Homeland Security

Senators press census chief on cyber, outreach fears
After citizenship question abandoned, worries continue

Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., arrives in the Capitol building for a vote on April 10, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Census Bureau’s chief on Tuesday pushed back on concerns about cyberattacks and outreach in rural areas in testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

In the first congressional testimony by a bureau official since the Trump administration dropped a citizenship question from the 2020 census, the issue was only briefly addressed. Senators instead focused on the implementation of the count next year, which will be the first to rely primarily on online responses. That change has raised fears of cyber intrusions and technology shortfalls.

Threats against members increasing, Capitol Police chief says
Rep. Bennie Thompson calls for police to reexamine safety following Trump attacks on Democrats

Capitol Police Chief Steven A. Sund said threats against members of Congress are increasing. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Threats against members of Congress continue to grow, Capitol Police Chief Steven A. Sund said Tuesday at his first appearance as head of the department before the House Administration Committee.

“We continue to see the threat assessment cases that we’re opening continue to grow,” Sund said. “For fiscal year 2018, we had approximately 4,894 cases. So far, for this year, we have 2,502 cases. So we’re on par to probably break last year’s.”

Road ahead: Pressure rising for debt limit deal
Lawmakers face deadline on debt even as other priorities come to floor

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and other congressional leaders and the administration only have a few legislative days to strike a deal  on raising the debt limit. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congress is set to consider several high-profile measures this week, including holding two Cabinet officials in contempt, raising the minimum wage and ratifying tax treaties, but lawmakers will be unable to avoid the contentious issue of raising the federal debt ceiling. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been speaking by phone, trying to reach agreement on avoiding a potentially calamitous debt default.

House Oversight Dems call on Trump to pay D.C. for Independence Day, inauguration
Cummings, Norton lead charge seeking to replenish D.C. security fund

Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., holds the gavel during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats on the House Oversight Committee are calling on President Donald Trump to commit to paying the District of Columbia back for providing public safety support for federal events in the city after Mayor Muriel Bowser said that Trump’s “Salute to America” drained it.

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, of Maryland, and D.C. Democratic Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton wrote to the White House Friday asking Trump to reimburse the district’s Emergency Planning and Security Fund for his inauguration and Fourth of July celebration. Bowser has said the account is expected to not only be empty before the end of the year, but will incur overages of $6 million.

Flatware gets its day in NDAA
House amendment would require Defense Department to buy from domestic manufacturers

Rep. Anthony Brindisi’s amendment is aimed at a flatware manufacturer in his upstate New York district. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the House slogs through more than 400 amendments to the annual Pentagon policy bill, debate has centered on the deployment of U.S. troops to the southern border, a potential ban on some lower-yield nuclear weapons, war authorizations and … flatware.

Yes, flatware. Cutlery. Knives and forks and spoons. One of the 439 amendments put forth would require the Defense Department to buy “stainless steel flatware” and “dinner ware” from domestic, rather than foreign, manufacturers.

No new legislative momentum after election security briefings
House has passed legislation, but there is no plan for moving a Senate bill

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks with reporters as he leaves the closed briefing on election security in the Capitol on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Marco Rubio emerged from a closed briefing on the Trump administration’s efforts to secure elections and made a renewed push for his own bipartisan deterrence legislation, even as he acknowledged there has not been momentum.

“In my view, they’re doing everything you can do,” Rubio said of the administration efforts. “Election interference is a broadly used term, and understand this is psychological warfare. It’s designed to weaken America from the inside out, to drive divisions internally so we fight with each other, to undermine our confidence in the elections and in our democracy and particularly to undermine individual candidates either because they don’t like that candidate or because they know someone else.”

No one argues for keeping marijuana illegal, but next step divides House panel
As Democrats focus on racial impact, Republicans argue for incremental steps

Rep. Karen Bass said decades of marijuana prosecutions have given millions of citizens second class status. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

At a hearing on marijuana Wednesday, no one on the House subcommittee who helps write the criminal code spoke out in clear support of continuing the prohibition that has been part of federal law for decades.

“Personally I believe cannabis use in most cases is ill advised, but many things are ill advised that should not be illegal,” said California Republican Rep. Tom McClintock, the panel's acting ranking member.

DC’s ‘acting’ bug spreads to the Hill
House Freedom Caucus is getting in on the act

House Freedom Caucus members, from left, Reps. Mark Meadows, Thomas Massie, and Jim Jordan have a new acting communications director. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Freedom Caucus now has an acting communications director as the outgoing flack takes a new position with Vice President Mike Pence.

The position adds to the long list of “actings” in President Donald Trump’s D.C. If you’re keeping count there’s an acting White House chief of staff, secretary of Homeland Security, secretary of Defense, secretary of the Navy, as well as the heads of the Small Business Association and the Office of Management and Budget.

House Judiciary to vote on subpoenas on family separation order
Chair Jerrold Nadler said 12 individuals would be issued subpoenas including Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Trump’s son-in-law Jared C. Kushner

Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., presides over the House Judiciary Committee hearing on June 26, 2019. He said the committee will take a vote on a resolution Thursday that would authorize the issuing of subpoenas to current and former White House officials who participated in the 2018 decisions over the "zero tolerance" policy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled for Thursday a vote on a resolution that would authorize the issuing of subpoenas to current and former White House officials who participated in the 2018 decisions over the “zero tolerance” policy, which resulted in the separation of more than 2,500 children from their migrant parents at the southern border.

The resolution would authorize subpoenas for documents and testimony from current and former administration officials relating to the family separation policy, other separating policies and the detention of children and families.

Road ahead: War powers debate shifts to House
Senate turns back to nominations after brief period of legislating

California Rep. Ro Khanna is leading an amendment to the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act that would block the Trump administration from using military force in Iran without congressional approval. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 5:02 p.m. | Congress could get a second opportunity this week to try and block President Donald Trump from going to war with Iran without congressional approval as the House debates its fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.

The Senate rejected an amendment seeking to add such language to its version of the measure before it left for the July Fourth recess. The overall measure passed 86-8.