Homeland Security

Energy, Health departments at risk for cyberattacks, OMB says
EPA, FCC, FTC also ranked as being ‘at risk,’ with email threats most prevalent

EPA has “significant gaps in cybersecurity capabilities” according to an Office of Management and Budget report. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Several large federal agencies continue to be at risk for cyberattacks even as the number of cyber incidents reported during fiscal 2018 fell compared with the previous year, the Office of Management and Budget said in a report sent to Congress on Friday.

The number of cyber incidents reported by federal agencies fell 12 percent to 31,107 during fiscal 2018 but “drawing conclusions based on this data point, particularly as agencies have adjusted to several new sets of reporting guidelines over the last few years, would be concerning,” the report said.

Democrats target state elections with focus on election security
Supporting secretaries of state offices in Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi in effort to expand voting rights

Democrats are supporting secretaries of state offices across the country to try to win a majority of those offices nationwide. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats on Thursday launched a campaign to win secretaries of state races in Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi this November by pointing to their focus on boosting election security and expanding voting rights, compared with Republican officials.

“The office of the secretary of State is more important than ever,” Alex Padilla, the secretary of state for California and president of the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State, told CQ Roll Call. “Every election cycle is an opportunity to elect Democratic secretaries of State, but also to ensure security and accessibility” for voters.

Trump wants to lift restrictions on how long it can hold migrant families
Pelosi accuses White House of ‘seeking to codify child abuse’

A border security officer searches migrants before transferring them by bus to the McAllen Border Patrol facility in Los Ebanos, Texas, in July. The Trump administration is challenging a court order that limits the time children can be detained. (John Moore/Getty Images file photo)

The Trump administration is moving to end a court settlement that limits its ability to hold migrants who cross the border into the United States, the Department of Homeland Security announced Wednesday, potentially allowing for indefinite detention of children with their parents.

President Donald Trump and his administration for years have chafed at the limitations resulting from the settlement, known as the Flores agreement. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said Wednesday the new policy would get rid of an interpretation of Flores that has “substantially caused and continued to fuel” a migrant crisis at the southern border.

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.

Schumer: Use funds to fight gun violence instead of for the border wall
New York Democrat wants $5 billion to go to CDC research, Homeland Security and FBI programs

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer wants more funding to fight gun violence (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is preparing to formally request that the $5 billion Trump’s administration would like spent on a border wall go instead to countering gun violence.

“The dual scourges of gun violence and violent white supremacist extremism in this country are a national security threat, plain and simple, and it’s time the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress started treating them as such,” the New York Democrat said in a statement. “Now Republicans and this administration need to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to addressing gun violence and stopping the rise of domestic terrorism, especially stemming from white supremacy.”

New ‘public charge’ rule could affect millions of immigrants
The DHS rule gives officers new authority to deny citizenship, or other status based on past or future use of public benefits

Ken Cuccinelli, former Virginia Attorney General, does a TV interview on Jan. 20, 2015. Cuccinelli, now U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, announced a new rule giving immigration officers new authority to deny citizenship, or other status based on past or future use of public benefits. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A new Department of Homeland Security rule unveiled Monday seeks to do what pro-immigration advocates have long dreaded by giving U.S. immigration officers broad authority to deny applicants citizenship, green cards, visa extensions and changes in immigration status based on past or potential future use of public benefits.

The change covers people who may have used a wide range of benefits in the past such as food stamps, Medicaid and housing assistance, even if they were eligible for them. Furthermore, the government under the new rule can reject people if immigration officers deem it likely they could become reliant on such public assistance in the future.

Trump says McConnell ‘totally on board’ with background checks
President dismisses possibility of NRA opposition to legislation

President Donald Trump says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is “totally on board” with “intelligent background checks,” but a Senate aide says McConnell hasn’t endorsed “anything specific.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Friday gave perhaps his strongest endorsement yet of a background checks overhaul bill for firearms purchases, and predicted Republican lawmakers would “lead” on the issue despite opposition from the National Rifle Association.

“Frankly, we need intelligent background checks. This isn’t a question of NRA, Republican or Democrat. I spoke to [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell yesterday. ... He is totally on board,” the president told reporters as he left the White House for a 10-day working vacation.

Senate GOP plans to divert health, education funds to border wall
$5 billion move would set up clash with Democratic House over fiscal 2020 spending

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby  plans for his committee to begin marking up spending bills when Congress returns in September. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Republicans are looking to pay for President Donald Trump’s border wall in part by putting about $5 billion less in the largest domestic spending bill, several people with knowledge of the process said.

That move signals a likely fight over wall funding, as well as over Trump’s ability to reprogram or transfer funds to the border, when the fiscal 2020 appropriations process resumes after Congress returns in September.

‘Public charge’ rule creates Homeland spending bill headache
Amendment blocks proposed rules on immigrant access to Medicaid and food stamps

Rep. David Price, D-N.C., offered an amendment that would block the Department of Homeland Security's proposed "public charge" rule from going into effect. (File photo by Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

An amendment inserted into the House's fiscal 2020 Homeland Security spending bill by Appropriations Committee Democrats during the panel's June markup would bust the subcommittee's allocation by nearly $3.1 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Adopted on a 28-21 vote, the amendment from Reps. David E. Price of North Carolina, Pete Aguilar and Barbara Lee of California, and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin would block a number of Trump administration immigration policies, including protecting beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals from deportation and revoking Trump's travel ban against predominantly Muslim countries.

House Democrats to visit cities roiled by white supremacist violence
The ‘action plan’ could be aimed at quieting concerns that lawmakers will lose momentum over the August recess

Rep. Nanette Barragan, D-Calif., serves on the House Homeland Security Committee. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee will visit cities roiled by violence in the coming month “to address the threat of domestic terrorism” by white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

Chairman Bennie Thompson laid out the plan in a media release sent Tuesday night. The release comes amid a push from some Democrats to cut the August recess short and convene a session of Congress on the matter.