Defense & Cyberspace

Rep. Rashida Tlaib rejects Netanyahu’s terms and forgoes trip to visit grandmother
A day after rejecting Muslim Democrats’ visit, Israel said it would allow Tlaib entry on ‘humanitarian’ grounds

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Michigan, agreed not to voice support for BDS in order to secure a trip to her grandmother's village in the West Bank but then rejected the conditions of the trip. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Rashida Tlaib will forgo a trip to see her aging grandmother in the West Bank after the Israeli government said it would allow a visit on “humanitarian” grounds.

In a reversal, Tlaib rejected the conditions laid out by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the humanitarian visit, namely, that she not broadcast her support for boycotting Israel over its actions against Palestinians during her stay. 

Israel bars entry to Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar
Trump said Netanyahu would ‘show weakness’ by allowing House members to visit

Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib had planned to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories along with Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A planned trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories by Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota has been halted by Israeli officials.

“The state of Israel respects the U.S. Congress, as part of the close alliance, but it is inconceivable that anyone who wishes to harm the state of Israel will be allowed, even during the visit,” a media statement from the government read.

Border emergency hits six months; ball back in Congress’ court
Lawmakers may again try to terminate Trump's declaration allowing him to shift funds for wall construction

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House Democrats appear in February at a news conference on the joint resolution to terminate Trump's emergency declaration. It is not clear whether they will try again to pass a similar measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Thursday marks six months since President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on the southern border, a notable anniversary because it gives Congress another shot at ending it.

The flashpoint in the debate remains funding for the construction of a wall along the Mexican border, a prominent pledge made during Trump’s 2016 presidential bid that now hangs over the 2020 campaign.

Engel wants staffers to warn foreign governments about spending at Trump’s hotels
New memo instructs staff on interactions with foreign governments

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot L. Engel wants Democratic staffers to warn foreign government officials that spending at Trump-owned properties could violate the Constitution’s emoluments clause. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A new directive this week from House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot L. Engel instructs staffers to warn foreign governments that spending at Trump-owned properties could violate the Constitution’s emoluments clause.

The memo, released Monday, issues guidelines for staff engaging with foreign governments. The directive signed by the New York Democrat is aimed specifically at the committee’s majority staff. Republican staffers were not given the same instructions.

White House foreign aid cuts to spare Ivanka, Pence favorite programs
Global health, women's economic development and religious protections would not be cut

Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and adviser, spearheaded a women's economic development program that would not be cut. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Funding to support global health programs, promote women’s economic development and protect Christians and other religious minorities abroad from persecution would be exempt from a package of cuts to foreign aid that the White House is developing.

A senior administration official said Monday those programs are a high priority for President Donald Trump.

Blue Origin files protest in controversial rocket competition
The rocket manufacturer protested Monday, saying the contract solicitation the Air Force issued in the spring is unfair

Jeff Bezos, owner of Blue Origin, speaks about outer space before unveiling a new lunar landing module called Blue Moon, during an event at the Washington Convention Center, May 9, 2019 in Washington. Blue Origin filed a complaint Monday, saying the contract solicitation the Air Force issued in the spring is unfair. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

In a move that will reverberate in Congress, a top U.S. rocket manufacturer formally protested on Monday the terms of a multi-billion-dollar Air Force competition for launching America’s future national security satellites.

Blue Origin of Washington state, one of four likely bidders for the work, filed its protest with the Government Accountability Office, citing concerns that the contract solicitation the Air Force issued in the spring is unfair.

CQ Roll Call Analysis: Lower spending, deficits partially due to budget control law
CQ Budget podcast, episode 122

Copies of President Donald Trump’s budget for fiscal year 2020 are prepared for distribution at the Government Publishing Office in Washington on Thursday, March 7, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

CQ Roll Call's Budget Editor Peter Cohn combed through the numbers since Congress passed the Budget Control Act of 2011 and found something remarkable: the spending caps produced some results but most of the savings were because of factors out of Congress' hands. 

After years of promises, Trump again sounds dire about China trade pact
‘Joe Biden is not playing with a full deck,’ POTUS alleges of Dem front-runner

President Donald Trump stops to briefly talk with journalists as he tours his “Made In America” product showcase at the White House in July. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump on Friday did not rule out canceling planned trade talks next month with Chinese officials, saying he is not yet ready to make a deal with the Asian economic powerhouse.

