Eliot L Engel

Should we all just throw away our impeachment position trackers?
Tracking support for an impeachment inquiry no longer relevant since Judiciary panel claims one’s underway

Protesters gather in front of the White House for a rally and candlelight vigil on July 18, 2018. The protest was one of more than 100 events around the country following a dozen indictments in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia probe. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — Several news outlets, including CQ Roll Call, have kept tallies of the House Democrats who have called for impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump for months. It may be time to throw them out.

The media lists of Democrats who support an impeachment inquiry — counts vary slightly by news outlet — are effectively meaningless now that Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler and other senior Democrats say his panel’s investigation into Trump’s alleged misdeeds is equivalent to one.

Lowey faces her first primary challenge in three decades
Powerful chairwoman to face 32-year-old newcomer in Democratic contest

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, an 82-year-old incumbent who was first elected in 1988, speaks to reporters in July 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The year was 1988. Def Leppard topped the charts and stonewashed jeans were all the rage. It was also the last time powerful House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey faced a primary challenge.

That’s all changed now with the decision by Mondaire Jones, a former Obama administration Justice Department staffer and attorney for Westchester County’s Law Department, to challenge Lowey in next June’s primary. The 32-year-old political novice plans to take on the New York Democratic incumbent over her positions on issues ranging from climate change to student debt forgiveness to oversight of the Trump administration.

Trump appointees routinely bullied State Department staffers, IG reports
Numerous employees subjected to ‘disrespectful,’ ‘hostile’ and ‘inappropriate’ treatment

Two top officials at the State Department engaged in "generally unprofessional behavior" toward staffers, the inspector general's report found. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

A long-awaited investigation by the State Department’s inspector general concluded in a report released Thursday that multiple career employees were subjected to “disrespectful,” “hostile” and “inappropriate” treatment at the hands of political appointees.

The review specifically focused on allegations of political retaliation against career employees at the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, which leads and coordinates U.S. policy toward the United Nations. For over a year, House and Senate Democrats have pushed for a thorough investigation into whistleblower complaints and news reports that political appointees were vetting career employees at the State Department and retaliating against those they deemed insufficiently loyal to President Donald Trump and his administration’s conservative agenda.

Engel wants staffers to warn foreign governments about spending at Trump’s hotels
New memo instructs staff on interactions with foreign governments

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot L. Engel wants Democratic staffers to warn foreign government officials that spending at Trump-owned properties could violate the Constitution’s emoluments clause. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A new directive this week from House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot L. Engel instructs staffers to warn foreign governments that spending at Trump-owned properties could violate the Constitution’s emoluments clause.

The memo, released Monday, issues guidelines for staff engaging with foreign governments. The directive signed by the New York Democrat is aimed specifically at the committee’s majority staff. Republican staffers were not given the same instructions.

White House lifts pause on State, USAID spending
The move comes after a flurry of congressional criticism of OMB's funding freeze

The White House has agreed to release certain State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funding after it had been temporarily frozen. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House has released certain funds appropriated for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development that over the weekend had been temporarily frozen, a senior administration official said Friday.

The action comes after the Office of Management and Budget told those two agencies to cease spending for a range of programs that still have unobligated fiscal 2018 and 2019 balances, and would otherwise expire if not spent by Sept. 30.

State Department aides won’t rule out existing authorizations allowing for attack on Iran
Officials would not commit on seeking congressional approval for military action, either

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, left, and ranking member Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., look to reconcile differences over congressional authorization for the use of military force. (File photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senior State Department officials wouldn’t commit to a Senate panel Wednesday that the Trump administration will seek congressional authorization for a potential military conflict with Iran, nor would they promise that existing military authorizations would not be reinterpreted to allow attacks on Iran.

Rather, the Trump administration officials said they would consult and inform lawmakers of any administration plans to carry out military strikes on Iran, including actions related to the defense of U.S. troops and partner forces.

The next Joe Crowley? Not us, these high-profile Democrats say
List of progressive primary challengers keeps growing

Massachusetts Rep. Richard E. Neal is the latest longtime Democratic incumbent to get a progressive primary challenger. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats in Congress who have been living for months with the threat of primary challenges are getting their first sense of actual danger, with a string of progressive candidates announcing campaigns in recent weeks against some of the most entrenched and high-profile members.

Targets include House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal, who has represented Western Massachusetts since 1989. His challenger, Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, launched a much-anticipated campaign Monday.

The Democrats who voted to keep impeachment options open
Why those who do not yet favor an impeachment inquiry voted against blocking Green’s articles

Rep. Lori Trahan, D-Mass., voted against tabling Rep. Al Green's impeachment articles to keep the option on the table but she does not yet support opening an impeachment inquiry. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A House vote last Wednesday to block Texas Rep. Al Green’s articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump led to some contortions from Democrats yet to support impeachment or opening an inquiry, but it mostly came down to this: keeping those options open. 

About two dozen Democrats who had not been on the record in favor of impeachment proceedings voted with Green against tabling, or basically killing, his articles. A total of 95 Democrats voted that way, but most of those members had previously called for Trump’s impeachment or an inquiry. 

House Democrats apologize to India ambassador for Trump’s ‘amateurish’ claim about Kashmir
Trump claimed Indian prime minister asked him to mediate Kashmir dispute between his country and Pakistan

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., left, and Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., attend a committee markup in the Rayburn Building on May 17, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee spoke with India’s ambassador to the U.S., Harsh Shringla, on Monday to apologize for President Donald Trump’s claim that he was asked by the Indian prime minister to mediate the Kashmir territorial conflict between his country and Pakistan.

“Everyone who knows anything about foreign policy in South Asia knows that India consistently opposes third-party mediation [regarding] Kashmir,” Rep. Brad Sherman of California tweeted Monday. “Everyone knows [Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi] would never suggest such a thing. Trump’s statement is amateurish and delusional. And embarrassing,” he wrote.

Defense conferees to decide fate of firearms export oversight
Decision nears on blocking the Trump administration from weakening regulations on the export of firearms

Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif. added an amendment restricting the administration from moving forward with its plan to shift export control of firearm sales from the State Department to the Commerce Department (File photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Among the many thorny issues Senate and House negotiators have to hash out as they negotiate a final annual defense policy bill this summer is whether to block the Trump administration from weakening regulations around the export of firearms.

The House version of the fiscal 2020 defense authorization measure contains a provision that would restrict the administration from moving forward with its plan to shift export control of firearm sales from the State Department to the Commerce Department.