south carolina

Trump’s comments blur line between ‘oppo research’ and stolen information
President said he might accept dirt from a foreign government

President Donald Trump said he would consider accepting opposition research from a foreign government. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump’s argument in an interview that it was acceptable, and even common, to use opposition research from foreign governments threw a spotlight Thursday on how campaigns research opponents and whether they draw a line at foreign interference.

Trump said in a Wednesday interview with ABC News he would consider accepting “oppo research” from a foreign government and wouldn’t necessarily alert the FBI. He also said members of Congress “all do it, they always have.”

Warren and Clyburn team up on effort to cancel student loan debts for 95 percent of borrowers
Legislation to be introduced in the weeks ahead

House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn is leading the House effort to cancel student loan debts. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren will be joining House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn in an aggressive effort to cancel student loan debt.

“For far too many students and families, the cost of higher education has meant daunting debt and a lifetime of student loan repayments,” Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat, said.

Democratic lawmakers ‘astonished’ by Trump’s claim that taking foreign ‘dirt’ is routine
Mitt Romney calls it 'unthinkable' to accept information from foreign government to influence elections

President Donald Trump argued accepting intelligence on a political opponent from foreign sources, which is illegal under federal campaign finance laws, is routine by presidential candidates and congressional campaigns. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers pushed back strenuously on President Donald Trump’s claim during a television interview Wednesday that accepting “dirt” on political opponents from foreign sources is routine.

Democrats responded incredulously to Trump’s statement that he would accept intelligence on a political opponent from another country if offered, and that doing so is common practice in congressional campaigns. 

Lindsey Graham confronted with the ghosts of the ‘gang of 8’
“We would have a very different situation” had that bill passed, acting DHS secretary says

Kevin McAleenan, acting Homeland Security secretary, says the border situation would have been better than it is now had the ‘gang of eight’ legislation from 2013 been enacted. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

If Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham is looking for strategies on moving his immigration overhaul legislation, acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan presented one possible path: Graham’s old work with the “gang of eight” that produced a bill the Senate passed in 2013 with a veto-proof majority. 

At a hearing Tuesday before Graham’s panel, McAleenan said the current border situation now wouldn’t be as bad if the bipartisan gang of eight compromise of 2013 — which passed the Democratic Senate 68-32 but was never taken up by the Republican House — had become law.

Saudi arms resolutions are within rules, McConnell says

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the effort to contest arms sales to Saudi Arabia is in line with Senate rules and procedures. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday said he believes a bipartisan effort to force floor votes contesting the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia and other Arab states is in line with Senate rules and procedures, despite the State Department’s declaration last month of an emergency situation in order to skirt congressional oversight.

“My understanding is there would still be a vote triggered no matter which path the administration chose to go forward on the sales,” McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters in response to a question by CQ Roll Call. “Presumably, it will be very similar to a resolution of disapproval under a more traditional approach. At least, that’s what we think the parliamentarian believes.”

Border spending package seeks aid for migrants, but no money for Trump’s wall
The Senate Appropriations Committee plans to take up a supplemental spending bill to address the migrant surge next week

Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., conducts a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled “The Secure and Protect Act: a Legislative Fix to the Crisis at the Southwest Border,” on Tuesday, June 11, 2019. Kevin McAleenan, acting secretary of Department of Homeland Security, testified. Graham said the Senate Appropriations Committee plans to take up a supplemental spending bill last week to address the surge of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate Appropriations Committee plans to take up a supplemental spending bill next week to address the surge of migrants at the U.S. southern border, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Tuesday.

The decision marked the first sign of movement on a stand-alone border funding bill, which President Donald Trump first requested on May 1. Republican leaders had tried to include the money in a $19.1 billion aid package for victims of natural disasters that cleared Congress last week, but Democrats objected, citing various concerns over family detention policies and information sharing about undocumented immigrants among federal agencies.

Congressional pay raise amendments roil House
Five House lawmakers have offered amendments that would bar funding for a cost of living increase for members of Congress

House Rules Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., will navigate the proposals to keep congressional pay stagnant. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A potential pay raise for Congress is stirring up debate on Capitol Hill, and with funding for the Legislative Branch on deck for floor action next week, at least four proposals to keep lawmaker pay frozen are on the table.

Five House lawmakers have offered amendments that would bar funding for a cost of living increase for members of Congress. The three Republicans and two Democrats are raising opposition to House appropriators excluding language barring cost-of-living raises in both the Financial Services and Legislative Branch fiscal 2020 spending bills.

Bipartisan Senate group seeks to block Saudi arms sales as Trump administration tries to avoid congressional review
Top Democrat on Foreign Relations Menendez formally announces 22 separate disapproval measures

Foreign Relations ranking member Robert Menendez, D-N.J., right, is leading a bipartisan effort to push back on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's use of an emergency declaration for arms sales to Saudi Arabia. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Bipartisanship is breaking out in the Senate to push back on yet another emergency declaration from the Trump administration.

This time, the rebuttal comes over announced arms sales, including to Saudi Arabia, under the auspices of an emergency declaration from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

A nice chunk of change: Commemorative coins benefit all involved
Coin bills are a surprisingly competitive affair as lawmakers race to get their bills approved

Coin bills are one of the last remaining ways for an individual member of Congress to bring home the bacon. (Courtesy the U.S. Mint)

Two weeks a month, Stephanie Keegan travels from her home in New York’s Hudson Valley to Washington to lobby Congress on a host of veterans’ issues. Of late, she’s spent much of her time working on what would seem like an arcane matter — getting lawmakers to co-sponsor a bill that would create a commemorative coin honoring a museum for Purple Heart recipients.

But it is serious business and she uses a variety of tactics: making constant phone calls, showing up at offices unannounced, provoking moist eyes.

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.