Politics

Former Reps. Mia Love, Luis Gutiérrez join CNN as commentators
Meanwhile, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Lamar Smith head to K Street

Former Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, is now a CNN political commentator. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Reps. Mia Love and Luis Gutiérrez have wasted no time finding new gigs after leaving Congress last week.

Love, a Utah Republican and the only black female Republican in the last Congress, and Gutiérrez, a longtime Chicago-based Democrat, have joined CNN as political commentators.

Trump’s use of border agents for wall pitch raises legal, ethical questions
Episode is latest example of president’s near-daily busting of Washington norms

Vice President of National Border Patrol Council Hector Garza speaks as President Donald Trump and NBPC Vice President Art Del Cueto, right, listen during a surprise visit to the White House briefing room on day 13 of a partial government shutdown. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump was meeting privately with U.S. Border Patrol agents in the Oval Office Thursday when he suddenly told them, “Let’s go out, see the press.” His idea was for them to explain to reporters “the importance of the wall.” But the spectacle that ensued raises legal and ethical questions.

Experts said the president’s use of the officers in what amounted to a border barrier infomercial on afternoon cable television likely did not run astray of a 1939 law that bars most federal employees from conducting political activities while in their official roles. But they indicated other federal laws and guidelines might have been breached in just the latest example of the 45th president’s insistence on making a splash almost daily and eviscerating Washington norms that have been followed by Republican and Democratic presidents alike for decades.

First big bipartisan vote establishes House select committee on modernizing Congress
Washington Democrat Derek Kilmer will chair the select committee

Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., center, purple tie, will chair the new select committee on modernizing Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Taking its first bipartisan vote of the 116th Congress, the House voted Friday to establish a select committee to come up with recommendations for modernizing the legislative branch. 

The 418-12 bipartisan vote was even more significant because it is part of the House Democrats’ rules package. House rules are crafted by the majority party, and they rarely draw votes from the minority.

Trump, Democrats remain ‘far apart’ on shutdown deal as talks resume
Schumer compares president to ‘Jell-O.’ Sanders questions Pelosi before Friday meeting

President Donald Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence, meets with Republican and Democratic congressional leadership on Wednesday in the Situation Room at the White House. They will meet again Friday to try to make progress on ending a partial government shutdown. (Shealah Craighead/White House)

President Donald Trump and congressional leaders, including top Democrats that oppose his proposed southern border wall, will try again Friday to make progress on ending a partial government shutdown. But the odds of a breakthrough appear small.

“Without a wall, you cannot have border security. Without a very strong form of barrier — call it what you will — but without a wall, you cannot have border security,” Trump said Thursday during a surprise visit to the White House briefing room, his first formal appearance there.

Ailing Rep. Walter Jones to have private swearing-in ceremony
NC Republican has been sidelined since September but has shared few details about his health

Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., has missed votes since September. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Walter Jones will be sworn into the new session of Congress privately at his home in Farmville, North Carolina, because he could not be in Washington this week due to an unspecified illness.

“Congressman Jones has been dealing with a medical issue and will be sworn in today,” spokesman Joshua Bowlen said.

We will ‘impeach the motherf---er,’ new Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib says of Trump
As Democratic leadership tamps down impeachment talk, some in rank-and-file keep up pressure

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., used an expletive to describe President Donald Trump at a gathering of progressives on Thursday. (Courtesy Rashida Tlaib for Congress)

In the steady stream of political sound bites, nothing cuts through the noise quite like what Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib said of President Donald Trump Thursday night.

“We’re going to go in there, and we’re going to impeach the motherf---er,” the Michigan freshman congresswoman said to rapturous applause from a group of supporters just hours after she was sworn into the 116th Congress.

Daines, Lankford to serve on both Appropriations and Finance
Last senator to serve on both panels was Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. in 1944

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., will serve on both the Appropriations and Finance committees in the 116th Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sens. Steve Daines of Montana and James Lankford of Oklahoma will become the first senators since Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. in 1944 to serve simultaneously on the Appropriations and Finance committees, according to panel historical records reviewed by Roll Call.

The two Republicans received waivers from Senate GOP conference rules that limit senators to service on just one of the four so-called Super A committees — Appropriations, Finance, Armed Services and Foreign Relations.

