseball diamond and turned a Republican lawmaker practice into a national tragedy, the Capitol Police officers who saved lives were honored Tuesday with the Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery.

Special Agents David Bailey and Crystal Griner of the Capitol Police — both of whom are Maryland residents — were presented with one of the highest honors in law enforcement in the Capitol by the Maryland congressional delegation for their heroic roles in preventing what could have been a massacre. The award honors exceptional acts of bravery in the line of duty by federal, state and local law enforcement for those who have been at risk of injury or injured. It is awarded annually by the U.S. Attorney General and is presented by the recipients’ congressional delegation.