infrastructure

Visit by ‘Trump of the Tropics’ puts ‘America First’ in spotlight
Bolsonaro’s embrace gives Trump another chance to pitch himself as fighting socialism

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, left, poses with Venezuelan opposition leader and self-declared iterim president Juan Guaido during a news conference in Brasilia on February 28. (Andressa Anholete/Getty Images)

A populist message built on a pledge to put his country “first.” Hardline immigration policies. A get-tough-on China stance. And a controversial relationship with conservative strategist Steve Bannon.

Though that description certainly applies to President Donald Trump, it could also describe the man with whom Trump will appear Tuesday in the White House Rose Garden: Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s new president.

Trump leaving budget salesmanship to others, again
Silence comes at time of heightened attention to issues concerning wall, military

For the second consecutive year, President Donald Trump mostly has left selling his budget request to others. This year, acting OMB Director Russell Vought, right, seen here with Government Publishing Office acting Deputy Director Herbert Jackson, has been doing the honors. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump often has a lot to say, but what he doesn’t say can be just as illuminating. Take his latest budget proposal. 

The administration is asking Congress to spend $4.7 trillion next year despite the president’s gripes that the federal government is too bloated and spends too much. But so far, Trump is showing zero interest in making the case for his request, which experts say resembles a campaign document as much as one about governing. Trump opted against a public event on Monday, leaving the budget rollout mostly to his acting budget chief, Russell Vought, and surrogates on Capitol Hill and cable news.

Trump’s DOT stalling for revenge, say backers of NY-NJ project
The agency is accused of stalling Amtrak’s Gateway project because of Democratic opposition to a Mexico border wall

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., conducts a news conference after the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol on Tuesday, March 5, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators from New Jersey and New York accused the Trump administration of stalling Amtrak’s Gateway project linking their states as revenge for Democratic opposition to a Mexico border wall. One said a deputy transportation secretary lied about the project, and that could hurt his nomination to serve in the Justice Department.

Deputy Transportation Secretary Jeffrey Rosen, who has been nominated for deputy attorney general, said Monday there was no funding for Gateway in the fiscal 2020 budget or in the fiscal 2019 appropriations package that Trump signed in February to end a standoff over the wall.

Trump to face reporters after 5 days of silence and a run of bad news
Previous spans of silence have ended with eruptions from POTUS

President Donald Trump, after a five-day break, will face reporters’ questions Wednesday afternoon. Such silence spans have ended with presidential eruptions since he took office. (Photo By Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS - “Just another quiet day at the White House,” a reporter said to a Roll Call scribe as they left the executive campus Tuesday evening. “Too quiet,” the Roll Call reporter responded, adding: “Can’t last much longer.” The first reporter nodded knowingly and said, “Yeah...”

More than a bit out of character, President Donald Trump has not uttered a word in public since Friday. That is scheduled to change Wednesday afternoon — and anything could happen.

Trump is leaving infrastructure details to lawmakers. That has stymied them before
‘Few Republicans will go down this road,’ expert says of WH proposal in budget plan

President Donald Trump delivers a speech on June 7, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio about transportation and infrastructure projects. Despite it being a major 2016 campaign promise, he has been unable to get anything on the topic moving on Capitol Hill. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Donald Trump has talked about the “necessity” of a massive infrastructure overhaul since he became a presidential candidate in 2015, but his latest budget plan offers Congress the kind of vague proposal that has left them confused and stymied before.

The administration is asking lawmakers for $200 billion as an initial payment toward the president’s goal — up to $1.5 trillion from $1 trillion — for a sweeping project to upgrade the country’s roads, airports, bridges, tunnels, seaports and broadband networks. But senior officials say they won’t lay out a plan for which projects in which states Trump would like to see receive any of those dollars.

After HR 1 vote, Democrats ready to move quickly on other top 10 bills
Pelosi has been steadily rolling out bills HR 1 through 10 to keep priorities advancing

Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Democrats are following through on their campaign promises with legislation. She’s designated bills HR 1 through HR 10 to reflect those top priorities. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 12:03 p.m. | House Democrats were in high spirits Friday after they passed the top item on their policy agenda — a package of voting, campaign finance and ethics overhauls dubbed HR 1 — but they’re not going to stop to celebrate for too long.

The new Democratic majority has been quickly, but steadily and deliberately, rolling out legislation to fulfill their 2018 midterm campaign promises and reintroducing bills that languished during the past eight years when Republicans controlled the House. 

Two speeches, two audiences, same Pence pitch to blue-collar voters
Gallup: With big base turnout, approval below 50 percent in key states ‘may be enough’

Vice President Mike Pence arrives at the Capitol. In speeches this week, he has talked up blue-collar economic data. Those voters again will be key in the 2020 presidential race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Vice President Mike Pence hit many of the same notes Tuesday and Wednesday, though his speeches were calibrated for different audiences: manufacturing bigwigs one day and Latino business honchos the next. Both days he had a message for a voting bloc key to deciding if he and President Donald Trump win a second term.

Pence spoke Wednesday to the Latino Coalition’s annual legislative summit at the Park Hyatt hotel in Washington, driving home the need for “a legal immigration system that works, that’s built on opportunity for all and on merit — and that all begins with border security.” He also spoke about the administration’s contention that Latino unemployment rates are at an all-time low, while calling Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro “a dictator with no legitimate claim to power.”

3 things to watch: Trump kids, associates eye pleading the Fifth as Dems bore in
WH counsel’s letter to Rep. Cummings reveals legal strategy to fight probes

Children of President Donald Trump — Tiffany Trump (in white), Donald Trump Jr. (back left), and Eric Trump (center front) and wife Lara Trump (front right) — applaud during their father's State of the Union address on Jan. 30. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — It was a remarkable 24-hour reversal, with President Donald Trump first saying Monday he cooperates with “everybody” before turning to an unlikely source for a precedent to reject House Democrats’ demands for reams of documents: Barack Obama.

House Democratic chairmen of committees in the embryonic stages of investigations into all things Trump have requested documents from and interviews with a long list of individuals and entities related to the president’s time in office, 2016 campaign and business dealings. Trump seemed willing to, at least in some form, comply with some of those requests when he said this on Monday: “I cooperate all the time, with everybody.

Road ahead: HR 1 vote, Cohen returns, senators seek info on Khashoggi, North Korea
House Democrats to vote on top priority, while Senate Republicans continue to confirm judges

Travelers exit Union Station as the Capitol Dome reflects in the glass door on Friday, March 1, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House this week will vote on its marquee bill, HR 1, and haul Michael Cohen back in for more questioning, while senators seek information on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the latest North Korea summit.

HR 1, formally titled the For the People Act after Democrats’ 2018 campaign slogan, is a government overhaul package featuring changes to voting, campaign finance and ethics laws

Senate Commerce chairman eyes data privacy bill this year
Sen. Roger Wicker hopes to act decisively on a federal privacy bill to avoid a patchwork of state legislation

Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman Roger Wicker. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman Roger Wicker is aiming to have a federal data privacy bill written and passed by Congress this year as technology companies, privacy advocates and civil rights groups press lawmakers to act decisively to avoid a patchwork of state legislation.

“It would be nice to have it on the president’s desk this year,” the Mississippi Republican told reporters Wednesday after leading a hearing on how Congress should approach a federal data privacy bill. Wicker said the bill that emerges from the discussions is likely to be a “good strong bill” that will garner bipartisan support and also avoid a 50-state grab bag of laws.