House Democrats unveil first major legislative package of voting, campaign finance and ethics overhauls
Committees will soon begin marking up aspects of the package ahead of floor vote on H.R. 1

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., plan to bring a bill to the floor in the coming weeks to overhaul voting and campaign finance laws. Democrats are introducing it as H.R. 1 to signal that it’s their top priority. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Automatic voter registration, independent redistricting commissions, super PAC restrictions, forced release of presidential tax returns — these are just a handful of the provisions in a massive government overhaul package House Democrats will formally unveil Friday, according to a summary of the legislation obtained by Roll Call. 

The package is being introduced as H.R. 1 to show that it’s the top priority of the new Democratic majority. Committees with jurisdiction over the measures will hold markups on the legislation before the package is brought to the floor sometime later this month or early in February. 

House Democrats pass government funding bills, Pelosi jokes she’d give Trump $1 for a wall
More seriously, Pelosi reiterates Democrats will not agree to wall as Republicans predict long shutdown

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., pictured greeting Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., during opening day proceedings of the 116th Congress Jan. 3, said Democrats will not agree to a border wall but joked she’d give President Donald Trump $1 for it. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The new House Democratic majority passed two government funding bills Thursday to open shuttered federal agencies that President Donald Trump has said he will not sign, as Republicans predicted the partial government shutdown will be a long one. 

Before the votes Speaker Nancy Pelosi reiterated that Democrats will not agree to a border wall but joked that she’d give Trump $1 for it.

Pelosi Invites Trump for State of the Union
California Democrat sends letter to president Thursday evening

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., here Thursday with House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, has invited President Donald Trump to deliver his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Jan. 29. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Nancy Pelosi, hours after being sworn in as speaker Thursday, invited President Donald Trump to give his upcoming State of the Union speech before a joint session of Congress.

“In the spirit of our Constitution, I invite you to deliver your State of the Union address before a Joint Session of Congress on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019 in the House Chamber,” the California Democrat wrote in a letter to the president Thursday evening.

House adopts rules package with few Democratic defections over PAYGO provision
Package establishes two select committees, requires committee action before floor votes, among other changes

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., swears in members in the House chamber on the first day of the 116th Congress on Jan. 3, 2019. Later that afternoon the House adopted its rules package for new Congress. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House on Thursday adopted the bulk of a rules package for the 116th Congress that featured dozens of changes designed to restore more committee and bipartisan involvement in the legislative process, increase transparency and clamp down on ethics violations. 

The measure, adopted 234 to 197, was crafted by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rules Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., with input from members across all factions of the House Democratic majority.

Senate set to assert itself on Syria sanctions, Middle East policy early in 2019
New Syria sanctions appear to be among the top legislative priorities

Sens. Marco Rubio and Jim Risch are leading the first bill introduced in the Senate in the new Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate is moving quickly to assert its point-of-view on U.S. policy regarding Syria and in the broader Middle East, and it could serve as a rebuttal to the decision by President Donald Trump to pull back U.S. forces from Syria.

Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio introduced the first piece of legislation on the first day of the new Congress (designated as S 1), and it could lay a marker  on the situation in Syria and the Middle East. The backers include the new chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy outlasts Ryan; continues his role in new Congress
Former speaker sought to remove Jesuit priest

Father Patrick J. Conroy will remain in his role of House chaplain for the 116th Congress, after a year of that was full of turmoil surrounding the role. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Father Patrick J. Conroy will remain in his role as House chaplain for the 116th Congress, after a year full of turmoil surrounding the role.

The House voice voted Thursday afternoon to install the House officers —   but not without an extra hurdle for the chaplain.

Trump congratulates Pelosi in briefing room, stumps for ‘wall’ by any other name
‘Whatever you want to call it’

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., swears in members in the Capitol’s House chamber on the first day of the 116th Congress on January 3, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump made a surprise appearance Thursday in the White House briefing room, congratulating Speaker Nancy Pelosi on taking back the gavel and predicting they will work together on substantial legislation.

“It’s a very very great achievement and hopefully we’re going to work together and get lots of things done, like infrastructure,” Trump said.

For Senate, a day of pomp and ceremony marred by shutdown clouds
As new Congress convenes, flap over government spending follows members

Vice President Mike Pence leaves the Old Senate Chamber after conducting the ceremonial swear-in of senators elected in 2018 on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate opened a new Congress Thursday with a partial government shutdown still underway. But the day was still reserved for more ceremony than substance.

After swearing-in the newly elected and re-elected senators on the Senate floor just after noon on Thursday as outlined in the Constitution, Vice President Mike Pence made his way to the Old Senate Chamber for the traditional photo ops and ceremonial swearings-in for most of the third of the Senate on the ballot this past November.