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White House challenges predictions of political hit if shutdown slows economy
Trump aides, Democrats both view floating new proposal as friendly fire

President Donald Trump, flanked by Senate Republican leaders, speaks in the Capitol on Jan. 9. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senior White House officials say they are unconcerned about a downgraded internal assessment of the partial government shutdown as a drag on the U.S. economy or polls that show most Americans mostly blame President Donald Trump for the impasse.

Instead, the president’s top aides on Wednesday said they are focused on the “long-term” health of the economy, which has shown signs of slowing in recent months as some economists warn that clouds of recession could be forming.

Very much up for grabs: this year’s profile in courage
Washington may not offer much in the way of inspiration, but look a little harder

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott occasionally calls out examples of racism in his own party, Curtis writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Identifying the politician offering that idealistic advice is not so hard — President John F. Kennedy at his Jan. 20, 1961, inauguration. But that’s not all the 35th president had to say about the promise and challenges of America.

Climate change? “The supreme reality of our time is the vulnerability of our planet.” Income inequality? “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”

House effort on Steve King censure fizzles
Matter referred to Ethics Committee as some Democrats express disappointment

An effort to censure Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, for racist comments fizzled on Wednesday as the chamber voted to refer the matter to the Ethics Committee. (Bill Clark/Roll Call file photo)

An effort to further punish Rep. Steve King for racist comments fizzled Wednesday when the chamber voted to instead refer the Iowa Republican’s case to the House Ethics Committee.

On a voice vote, the House referred a censure resolution from Illinois Democrat Bobby L. Rush to the Ethics panel, instead of censuring him directly.

New bipartisan Senate group facing uphill climb in bid to end shutdown

Sen. Benjamin J. Cardin is among the senators trying to cut a deal to end the shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bipartisan Senate group has launched new talks  to end the lingering partial government shutdown that began Dec. 22 and is now the longest in history, but they are well aware of the uphill climb awaiting them. 

Senators who met Monday haven’t coalesced around a single approach that can gain the approval of President Donald Trump as well as Democratic leaders in both chambers. But the group still appears to be discussing what kind of border security package can pass muster with the principal negotiators.

Steve King controversy deepens, with Liz Cheney now calling for resignation
House Republicans’ No. 3 leader wants Iowa Republican gone

House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., thinks Rep. Steve King should resign. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The No. 3 House Republican is calling on Rep. Steve King to resign, exposing a rift among GOP leaders as the controversy over the Iowa Republican continues coming to a head.

“I agree with Leader McConnell actually. I think he should find another line of work,” House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney said Tuesday morning. That was a reference to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who on Monday said if King did not know what was wrong with white supremacy and white nationalism, as he said in a recent New York Times article, he should get out of politics. 

Barr assures senators of his independence
AG nominee says Mueller investigation isn’t a ‘witch hunt,’ Sessions ‘probably did right thing’ in recusing himself

William Barr, nominee for attorney general, testifies during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 5:59 p.m. | William Barr appeared to be on a path to confirmation as the next attorney general Tuesday, after he gave senators key assurances about the special counsel probe into the 2016 elections and distanced himself from some of President Donald Trump’s comments about the investigation.

During more than seven hours of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Barr avoided the kind of missteps that might cost him votes of Republicans, who have a 53-47 advantage in the chamber. But some Democrats say he did not do enough to reassure them that he would protect Robert S. Mueller III’s probe and make the results public.

House will vote Tuesday to condemn Steve King
Majority Whip James Clyburn introduces resolution of disapproval

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., said the House could vote as soon as this week to condemn  Rep. Steve King. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 10:02 p.m. | The House will vote Tuesday to disapprove of comments Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King made in a New York Times interview questioning how the terms “white supremacist” and “white nationalist” had become “offensive.”

The resolution of disapproval, introduced Monday by Majority Whip James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, actually only makes one specific reference to King.

How the House rebuke of Steve King would work
Whether reprimand or censure, a formal ding from the chamber comes with few consequences

Democrats Bobby Rush and Tim Ryan have introduced separate measures to censure Iowa Republican Steve King over a pattern of racist comments. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democratic leaders are planning to hold a vote Tuesday on a resolution of disapproval against Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King for racist comments, while two rank-and-file members are pushing for a stronger rebuke.

Democratic Reps. Bobby L. Rush of Illinois and Tim Ryan of Ohio introduced separate measures on Monday to censure King, setting into motion votes on one of Congress’ formal means of punishing members.

Six things William Barr will tell senators at his AG confirmation hearing

William Barr, left, nominee for attorney general, meets with Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., in the Russell Senate Office Building on January 9, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Attorney general nominee William Barr will tell the Senate Judiciary Committee at a confirmation hearing Tuesday that he did not pursue the position and was reluctant to be considered for his second stint as the nation’s top law enforcement official.

Barr, 68, plans to say he put off his partial retirement because he believes he can do a good job leading the department during a time when the country is “deeply divided” and the American people must know there are places in government where the rule of law holds sway over politics.

Burned in the past, Democrats reluctant to give ground in wall fight
Democrats and allies concerned conceding would set a precedent for more rounds of brinksmanship

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-California, said she “absolutely” expects President Donald Trump would trigger additional shutdowns as a bargaining chip if Democrats make a deal with him on wall funding now. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The partial government shutdown, now in its record-setting 24th day, is about more than just a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Democrats and their allies are concerned that if party leaders cut a deal with President Donald Trump on wall funding, it would set a precedent for more rounds of dangerous brinksmanship in the months and years to come.