EXBR

Rubio Leads Chorus of Lawmakers Critical of Trump’s Trade Talks With China
Penn Ave Report: Connecting Congress and the White House at the intersection of politics

How Trump’s Attacks on Mueller Probe Are Playing on Capitol Hill
Penn Ave Report: Connecting Congress and the White House at the intersection of politics

Members Join Rubio in Criticizing Trump Over China Talks
President says he is not satisfied with outcome of latest trade negotiations

Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., left, and James Risch, R-Idaho, attend a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in January 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It was Sen. Marco Rubio, not Donald Trump, who used a morning tweet Tuesday to help shape the day’s agenda. The Florida Republican slammed the president’s trade talks with China, prompting other members to voice their concerns.

Rubio wrote that China is “out-negotiating the administration & winning the trade talks right now,” criticizing the Trump administration for putting on hold tariffs aimed at Beijing while moving ahead with efforts to save troubled Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE. He also panned the White House for not forcing concessions from Chinese officials.

Blunt Wants Senate to Pass Anti-Harassment Legislation This Week
Plans to outline bipartisan agreement with Klobuchar by the end of Tuesday

Sen. Roy Blunt is the lead Republican on the effort to combat harassment on Capitol Hill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Rules and Administration Chairman Roy Blunt hopes to pass a bill this week addressing harassment on Capitol Hill.

“Let’s see what the members said at lunch, but it would be great if we could get this done before the Memorial Day break,” Blunt said, telling reporters he needed to consult with his Democratic counterpart on the measure, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

Rescissions Package On Hold While GOP Deliberates
GAO delivers relatively good news, even as schedule slips

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and his leadership team face a deadline next month to consider the rescissions package before procedural protections expire. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional auditors delivered some good news for the White House and House GOP leaders on Tuesday, saying in a report that President Donald Trump’s $15.2 billion spending cuts proposal mostly meets tests laid out in the 1974 statute establishing the “rescissions” process — even as leaders decided to put off consideration of the package until next month. 

The Government Accountability Office found that two Transportation Department accounts slated for $134 million in cuts can’t legally be “impounded,” or blocked by the administration during the initial 45-day period after submission of the requests to Congress. The rest of the cuts, including rescissions from mandatory spending accounts like the Children’s Health Insurance Program, are allowed to go forward under the 1974 law establishing the modern rescissions process, according to the GAO.

Growth in Domestic Oil and Natural Gas Poses New Policy Issues
Republicans want to make overseas shipment of liquefied natural gas easier

The United States is flush with supplies of oil and natural gas — and that has lawmakers contemplating policy changes. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images file photo)

When it comes to U.S. energy supplies, Congress’ default setting for decades had been worry: worry that America did not have enough energy to meet its needs and worry that OPEC would hold the U.S. hostage by jacking up the price of — or withholding — its oil.

That setting has changed. With the U.S. flush with supplies of oil and natural gas over the past few years, Congress has permitted the export of domestic oil and raided the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to reduce the budget deficit and offset costs of unrelated legislation. And now Republicans want to make it easier for producers to ship liquefied natural gas overseas.

Paul Ryan Pushes Back on Pressure for Early Exit
Republican leaders defend capabilities amid caucus disagreements

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., right, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., left have had to answer tough questions about the future of the House leadership situation and reports of McCarthy's role in pushing Ryan aside. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan defended himself Tuesday amid reports of threats to his leadership position and reiterated his view that it’s not in Republicans best interest to have a divisive leadership race before the November midterm elections.

“Obviously I serve at the pleasure of the members; those are the people who drafted me in this job the first place,” the Wisconsin Republican said when asked if he is confident he will remain speaker through the election. “But I think we all agree the best thing for us is to complete our agenda and not wedge into the completion of our agenda divisive leadership elections.”

Partisan Split Over Election Security Widens as 2018 Midterms Inch Closer
House given classified briefing on what DHS, FBI, DNI are doing to secure elections at state, local levels

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, left, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee address the media after a briefing on election security with House members in the Capitol Visitor Center on May 22, 2018. FBI Director Christopher Wray and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats also attended. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats and Republicans struck drastically different tones about their confidence in federal agencies’ efforts to secure voting systems and stamp out foreign state-sponsored influence campaigns ahead of the 2018 midterms after a classified meeting on the subject for House members Tuesday.

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, and FBI Director Christopher Wray were among the officials who briefed lawmakers and answered their questions about what their agencies are doing to combat potential Russian, Iranian, Chinese, and other nations’ attempts to undermine the midterms.