Business

Proposals Would Help Homeowners, Make Ex-Presidents Pay for Office Supplies
Financial Services spending bill amendments also could affect local post offices

Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., wants to bar the U.S. Postal Service for expanding its offering of financial services. Other proposed amendments to the Financial Services spending bill would help homeowners with bad foundations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Local post offices would be barred from offering most banking services, homeowners with crumbling foundations would get some help and ex-presidents would have to pay for their own office supplies under proposals to amend the House’s fiscal 2019 Financial Services spending bill.

Proposed amendments also include some of the usual suspects: keeping the District of Columbia from enforcing certain local laws, allowing federally insured banks to take deposits from companies in the marijuana industry, and barring federal funds from being spent at properties owned by President Donald Trump.

Trump, Putin Address Election Meddling Charges in Helsinki
Russian president denies what U.S. agencies have concluded he ordered

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive on Air Force One at Helsinki International Airport on Sunday for his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Updated 11:26 a.m. | Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the Helsinki summit “a success” and a “very fruitful round of negotiations,” but he said he denied any involvement in meddling in the last U.S. election when pressed by President Donald Trump.

Putin also said he hopes stabilizing Syria could be an example of increased “joint work” between his country and the Trump administration.

Opinion: McCain’s Legacy of Stronger Military Reflected in Senate’s Landmark Defense Bill
This year’s NDAA could be a big win for military personnel and their families

Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, left, hands the gavel to House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry before a National Defense Authorization Act conference meeting in October. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain has served on the committee for over three decades, helping it draft and pass dozens of National Defense Authorization Acts — some seemingly routine, others carrying historic significance.

This year’s NDAA, the annual policy bill for the Defense Department, has the potential to rank among the latter. Many provisions in the Senate version, drafted under McCain’s leadership, would have a positive long-term effect on military readiness, servicemember satisfaction and, crucially, the well-being of military families, who are often overlooked.

Federal Watchdog Advises HHS to Recoup Price’s Travel Expenses
20 of 21 trips failed to comply with requirements, OIG finds

Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A federal watchdog is recommending the Department of Health and Human Services recoup $341,000 associated with former Secretary Tom Price’s travel expenses.

The HHS Office of the Inspector General released Thursday an audit that found 20 of 21 trips Price and other HHS officials took during his time in office did not comply with federal requirements. Price, a hardline fiscal conservative during his time in Congress, resigned last September after it was revealed that he regularly chartered private planes for routine business trips.

Senate Democrats Target Michael Cohen for ‘Selling Access’ to Trump
Former personal attorney to POTUS is key subject in Mueller investigation

Democratic senators criticized former Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen for what one called his “side hustle as influencer-in-chief.” (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images file photo)

Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney for President Donald Trump, is the target of a new report from Democratic senators who on Friday accused him of “selling access” to the White House through a shell company he formed during the 2016 election campaign.

The senators’ report is based on emails they obtained from Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis, which signed a $1.2 million contract with Cohen’s shell company, Essential Consultants LLC, for “consulting and advisory services.”

Trump Tweets Endorsement for Gaetz From London
Freshman Florida congressman who has been ardent Trump supporter faces primary challenge

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., was endorsed by President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump tweeted his support of Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz ahead of Florida’s primary.

Trump tweeted that Gaetz is “one of the finest and most talented people in Congress.”

The President’s Mission to Mars Is a Real Long Shot
Trump really wants to go to Mars, but he’ll have to convince Congress, private companies and scores of scientists

President Donald Trump receives a flight jacket from NASA officials during a bill signing ceremony last year. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

For a man known for grandiose ambitions, perhaps President Donald Trump’s most lofty is his pledge, formalized in a December order, to land a human being on the surface of Mars.

It would be easy to doubt Trump’s seriousness, given that he’s equally known for inconsistent follow-through. But Trump has raised the idea repeatedly since that order, most recently last month before the National Space Council, the advisory group Trump revived last year and tasked Vice President Mike Pence with running.

Foreign Relations Panel Shows Bipartisan Scorn for Administration Trade Agenda
Tough questions from both sides of aisle, liberal, conservative witnesses

Josh Bolten, right, CEO of the Business Roundtable, talks with Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., after a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled "Tariffs: Implications for U.S. Foreign Policy and the International Economy," on July 12, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker was candid with the State Department witness that appeared before his committee at a hearing on Trump administration trade policy Thursday morning.

“You are going to be cannon fodder this morning, and I don’t think you are really prepared to defend the policies in an appropriate manner,” the Tennessee Republican told Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs Manisha Singh.

Sparks Fly at Joint Hearing to Question FBI Agent Peter Strzok
Trey Gowdy ‘doesn’t give a damn’

FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok testifies in front of the House Judiciary Committee and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee during a joint hearing on “‘Oversight of FBI and DOJ Actions Surrounding the 2016 Election” on’ Thursday July 12, 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

For the first time in a public forum, FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok delivered an impassioned defense against claims from House Republicans that he held biases against candidate Donald Trump that affected his official agency decisions as he helped lead an investigation into ties between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.

“Let me be clear, unequivocally and under oath: Not once in my 26 years of defending my nation did my personal opinions impact any official action I took,” Strzok testified before a joint panel of the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform Committees.

Mitch McConnell Casts 11,000th Vote
Kentucky Republican was first elected in 1984

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cast his 11,000th vote as a senator on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Maybe because it was the final vote of the Senate’s week, there was not much fanfare when Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky came to the floor Thursday afternoon to cast his 11,000th vote.

The real tributes came earlier in 2018, when he surpassed Bob Dole of Kansas to become the longest-serving Republican leader in the chamber’s history.