Congress

Congress is Trump’s best hope for drug pricing action
But divisions remain between Republicans and Democrats, House and Senate

The administration will need congressional help to take action this year on drug prices. (File photo)

An upcoming Senate bill is the Trump administration’s best hope for a significant achievement before next year’s election to lower prescription drug prices, but a lot still needs to go right for anything to become law.

Despite the overwhelming desire for action, there are still policy gulfs between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, and another gap between the Senate and the House. And the politics of the moment might derail potential policy agreements. Some Democrats might balk at settling for a drug pricing compromise that President Donald Trump endorsed.

Senate appropriations markups likely off until September
Congressional leaders and Trump administration have to agree on spending caps in next few weeks

Senate Appropriations Chairman Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., is holding off on assembling the fiscal 2020 spending bills (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Appropriations Committee likely won’t mark up any of its fiscal 2020 spending bills before leaving town for the August recess — the first time in more than three decades the panel hasn’t debated any of the annual spending bills before the customary summer break.

The decision to hold back Senate appropriations bills in the absence of a spending caps agreement has set a markedly different pace for the committee than last year, when it sent all 12 of its bills to the floor before the break began.

Resolution vote forces House Republicans to pick a side on Trump’s racist attack
Several Republicans have publicly criticized president’s tirade, while others defended him

From left, Reps. Ayanna S. Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar  and Rashida Tlaib talk to reporters in the Capitol Visitor Center on Monday responding to President Donald Trump’s attacks on them. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is moving forward with a resolution condemning President Donald Trump’s repeated calls for four non-white members of Congress to “go back” to “the crime infested countries from which they came.” 

Pelosi announced late Monday night that the House will debate the resolution Tuesday afternoon and the vote will occur at 7 p.m.

Trump admits he was a liability in 2018
New books states president deliberately hindered Minnesota Republican Erik Paulsen’s reelection

President Donald Trump might have more of a nuanced self-awareness of his political standing than he advertises, according to a behind-the-scenes moment captured by Tim Alberta for his new book "American Carnage." (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump still won’t publicly admit he was a significant factor in Republicans’ loss of the House in 2018. But a behind-the-scenes moment captured in a new book suggests he is more politically self-aware than he leads on.

We know that Trump doesn’t admit mistakes or commit sins. It’s not in his personality or good for his brand to acknowledge any weakness. But, according to Politico’s Tim Alberta, the president endorsed a vulnerable member of Congress in an intentional effort to weaken his candidacy.

Oil refiners racing Congress to protect butane loophole
Joint Committee on Taxation now estimates 1-year extension of the alternative fuel credits would cost $7.1 billion

House Ways and Means ranking member Kevin Brady, R-Texas, says Congress should leave it to the courts to decide whether refiners should get an alternative fuel tax credit for butane. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For more than a decade, oil refiners didn’t realize what a moneymaker they had in butane — at least for tax purposes.

They do now.

Mnuchin blasts Facebook's Libra currency on eve of hearings
The treasury secretary expressed concern it ‘could be misused by money launderers and terrorist financiers’

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a House Energy and Commerce Committee in Rayburn Building on the protection of user data on April 11, 2018. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday he worries Facebook’s Libra and other cryptocurrencies “could be misused by money launderers and terrorist financiers.”(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Facebook’s Libra and other cryptocurrencies “could be misused by money launderers and terrorist financiers,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Monday, one day before Congress begins a series of hearings probing the social media giant’s first foray into next-generation financial technology.

“The U.S. welcomes responsible innovation including new tech that improve the efficiency of the financial system,” Mnunchin said during a White House press briefing.

‘His plan to pit us against one another:’ Progressive ‘squad’ responds to Trump attacks
Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley, Omar and Tlaib say they won’t let president distract from Democrats’ agenda

From left, Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., conduct a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center responding to negative comments by President Donald Trump that were directed at them. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The “squad,” as four progressive Democratic freshman minority women call themselves, responded Monday to President Donald Trump’s repeated calls for them to leave the country by calling it a “distraction” — even as they said the House should impeach him. 

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York,  Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and  Rashida Tlaib of Michigan said they will not let Trump’s attacks — “a continuation of his racist, xenophobic playbook” as Omar called it — distract them from Democrats’ agenda.

Mnuchin: Parties moving closer on debt limit, spending caps
Mnuchin said he and Pelosi have been having regular conversations since last week, including a Saturday phone call

Steven Mnuchin, left, President-elect Trump's nominee for Treasury secretary, arrives with Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, right, and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., during Mnuchin's Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing in Dirksen Building, January 19, 2017. Mnuchin said Monday the White House and congressional leaders are “getting closer” to a deal on spending caps and the debt ceiling. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday that White House and congressional leaders are “getting closer” to a deal that would raise austere spending caps as well as the statutory debt ceiling.

