policy

Trump Throws Stopgap Spending Vote Into Chaos Over CHIP
Says children’s health insurance program should be solved ‘long term’ instead of extended for 30 days

President Donald Trump defied his staff by criticizing the inclusion of a provision to extend CHIP in the latest continuing budget resolution. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Thursday undermined efforts by House Republican leaders and his own staff to avoid a government shutdown, criticizing a decision to include an extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in a GOP-crafted stopgap spending bill.

The president, after first contradicting his own chief of staff via Twitter on Thursday morning, fired off another post expressing his view that a CHIP extension should not be part of a four-week stopgap measure on which the House is slated to vote later in the day.

GOP Senators Line Up In Opposition To Continuing Resolution
Talks among GOP turn heated as deadline for government shutdown approaches

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is one of two Senate Republicans who have announced they will not vote for the next continuing resolution in its current form. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

At least two GOP senators will vote against a short-term patch to keep the government funded, as Republican congressional leaders struggle to find the votes in either chamber to pass another continuing resolution.

Sens. Mike Rounds of South Dakota and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina both intend to vote against the CR in its current form. Rounds has expressed frustration over the continued reliance on temporary funding measures, while Graham continues to push for a vote on his proposal to address the pending expiration of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Trump Contradicts Kelly, Claims Wall Views Have Not ‘Evolved’
Chief of staff contends president was previously ‘uninformed’

President Donald Trump was up early on Thursday contradicting what his chief of staff had told lawmakers about the southern border wall on Wednesday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Contradicting his chief of staff, Donald Trump on Thursday claimed his thinking about a southern border wall has not “evolved,” and returned to his vow that Mexico, one way or another, will pay for it.

Kelly first described Trump’s views on the U.S.-Mexico border barrier as changed during a Wednesday morning meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Capitol Hill. The retired Marine Corps four-star general kept up his rare public remarks about the controversial Trump campaign pledge during an evening cable news interview.

How the No. 2 Leaders Have Taken Over the DACA Debate
Talks between Hill’s second-in-command honchos represents best shot at accord

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has spearheaded the immigration negotiations among the Hill’s No. 2 leaders. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The No. 2s. The deputies. The gang of four.

There are a lot of names for the four congressional leaders engaged in bipartisan, bicameral talks on immigration, but one thing has become increasingly clear over the past week: The group is Congress’s best shot at reaching an elusive deal to protect young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers from deportation.

How John Kennedy Sees Things
‘This is why the aliens won’t talk to us.’

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 17: Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., speaks with reporters in the Senate subway in the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Since arriving in the Senate last year, Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy has become a gift to Capitol Hill reporters for his colorful use of language.

Most recently, he has said that the dispute about whether President Donald Trump called Haiti and African nations “shithole countries” is “why the aliens won’t talk to us.”

Graham’s DACA, Military Plan at Odds With Leadership
‘We should take care of the DREAM Act kids now, not wait till March 5’

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, right, and former Massachusetts Sen. Scott P. Brown, now the U.S. ambassador to New Zealand, talk after running into each other by chance in the Russell Building on Jan. 11. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday he believes Congress should address the program that covers immigrants brought illegally to the country as children before it expires later this year.

Speaking at an event in Washington hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, the South Carolina Republican said his party was naive to think it could persuade Democrats to support increased defense spending without finding a solution to prevent the expiration of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.

Poll: 44 Percent of Americans Think Trump is a Racist
Four in five Americans said they believe Trump talks without taking much time to consider his words

President Donald Trump speaks as he stops by a Conversations with the Women of America panel at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Tuesday. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Donald Trump’s rough rhetorical style was thrust under the microscope (again) last week after he called Haiti and parts of Africa “shithole countries” when complaining about their immigrants to the United States, multiple lawmakers who were at the meeting with the president confirmed.

Four in five Americans said they believe Trump talks without taking much time to consider his words, a new poll found.

Opinion: White People in Norway? Who Knew?
Kirstjen Nielsen displays the rhetorical contortions necessary to serve under Trump

Kirstjen Nielsen might want to stay away from categories on Norway or basic geography if she ever appears on “Jeopardy” — especially if the answer is, “What’s a Scandinavian country with lots of white people?” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

At the conclusion of more than four hours of testimony Tuesday before an often hostile Senate Judiciary Committee, Kirstjen Nielsen, the new secretary of Homeland Security, slowly gathered up her papers, shared a few laughing words with Arizona Republican Jeff Flake (the last senator in the room) and confidently exited surrounded by an armada of aides.

Depending on her level of self-awareness and the degree of flattery from her staffers, Nielsen may have nurtured the belief that she aced her Capitol Hill exam. After all, the loyal Cabinet secretary avoided saying almost anything controversial, even when pressed by Democrats over Donald Trump’s doubly confirmed reference to “shithole countries” during last Thursday’s White House immigration meeting that she attended.

Anti-Abortion Groups Look for Wins in 2018
Senate vote on a 20-week abortion ban is a top priority

Attendees gather near the Washington Monument on Jan. 27, 2017, during the speaking portion of the annual March for Life. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Anti-abortion groups, pursuing a list of priorities, hope to further capitalize on the Republican control of both chambers and the presidency in 2018.

Groups that oppose abortion scored a series of wins last year, including the appointment of several conservatives to top Department of Health and Human Services positions, the House passage of a late-term abortion ban bill and the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Freedom Caucus Members Withholding Votes GOP Needs to Pass CR
“The votes are not currently there to pass it with just Republicans,” Meadows says

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows says the votes are not currently there to pass a CR with just Republicans. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 11:09 p.m. | While a majority of House Republicans appear ready to support a short-term continuing resolution to keep the government open through Feb. 16, enough Freedom Caucus members remain uncommitted to make passage questionable.

“The votes are not currently there to pass it with just Republicans,” Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said before a crucial House GOP conference meeting on the topic Tuesday night.