Defense & Cyberspace

Name-Brand Food, Security and Voting Machine Funding Sought in House
Top officials testify before Legislative Branch Subcommittee

Paul Irving, left, House Sergeant at Arms, is pictured in the Capitol Visitor Center. Irving gave testimony at the House budget hearing Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

This year’s budget request for the U.S. House of Representatives showed a few changes in the works for Capitol Hill, including heightened security, more brand-name food options, and new voting machines.

The House Appropriations Legislative Branch subcommittee hosted a hearing Tuesday where top officials testified about funding requests stemming from their departments.

Senate Confirms Pompeo With Split Among 2018 Democrats
Final vote came immediately after the Senate limited debate

CIA Director Mike Pompeo won confirmation as secretary of State on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate easily confirmed Mike Pompeo to be the next secretary of State on Thursday, but Democrats in the most competitive 2018 races delivered a split decision on the current CIA director.

The chamber confirmed Pompeo to the top diplomatic post, 57-42, after an identical vote to limit debate on the nomination.

Trump Threatens Tester Over Jackson’s Withdrawal as VA Nominee
Montana Democrat up for re-election in Trump state released list of accusations against Jackson

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Democrats released a summary of allegations against Veterans Affairs secretary nominee Ronny Jackson on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump unleashed his wrath on Montana Sen. Jon Tester Thursday for leading the charge against Ronny Jackson, the president’s pick to head the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Jackson, who has served as the president’s personal physician since George W. Bush was in office and is a rear admiral in the Navy, withdrew his name from consideration for the VA post amid allegations compiled by Democrats on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee that he had been drunk on the job on multiple occasions and had garnered the nickname “Candyman” for his excessive prescribing practices.

Trump Vows Hands-Off Approach to Justice Department — Maybe
President makes it clear he might change his mind

President Donald Trump called in for a high-octane, wide-ranging interview on “Fox & Friends” on Thursday. (Screengrab from “Fox & Friends”)

President Donald Trump vowed Thursday to take a hands-off approach to the Justice Department until the special counsel’s Russia probe wraps up — but he also made it clear he could change his mind at any moment.

During a high-octane and wide-ranging phone interview with “Fox & Friends,” Trump said he has decided he will “not be involved with the Justice Department” while special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is still conducting his investigation of Russia’s 2016 election meddling, possible Trump campaign collusion, and whether the president obstructed justice.

Veterans Affairs Nominee Jackson Bows Out Amid Firestorm
Trump says he has another nominee in mind, but declines to identify his second choice

Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, President Donald Trump’s nominee for Veterans Affairs secretary, leaves the Dirsken Building after a meeting with Kansas GOP Sen. Jerry Moran on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Ronny Jackson, President Donald Trump’s nominee for Veterans Affairs secretary, announced Thursday he was stepping aside amid new allegations of abusing alcohol and handing out prescription drugs.

Jackson’s withdrawal comes two days after Trump publicly advised him to bow out and just hours after a report surfaced, citing Senate Democrats’ summary of allegations against him, that he once got intoxicated and crashed a government automobile.

A Plea for the Old School Senate: Senators Really, Really Want to Move Spending Bills This Time
Meeting on nomination rules changes gives way to talk of spending bills, comity

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., brought a chart of the Senate floor to the Rules Committee. (Rules and Administration Committee screenshot)

What could have been a contentious meeting about shortening Senate debate time for nominations turned into more of a bipartisan conversation among some of the most senior senators at taking another shot at moving regular spending bills.

“Let’s pick an appropriation bill, put some training wheels on it and head it to the floor. Let’s see how this works,” Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin said. “We’ve got to educate ourselves.”

Democrats Still Not Satisfied With CIA Disclosures About Gina Haspel
Agency making more available in a classified setting

Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico has joined with colleagues Ron Wyden and Dianne Feinstein in pressing the CIA to declassify more information on deputy director Gina Haspel. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The CIA will be providing senators with an opportunity to review more classified information about President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the agency in a secure room deep beneath the Capitol.

But some senators are not convinced about the commitment to transparency about nominee Gina Haspel, the current deputy director who spent much of her career serving in clandestine capacities.

Macron Denounces Nationalistic Wave That Propelled Trump to White House
Post-WWII order is in jeopardy, French president warns U.S. lawmakers

French President Emmanuel Macron, center, arrives to address a joint meeting of Congress on Wednesday, flanked from left by Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.,and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

French President Emmanuel Macron, addressing a joint meeting of Congress, denounced the wave of nationalistic fervor that helped Donald Trump capture the White House and urged U.S. lawmakers to seek a new and broader deal with Iran.

