leadership

Trump, Biden and the battle for Pennsylvania
‘Biden deserted you,‘ president roars in Montoursville rally, as former veep sets up shop in Philly

Former Vice President Joe Biden removes his jacket at the Eakins Oval in Philadelphia on Saturday as he formally kicks off his 2020 White House bid. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Three times President Donald Trump mentioned former Vice President and Pennsylvania native Joe Biden, the 2020 Democratic front-runner, and three times his crowd of loyalists booed at a rally Monday night in Lycoming County. But it is swing voter-rich places, like the one here in Lehigh County, two hours to the southeast, that will help determine who is president in January 2021.

Biden clearly has attracted the president’s attention since he jumped into his party’s race to take on Trump in the general election.

White House, Hill leaders unable to reach spending deal Tuesday
“Deals like this take time,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy says

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer agree that spending caps and debt limit legislation will go on the same bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Negotiators were unable to reach an agreement on spending caps and the debt limit Tuesday, hours after a two-year deal seemed possible.

“Deals like this take time,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said after leaving an afternoon meeting between congressional leaders and administration officials.

After Iran briefings, Democrats in Congress want to know more, sooner
Republicans generally on board with Trump administration moves

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was among the Trump administration officials briefing lawmakers on Iran on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Intelligence briefings on U.S. relations with Iran Tuesday left Democrats in both the Senate and the House unsure of what the Trump administration’s objectives are following recent heightened tensions in the Middle East.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, along with acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, briefed lawmakers on their strategic campaign to push back against what he called “Iran’s malign activity” and described the country as participating in 40 years of terrorist activity.

Trump officials, congressional leaders make ‘progress’ on budget talks
A follow-up meeting is scheduled to begin Tuesday afternoon

Mick Mulvaney, acting White House Chief of Staff and director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin walk through the Capitol after participating in a budget meeting about reaching possible agreement on the debt limit and spending caps with Congressional leaders Tuesday, May 21, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional leaders and top Trump administration officials made “progress” toward a spending caps and debt limit agreement during a two-hour meeting Tuesday morning and are planning to meet again in the afternoon, according to acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

The meeting included Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought as well as Mulvaney.

Nadler prepares contempt vote for McGahn — but what are the consequences?
The White House argued McGahn has ‘absolute immunity’ and isn’t legally required to comply with a congressional subpoena

Then-White House counsel Don McGahn listens to testimony at the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh in Hart Building in September. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler is preparing a committee vote to hold former White House counsel Don McGahn in contempt of Congress, the second Trump official to get such treatment for defying one of Nadler’s subpoenas to testify about the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“Let me be clear: this Committee will hear Mr. McGahn’s testimony, even if we have to go to court to secure it. We will not allow the President to prevent the American people from hearing from this witness,” Nadler said at a hearing Tuesday for McGahn that the former White House lawyer skipped per the administration’s orders.

Voters head to polls after Trump dove into a safe special House race
GOP candidate expected to crush Democratic rival in heart of Trump country

Fred Keller, Republican candidate for Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District speaks at a Trump campaign rally in Montoursville, Pa., on Monday evening as President Donald Trump looks on. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

MONTOURSVILLE, Pa. — There was little political risk for President Donald Trump when Air Force One rolled to a stop in front of a series of tree-dotted peaks his campaign used a backdrop for a campaign rally to boost a Republican candidate who is almost assured a House seat.

Voters here head to the polls Tuesday for a special election that almost certainly will send a Republican to the House to replace former Rep. Tom Marino. Almost no one interviewed Monday by Roll Call believes the outcome will produce anything other than GOP state Rep. Fred Keller defeating Democrat Marc Friedenberg.

Iran escalations bring war powers debates back to the Capitol
Sen. Tim Kaine expects debate behind closed doors at the Armed Services Committee

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Jim Risch says President Donald Trump “doesn’t need any more authority than what he’s got” to respond to a potential attack. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)k

A Senate briefing by the Trump administration Tuesday about the escalation in tensions with Iran appears certain to kick off another round of sparring over the president’s war powers.

When asked last week whether President Donald Trump could strike Iran using existing authorities from the authorization for use of military force that was enacted after 9/11, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee reflected on the history of disputes between the executive and legislative branches.

‘I’ll be here a lot,’ Trump says of Pennsylvania in safe GOP district
President weighs in on special election after Biden kicks off campaign in Keystone State

Supporters of President Donald Trump, pose for a picture while waiting to enter his rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., on Monday. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

MONTOURSVILLE, Pa. — Air Force One landed here Monday evening ahead of a special House election as AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” blared inside an airport hangar. Minutes later, with Air Force One parked in front of small tree-lined peaks, President Donald Trump issued a thunderous endorsement of a GOP House candidate and attack on Democrats.

And repeatedly, the friendly audience showered Trump with chants of “four more years!” And during one rare quiet moment, a man shouted, “We love you, Trump!” Minutes later, the entire crowd, which did not quite fill the hangar, shouted in unison, “We love Trump!”

In Pennsylvania’s Trump country, relief that he’s restoring ‘the old ways’
President rallies supporters amid trade war, home-state son Biden’s entrance

Supporters of President Donald Trump, pose for a picture while waiting to enter his rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — The blue and red banners flapped in a late-spring morning breeze along U.S. Highway 15 here, greeting passersby with a simple but unmistakable message: “President Trump is coming.” It is a message Pennsylvanians are likely to see a lot of before the 2020 election, as the Keystone State becomes one of the campaign’s centers of gravity. 

Hours before Air Force One touched down at Williamsport International Airport in neighboring Montoursville, Terri Bruner of Geneva, Ohio, had set up her traveling roadside merchandise stand at the Ridgemont Motel. She was peddling the usual “Make America Great Again” gear, complete with one T-shirt depicting a Trump supporter urinating on the CNN logo and an assortment of pink Trump gear ostensibly aimed at women.

Road ahead: Will Congress get a disaster relief deal before Memorial Day?
House and Senate will keep full schedules as budget talks continue for this week and beyond

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will join their fellow congressional leaders to discuss the budget and the need to lift the country’s debt limit with the administration. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The big question for the week is whether Congress will actually act on long-awaited disaster relief before lawmakers head out for Memorial Day.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said such a vote is on the floor agenda for this week, but as senators left Thursday afternoon for the weekend, there was still no final agreement on any bipartisan package.