congressional-affairs

Iowa Republicans Rally Christian Coalition Behind Brett Kavanaugh
Rep. Steve King suggests any man could now be accused of sexual misconduct

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh amounted to "character assassination." (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Steve King fiercely defended Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh over the weekend at an Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition event, saying that accusations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a woman who went to high school with him amounted to “character assassination.”

King and other Iowa GOP leaders, including Sen. Joni Ernst, Rep. David Young, and Gov. Kim Reynolds, rallied the nearly 700 Christians in the crowd behind Kavanaugh, the Des Moines Register reported, as Iowa’s senior senator, Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, negotiates the conditions of a public hearing this Thursday with the nominee's accuser, California psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford.

Trump on Kavanaugh: ‘I Am With Him All The Way’
President stands by pick despite second accusation of sexual misconduct

President Donald Trump defended his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh while speaking to reporters at a meeting on the global drug problem at the United Nations on Monday. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Monday said he is sticking with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, telling reporters “I am with him all the way.”

“There’s a chance that this could be one of the single most unfair, unjust things to happen to a candidate for anything,” the president said on the sidelines of a United Nations conference in New York hours after another accuser came forward alleging sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh Controversy and Violence Against Women Act Collide on Capitol Hill
Not the first time a Supreme Court fight and VAWA have been linked

Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., hold a press conference with Holton-Arms alumnae in support of Christine Blasey Ford in the Hart Senate Office Building on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh upended his confirmation process and brought sexual misconduct back into the spotlight on Capitol Hill. While the Senate Judiciary Committee digs into what happened more than 30 years ago, other lawmakers are working to extend and expand protections for victims under the Violence Against Women Act.

The competing claims from Ford and Kavanaugh have divided both the Senate and the country, with Ford accusing Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a party when they were teenagers, and Kavanaugh issuing blanket denials and saying he welcomes the chance to “clear my name.” 

‘Regular Order’ Still Not Out of the Woods
Current appropriations process is still a far cry from before the late 2000s

Sens. Richard C. Shelby, left, and Patrick J. Leahy ride the Senate subway in 2011. Shelby, now the Senate Appropriations chairman, has touted the return to regular order in this year’s appropriations process. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS | Senate leaders have spent the past few months crowing about the return to “regular order” on appropriations, justifiably in many respects. They’ve passed nine spending bills, the first time that’s happened since 2009, and a first before September since 1999. And Congress sent three spending bills to the president’s desk before the Oct. 1 start of the fiscal year, which hasn’t happened in 10 years.

But by several metrics, the Senate hasn’t matched the fuller appropriations debate in the “world’s greatest deliberative body” that existed prior to the late 2000s. Senators have spent roughly 16 days this year debating their appropriations bills on the floor; the average was nearly 28 days from fiscal 1986 through 2006. The Senate has considered 165 amendments to fiscal 2019 spending bills, compared with 269 per year during the fiscal 1986-2006 period.

Kavanaugh Accuser Commits to Thursday Testimony, Judiciary Committee Announces Hearing
Some questions remain unresolved ahead of potentially pivotal Thursday hearing

The Senate Judiciary Committee, led by Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, is expected to hear from Christine Blasey Ford on Thursday (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Christine Blasey Ford is now scheduled to testify Thursday morning at the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding her sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

The panel formally announced the rescheduling of the continued high court confirmation hearing Sunday afternoon. The hearing had been expected to continue Monday, but Ford’s lawyers have been in negotiations about timing with the committee’s Republican majority.

Kavanaugh Accuser Agrees to Talk to Senate Judiciary Committee
Christine Blasey Ford has accused nominee of sexually assaulting her decades ago

Protesters at the Dirksen Building office of Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, on Thursday show their support for Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Christine Blasey Ford agreed Saturday to discuss with the Senate Judiciary Committee next week her allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her decades ago.

In an email from Ford’s lawyers to Senate Judiciary Committee staff, Ford accepted the “request to provide her first-hand knowledge of Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual misconduct” but did not specify how she would do that. Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley offered to have Ford testify Wednesday in public or private, but also offered her a public or private interview.

Trump Slams McCaskill for Opposing ‘Truly Spectacular’ Kavanaugh
Missouri attorney general is in Senate dogfight with Democratic incumbent

President Donald Trump, here at a rally in Las Vegas on Thursday, was in Missouri the following day to boost Republican Senate candidate Josh Hawley. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump hailed Missouri Republican Senate candidate Josh Hawley as a “star” Friday night, while lambasting the Democratic incumbent, Claire McCaskill, for opposing his “truly spectacular” Supreme Court nominee. 

The president, as he often does for Republican candidates, attempted to boost Hawley, the state attorney general, by calling him onstage at the rally in Springfield, Missouri, to speak behind the presidential podium with the executive seal. 

Grassley Threatens Monday Kavanaugh Vote if Ford Does Not Testify
As negotiations over testimony continue, panel officially postpones hearing

The Senate Judiciary Committee has postponed its hearing on Monday, which was scheduled to hear from Brett Kavanaugh, nominee to be Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and the woman accusing him of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Judiciary Committee has postponed its hearing, set for Monday, that would have featured Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused him of sexually attacking her decades ago. And in a sign that Senate Republicans are playing hardball to get Ford to agree to their terms to testify, Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley has scheduled a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination in the event there is no deal with Ford. 

The notice included no reschedule date and came out amid reports that the panel and Ford’s attorneys did not meet a panel-set 5 p.m. deadline to agree to terms.

Rosenstein Removal Charges Will Only Deepen Trump-DOJ War
But deputy AG calls Times article ‘inaccurate and factually incorrect’

President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he walks across the South Lawn while departing the White House in May. On Friday, the New York Times published a piece alleging Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wanted to tape him and use the 25th amendment to remove him from office. (Sarah Siblinger/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS | Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein denies he wanted to record Donald Trump in order to gather enough dirt to remove the president via the 25th amendment. But that’s not likely to be much solace to a president who is at war with his Justice Department.

The New York Times published a story Friday afternoon detailing alleged conversations Rosenstein had in the spring of 2017 about the circus-like operations that defined the West Wing in the early months of the Trump presidency. The deputy AG had only been in the job a few weeks, but was emotional and concerned when talking about his idea of secretly taping Trump with the goal of getting enough to trigger the 25th amendment — which provides a mechanism for the vice president and Cabinet members to begin the removal of a president from the Oval Office.

Despite New Tariffs, China Still Not Budging on Trade Tactics, White House Says
Senior official indicates Canada no closer to joining Mexico trade deal than it was when talks started

U.S. and Chinese flags on a table where military leaders from the two countries met in 2014. Four year later, the economic giants are in the midst of a bitter trade dispute. Depsite President Trump’s tariff's little progress has been made, an official said Friday. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Mikki L. Sprenkle)

The Trump administration is not aiming to “cleve off” the U.S. economy from China’s, but it intends to continue pressuring the Asian giant even though tough moves like repeated rounds of tariffs have yet to bring the fundamental changes President Donald Trump is demanding.

“Our goal is not to totally divorce our economies from each other,” said a senior official who briefed reporters Friday at the White House about trade matters. “Our goal is for China to stop behaving unfairly.”