Mnuchin told reporters at a briefing on cryptocurrency regulation that he planned to speak with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., later Monday. The two have been having regular conversations since last week, including a Saturday phone call.

Del. Holmes Norton ‘sees good news’ in a poll finding a majority reject D.C. statehood
Gallup found 64 percent of Americans oppose making Washington, D.C., a separate state.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., left, and Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser. A new Gallup poll found a majority of Americans do not support D.C. statehood. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton “sees good news” in a new Gallup poll that found a majority of Americans reject D.C. statehood.

The Gallup poll, conducted in June and released Monday, found 64 percent of Americans oppose making Washington a separate state. It was released to coincide with a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on Holmes Norton’s statehood bill, which has been postponed to accommodate testimony from Robert S. Mueller III.  

Debt limit talks pick up pace and tax credit bonanza
CQ Budget podcast, Episode 118

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is supporting congressional efforts to raise the debt limit before the summer recess. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With new warnings that the U.S. could run out of money to meet its obligations, Congress and the Trump administration are racing to raise the debt limit before lawmakers head home for August, says CQ Roll Call’s appropriations reporter Jennifer Shutt. And tax reporter Doug Sword explains how oil refiners could get up to a $10 billion windfall with an expired tax credit unless Congress intervenes.

House orders Pentagon to say if it weaponized ticks and released them
The order requires the agency to say if it experimented with insects for use as a biological weapon between 1950 and 1975

A Close Up Of An Adult Female Deer Tick, Dog Tick, And A Lone Star Tick on book print. The House vote to require the Pentagon inspector general to tell Congress whether the department experimented with weaponizing disease-carrying insects and whether they were released into the public realm — either accidentally or on purpose. (Getty Images)

The House quietly voted last week to require the Pentagon inspector general to tell Congress whether the department experimented with weaponizing disease-carrying insects and whether they were released into the public realm — either accidentally or on purpose.

The unusual proposal took the form of an amendment that was adopted by voice vote July 11 during House debate on the fiscal 2020 defense authorization bill, which lawmakers passed the following day.

Pelosi announces resolution condemning Trump’s racist tweets
The president’s weekend tweetstorm has brought the sometimes-fractured Democrats together as they denounce his comments

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced a resolution condemning racist tweets from President Donald Trump directed at fellow House Democrats. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Monday a resolution in the House condemning President Donald Trump’s tweets over the weekend in which he instructed progressive congresswomen to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

The president’s weekend tweetstorm has brought the sometimes-fractured Democrats together as they denounce his statements, which have been condemned by many as racist.

Democrats renew impeachment inquiry calls after Trump’s racist tweets
Reps. Al Green, Madeleine Dean among House Democrats who resumed impeachment chatter on Monday

Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, resumed his call to impeach President Donald Trump on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Al Green has promised to force a vote "this month" on impeaching President Donald Trump after the president fired off a series of tweets on Sunday, widely condemned as racist, in which he told four minority Democratic congresswomen to “go back” to the countries of their ancestry before trying to fix America’s problems.

Other House Democrats renewed their pleas to party leadership Monday to open a Judiciary Committee impeachment inquiry into Trump.

EPA approves use of bee-killing pesticide
Agency also suspends study of bee populations

Award winning bees at the Iowa 2018 State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa.  The EPA said Friday it was permitting the broader use of the pesticide sulfoxaflor. (Tom Williams/Roll Call file photo)

Just days after another federal agency suspended its periodical study of honey bee populations, the EPA greenlighted the wider use of a pesticide that environmental activists warn could further decimate the pollinators.

A major conservation group says it will take the agency to court over the decision.

Democrats condemn Trump’s racist tweets, congressional Republicans mostly silent
House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern calls his GOP colleagues ‘cowards’

Democratic Reps. Ayanna S. Pressley, from right, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Veronica Escobar  testify about their trip ICE detention facilities at the southern border last week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 5:59 p.m. | While Democrats were united in their condemnation of President Donald Trump’s call Sunday for four members of Congress to “go back” to “the crime infested countries from which they came,” Republicans on Monday were slow to publicly comment on the president’s tirade. 

On the Republican side of the aisle, condemnations of Trump for calling four of their colleagues unworthy to serve in Congress because of their non-European heritage were slow to materialize. Even as conservative pundits decried the president’s targeting of four progressive lawmakers — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan — as an ugly attack rooted in racism, not a political critique.