Charles E Grassley

Hatch Blasts White House Trade Policy, Seeks Action On Trade Imbalances
Finance chairman takes aim at China over steel and aluminum production, intellectual property

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, left, said that the U.S. is currently in “one of the most challenging trade environments” that he has seen in his four decades in the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch on Tuesday issued a blistering critique of the Trump administration’s trade policy and called on the White House to take action to remedy imbalances with trade partners like China and the European Union. 

The Utah Republican, speaking at a Business Roundtable event with the Farmers for Free Trade, highlighted the threat posed to the U.S. economy by “external opponents and internal skeptics.” 

Lawmakers Seek Quick Action on Consensus School Safety Measures
‘There are things we agree on, we should pass those things’

Demonstrators cheer for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., while attending a rally on the West Front of the Capitol to call on Congress to act on gun violence prevention during a national walkout by students on March 14, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senators from both parties expressed their desire Wednesday to quickly pass school safety legislation that has bipartisan support as students nationwide walked out of high schools and rallied on Capitol Hill to call for federal gun laws to stop school shootings.

“There are things we agree on, we should pass those things,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee during an oversight hearing in the aftermath of the Feb. 14 shooting at Parkland, Fla., that left 17 students dead.

Gun Debate Unfolds Outside of Senate Judiciary Panel’s Confines
Grassley uses White House meeting to brief Trump

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley used a meeting last week to explain to President Donald Trump the committee’s role in moving gun-related legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley used a White House meeting last week to explain to President Donald Trump the panel’s role in getting a consensus and moving legislation dealing with gun violence and school shootings.

But before the Iowa Republican could finish, Trump pivoted right back to negotiating provisions about age restrictions for gun purchases, a proposal championed by two senators who aren’t on the committee, Pennsylvania Republican Patrick J. Toomey and West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin III.

Companies, Nonprofits Put Brakes on Foreign Lobbying Bills
Despite momentum to revamp foreign lobbying disclosures, opposition remains

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s indictment has revived interest in the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bipartisan group of senators on Thursday introduced an overhaul to foreign lobbying rules, while a similar, once fast-moving measure appears temporarily stalled in the House amid pressure from outside interests.

The new bill from Texas Republican John Cornyn and California Democrat Dianne Feinstein indicates that momentum to revamp foreign lobbying disclosures persists as the Russia probe has kept concerns about international influences in the spotlight. But opposition remains.

Renewable Fuel Foes and Backers to Meet Again at White House

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After failing to reach agreement Tuesday at a White House meeting of oil and corn state lawmakers as well as administration officials on possible changes to the nation’s renewable fuels program, lawmakers and President Donald Trump say they’ll try again as early as this week.

Iowa Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley, a vocal defender of the biofuels industry, said following the meeting that “no win-win” situation was presented as promised by participants such as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who opposes the program in its current form.

Kelly Knocks Kushner’s Clearance Down a Peg
President left decision on son-in-law to chief of staff

Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, leaves the Hart Senate Office Building after an interview with Senate Intelligence Committee staff on July 24. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

White House aides are not disputing reports that Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, no longer has a top-secret security clearance, limiting the amount of sensitive information he can view.

Kushner, a senior White House adviser to his father-in-law, has had an interim clearance at the TS/SCI, or “Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information,” level since Trump took office on Jan. 20, 2017. Chief of Staff John Kelly, however, has downgraded Kushner’s interim clearance to the “Secret” level as part of a West Wing crackdown on interim clearances.

Top Republican Seeks Answer On White House Security Clearance Process
Charles Grassley, joined by Democrat Richard Blumenthal, press White House

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, wants the White House to explain just exactly what its security clearance procedures are. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley is pressing the White House for answers on the Trump administration’s security clearance policy and who within the West Wing and Capitol Hill is allowed to view sensitive or classified information.

Key questions raised in the letter from the Iowa Republican appear to directly relate to President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and top advisor Jared Kushner. Questions are also posed directly about former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter, who resigned earlier this month amid allegations of domestic abuse.

Cruz Escalates Intra-GOP Fight With Grassley Over Biofuels
‘This is about jobs’

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, walks through the Senate subway as he leaves the Capitol on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

By calling for price caps on renewable fuel credits, Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz on Wednesday made clear that a wide gulf remains between lawmakers from agricultural states and those from oil patch states over the future of biofuels, even within the GOP. 

His comments also dimmed hopes that Cruz would lift his hold on the confirmation of Bill Northey, an Iowan nominated by President Donald Trump to be undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation at the Department of Agriculture. That hold has led to rhetorical skirmishes between Cruz and Iowa Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley.

Photos of the Week: Trump Budget Arrival, ADA Protests, and Immigration Debate Grinds to a Halt
The week of Feb. 12 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Boxes containing President Donald Trump’’s fiscal 2019 budget arrive in the House Budget Committee hearing room on Monday morning. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congress has already left town ahead of next week’s Presidents Day recess.

This week saw the arrival of President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2019 budget (if you missed it, we boiled down the agencies that would win and lose under the budget in one chart), House passage (though not without protests) of a bill aimed at curbing American with Disabilities Act lawsuits, and the Senate consideration (and likely the end of consideration) of immigration proposals. 

Four Up, Four Down on Senate Immigration Proposals
Bipartisan, Democratic, Republican amendments all blocked

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., right, and Senate minority leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., were not able to convince enough senators on the other side of their respective aisles to advance any of the immigration proposals. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate voted down all four immigration proposals in front of it on Thursday, failing to cut off debate on each one of them and leaving the chamber at a loss on how to proceed, eventually, on the high-profile issue.

First up was a motion to cut off debate on a proposal from Arizona Republican John McCain and Delaware Democrat Chris Coons to provide conditional permanent residence to recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program if they meet certain qualifications, and would authorize $110 million annually, for fiscal 2018 through fiscal 2022, for grants for border security activities in states with international or maritime borders.