government shutdown

Trump pulls plug on foreign aid cuts amid blowback
Administration was seeking $4 billion in unspent foreign aid funding

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, pictured at his Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing, argued this week against the funding rescissions. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump scrapped a plan to cancel more than $4 billion in unspent foreign aid, following a bipartisan uproar from Capitol Hill, lawsuit threats from stakeholders and pushback within his own Cabinet.

Transmission of the rescissions request to cut unspent funds at the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development was expected sometime this week. But “POTUS decided not to move forward,” one source with knowledge of Trump's decision said Thursday.

Bernie Sanders labor plan would let federal workers strike
Presidential contender unveils plan ahead of Iowa AFL-CIO trip

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders has unveiled a labor policy plan ahead of a visit to the Iowa AFL-CIO. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled a new labor plan Wednesday that includes a proposal to let federal employees go on strike.

“Under current law, federal employees are not guaranteed the same labor rights as workers in the private sector. While they have the ability to unionize, they are prohibited from going on strike,” a plan summary said. “Under this plan, federal workers would have the right to strike.”

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.

Hoyer cautions Senate against ‘cop-out’ approach on gun safety legislation
Red flag law bill, more narrow background check expansion not enough, House majority leader says

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer is calling on the Senate to act on a House-passed bill requiring background checks all gun sales. Above, Hoyer speaks at a news conference in the Capitol on Tuesday, joined by, from left, Michigan Rep. Debbie Dingell, Christian Heyne of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and Virginia Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is cautioning the Senate against taking up narrowly focused gun safety legislation instead of a more comprehensive House-passed bill to expand background checks on gun purchases. 

In the weeks following three recent deadly mass shootings, House Democrats have issued a steady drumbeat of calls for the Senate to return early from its summer recess to consider HR 8, which the House passed in February. The bill would expand background checks conducted for in-store firearm purchases to include online and gun show sales. 

Gun research funding push faces challenge in Senate even after shootings
House-passed bill would be first time in decades Congress allocated funding specifically for gun violence research

Sen. Roy Blunt, chairman of the subcommittee that oversees health research funding, signaled he wouldn't support new funds for research on gun violence. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats in Congress are amplifying their calls to fund more research on gun violence after the recent mass shootings in Ohio and Texas, but Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Chairman Roy Blunt suggested Thursday he wouldn’t support new funding in that area.

The dispute over $50 million for gun violence prevention research could pose an additional challenge in the effort to avoid a government shutdown this fall.

Why D.C. isn’t too uptight for improv
From the Capitol to K Street, staffers are saying ‘yes, and…’

Sam Schifrin and Geoff Corey, center, dive into an improv scene on Monday. Washington Improv Theater Executive Director Mark Chalfant is seen at right. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

Inside a bare room with concrete walls, they walk toward each other and lock eyes. “Johnny!” one shouts. “Stacy — did it happen?” the other responds.

Neither has any idea what they’re talking about, but that’s OK. This is improv, where uncertainty is a feature, not a bug.

For spending bills, now comes the hard part
Both chambers need to reach agreement before Sept. 30 to avoid a repeat of the 35-day partial government shutdown

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, Homeland Security Appropriations chairwoman, said that getting her committee’s spending bill enacted will be ‘difficult.’ (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congressional leaders and the Trump administration proved last week that they can work together by reaching an agreement to avoid default on the nation’s financial obligations and prevent $125 billion in spending cuts that could disrupt the longest U.S. economic expansion on record.

Assuming the House-passed budget pact is cleared by the Senate this week and signed into law, lawmakers still have their work cut out for them.

Supreme Court allows Trump to spend $2.5 billion, build 100 miles of border barriers
The government asked for an answer by Friday to prevent Congress from stopping the plan

President Donald Trump greets Blake Marnell of San Diego, during a rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., on May 20, 2019. A divided Supreme Court granted the Trump administration’s expedited request to spend transferred money on border wall construction. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A divided Supreme Court late Friday backed the Trump administration’s push to reshuffle up to $2.5 billion to build 100 miles of border barriers, a decision that allows the government to act ahead of a congressional spending fight that it said might have foiled those plans.

The high court ruling lifts a lower court injunction that prevented the government from spending the money —which was transferred into a Defense Department account earlier this year — to contract and build the barriers before fiscal 2019 spending law lapses on Sept. 30.

They wanted term limits for leadership. Pelosi agreed. Now what?
Ed Perlmutter still hasn’t got a caucus vote. But he’s stopped pushing

Colorado Reps. Ed Perlmutter, center, pushed Speaker Nancy Pelosi to back term limits for senior Democratic leaders. For now, he’s dropping the proposal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Ed Perlmutter, the lead negotiator for a group of Democrats who pushed Speaker Nancy Pelosi to agree to limit her leadership tenure to four more years, is no longer pushing for the Democratic Caucus to adopt leadership term limits as part of its rules. 

“We’re just letting it sit right now,” the Colorado Democrat said. 

Inside Homestead: A tour of the Florida camp for migrant children
The shelter has become a site of ‘resistance’ in recent months — a magnet for protesters and politicians alike

Boys exercise at the Homestead facility on July 9. (Tanvi Misra/CQ Roll Call)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Staff writer Tanvi Misra and visual journalist Jinitzail Hernández visited the privately run shelter for migrant children held by the U.S. government in Homestead, Florida, on July 8-9. Hernández was not given permission to shoot video or photos inside the facility, and she and Misra were escorted at all times by Caliburn International staff. This is their report.