Florida

From poverty to power: Staffer for Rep. Darren Soto reflects on childhood
23-year-old Clarissa Rojas is communications director for the Florida Democrat

A chance encounter at a Chick-fil-A drive-thru helped turn Clarissa Rojas toward a career in government. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

“My mom would be upset that I’m doing this interview,” Clarissa Rojas said softly inside the lively Longworth House Office Building cafeteria. “I’m doing it because I think it’s important that people know what Capitol Hill is made of.”

Rojas, the new communications director for Florida Democratic Rep. Darren Soto, didn’t find herself in one of the nation’s most expensive cities because her parents could afford it. After all, her father didn’t even pay the child support she and her older brother could’ve used growing up.

Florida GOP Rep. Francis Rooney not seeking reelection
‘I’ve done what I came to do, and I want to be a model for term limits’

Florida Rep. Francis Rooney says he’s not seeking a third term. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Florida Rep. Francis Rooney, who broke with many of his Republican colleagues when he said he wouldn’t rule out supporting the impeachment of President Donald Trump, announced he will not seek reelection next year. 

The two-term Republican grew more receptive this week to the House impeachment inquiry after acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said in a televised briefing that seeking help to investigate Democrats was part of the reason military aid to Ukraine was temporarily withheld. 

Some Republicans inch closer to Trump impeachment after Mulvaney comments
Possible support for the ongoing probe comes as 2016 presidential candidate Kasich supports impeachment outright

Florida Rep. Francis Rooney, who is weighing retiring from Congress, has broken with his Republican colleagues on impeachment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Several Republicans grew more receptive this week to the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump after acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on Thursday said in a televised briefing that seeking help to investigate Democrats was part of the reason military aid to Ukraine was temporarily withheld.

While Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill have signaled they’re eager to learn more from the impeachment investigation led by House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff, 2016 GOP presidential candidate and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Friday that he is “across the Rubicon” and Trump should be impeached.

Impeachment news roundup: Oct. 18
Cleaning up after Mulvaney; Perry won't comply with subpoena; former ambassador blames Giuliani

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney answers questions from reporters at the White House on Thursday. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

After weeks of “no quid pro quo” with Ukraine replacing “no collusion” with the Russians in President Donald Trump’s responses to the investigations into his administration, Mick Mulvaney, his acting chief of staff, said there was a quid pro quo.

Then he and the White House spent the following hours Thursday trying to put that genie back in the bottle. But, in true Trump-style, his 2020 campaign decided to capitalize on the press conference by selling a T-shirt emblazoned with one of the more memorable lines from Mulvaney’s press conference.  

Lopsided cease-fire ‘deal’ emboldens Turkey, harms U.S. allies
Temporary, nonbinding, requiring nothing: ‘We got what we wanted,’ foreign minister says

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House on Oct. 10. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS — President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday that Vice President Mike Pence had reached an agreement with Turkey’s president for a halt to hostilities in northern Syria.

“This is a great day for civilization,” Trump wrote. “People have been trying to make this “Deal” for many years.”

Hill staffers worried about expenses turn to student loan benefit
Repayment program helps staffers keep costs down and remain on Hill

Congressional workers say the loan repayment program provides an opportunity for those trying to manage the cost of education while embarking on a Capitol Hill career. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Kendra Horn was a recent law school graduate in 2004 when she took a job as press secretary to fellow Oklahoma Democrat Brad Carson. Fourteen years before her own election to the House, she made the move from Oklahoma to Washington and almost immediately felt the pressures of a tight budget.

With a pile of student loans and a low starting salary, she tried to keep her expenses to a minimum. She kept her food costs low, scoping out the cheaper places to eat, and paid for groceries on her credit card. But with all of her budgeting, she wasn’t making enough to make payments on her student loans.

Cummings unites lawmakers, for the moment, as impeachment inquiry trudges forward
Probe that late Maryland Democrat helped lead continued with witness depositions Thursday

A memorial for the late House Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah E. Cummings is seen in the committee’s Rayburn Building hearing room on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House lawmakers dialed down the partisan rancor, at least for a day, as they honored the life of Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, who died early Thursday at age 68. But the impeachment inquiry, of which the Maryland Democrat was a key leader, is forging ahead.

The investigation into President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine has stoked anger among Republicans who view the probe as illegitimate. Democrats’ frustrations with the president’s conduct and his supporters in Congress are only growing. The death of Cummings, held in deep respect on both sides of the aisle, didn’t put the partisan fighting completely to rest, but it did quell the most inflammatory elements for the moment.

At Dallas rally, embattled Trump calls 2020 a fight for ‘survival of American democracy’
President hauls in $5.5 million in 2020 campaign cash at two Texas fundraisers

President Donald Trump speaks at the 2019 House Republican Conference Member Retreat dinner in Baltimore last month. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump wasted little time Thursday at a campaign rally in Dallas attacking Democrats leading an impeachment probe against him, saying “Crazy Nancy” and “Shifty Schiff” hate the United States.

“The Democrats have betrayed our country,” he said to cheers, adding the 2020 election is about the “survival of American democracy.”

Office of Congressional Ethics has transmitted four matters to Ethics Committee for further review
Cases are deemed by OCE to have a ‘substantial reason’ to believe a violation may have occurred

Rep. Ross Spano, R-Fla., right, has a campaign finance matter currently before the House Ethics Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The independent investigative entity that examines ethical transgressions of House lawmakers has undertaken five new matters to review potential misconduct and transmitted four cases to the House Ethics Committee for further review in the third quarter.

The Office of Congressional Ethics, according to its latest activity report released Thursday, deemed those four matters contain a “substantial reason” to believe a violation may have occurred. 

Pence says Turkey has agreed to cease fire in northern Syria
Trump has faced a bipartisan backlash over pulling U.S. troops from buffer zone along Turkey-Syria border

Smoke rises over the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain on Thursday as Turkish forces try to extend their control of more of northern Syria, which is currently held by Syrian Kurds. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence announced later Thursday that Turkey had agreed to a cease fire in the area. (Burak Kara/Getty Images)

Vice President Mike Pence announced on Thursday that a ceasefire agreement had been reached with the Turkish government that would allow for a cessation of fighting in northeast Syria where Syrian Kurds have been getting hammered for the last week.

Specifics of the ceasefire, which was to last for 120 hours, were initially scarce but Pence at a news conference in Ankara alongside Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said it was already being implemented.