Defense & Cyberspace

Senate votes to start debating Russia sanctions measure, but may lack votes to finish it
Joint resolution seeks to block sanctions relief for three Russian companies

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer has led the joint resolution. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Eleven Senate Republicans split from the Trump administration Tuesday afternoon, backing an effort by Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer to force a floor debate on sanctions on Russian firms.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had appeared at Tuesday’s Senate GOP lunch to make the case for letting sanctions relief for three sanctioned Russian companies to go forward.

Day 25 of the shutdown and the impasse held fast
Spending bill fails, president holds firm, House freshmen march

Freshman House members, including Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., leave the Capitol office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Tuesday after a visit to urge action on reopening the government. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

On the 25th day of the longest government shutdown in modern history, the House failed to advance a spending measure, the president was half-stood up for lunch, and freshman House Democrats marched on the Senate. 

In an already busy day on Capitol Hill, the House failed to advance a stopgap measure to fund shuttered federal agencies through Feb. 1, as Democrats sought to pressure Republicans to end the partial shutdown. 

Freshman Democrats march to McConnell’s office to urge him to reopen government
McConnell should stop taking cues from Trump, bring up House bills, new members say

From left, freshman members Reps. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., Susie Lee, D-Nev., and Katie Hill, D-Calif., make their way into the Capitol office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to call on the Senate to act on reopening the government on Tuesday, January 15, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A group of roughly a dozen freshman House Democrats on Tuesday marched to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office in the Capitol to ask that he take up House bills to open up government. 

The Kentucky Republican was on the Senate floor when the freshmen stopped by his office, but his staff welcomed them inside. The staff chatted briefly with the new House Democrats and told them they’d set up a meeting with the majority leader.

Steven Mnuchin makes case to GOP to allow easing of sanctions on Russian companies
Visited Senate Republican lunch ahead of votes on Schumer resolution

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urged the Senate to ease relief on Russian companies. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is making the case to Senate Republicans that they should stop an effort to block sanctions relief against three Russian companies.

But as he left Tuesday’s Senate Republican lunch, Mnuchin did not seem certain about the vote count ahead of an expected Tuesday afternoon vote on a motion to proceed to a resolution disapproving of the sanctions relief proposed for En+ Group plc, UC Rusal plc and JSC EuroSibEnergo.

Lacking Republican support, House Democrats’ bill to open government through Feb. 1 fails
Measure needed two-thirds support because it was brought to the floor under suspension of the rules

On the 25th day of the partial government shutdown, the House failed to pass a stopgap to reopen the government through Feb. 1. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats’ attempt to sway enough Republicans to help them pass a stopgap funding bill to open up the government through Feb. 1 failed Tuesday. 

The continuing resolution to extend fiscal 2018 funding for shuttered agencies for two-and-a-half weeks failed, 237-187.

Amid shutdown, White House, Democrats, can’t even agree on lunch

A man holds a "end the shutdown build wall" sign as Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, holds a news conference on border security outside of the Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

No House Democrats will attend a White House-organized lunch meeting on Tuesday with President Donald Trump as the partial government shutdown continues, a sign of how dug in both sides are with no deal in sight.

The White House invited a group of members from the chamber’s Blue Dog Coalition for a lunch discussion on the 25th day of the shutdown. 

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.

Trump invites moderate Dems to WH for shutdown meeting — but some decline
Blue Dog Coalition leaders Lou Correa and Stephanie Murphy will not attend

Rep. Lou Correa, D-Calif., is rejecting an invitation to meet with President Donald Trump at the White House Tuesday to discuss border security and how to end the partial government shutdown, saying he'd be happy to talk once government is reopen. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump has invited some more moderate House Democrats to the White House Tuesday to discuss border security and how to end the partial government shutdown, but at least two of the invited members do not plan to attend. 

Trump’s official schedule for Tuesday lists a 12:30 p.m. meeting with unnamed members of Congress. The  White House has not announced other details.

