Benjamin L Cardin

Maryland Democrats Blast FBI HQ Plan
Cardin, Hoyer concerned about effort to put new FBI building at current location

Maryland lawmakers are criticizing the GSA and FBI plan to rebuild the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building on its current site. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Trump administration’s proposal to keep the FBI headquarters adjacent to the president’s hotel complex in downtown D.C., has raised the ire of Maryland lawmakers.

“Throughout the Bush and Obama Administrations, the FBI and GSA repeatedly told Congress that the FBI needs a new, fully consolidated headquarters, going so far as to stress the need for selecting a new site because the existing location does not allow the FBI to consolidate the almost 11,000 headquarters employees into one facility,” House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer said in a statement

Cleared of Corruption Charges, Robert Menendez Regains Top Foreign Relations Post
New Jersey Democrat stepped aside in 2015 after indictment

New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez will resume his duties as ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee after being cleared in his federal corruption case. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Robert Menendez is resuming his duties as the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, with the Senate Democratic Conference reaffirming his position now that he has been cleared of federal corruption charges. The New Jersey Democrat might not be out of the woods yet, though, because the Senate Ethics Committee is free to look into his case now that federal prosecutors are done with him. 

According to multiple Democratic senators, the conference acted to restore Menendez’s position during Tuesday’s policy lunch.

Maryland, Virginia Senators Want More Money for Metro in Infrastructure Plan
Trump announced his $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan in his State of the Union

WMATA is still making improvements to the safety of its trains. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After President Donald Trump called for a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan in his State of the Union address, senators from states surrounding Washington, D.C., said it should include money for the city’s public transportation system.

Four Democratic senators — Mark Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia, and Benjamin L. Cardin and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland — wrote a letter to the administration on Friday asking it not only to maintain the funding already in place for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, known locally as Metro, but to add more for improvements.

Senate Democrats Ask Why Trump Let Russian Spy Chief Into United States
Also question Treasury secretary on Russia sanctions implementation

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, pressed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about Russian sanctions Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Leading Senate Democrats want to know why the Trump administration allowed a top Russian spy onto U.S. soil.

Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer led other Democrats in raising concerns Tuesday about a reported visit by Sergey Naryshkin, Russia's foreign spy chief and an ally of President Vladimir Putin.

Organizing the Senate Can Sometimes Get Messy
No-fuss committee changes haven’t always been the norm

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer meets with Sens. Doug Jones of Alabama and Tina Smith of Minnesota in the Capitol on Jan. 3. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate’s leaders reached a deal to adjust committee membership without much fanfare this month, but such comity has not always been a sure thing.

Last month’s election of Alabama Democrat Doug Jones that set the Republican majority at 51-49 meant that the two parties would need to make relatively straightforward changes, providing for the GOP to hold one-seat majorities on committees either by reducing the total number of Republicans where there was a surplus, or adding an extra Democrat.

Roy Who? Trump, GOP Quickly Pivot From Alabama to Taxes
Democrats characterize Alabama result as repudiation of president

Republican Roy Moore rides his horse across a field on his way to vote at the Gallant Volunteer Fire Department in Gallant, Ala., on Tuesday. Moore lost to Democrat Doug Jones in Tuesday’s Senate special election in Alabama. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers tried Wednesday to pin blame for Roy Moore’s special Alabama Senate race loss on the controversial former judge, but Democrats contend the president owns the bruising defeat after his full-throated endorsement. 

At the White House, the message was all about a GOP tax overhaul bill following Democrat Doug Jones’ stunning upset win in a state that had not put a member of that party in the Senate since 1992. On Capitol Hill, Republican members admitted relief that Moore would not be bringing his sexual misconduct allegations to Washington — and they asserted neither Trump nor the GOP were damaged by the Alabama race, despite the embrace of Moore by Trump and the Republican National Committee.

A Huge Congressional Settlement Involving Sexual Harassment — And Hardly Anyone Knew
Lawmakers on Helsinki Commission blindsided by report of $220K payout

Florida Rep. Alcee L. Hastings has denied allegations of sexual misconduct that led to a $220,000 payment to a former congressional staffer. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The $220,000 paid to former staffer Winsome Packer in 2014 is by far the largest known settlement involving Congress and accusations of sexual harassment in recent years.

But few, if any, of the lawmakers who served on the congressional commission where Packer worked seem to have been informed about it until the sum was reported by Roll Call on Friday.  

Exclusive: Taxpayers Paid $220K to Settle Case Involving Rep. Alcee Hastings
Former commission staffer alleged sexual harassment by Florida Democrat

Florida Rep. Alcee L. Hastings was accused of sexual misconduct by a former staff member of the Helsinki Commission. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Treasury Department paid $220,000 in a previously undisclosed agreement to settle a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment that involved Florida Democrat Alcee L. Hastings, according to documents obtained by Roll Call.

Winsome Packer, a former staff member of a congressional commission that promotes international human rights, said in documents that the congressman touched her, made unwanted sexual advances, and threatened her job. At the time, Hastings was the chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, where Packer worked.

Democratic Senators Pressure House Counterparts on Tax Overhaul
29 GOP House members represent states with no Republican senator

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic senators from Maryland, New York, California and New Jersey are pressuring their Republican counterparts in the House to reject the GOP tax bill if it comes back up for a vote in the chamber.

The group, in a letter sent Monday, highlighted provisions in both the House and Senate versions of the tax bill that would allow individuals to deduct up to $10,000 in property taxes but would otherwise repeal the popular state and local tax deduction.

Trump Executive Actions a ‘Disruptive’ Lot
Full effects of president’s unilateral moves still years away, experts say

President Donald Trump after signing an executive order Oct. 12 targeting the 2010 health care law. Experts and lawmakers say his executive actions are among the most “disruptive” of any president. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

The executive actions President Donald Trump has signed have the potential to be among the most “aggressive” and “disruptive” ever issued by a chief executive, according to lawmakers and experts.

Trump and his top aides often describe his use of executive orders, actions and memoranda as the president using his constitutional authorities to “put America first” and plot a policy course to benefit the country’s forgotten men and women. Both were major themes of his 2016 campaign.