Dianne Feinstein

Road ahead: Will Congress get a disaster relief deal before Memorial Day?
House and Senate will keep full schedules as budget talks continue for this week and beyond

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will join their fellow congressional leaders to discuss the budget and the need to lift the country’s debt limit with the administration. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The big question for the week is whether Congress will actually act on long-awaited disaster relief before lawmakers head out for Memorial Day.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said such a vote is on the floor agenda for this week, but as senators left Thursday afternoon for the weekend, there was still no final agreement on any bipartisan package.

Graham aims to advance border security bill in early June
Bill would change asylum laws and expand detention facilities to address a surge of migrants arriving at the southwest border

Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., prepare for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Dirksen Building on prescription drugs on Tuesday, May 7, 2019.  Graham said he is willing to work with Republicans and Democrats to craft a limited immigration bill that would change asylum laws and expand detention facilities.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham said he is willing to work with Republicans and Democrats to craft a limited immigration bill in short order that would change asylum laws and expand detention facilities in an attempt to address the surge of migrants arriving at the southwest border.

Speaking with a sense of urgency, the South Carolina Republican said at a news conference Wednesday that he will introduce a bill later this week that would: require immigrants to apply for U.S. asylum in their home countries instead of at the border; hire more immigration judges to reduce the case backlog that already exceeds 800,000; and modify a court settlement that currently limits the amount of time migrant children can be held in detention while they await adjudication.

Trump downplays China trade ‘squabble,’ rattles sabre at Iran
POTUS: ‘We would send a hell of a lot more troops than’ 120,000 reportedly being mulled

President Donald Trump talks to reporters as he leaves the White House here on April 5. He was back on the South Lawn talking about Iran and China on Tuesday morning. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump called stalled trade talks with America’s biggest economic rival, China, just “a little squabble,” even as Congress and the markets are increasingly unnerved by it, and, touching on another foreign policy hot spot, suggested he would send more than 120,000 U.S. troops to the Middle East to confront Iran.

The remarks came after The New York Times reported the administration is considering sending troops to the Middle East. The president already has ordered a carrier strike group and bomber wing to the region. 

Road ahead: House health care week again, as Senate tackles contentious nominations
House Democrats also voting on Equality Act, which will mark passage of half of their top 10 bills

Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., is lead sponsor of the Equality Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It’s health care week, part two, in the House as the chamber will vote on a package of seven bills designed to strengthen the 2010 law and lower prescription drug prices — after passing a measure last week that Democrats said would protect people with pre-existing conditions.

But the health care package won’t be the only marquee legislation on the floor this week. Democrats will be halfway through advancing their top 10 bills out of the House after a vote on HR 5, the Equality Act.

Trump team struggles with Iran, global tests after months of Mueller probe battles
Former official: ‘Provocative actions against Iran’ seem to have imprint of John Bolton

National security adviser John Bolton has struck a hawkish tone on Iran and other global hotspots despite President Donald Trump’s “America first” philosophy. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

After months of mostly battling domestic political foes, the Trump White House is suddenly juggling a handful of potentially volatile situations from South America to the Middle East to East Asia.

President Donald Trump, his top White House aides and outside surrogates have largely spent the months since November’s midterm elections pre-butting, then rebutting special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report on Russian election meddling. But since its release last month, the commander in chief has been forced to deal with Venezuela’s political strife, a defiant North Korea, a chill in trade talks with China and a newly aggressive Iran.

Jeff Sessions, Doug Jones ring in happy birthday for Richard Shelby

A bipartisan group of senators, and one prominent ex-senator, wished Richard Shelby a happy birthday on Monday. (Jennifer Shutt/CQ Roll Call)

The hallways outside the Senate Appropriations Committee filled with the Happy Birthday song Monday afternoon as dozens of senators and staff gathered to wish Chairman Richard C. Shelby a happy 85th birthday.

The closed-door event included coconut cake, champagne and red napkins that read “Happy Birthday Senator Richard Shelby!”

Barr will be a no-show at House Judiciary Committee
AG objects to staff asking questions about special counsel probe

Attorney General Bill Barr testifies during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the “Department of Justice’s Investigation of Russian Interference with the 2016 Presidential Election” on Wednesday, May 1, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Attorney General William Barr will not appear as scheduled before the House Judiciary Committee about the special counsel probe Thursday, as he objects to a format that would allow committee staff to ask questions, the Justice Department announced.

Earlier Wednesday, the House panel approved a plan to allow an extra hour of time — divided into equal 30-minute, unbroken segments for each party — for either lawmakers or committee staff to ask questions.

Ellen Tauscher, former House member and diplomat, dies at 67

Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Calif., served in the House from 1997 to 2009, when she left for a position at the State Department. (CQ Roll Call file photo).

Ellen Tauscher, a Democrat who represented the eastern San Francisco Bay area in the House and later served as a senior diplomat at the State Department, has died at age 67.

Tauscher was among the more influential House Democrats outside the leadership circle during her time in Congress, as head of the New Democrat Coalition and a respected voice on arms control from her perch atop the Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee. 

Chairman Nadler subpoenas fully unredacted Mueller report
DOJ calls New York Democrat’s request ‘premature and unnecessary’

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., is seeking to obtain the full, unredacted report by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 5:26 p.m. | House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler issued a subpoena Friday demanding Attorney General William Barr release a full, unredacted version of the report authored by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

“My committee needs and is entitled to the full version of the report and the underlying evidence with past practice. The redactions appear to be significant,” Nadler wrote in a statement released Friday.

Lawmakers spar big-time on behalf of rocket companies
Billions of dollars in business, and the future of national security, are at stake in fight over developing a new generation of rockets

The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket lifts off from launch pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center on February 6, 2018 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The rocket is the most powerful rocket in the world and is carrying a Tesla Roadster into orbit. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

More than two-dozen House members have thrown the latest punch in a bare-knuckled fight that pits competing U.S. rocket manufacturers and their allies on Capitol Hill against one another.

A bipartisan group of 28 House members urged Air Force Secretary Heather A. Wilson in an April 12 letter not to alter the service’s blueprint for developing a new generation of rockets to lift U.S. military and spy satellites into orbit. But plenty of other lawmakers have pushed for several changes.