Arkansas

With Washington missing in action, Walmart for President
Corporate America steps up as Congress, White House step back

Walmart’s decision to halt sales of handguns and certain ammunition in its stores is just the latest example of corporate America leading on public policy, Murphy writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — No need to rush back to Washington, senators. Walmart is here now. Along with everyday low prices and a surprisingly good produce section, the country’s largest retailer announced last week that it will also take a leadership role in the fight to end gun violence since Congress can’t or won’t.

The memo came Tuesday from the company’s CEO, Doug McMillon. With two shootings at Walmart stores in the last two months, including the horror unleashed in El Paso, Texas, that killed 22 people, McMillon told employees that the firm would take a series of steps in an effort to protect them as well as customers in its stores.

Personal experience with guns helps shape how 2020 Democrats talk about them
Presidential candidates are united on background checks, but split on buybacks, licensing

Minnesota senator and Democratic presidential hopeful Amy Klobuchar cites her state’s hunting traditions when speaking about her plans to combat gun violence. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For some Democratic presidential candidates, hunting is a family affair. Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan says he hunts ducks “at least once a year, with our oldest son.” Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, who hunts deer, talks about “creating lifelong memories with our kids.”

Family, tradition and personal hunting experience are integral to the way these candidates speak about guns — and how they pitch gun control measures to voters from areas of the country with a strong history of gun ownership.

Federal judge blocks Missouri law restricting abortion
The Missouri law would have prohibited abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy

Activists hold up signs at an abortion-rights rally at Supreme Court to protest new state bans on abortion services May 21, 2019. A federal district judge temporarily blocked a Missouri law that would prohibit abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy from taking effect. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A federal district judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked a Missouri law that would prohibit abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy from taking effect on Wednesday as originally planned.

“The various sections specifying prohibitions on abortions at various weeks prior to viability cannot be allowed to go into effect on August 28, as scheduled,” U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs of the Western District of Missouri wrote in a court filing.

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.”

Republican senators target Google’s relationship with Chinese tech giant Huawei
Senators criticized Google for working with Huawei to develop ‘smart speakers’ that may allow China to ‘listen in on Americans’ conversations’

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., was one of three senators to send a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Wednesday criticizing the tech giant for its relationship with Chinese government-aligned Huawei. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Sens. Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton, and Marco Rubio excoriated Google on Wednesday for downplaying its activity in China despite a report last week that it had been working with Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei to develop “smart speaker” technology.

In a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, the senators expressed their concern that such devices can “enable untrustworthy companies to listen in on Americans’ conversations.”

Conservative judicial group is top donor to GOP state elections arm
Judicial Crisis Network previously spent millions to support Trump’s Supreme Court nominees

The Judicial Crisis Network spent millions to support Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in the face of vocal protest like this one in September 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Facebook’s currency plan makes fintech a tough sell in Congress
Some members are conflating disdain for Facebook with other, more vital fintech innovation, Schweikert says

House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters has criticized Facebook’s new cryptocurrency offering, Libra, calling it an “unchecked expansion” into the lives of the company’s users. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Members of Congress who support the development of new financial technologies say their job might have gotten tougher after Facebook announced its plan to issue a cryptocurrency.

Lawmakers used hearings in both chambers this month to roundly censure Facebook’s proposed Libra, which the social media company says could provide financial services to people who can’t rely on banks.

Trump administration works to revive federal death penalty
Congress hasn't tried to prevent it, but it will face legal challenges from civil rights groups

The Trump administration moved Thursday to revive the federal death penalty, which would be the first executions by the federal government since 2003. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration moved Thursday to revive the federal death penalty, a policy move Congress has not tried to prevent but one that will face a legal challenge from civil rights groups.

Attorney General William Barr directed the Bureau of Prisons to adopt a new execution protocol — which would kill inmates with an injection of a single lethal drug called pentobarbital — and schedule the execution of five men in December and January.

House sends spending caps, debt limit bill to Senate
Measure next heads to the Senate for consideration

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., leads House Democrats down the House steps to hold a news conference on the first 200 days of the 116th Congress on Thursday, July 25, 2019. On Thursday, the House passed a debt limit and budget measure, sending it to the Senate for consideration. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After late lobbying from President Donald Trump, House leaders mustered the votes to pass a two-year spending caps and debt limit bill Thursday that will provide some structure around the appropriations process and stave off potential default on U.S. obligations until the end of 2021.

The 284-149 vote was the first legislative test for the package Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced Monday after hard-fought negotiations. The measure would add $324 billion to otherwise austere spending caps over the next two fiscal years, and avert cuts averaging about 10 percent to federal agencies for the upcoming budget year starting Oct. 1.