Henry Cuellar

Campaign consultants frozen out of DCCC money create ‘The Blacklist’
Database of vendors for challengers launches after Democratic campaign arm tries to make it harder to unseat incumbents

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., left, and Ayanna S. Pressley, D-Mass., both unseated white male incumbents in primary elections last year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Campaign consultants who face being frozen out tens of millions of dollars in contracts with the Democratic Party’s congressional arm are pushing back.

A new website called “The DCCC Blacklist” launched in response to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s newly stated policy that it will not grant contracts to pollsters, strategists and communications specialists working with primary challengers.

Trump replaces border-closure threat with one about Mexican-made cars
‘And I will do it ... I don’t play games,’ POTUS says as he issues yet another ‘warning’

President Donald Trump takes questions from reporters he arrives with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for a Senate Republican lunch in the Capitol on March 26. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 2:27 p.m. | President Donald Trump has found an alternative to his threat to shutter ports of entry at the southern border: He his now threatening to first slap tariffs on Mexican-made automobiles as a punishment for migrants and drugs coming into the U.S.

He demanded on Thursday that the Mexican government provide additional assistance in curbing the amount of undocumented migrants and illegal drugs moving into the United States from its soil. Trump and his team are eager to shrink the number of attempted border crossings and apprehensions, which have increased under his watch despite his hardline immigration policies.

House Republicans dig out another procedural tool to pressure Democrats
GOP is planning to file discharge petitions on a late-term abortion bill and the Green New Deal

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., is planning to file a discharge petition next week in an effort to force a vote on a bill to provide protections for newborns who survive abortions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans, boosted by some early procedural wins this Congress, are planning to try out another tool available to the minority to put pressure on Democrats — the discharge petition.

Discharge petitions can be filed by any member but are most commonly used by the minority party to highlight legislation the majority refuses to bring to the floor. If a discharge petition gets 218 signatures, the underlying measure can then be brought up for a vote over the objections of leadership.

Mulvaney hosting Camp David meeting with Yarmuth, others
Mulvaney extended the invitation but didn't provide any details of the subject matter of the agenda

Mick Mulvaney, right, then the Office of Management and Budget director, arrives for a Jan. 3, 2018, budget meeting then-Speaker Paul Ryan's office with White House legislative affairs director Marc Short, center, on Jan. 3, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A small group of Republican and Democratic House members are headed to Camp David after votes Friday to meet with White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, to see if they can find common ground on budget and other issues.

Mulvaney extended the invitation but didn't provide any details of the subject matter of the agenda.

Border, homeland security deal could come over weekend
Members said they would use the weekend to resolve remaining concerns and aim to have legislative text on Monday

Cuellar wants five border areas off-limits to barrier construction. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House and Senate negotiators were planning to work through the weekend to reach a border security deal that would clear the way for a final fiscal 2019 spending package.

A House-Senate conference committee on a Homeland Security bill had been hoping to reach an agreement by Friday. But members said they would probably use the weekend to resolve all remaining concerns, with the goal of producing legislative text on Monday.

Hispanic Caucus to Homeland Security conferees: No more money for immigrant detention or a wall
Letter also calls for more oversight of immigration enforcement agencies

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, pictured with his son, as House members were sworn in on the first day of the 116th Congress on Jan. 3, led a letter to the Homeland Security appropriations conference urging them not to approve any more money for immigration detention or a wall. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Joaquin Castro and 20 members of his caucus sent a letter to the Homeland Security conferees urging them not to appropriate any more money for immigrant detention or a border wall.

“We urge you to oppose increases in funding for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for the purposes of immigration detention, Trump’s deportation force, the border wall — and ensure that certain types of detention are not expanded or replaced in ways that conflict with the goal of reducing detention overall.”

Unshackled by leadership, appropriators ready to deal on border

Top congressional leaders say they will leave a border security conference committee to work its will. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The top congressional leaders in both chambers have a message for the 17 appropriators making up the House-Senate conference committee on Homeland Security spending: Do your thing.

And that’s a positive sign for negotiations on border security funding that are going down to the wire again, with a Feb. 15 deadline to avert yet another partial government shutdown. Appropriators want to reach at least an agreement in principle by the end of this week, to be able to start putting pen to paper over the weekend.

Border security bargainers get to work, still miles apart
First conference committee meeting does little to close the divide

From left, Senate Appropriations chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., House Appropriations chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., House Appropriations ranking member Kay Granger, R-Texas, and Senate Appropriations ranking member Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., talk before the start of the Homeland Security Appropriations Conference Committee on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats showed few signs of giving in to President Donald Trump’s demands for $5.7 billion for a border wall as a conference committee began talks Wednesday to strike a border security deal that would also fund the Department of Homeland Security for fiscal 2019.

But both sides expressed optimism and pledged to work toward an agreement by the Feb. 15 deadline that the president can sign, and thus avoid another partial government shutdown.

Henry Cuellar says liberals targeting him don’t understand his district
Texas congressman says his polling shows his Democratic constituents are moderates

Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, is among the more conservative Democrats in the House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar said Friday that the liberal Democrats recruiting primary challengers against him are in for a rude awakening. 

The Washington Post first reported that Justice Democrats, a group targeting sitting Democratic lawmakers, launched a fund to support a primary challenge against Cuellar, one of the more conservative House Democrats.

Charities Feeling Flush Despite Tax Law Change
Small gifts are down, but big donors have more than made up for it

Charities argued against doubling the standard deduction, but so far the change hasn’t slowed down giving. Above, President Donald Trump, flanked by Republican lawmakers, celebrates the 2017 tax law. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Year-end holiday giving is make-or-break time for America’s charitable sector. Donors who give now may feel compelled by the spirit of the season, but many of them also know that they can soon write off their gifts on their taxes and recoup a portion of their money.

But that latter incentive affects fewer people this year, thanks to a provision in the 2017 tax law that roughly doubled the standard deduction. As a result, the Congressional Budget Office projects that 31 million fewer households will itemize their taxes next year, eliminating their tax incentive to give to charity.