Lamar Smith

Google Would ‘Make the NSA Blush,’ Says Republican at Hill Grilling
Tuesday marked the first time a top Google executive appeared at the Capitol since the 2016 election

Google CEO Sundar Pichai, center, is confronted by Infowar's Alex Jones, right, as he arrives to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Google CEO Sundar Pichai appeared for the first time before a congressional panel and batted away questions from lawmakers, who bombarded him about alleged bias against conservatives in search results and the company’s data collection practices.

House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte said Google was collecting so much information on its users that it would “make the NSA blush,” referring to the National Security Agency. The Virginia Republican also said the committee was interested in learning more about how Google determines what is objectionable, and allegations that biased ranking of Google’s search results could result in shifting voters’ views.

‘Public Hanging’ Remark Provokes Outrage, Draws New Attention to Mississippi Senate Runoff
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s comment evokes lynchings, critics say

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., has provoked widespread outrage for joking about "public hanging" at a campaign event in a newly surfaced video. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

At a campaign event earlier this month, Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and her supporters laughed as she quipped about being in the front row of a “public hanging,” according to a newly surfaced video.

“If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row,” the Republican said in an embrace with one of her supporters, according to a video posted by an independent journalist to Twitter and Facebook on Sunday.

5 Not-So-Newbies to Watch on Election Day
These midterm candidates were once congressional staffers

If Young Kim comes to Capitol Hill, it will be a homecoming of sorts. She worked for California Rep. Ed Royce for years. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It’s no secret that those who come to Capitol Hill to work behind the scenes may have political aspirations of their own.

Dozens of current lawmakers were congressional staffers in a previous life. (We feature them once a month in Roll Call’s Staffer News.)

Now at the Capitol: Executive Branches
Retiring Texas Republican Lamar Smith plants elm with former president’s grandson

President George H.W. Bush's grandson Sam LeBlond, left, plants a tree with Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas. (Courtesy of Smith’s office)

Correction 11:15 a.m. Oct. 1| As Lamar Smith prepares to leave Congress, he planted a tree that will grow up to 180 feet tall on the Capitol grounds. The Scotch elm honors a fellow Texas Republican, former President George H.W. Bush.

“This was a very, very happy memory and one of, I guess, my last initiatives,” he said. “It’s special, and it’s not really partisan and political.”

Facebook, Twitter Testify: Here Are the Lawmakers Who Own Their Stock
Members of Congress have invested more than $7M in three tech giants

Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins is the only senator who will question representatives from Facebook and Twitter who also holds stock in one of the companies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate will question representatives of tech giants Twitter and Facebook on Wednesday. The chamber’s Intelligence Committee also invited Alphabet CEO Larry Page but rejected the company’s counteroffer to send Google’s chief legal officer.

Roll Call found 32 members of Congress have stock ownership in the three companies. These stocks are held in trust funds, IRAs and brokerage accounts for the members, their spouses or their dependent children. In total, members of Congress have invested more than $7,000,000 in the three tech companies subject to scrutiny in Wednesday’s hearings.

Lawmakers Renew Efforts to Pass Family Separation Bill
But with House already out for recess, no legislative solution possible until September

A girl participates in a rally at Freedom Plaza in downtown Washington on June 27 to to protest the Trump administration policy that separated migrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers say they are renewing efforts to find what has been elusive legislation to keep families together at the U.S.-Mexico border, as the Trump administration announced it would meet the latest court deadline for reuniting more than 1,400 children it had separated from their immigrant parents.

Department of Homeland Security officials said they expected to complete all “eligible” reunifications by midnight Thursday, Pacific time. Beyond those, 711 children remain in custody because they’re not “eligible” for reunification, according to the department. Of those, 431 have a parent who was deported from the U.S. without them, officials said.

Photos of the Week: House Recess Begins — But See You Monday, Senate
The week of July 23 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., speaks at the Summer Intern Lecture Series in the Capitol Visitor Center auditorium on Wednesday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

The House has dashed out of town for its annual five-week summer recess, with plenty of work left on the table for when members return Sept. 4.

Of course, the Senate plans to be in session for four out of the five coming weeks thanks to a plan from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to chip away at backlogged legislative and executive business (with the side benefit of preventing Senate Democrats in tough races from going home to campaign.)

Shelby: Appropriations’ First-Ever Female Staff Director Is ‘Tough, Absolutely’
Shannon Hines says she hasn’t had much time to think about her breakthrough role

Shannon Hines, left, and Sen. Richard C. Shelby at the June 28 full committee markup. (Courtesy of the Appropriations Committee)

For the first time ever, a female staff director has the reins of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.

Shannon Hines took the job after her longtime boss, Sen. Richard C. Shelby, became chairman in April.

The President’s Mission to Mars Is a Real Long Shot
Trump really wants to go to Mars, but he’ll have to convince Congress, private companies and scores of scientists

President Donald Trump receives a flight jacket from NASA officials during a bill signing ceremony last year. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

For a man known for grandiose ambitions, perhaps President Donald Trump’s most lofty is his pledge, formalized in a December order, to land a human being on the surface of Mars.

It would be easy to doubt Trump’s seriousness, given that he’s equally known for inconsistent follow-through. But Trump has raised the idea repeatedly since that order, most recently last month before the National Space Council, the advisory group Trump revived last year and tasked Vice President Mike Pence with running.

Q&A: NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
‘What we don’t know about the moon is critical’ and could change ‘the balance of power on Earth’

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine is interviewed for the “CQ on Congress” podcast on June 28. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate confirmed Jim Bridenstine to lead NASA in April after months of delay related to Democrats’ concerns about his commitment to the agency’s climate research and Republican infighting over its resources.

During two terms in the House, and the start of a third, Bridenstine was a space enthusiast. He served on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee and drafted an ambitious bill to overhaul the way the government manages its space resources.