rhode island

Democrats spar with State official over arms sales maneuver

Rep. David Cicilline accused a senior State Department official of gas-lighting Congress in his assertions about why the administration needed to subvert Congress on arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A senior State Department official on Wednesday appeared to blame Democrats for the administration’s decision last month to declare a state of emergency over Iran to avoid congressional review of billions of dollars of weapon sales to Arab Gulf states.

R. Clarke Cooper, assistant secretary of State for political-military affairs, attributed the emergency order to holds placed in spring 2018 by Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Robert Menendez on $2 billion in proposed precision-guided missile sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Menendez, D-N.J., placed the holds in response to the many civilian casualties in the Yemen civil war, in which the two Gulf nations are fighting against Iranian-backed Houthi insurgents.

Military bases unprepared for gathering climate change storm 
Responses to hurricanes, flooding already raising alarm bells in Congress and beyond

Months after Hurricane Michael struck Tyndall Air Force Base in October, the main hangar’s roof is badly damaged. (Elvina Nawaguna/CQ Roll Call file photo)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — A mangled red, white and blue patrol plane still lies across what was once a park here where families played and picnicked, nine months after Hurricane Michael stormed out of the Gulf of Mexico with its 155-mile-per-hour winds.

And beyond that wreckage and other detritus, about 300 of this Air Force base’s nearly 500 damaged buildings are slated to be razed. The Air Force wants at least $4.25 billion to rebuild Tyndall at its current location on the Florida panhandle, a process the 325th Fighter Wing commander, Col. Brian Laidlaw, said could take several years.

Prayers up for Big Papi
Lawmakers issue well wishes to former Red Sox slugger David Ortiz after shooting

David Ortiz makes a surprise appearance at Fenway Park in October. New England lawmakers sent messages of support after Ortiz was shot this weekend. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images file photo)

Lawmakers all across Red Sox Nation are chiming in with their well wishes for retired slugger David “Big Papi” Ortiz, who is recovering from a gunshot wound suffered in his native Dominican Republic.

Everyone from Boston’s Ayanna Pressley to Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island is offering praise and hopes of a speedy recovery for the ailing Red Sox legend. Even former president Barack Obama shared a photo of Ortiz’s White House visit to celebrate the team’s 2013 World Series victory.

Photos of the Week: A moose and a bear enter the Capitol
The week of June 3 as captured by Roll Call’s photojournalists

Tourists stop to take photos in the Small Senate Rotunda after touring the Old Supreme Court Chamber in the Capitol on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers returned from the Memorial Day recess to a shortened week, thanks to the departure of the delegation — led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi — to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France.

Back in Washington, the capital city marked the WWII victory at Normandy with a memorial at the war’s memorial on the National Mall.

Democrats want to require Pentagon to study climate change risks on military bases
It’s the latest effort by House Democrats to scrutinize and quantify the challenges a warming planet poses to the military

Colorado Rep. Jason Crow, center, wants to include language in the NDAA bill that would require the Pentagon to more aggressively study the risks posed to its bases by climate change. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats will seek to include in the proposed National Defense Authorization Act language that would require the Pentagon to more aggressively study the risks posed to its bases by climate change, their latest effort to scrutinize and quantify the challenges a warming planet poses to the military.

Colorado Rep. Jason Crow unveiled a summary of the measure Thursday, saying it will be included in the chairman’s mark to be offered by Washington Rep. Adam Smith, who leads the House Armed Services Committee that takes up the bill June 12.

Big Tech now squarely in the sights of antitrust forces
The effort could create a bipartisan political circus on privacy and disinformation

Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline, who chairs the House Judiciary’s antitrust subcommittee, announced the bipartisan investigation of Big Tech earlier this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bipartisan antitrust investigation of large technology companies announced by the House Judiciary Committee will offer lawmakers their latest opportunity to grill some of the industry’s most recognizable and controversial executives.

But it also could provide lawmakers a chance to hold accountable antitrust agencies and potentially to expand the scope of U.S. antitrust law in significant ways. Still, it remains unclear exactly what the committee can accomplish as it sets out.

On DREAM Act, 9 Democrats defect on rule vote, even as caucus shows more unity
Relatively rare for members of the majority to buck leadership in voting against a rule

Rep. Joe Cunningham, D-S.C., was one of nine Democrats voting against the rule for the DREAM Act on Tuesday, a high-water mark for the year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House votes on rules to begin debate on legislation are typically party-line tests. But when nine Democrats voted Tuesday against the rule for an immigration bill, it was a high-water mark for Democratic defections this year.

Still, Democrats are more unified on such votes than the House majority party has been in all but two years of the last decade. 

News Media Alliance pushes for new Senate antitrust bill
Measure aims to give news publishers a leg up in battle with big tech

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., has introduced along with Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., a new bill that would temporarily exempt news publishers from antitrust laws. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The News Media Alliance is scoring some legislative points against the much bigger K Street players Google and Facebook with a bipartisan Senate bill unveiled Monday evening that would temporarily exempt publishers from antitrust laws.

The measure — sponsored by Louisiana Republican John Kennedy and Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar — would free up news publishers to jointly bargain with big technology companies in a quest for a bigger slice of digital revenue. It’s the companion to a House bill that Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline and Georgia Republican Doug Collins introduced this spring.

Vulnerable Republicans move to the middle in 2019
With Democrats ruling the House, some GOP members aren’t voting with their party as much

Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., had the biggest drop in party unity score among House Republicans this Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the 2016 election, voters in 23 House districts simultaneously elected a Republican representative and cast ballots for the Democrats’ presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, over Republican Donald Trump.

They became top Democratic targets in the 2018 midterms and 21 of them mostly either retired or were defeated.

More 2020 Democrats join call for House to start impeachment inquiry
But Pelosi says she wants ‘ironclad case’ first

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker added his name Wednesday to the list of 2020 Democratic hopefuls, which includes California Sen. Kamala Harris, calling for Congress to begin an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s brief public remarks Wednesday led more Democratic presidential candidates to call for an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

But concerns remained among House Democratic leaders, as well as Democrats trying to hold their chamber majority in 2020, that going down that road could exacerbate divisions in the country and imperil Democratic electoral prospects.