Robert Menendez

US could be at war by the time Congress returns from recess, Udall says
Democrats force votes on approving war with Iran, but come up short in the Senate

Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., is worried that the United States may be at war with Iran by the time Congress returns from recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats on both sides of Capitol Hill have been forcing votes on President Donald Trump’s military powers this week amid the ratcheting up of tensions with Iran, getting predictably disparate results.

In the latest test, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday turned back a Democrat-led effort to move legislation designed to thwart preemptive military action against Iran.

Are lawmakers ‘supercitizens’? Constitutional question could delay Rep. Chris Collins case
Collins accused of securities fraud related to his investment in a biotech company

Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., faces 11 felony charges. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A question over the legal privileges granted to members of Congress threatens to delay the insider trading case against Rep. Chris Collins.

The New York Republican faces trial in February on 11 felony charges stemming from millions of dollars he poured into an Australian biotech company, Innate Immunotherapeutics. After Collins, a member of the board, discovered the company's sole drug failed a key clinical trial, the 27th District congressman tipped off his son, warning him to unload his stock, according to the federal indictment.

Trump wants to renew and revise a key Russian nuclear weapons treaty. It has Democrats nervous
Dems. worry an ambitious U.S. negotiating strategy could doom the treaty effectively ending post-Cold War arms control efforts

Sen. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., speaks during a meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last year. Markey has been one of Capitol Hill’s longest-serving advocates for nuclear arms control and nonproliferation. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration’s announcement that it wants to renew a key nuclear weapons treaty with Russia, with some hefty revisions, has Democrats nervous that an overly ambitions U.S. negotiating strategy could doom the treaty and effectively end post-Cold War arms control efforts.

Keen to keep that from happening, Democrats are urging President Donald Trump to do a simple five-year extension of the 2010 New START accord, which is set to expire in 2021, and to scrap plans to get China to join the treaty and include more types of nuclear weapons not now covered, like Russia’s new nuclear-armed underwater drone.

Dangerous flying beach umbrellas target of inquiry by New Jersey, Virginia senators
In letter to CPSC, senators note umbrella accidents that have led to injuries or death

Sens. Robert Menendez, right, and Mark Warner are sounding the alarm about the risks of flying beach umbrellas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Your pre-beach season public service announcement is brought to you by four Democratic senators from Atlantic coastal states, who are warning about the risks of flying beach umbrellas.

Sens. Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Mark Warner of Virginia, joined by their respective home-state colleagues Cory Booker and Tim Kaine, have asked the chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission what the agency is doing about umbrella safety. 

Trump and Pence tag-team for familiar refrains at NRA conference

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence made an 2020 reelection play Friday, both addressing a NRA conference in Indianapolis. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The Trump White House made an aggressive reelection play Friday, deploying President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to address a National Rifle Association conference. The fire-up-the-faithful theatrics came on the same day gun activist Mariia Butina, who infiltrated the NRA and reached out aggressively to the Trump campaign team, was sentenced to prison for conspiracy to act as a foreign agent for Russia.

At the gun confab, the president announced he will withdraw the United States as a signatory from the Arms Trade Treaty, which former President Barack Obama signed but Congress never ratified. It is designed to regulate $70 billion in global conventional arms sales and prevent human rights abusers from obtaining firearms. The Obama administration voted for it at the UN despite strong opposition from the NRA. 

Biden’s nascent campaign racks up congressional endorsements
Backing from senators, House members likely to raise tensions with progressives seeking fresh leadership

Former Vice President Joe Biden reacts in front of a Stop & Shop following a speech in support of striking union workers earlier this month. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images file photo)

Within hours of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s long-awaited announcement early Thursday that he would wage his third presidential campaign, he had already received endorsements from a raft of members of Congress.

By early afternoon, nods had come from Sens. Bob Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania and Doug Jones of Alabama, as well as Reps. Tom Suozzi of New York and Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania.  

Will 2020 Democrats condemn the Armenian genocide?
Only four lawmakers running for president have signed on to remembrance resolutions

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is one of four Democratic presidential candidates who have co-sponsored resolutions recognizing the Armenian genocide. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Whether the slaughter of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915 amounted to a genocide is still a fraught political question for U.S. presidential candidates more than a century later.

The question for now is how many of the growing field of candidates might weigh in on Wednesday for the annual commemoration. April 24, 1915 is generally considered to mark the start of actions that led to the Armenian genocide.

Fliers beware: House Ethics issues a refresher on private plane travel
Ethics Committee says it has received ‘numerous inquiries’ on the topic

The House Ethics Committee released a memo Wednesday reminding lawmakers and staff of rules for travel on private planes. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Back by popular demand: House Ethics rules on private plane usage.

The House Ethics Committee released a memo Wednesday reminding lawmakers and staff of rules for travel on private planes.

A Saudi nuclear deal is causing lawmakers from both parties to worry
The concern is whether Trump's administration is attempting to skirt legal oversight involving a potential nuclear agreement with Saudi Arabia

From left, ranking member Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., James Inhofe, R-Okla., and Energy Secretary Rick Perry talk before Senate Armed Committee confirmation hearing titled “The Department of Energy’s Atomic Energy Defense Programs,” in Dirksen Building on Thursday, March 28, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats and Republicans are growing more worried the Trump administration is attempting to skirt their legal oversight authorities when it comes to negotiating a potential nuclear cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia.

Congress is entitled to review and potentially block proposed trade agreements that would enable a significant amount of nuclear collaboration with another country. But there is a lower level of nuclear exchanges happening outside of lawmakers’ and the public’s awareness, according to information made public in congressional hearings this week.

There are only 4 Latino senators. Will more be joining them after 2020?
Playing field for Latino Senate candidates shifted after developments in Arizona and New Mexico

Assistant House Speaker Ben Ray Luján is considering running for the open Senate seat in New Mexico. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Activists looking to increase the number of Latino senators are regrouping this week after an Arizona congressman they had backed passed on a Senate run and a seat in plurality-Hispanic New Mexico opened up.

The parallel developments changed the playing field but ultimately kept alive hopes there will be more Hispanic representation in the Senate after the 2020 elections.