Schumer: no sanctions relief for Russian oligarch until Mueller finishes investigation
Senate minority leader plans to force Tuesday votes on disapproval of Trump administration plan

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer plans to force votes to stop Treasury from easing sanctions again Russian companies. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer plans to force votes Tuesday on an attempt to disapprove of sanctions relief against companies associated with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

Schumer, a Democrat from New York, said Monday that there should be no sanctions relief for the companies, despite some structural changes to the ownership, until Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller finishes his work investigating Russian election interference in the U.S.

House will vote this week on two stopgap funding bills to end shutdown

The House will vote this week on two measures that would end the partial government shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House this week will vote on two stopgap spending bills to reopen all closed government agencies, Democrats announced Monday.

The Democrats have introduced two continuing resolutions with varying lengths. One, which would reopen the government through Feb. 1, will be voted under suspension of the rules on Tuesday, the fast-track procedural move that requires two-thirds support for passage.

Assessing the bleak options for ending the shutdown
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 94

The shutdown is now the longest in modern history. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As the longest shutdown in modern history enters its fourth week, CQ’s fiscal policy reporter Doug Sword assesses the options for ending the spending impasse. But none appear promising, as President Donald Trump has rejected the latest proposals.

Shutdown could drag on as Trump won’t move ‘fast’ on national emergency for wall
Dug-in president calls on Congress to ’come back and vote’

President Donald Trump speaks as he is joined by Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise in the Rose Garden at the White House last week. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump signaled Friday that a partial government shutdown now in its record-tying 21st day could drag on for a while as he said he will not move “fast” to declare a national emergency to access border wall funds.

The president told reporters during a border security event in the White House’s Cabinet Room that he has the “right” and legal authority to make the move, which would allow him to access Defense Department dollars and shift them to the construction of a border barrier. But he made clear he plans to continue to press Democrats to give in to his demands before he issues such a decree.

Virginia senators concerned that shutdown could jeopardize security clearances
Furloughed workers cite compounding problems, such as health insurance lapse

Brian Uholik, right, a furloughed Justice Department employee, holds his infant daughter Wynnie while discussing with his wife Jamie how the government shutdown has impacted their family during a roundtable discussion with government employees and Sens. Mark Warner and Sen. Tim Kaine. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Brian Uholik is a proud father of a new baby daughter, but he’s also a furloughed trial attorney at the Department of Justice.

Uholik was among the federal employees from Northern Virginia who met Friday morning with Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, both Democrats who have been pushing for a quick end to the partial government shutdown.

‘That’s why I’m the majority leader and you’re the minority whip’
Hoyer, Scalise trade barbs in first House floor colloquy together

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., replaces Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in the 116th Congress as the No. 2 Republican leader who gets to participate in weekly floor colloquies with the No. 2 Democratic leader, Steny H. Hoyer. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“That’s why I’m the majority leader and you’re the minority whip,” House Democratic leader Steny H. Hoyer said to Republican whip Steve Scalise on the House floor Friday, just one of the ways Hoyer welcomed his new floor sparring partner to the fray. 

The comment was the most pointed and somewhat personal but far from the only political insult the No. 2 party leaders traded during their first colloquy together. 

10 House Republicans cross aisle to support ending shutdown of Interior-Environment programs

Members of the Association of Flight Attendants participate in the National Air Traffic Controllers Association rally to “Stop the Shutdown” in front of the Capitol on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House voted 240-179 on Friday to pass a fiscal 2019 Interior-Environment spending bill, the latest in a series of standalone appropriations measures the chamber has sent this week to a Senate that has no plans to hold a vote. Ten House Republicans crossed the aisle to support the Democratic-drafted bill. 

Those Republicans mirrored the same ones who voted on Thursday for both an Agriculture funding bill and a Transportation-HUD measure: Rodney Davis of Illinois and Christopher H. Smith of New Jersey, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, John Katko of New York, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, Will Hurd of Texas, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Elise Stefanik of New York, Fred Upton of Michigan and Greg Walden of Oregon.