Homeland Security

Trump touts more than 100 miles of new border wall during State of Union
But all but one mile of it simply replaces old, existing barriers

A section of the border wall stretches through the Rio Grande Valley sector of the Texas border on Aug. 20, 2019. (Jinitzail Hernández/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump boasted during his State of the Union address that his administration has built more than 100 miles of barriers along the southwest border. The latest government data, however, shows that only one new mile of barrier has been constructed where none previously existed.

During his address Tuesday night to Congress, the president referred to ongoing construction of “a long, tall and very powerful wall” that echoed promises from his 2016 presidential campaign.

Could Trump’s acquittal spell the end of White Houses honoring congressional subpoenas?
Some Senate Democrats are concerned it could set a new precedent

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and the other Supreme Court justices may ultimately have to decide about the validity of congressional subpoenas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congress may have issued its last successful subpoenas to a president of the opposite party, some senators worry, now that President Donald Trump is acquitted of the House’s obstruction of Congress charge.

The argument is that the 47-53 vote Wednesday to reject the second article of impeachment lessened the legislative branch’s power to oversee the executive branch and complicates ongoing litigation on the power of a congressional subpoena. 

Impeachment news roundup: Feb. 4
Collins says she will vote to acquit Trump on both articles

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, arrives for the Senate Republicans’ lunch in the Capitol before the start of Senate impeachment trial session on Jan. 23, 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 4:3o p.m.

Senators are taking to the Senate floor to explain their vote on President Donald Trump’s impeachment Tuesday and others will get their turn until they cast it Wednesday afternoon.

Congress looks at taxes, oversight, crime in fintech bills
Lawmakers focus on fostering innovation while ensuring technology isn’t abused

Companies that facilitate bitcoin payments, called merchant services providers, received $158 billion in bitcoin last year, which was just about 1 percent of the economic activity on bitcoin’s blockchain, according to Chainalysis, which analyses such transactions. (Avishek Das/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images photo illustration)

Corrected 4:25 p.m. | Cryptocurrencies involve cutting-edge technology, but Congress is aiming at age-old problems when it comes to financial technology legislation: taxation, crime and jurisdiction to set the rules.

A review of the latest fintech-related bills by CQ Roll Call shows lawmakers’ latest efforts are focused on fostering innovation by some and making sure the technology isn’t abused by others.

Majority of election sites in battleground states lack validation, McAfee finds
Local government election-related websites lack the .gov domain

A Board of Elections official places signs around the One Judiciary Square building as District of Columbia residents head to the polls for the first day of early voting in the 2014 general election at the Board of Elections headquarters in Washington on Oct. 20, 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A vast majority of election-related websites operated by local governments in battleground states lack a key feature that would help distinguish them from those run by commercial entities or criminal hackers — a site that ends in .gov as opposed to .com or other extensions, according to cybersecurity research firm McAfee.

Of 1,117 counties in 13 key states, which account for 201 of the 270 Electoral College votes that determine the winner of presidential contests, 83.3 percent didn’t have the .gov validation, McAfee found. 

Trump administration adds travel restrictions to six countries
Restrictions expanded to Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania

Passage of the original travel ban prompted protests like this one at Dulles International Airport on  Jan. 29, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Trump administration announced it will place travel restrictions on six additional countries, expanding a policy that has severely prohibited travel from targeted nations.

President Donald Trump signed a new proclamation Friday suspending immigrant visas for Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar and Nigeria. The remaining two countries, Sudan and Tanzania, will be barred from participating in the diversity visa lottery, which randomly allocates 50,000 green cards each year to countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

U.S. border officers ordered to vet Iranian American travelers, memo shows
Jayapal seeks Customs and Border Patrol meeting over agency's 'leaked' directive

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., called the practice of targeting U.S. citizens and residents at the border "absolutely unacceptable." (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal said Thursday that her office was working to confirm what appears to be a Customs and Border Protection directive to field officers asking for additional scrutiny of Iranians, Palestinians and Lebanese at the U.S. border. 

“This document, if verified as coming from the Seattle CBP Field Office, matches exactly the process described by CBP leadership in a briefing last week, our own sources inside CBP, and the credible and powerful accounts from travelers who faced extreme profiling at the U.S.-Canada border,” the Democratic lawmaker said in a statement that linked to a local paper in Washington state that published the directive. 

House of accommodations: Impeachment managers find ways to vote
Life goes on across Rotunda for prosecutors in Senate trial

House impeachment managers, from left, Sylvia R. Garcia, Val B. Demings, Jason Crow and Hakeem Jeffries are seen in the Capitol on Friday before the continuation of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Sylvia R. Garcia has never missed a vote — not in her first term so far in the House and not in the six years she served in the Texas state Senate.

The freshman Democrat’s perfect attendance could’ve been in jeopardy this week since she is one of the seven House impeachment managers prosecuting the chamber’s case in the Senate trial of President Donald Trump. But fortunately for Garcia, House Democratic leaders are keeping the floor schedule flexible to ensure the managers can participate in votes.

US ready for potential coronavirus outbreak, CDC assures lawmakers
CDC officials said they currently have the resources needed to address the spread of the virus

Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., departs from a news conference on Tuesday. He told reporters Friday that federal health officials had positive things to say about China’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Federal health officials told lawmakers Friday that they have the resources they need to address the spread of the virus originating from Wuhan, China, although senators acknowledged the potential need for supplemental funding down the road.

The briefing for roughly two dozen senators came as the case count for the new version of coronavirus in China was rapidly increasing, prompting authorities there to effectively quarantine tens of millions of people in Wuhan and surrounding cities. China’s National Health Commission reported 571 cases and 17 deaths as of Thursday, though news reports on Friday said there were now more than 800 cases and at least 26 deaths.

Puerto Rico earthquake supplemental under discussion in House
HUD ignored a Sept. 4 deadline set by Congress

A Puerto Rican flag waves on top of a pile of rubble as debris is removed from a main road in Guanica, P.R., on Jan. 8, one day after an earthquake hit the island. (Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images)

 

Updated 4:39 p.m. House Appropriations Democrats are looking at a possible emergency spending package to provide additional aid to Puerto Rico following a series of earthquakes since late last year, including a 5.2 magnitude quake Wednesday.