leadership

Green New Deal: Some Democrats on the fence
Top Democrats who would oversee legislation in the House are reluctant to endorse plan that would remake economy

Democratic Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have championed the Green New Deal on Capitol Hill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A resolution outlining the goals of the Green New Deal capped off its first week of a somewhat messy rollout with mixed reviews, even from typically Democratic strongholds like labor unions.

In the House, the top two Democrats who would oversee any legislation that comes out of the plan have remained reluctant to fully endorse it, stopping at lauding the goals and the enthusiasm behind them. And Republicans quickly branded the Green New Deal as an extreme, socialist plan with unrealistic proposals to eliminate air travel and cows.

Democrats will push back on national emergency in Congress and courts
Congress will defend its constitutional authority over spending ‘using every remedy available,’ Democratic leaders vow

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Democrats will push back against the president's national emergency declaration in Congress, the courts and the public. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer promise that Democrats in Congress — hopefully joined by some Republicans — will push back against President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration in multiple arenas. 

“The President’s actions clearly violate the Congress’ exclusive power of the purse, which our founders enshrined in the Constitution,” the duo said in a joint statement Friday. “The Congress will defend our constitutional authorities in the Congress, in the courts, and in the public, using every remedy available.”

Why 19 Democrats and 109 Republicans voted against the government funding deal
Democratic defections were mostly Hispanic Caucus members, progressives concerned about immigration enforcement

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined 18 other House Democrats and 109 House Republicans in voting against the compromise spending package Thursday night. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats were just two votes short Thursday night of being able to clear a fiscal 2019 appropriations package without Republican help, while less than half of the GOP conference voted for the bill to avert another government shutdown.

That dynamic may foreshadow battles ahead as the new House Democratic majority will try to exert its influence over government spending while still having to deal with a Republican president and Senate. 

House passes appropriations package to avert shutdown, sends to Trump
President will sign legislation but declare national emergency to free up more money for border wall

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., conducts her weekly news conference Thursday in which she fielded questions about the government funding bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House passed a spending package Thursday night, completing congressional action to avert a government shutdown with barely a day to spare. 

The final vote was 300-128. Nineteen Democrats voted against the measure, while 109 Republicans, representing a majority of their conference, were opposed. 

Legal fight expected for Trump’s national emergency declaration
Experts predict high court will back his power to do so, but maybe not accessing military monies

President Donald Trump, here addressing reporters on Jan. 10, will sign a government shutdown-avoiding bill and declare a national emergency at the border to access Pentagon funds for his proposed southern border barrier. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump will declare a national emergency at the southern border to redirect military funds to his border wall project after lawmakers gave him $4.3 billion less than his $5.7 billion ask. But the move is expected to bring court fights that could sink his plan. 

A House-Senate conference committee could only agree to give the president just shy of $1.4 billion for the barrier project as conferees struck a deal needed to avert another partial government shutdown. The president — who earlier this week said he couldn’t say he was happy about the contents of the compromise — reluctantly agreed to sign it into law after the Senate and House sign off during floor votes Thursday.

Senate confirms Barr amid questions about Mueller report
The Senate voted to confirm Barr as the next attorney general, mostly along party lines

William P. Barr, left, nominee for attorney general, greets former Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, upon arriving for his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Hart Building on Tuesday, January 15, 2019. Hatch introduced Barr to the committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

William Barr takes over the Justice Department on Thursday at a pivotal moment for the nation’s legal landscape, with his tenure closely tied to how he will handle the special counsel’s Russia investigation and any political pressure from the White House.

The Senate voted 54-45 to confirm Barr as the next attorney general, mostly along party lines. Senators have strong clues that he will continue the Trump administration’s conservative policies and legal arguments on immigration, civil rights enforcement and LGBT employment discrimination.

Trump’s cryptic ‘funding bill’ tweet momentarily casts doubt over border bill
President tweeted, then deleted but still hasn’t signaled if he’ll sign funding bill as shutdown looms

President Trump fired off this cryptic two-word tweet as both chambers were getting ready to vote on a spending package he has yet to say whether he would sign. (Screenshot)

Washington lost its collective breath Thursday morning when President Donald Trump fired off a cryptic tweet that read simply: “funding bill.”

U.S. trade team ‘soldiering on’ in China ahead of high-stakes Xi meeting
Kudlow downplays deficit growth as experts, lawmakers sound alarms

White House National Economic Council Director Lawrence Kudlow holds a news briefing at the White House in June. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

U.S. officials on the ground in China for high-stakes trade talks are “soldiering on” and will get facetime with Chinese President Xi Jinping, something a top aide to President Donald Trump calls a positive sign as a key deadline approaches.

“I’ve talked to the group [in China]. They’re covering all the ground,” said Lawrence Kudlow, the White House’s chief economic official. “They’re hard at it. They are going to meet with President Xi, so that’s a very good sign.”

Trump has yet to make final decision on border bill as shutdown looms
Conservatives blast legislation on Fox morning show as White House staff evaluates it

Fox News Channel and radio talk show host Sean Hannity interviews President Donald Trump before a campaign rally in Las Vegas in September 2018. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump has not yet made a final decision about signing a massive spending measure needed to avert another government shutdown that includes far less for his southern border than he demanded, a White House official said.

“POTUS has not made a final decision. We are still reviewing the bill,” said the White House official, who has knowledge of the president’s decision-making.

FEMA administrator departs, says it’s ‘time for me to go home to my family’
Brock Long departs after questions about use of government vehicles

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long is leaving the agency. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long, who during his tenure had to repay the government for using vehicles in a nonofficial capacity, resigned his position Wednesday.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement that Deputy Administrator Pete Gaynor will become the acting administrator.