He also announced the United States is cutting all ties to Huawei, the giant Chinese telecommunications company that Beijing considers one of its industrial champions but the Trump administration contends is a national security threat. Trump left open the possibility of rebuilding that link if his team can strike a deal with China.

Gun research funding push faces challenge in Senate even after shootings
House-passed bill would be first time in decades Congress allocated funding specifically for gun violence research

Sen. Roy Blunt, chairman of the subcommittee that oversees health research funding, signaled he wouldn't support new funds for research on gun violence. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats in Congress are amplifying their calls to fund more research on gun violence after the recent mass shootings in Ohio and Texas, but Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Chairman Roy Blunt suggested Thursday he wouldn’t support new funding in that area.

The dispute over $50 million for gun violence prevention research could pose an additional challenge in the effort to avoid a government shutdown this fall.

Republicans cast about on guns, Trump’s rhetoric at town halls
August recess is typically a low-profile time for members of Congress, but tensions running high this week

Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., withheld on whether he supports expanding background checks at his town hall this week - saying he would have to see the details. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

An agonizing national conversation about gun violence and race reverberated in members of Congress’ town halls across the country this week. 

“I totally disagree with the characterization that Trump is racist,” said Republican Rep. Don Bacon to a smattering of applause from a small audience in a suburb of Omaha, Nebraska. “When you call the president a racist ... you're turning away half the population.”

Senate GOP plans to divert health, education funds to border wall
$5 billion move would set up clash with Democratic House over fiscal 2020 spending

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby  plans for his committee to begin marking up spending bills when Congress returns in September. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Republicans are looking to pay for President Donald Trump’s border wall in part by putting about $5 billion less in the largest domestic spending bill, several people with knowledge of the process said.

That move signals a likely fight over wall funding, as well as over Trump’s ability to reprogram or transfer funds to the border, when the fiscal 2020 appropriations process resumes after Congress returns in September.

‘Public charge’ rule creates Homeland spending bill headache
Amendment blocks proposed rules on immigrant access to Medicaid and food stamps

Rep. David Price, D-N.C., offered an amendment that would block the Department of Homeland Security's proposed "public charge" rule from going into effect. (File photo by Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

An amendment inserted into the House's fiscal 2020 Homeland Security spending bill by Appropriations Committee Democrats during the panel's June markup would bust the subcommittee's allocation by nearly $3.1 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Adopted on a 28-21 vote, the amendment from Reps. David E. Price of North Carolina, Pete Aguilar and Barbara Lee of California, and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin would block a number of Trump administration immigration policies, including protecting beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals from deportation and revoking Trump's travel ban against predominantly Muslim countries.

House Democrats to visit cities roiled by white supremacist violence
The ‘action plan’ could be aimed at quieting concerns that lawmakers will lose momentum over the August recess

Rep. Nanette Barragan, D-Calif., serves on the House Homeland Security Committee. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee will visit cities roiled by violence in the coming month “to address the threat of domestic terrorism” by white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

Chairman Bennie Thompson laid out the plan in a media release sent Tuesday night. The release comes amid a push from some Democrats to cut the August recess short and convene a session of Congress on the matter.

White House blocks foreign aid funds, demands accounting
Affected money could total $4 billion appropriated for public health, peacekeeping, development and diplomacy programs

The White House budget office has directed the U.S. Agency for International Development, led by Mark Green, above, to cease spending for a range of programs while the administration reviews how much money is left in the various accounts. (Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Concordia Summit file photo)

For the second year in a row, the White House appears to be considering canceling billions of dollars in appropriated foreign aid funding at a time when Congress would be hard-pressed to block such a move.

Over the weekend, the Office of Management and Budget wrote to the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development directing the foreign aid agency to cease spending for a range of programs that still have unobligated fiscal 2018 and 2019 balances and would otherwise expire if not spent by Sept. 30.

8chan draws top Republican’s ire following El Paso massacre
Manifestos of several mass shooters have been posted on the fringe message board

Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., said on Sunday: “Yesterday’s events were yet again enabled by the echo chambers these fringe websites have created.” (File photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House Homeland Security Committee’s top Republican wants to help police and the tech industry combat 8chan and other “online terror fronts” after a gunman, thought to have to posted a bigoted manifesto on the fringe message board, killed 22 people in El Paso on Saturday.

If the suspect is confirmed to have posted the manifesto, it would be the third mass shooting of the year to be announced in advance on 8chan, which played host to hateful declarations by the perpetrators of the mosque attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March and the synagogue attack outside San Diego in April.