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Urgency of marijuana policy was on full display Tuesday
Senate Banking hearing and bills unveiled give an early look at key 2020 issue

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., left, and Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., testified before a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on marijuana and banking. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

“In short, the sky is not falling in Colorado.”

That is how Republican Sen. Cory Gardner summed up his testimony to the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday morning, where he was advocating for legislative action to give legal marijuana businesses access to banks and protection for banks from being viewed as money-launderers under federal law for handling their money.

Amazon, Facebook up their K Street spending; other players dip

Facebook spent the most in its history on lobbying in this year’s second quarter. Above, CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies at a House hearing in April of last year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Tech powerhouses Facebook and Amazon spent the most in their histories on lobbying in this year’s second quarter, propelling them into the top tier of K Street spenders, while other big players reported a decline in their lobbying investment.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, long the dominant big spender, continued its reign, despite recent turmoil in staffing and a leadership change that has raised questions about the organization’s future. The chamber, drug industry group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and Northrop Grumman reported a dip in spending in the second quarter when compared with the first three months of the year, according to just filed lobbying reports.

Mueller it over: Here are your options for Wednesday morning libations
From bottomless mimosas to business as usual, bars near the Capitol are bracing for the hearing(s) of the year

Former special counsel Robert Mueller will be on the Hill Wednesday. Where will you be? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Wednesday is a big day for anyone celebrating the Mueller hearings — or National Tequila Day. Either way, you can start it with a drink, thanks to these Capitol Hill bars.

Both you and former special counsel Robert Mueller could potentially be looking at the worst Wednesday of your life, but lucky for you, overindulgence can serve as your excuse. Hawk ‘n’ Dove is opening its doors at 8:30 a.m. No funny drink names here — just bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys for $20. 

Kamala Harris, Jerry Nadler bill would decriminalize marijuana, expunge most convictions
Legislation set to be unveiled on Tuesday would include a 5-percent tax on cannabis products

Strains of marijuana are on display at The Apothecary Shoppe marijuana dispensary in Las Vegas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Changing marijuana policy needs to go beyond decriminalization to the expunging of old criminal convictions, according to two key Democratic lawmakers.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York and California Sen. Kamala Harris, a 2020 White House hopeful, have come together on new legislation designed to address both sides of the equation. The legislation is likely to serve as a key marker heading into next year’s elections. 

2020 census affects more than representation, billions at stake
The census influences more than $800 billion in federal government spending and business decisions

Protesters hold signs at rally in front of U.S. Supreme Court after ruling on census was handed down. In Alaska, census results drive tens of millions of dollars from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to Native American communities to help build up housing that is lacking. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Less than 300 miles from the Arctic Circle, Toksook Bay, Alaska, has about 600 people, a dozen or so streets and averages a high of 12 degrees in January, the month the 2020 census will begin there.

The responses among Alaska Natives in Toksook Bay and throughout the state could have a huge impact on the future of their community, not just in terms of political representation but whether they have a roof over their heads.

Conservative websites resurface 2016 video of Rep. Tlaib confronting Trump
President targeted Michigan Democrat and three other female Democrats of color last week

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., walks up the House steps for a vote in the Capitol on May 9, 2019. On Sunday, multiple conservative websites resurfaced a video of Tlaib being escorted out of a campaign event of then-candidate Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Multiple conservative websites sympathetic to President Donald Trump in his ongoing feud with four Democratic congresswomen of color, put up posts this weekend resurfacing a 2016 video of one of the ‘squad’ members disrupting a Trump event in Detroit.

“You guys are crazy!” Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who was not in Congress at the time, can be heard yelling to attendees as she is being escorted from the event by a security guard leading her by her left arm. The videos that were surfaced over the weekend only show Tlaib being forcibly removed from the event and yelling back at Trump and then other attendees.

Drug price transparency prompts fight among Democrats
Dispute is partly a turf battle between two committees who want to produce legislation on a high-profile issue

Consumer advocates clearly prefer a measure offered in the the Energy and Commerce Committee by Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A dispute among Democrats over competing drug price transparency bills is complicating an issue that should have been one of the least controversial parts of the congressional effort to lower health care costs.

Two panels that oversee health care issues each approved measures this year to require drug companies to reveal information when they increase prices. While consumer advocates note drawbacks with both, they clearly prefer a measure from the Energy and Commerce Committee by Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Illinois, over a similar Ways and Means Committee bill.

Trump says ‘thousands’ of companies are leaving China. It’s not that simple
President routinely exaggerates situation, which also has roots in rising wages for Chinese workers

President Donald Trump listens to adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner speak during a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday. (John T. Bennett/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump repeatedly asserts that “thousands” of companies are scurrying to flee China because of his tariffs. But Asia and trade experts say he is exaggerating data for political gain.

As the president tells it, U.S. and other firms have either moved or will move their production operations and supply chains off Chinese soil because he has slapped $250 billion worth of import duties on Chinese products. As recently as last Tuesday, Trump threatened further tariffs of $325 billion on goods from the Asian superpower. Experts, however, say the situation is not that black and white.

Governor who? Hickenlooper, Inslee and Bullock are at 1 percent. Combined
Democrats are ho-hum on their governors in the 2020 presidential race. That’s a pity

The years of executive experience that, from left, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee bring to the table should still matter, Murphy writes. (Tom Williams/Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photos)

OPINION — It’s hard not to feel a little sorry for John Hickenlooper. He did everything you’re supposed to do to become a White House contender. First, he started a successful business in Colorado — one of the first brewpubs around. He then launched a long-shot bid for Denver mayor, which he won. He was reelected four years later with 86 percent of the vote.

Then it was on to eight years as Colorado’s governor. Along with overseeing nearly a decade of a booming state economy, he also racked up Democrat-favored legislative wins from expanding Medicaid to passing gun safety measures limiting high-capacity magazines and requiring background checks to reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. By the time he left the governor’s mansion earlier this year, Colorado had 500,000 more new jobs than when he was first sworn in. So hello, top-tier presidential campaign, amiright? Uh, no.

They left Congress. Where are they now?
Ex-members are ‘recovering,’ ‘diving back into reality-land’ after 115th Congress

(Composite by Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

Ryan A. Costello, a 42-year-old Pennsylvania Republican who retired after the 115th Congress following a court-ordered redistricting that made reelection difficult, does “a lot of Legos” now with his two children, ages 2 and 5.

Luis V. Gutiérrez, an Illinois Democrat who stepped down after 13 terms, is learning to swim and play the guitar, and hopes to be able to perform a Beatles song by Christmas.