Arkansas

Top DHS Official Says She ‘Did Not Hear’ Trump’s ‘Shithole Countries’ Comment
Kirstjen Nielsen was present at White House meeting

Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin is shown on a television monitor questioning Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during the Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The top official at the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday declined to say directly whether President Donald Trump used a profane slur to describe several foreign countries during a recent White House meeting with lawmakers on immigration that she attended.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told the Senate Judiciary Committee she “did not hear” whether Trump referred to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries” in last Thursday’s meeting with House and Senate lawmakers.

He Said, He Said: Lawmakers in Trump Meeting Appalled — Or ‘Don’t Recall’
Trump’s reference to ‘shithole countries’ sets off a s---storm

Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, left, and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham were both in a meeting with President Donald Trump when he reportedly referred to African nations and Haiti as “shithole countries.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 2:41 p.m.| Members of Congress who were in the meeting when President Donald Trump referred to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries” have different memories of what happened.

The Washington Post reported that Trump asked Thursday why “all these people from shithole countries” were coming to the United States, alluding to Haiti and countries in Africa.

Durbin Confirms Trump’s ‘Hate-Filled, Vile and Racist’ Talk
Illinois Democrat, who was in meeting, says media reports about Trump’s words have been accurate

Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said Friday he saw no prospects for a bipartisan DACA deal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 1:08 p.m. | Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin told reporters Friday that he heard President Donald Trump make the vulgar remarks about immigrants that have been widely reported in the press and dismissed by the White House. 

The Illinois Democrat said Trump’s comments during a Thursday meeting “were hate-filled, vile and racist.”

Thursday's Hangout With Steven Mnuchin and Sarah Huckabee Sanders
Global elitism, FISA, a possible stock market dive pepper White House day

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly waits to speak in October as press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks during a press briefing. Kelly is leading White House efforts to strike an immigration deal. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

A Treasury secretary says the Davos gathering of global elites isn’t a hangout for global elites. A press secretary says tweets that seemed to contradict each other didn’t contradict each other. A president predicts a stock market dive if he doesn’t get his way. In other words: Thursday at the White House.

Among the business-as-usual moments were White House officials blaming Democrats for delays on immigration and government-funding measures, even while the White House chief of staff was trying to close the deal, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announcing that taxpayers should see bigger paychecks next month — as long as new withholding tables the IRS is circulating work like they are designed to. 

Steve Womack Poised to Become House Budget Chairman
Republican Steering Committee chooses Arkansas lawmaker for post

Arkansas Rep. Steve Womack was recommended for Budget chairman by the Republican Steering Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Arkansas Republican Steve Womack is poised to be the next House Budget Committee chairman after the Republican Steering Committee Tuesday evening recommended him over two other candidates for the post.

The Steering Committee’s choice of Womack over Reps. Rob Woodall of Georgia and Bill Johnson of Ohio still needs to be ratified by the full House Republican Conference before it becomes official, but the conference traditionally accepts the Steering panel’s recommendations. The ratification will occur during the next conference meeting, which will either be this Thursday or next Wednesday.

White House Reiterates Wall Demand Ahead of Key Meeting
Sen. Graham, other lawmakers look to pair DACA with border security upgrades

Aurelia Lopez and her daughter Antonia overlook construction of border wall prototypes on Oct. 5, in Tijuana, Mexico. Prototypes of the border wall proposed by President Donald Trump are being built just north of the U.S-Mexico border. (Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images file photo)

Just hours before a high-stakes White House meeting with Republicans and Democrats, the Trump administration continued to hold tight to its demand that funding for President Donald Trump’s proposed southern border wall be included in a possible immigration overhaul bill.

“President Trump looks forward to meeting with bipartisan members of the House and Senate today to discuss the next steps toward achieving responsible immigration reform,” White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters said in a statement.

Budget Chairman Race: Three Candidates, Few Differences
Republican Steering Committee meets Tuesday to recommend Diane Black’s replacement

From left, Reps. Rob Woodall of Georgia, Bill Johnson of Ohio, and Steve Womack of Arkansas are vying to be the next House Budget chairman. The Republican Steering Committee will meet Tuesday to make its recommendation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photos)

Three Republican congressman elected in 2010 who want Congress to overhaul mandatory spending programs and believe they have the consensus-building skills to make it happen are all competing to be the next House Budget chairman. 

The three-way race between Reps. Rob Woodall of Georgia, Steve Womack of Arkansas and Bill Johnson of Ohio has largely been conducted behind the scenes as the candidates have reached out to colleagues on the Republican Steering Committee.

Immigration Framework Coming Next Week, Senators Say
Plan would boost border security and provide a DACA solution

Sens. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, right, and James Lankford of Oklahoma say the immigration plan will be shared with Democrats as early as Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A framework for immigration legislation that would beef up border security and provide a solution for undocumented “Dreamers” in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is likely to emerge next week, Republican senators said Thursday after a meeting with President Donald Trump.

Thom Tillis of North Carolina and James Lankford of Oklahoma, two of the six GOP senators to attend the White House meeting, said lawmakers and the administration had settled on a general framework and the plan would be shared with Democrats as early as Tuesday.

Steering Panel to Meet Next Week on Next House Budget Chairman
Three candidates in the running as Diane Black steps aside

The GOP Steering Committee will meet Jan. 9 to pick a successor for outgoing Budget Chairwoman Diane Black, R-Tenn. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Republican Steering Committee plans to meet Jan. 9 to consider three candidates for the next Budget chairman, GOP aides said.

Reps. Rob Woodall of Georgia, Steve Womack of Arkansas and Bill Johnson of Ohio are vying to succeed Diane Black, who is stepping down from the position to concentrate on her campaign for governor in Tennessee.

Black to Give Up Top Budget Slot, Focus on Governor’s Race
Competition expected for House Budget gavel

After announcing her gubernatorial bid in August, many expected Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., to step aside after the fiscal 2018 budget resolution was adopted. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Diane Black announced Wednesday that she plans to step aside as House Budget chairwoman to focus on her gubernatorial campaign.

The Tennessee Republican announced that she will remain in Congress, but will give up her gavel as soon as the GOP Steering Committee picks, and the Republican Conference ratifies, her successor.