After spending a day and a half with Trump and first lady Melania Trump that included private meals, cheek kisses, hand-holding and backslapping, the French president broke with his political alter ego on several issues.

White House Uses Obama to Try to Salvage Jackson Nomination
Trump opens door to let VA nominee see himself out, Democrats question White House vetting

Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, nominee for Veterans Affairs secretary, leaves the Dirksen Senate Office Building after a meeting on Capitol Hill with Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The White House is trying to salvage Ronny Jackson’s nomination for Veterans’ Affairs secretary by citing former President Barack Obama, even after President Donald Trump publicly advised him to step aside.

Hours after Trump told reporters he would not continue as the nominee if he were in the White House physician’s shoes, a senior official shared information touting Jackson’s record. The information included praise from Obama, including the 44th president’s recommendation that Jackson, a Navy officer, be promoted ahead of his peers.

Macron Expected to Avoid ‘Netanyahu Approach’ in Joint Meeting
French president takes his pitch for revised Iran deal to Capitol Hill

The flags of France, the United States, and Washington, D.C., fly on Pennsylvania Ave. on Monday, the day French President Emmanuel Macron arrived for an official visit to the U.S. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Iran nuclear deal will be front and center when French President Emmanuel Macron addresses a joint meeting of Congress Wednesday — but he is not expected to strike the same bellicose tone as the last world leader who discussed the pact in the House chamber.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took his place in the House chamber on March 3, 2015, and delivered a forceful speech that warned House and Senate members that the then-emerging deal would “inevitably” cause a war.

Macron Calls for New Iran Talks to Build On Deal Trump Loathes
'It won't be so easy for them to restart,' U.S. president warns Tehran

President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron are in the midst of a three-day state visit.(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday proposed a new nuclear accord with Iran, an apparent attempt by the youthful European leader to keep the existing pact in place while assuaging President Donald Trump’s concerns.

Macron made the announcement after several hours of private meetings earlier in the day with the U.S. president at the White House. His call for a new deal came hours after Trump slammed the existing Obama-era pact, calling it “terrible” and “insane” and “ridiculous” while saying it fails to address Iran’s missile program or activities in the region.

Trump Opens Door for Ronny Jackson Exit
Military physician under fire on multiple fronts, from qualifications to misconduct

Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, nominee for Veterans Affairs secretary, leaves the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Tuesday after a meeting with Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 6:55 p.m. | President Donald Trump on Tuesday defended his Veterans Affairs nominee, Ronny Jackson amid allegations of drinking on the job and creating a hostile work environment even as he opened the door for his White House doctor to withdraw his nomination.

“I’ll always stand behind him,” the president said.

Allegations of Excessive Drinking and Hostile Work Environment Delay VA Nominee’s Hearing
Jackson gave Trump clean bill of health in January

Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, nominee for Veterans Affairs secretary, leaves the Dirksen Senate Office Building after a meeting with Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee will delay confirmation hearings for Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, President Donald Trump’s pick to run the Department of Veterans Affairs, after allegations rose from his past.

An aide with ranking Democrat Jon Tester confirmed to Roll Call that hearings were delayed after Chairman Johnny Isakson told the Washington Post and CNN.

Macron Visit Will Highlight Iran Deal, Trade Differences
‘Iran deal will be atop the list of things Congress is watching,’ expert says

American, French and Washington, D.C., flags fly on Pennsylvania Avenue on Monday ahead of the official state visit of President Emmanuel Macron of France, who arrived later that day. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It was all smiles and handshakes Monday afternoon when French President Emmanuel Macron arrived outside the West Wing. But Republican and Democratic lawmakers are expected to intently watch the youthful European leader’s talks with President Donald Trump.

Macron’s polished black limousine pulled into the White House’s West Wing entrance with a spring breeze perfectly pitching the flags of each country affixed to his hood. When the 40-year-old French president greeted his 71-year-old political alter ego, the personal bond they both often laud was on public display.

Senators Skeptical of Kim’s Nuke Pledge As Trump Prepares for Summit
North Korean leader says he’s putting a freeze on nuclear and medium- and long-range missile testing

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., threw cold water on the notion President Donald Trump’s planned meeting with North Korea President Kim Jong Un would lead to serious concessions from the North. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators from both parties offered measured applause to President Donald Trump over the weekend after North Korea announced it would suspend nuclear and medium- and long-range missile tests ahead of Trump’s planned summit with its leader, Kim Jong Un.

The North’s promises to stem its nuclear weapons program “show that the president has put Kim Jong Un on the wrong foot for the first time,” Sen. Tom Cotton said Sunday on CBS's “Face the Nation.”