Homeland Security

Trump Says ‘Obstructionist Democrats’ Undermining National Security
President sends mixed messages before leaving for Camp David security summit

President Donald Trump, here aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford in March, lashed out at Democrats over what he says is their intent to "delay" his national security policies. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

Donald Trump began the last workday of yet another chaotic week of his presidency by accusing Democrats of hindering the country’s security — while also sending some mixed signals.

About 90 minutes before his scheduled departure for a Camp David summit with his national security team on North Korea and related issues, the president took to Twitter with contradictory messages about the state of American security.

Budget and Appropriations Members Rack Up Travel Time
Boots on the ground or paid vacation?

Staff travel makes up a significant chuck of the amounts spent on travel by the Appropriations and Budget committees. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Members of the Budget and Appropriations committees have spent about $2 million on foreign travel since the start of 2016, including trips to Argentina, Tanzania, Italy and the United Kingdom, according to an analysis of congressional records.

Appropriations Committee members far outpace their colleagues on the Budget Committee in the number of trips and how much they've spent on travel outside the United States. From Jan. 1, 2016 through March 31, 2017, Appropriations Committee members and staff spent $1.9 million on foreign travel and Budget Committee members and staff spent $36,000.

Word on the Hill: Volunteers for Tiniest Opioid Victims
Smucker on Israel, and Murphy’s still walking

Ohio Rep. Michael R. Turner, center, is flanked by volunteers at a local hospital. (Courtesy Turner via Premier Health)

Rep. Michael R. Turner, R-Ohio, recently visited volunteers who cuddle with infants going through opiate withdrawal in Dayton. 

The volunteer Infant Cuddle Program at Miami Valley Hospital was launched recently and Turner got to thank the cuddlers last week.

D.C. Books Bring D.C. Women Together
Staffer Krista Harvey kicked off women’s book club this year

Krista Harvey, center, organized the first women's book club in April. (Courtesy Tess Glancey)

When one group of Washington women found out the new White House chief of staff read the C.S. Forester novel “The General” every time he was promoted during his career, they put the book next on their reading list.

Their book club is a non-political, unstructured, low-pressure space for book lovers and networking women founded by a Capitol Hill staffer looking for just that.

Word on the Hill: Murphy Walks Again
Updates from the OOC, LOC and Historical Society

Connecticut Sen. Christopher S. Murphy is taking questions as he walks across the Nutmeg State. (Courtesy Murphy via Snapchat)

Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn., is making his way across the Nutmeg State on foot … again.

Today is Day Three of the walk. On Monday, he walked from Willimantic to Portland, where he held an evening town hall.

Rubio Receives Increased Security After Reported Venezuelan Death Order
Senator has had a security detail in Washington and Miami

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has been one of the most vocal critics of Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has received increased security in light of an order by Venezuelan leaders reportedly putting a death order on him.

Rubio, who has been a fervent critic of the Venezuelan government and leader Nicolas Maduro, has had a detail in both Washington and his home in Miami, the Miami Herald reported. 

Opinion: Will Move to Purge Ohio Voting Rolls Kickstart Congressional Action?
Justice Department no ally on civil rights issue

Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., recounts his experience in Selma, Alabama, to a group of students gathered on the House steps on April 15, 2015. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Fifty-two years ago this week, John Lewis of Georgia was a young activist, not the Democratic congressman he is today. Yet he got a warmer welcome from the then-president of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, than from today’s occupant of the White House.

On the Twitter feed of the longtime member of the U.S. House of Representatives, you can see a picture celebrating that time a few decades ago, when, with Democratic and Republican support, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed and then signed.

Drug Smuggling Biggest Threat Along Canadian Border, DHS Says

Jimmy Emerson/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The biggest threat to the U.S.-Canada border continues to be drug smuggling with criminal gangs employing low-flying airplanes to avoid detection, the Department of Homeland Security said in a report to Congress on Thursday.

“The most common threat to U.S. public safety along the northern border continues to be the bidirectional flow of illicit drugs,” the Northern Border Threat Analysis report said. “To avoid detection by U.S. and Canadian law enforcement,” transnational criminal groups occasionally fly “private aircraft at low altitude to evade radar detection, but there are no reports to suggest that the tactic is employed on a large scale.”

Border Wall, Agents Would Get $15 Billion Boost From Cornyn Bill
DHS was consulted, Senate majority whip says

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, conducts a news conference on border security legislation in the Capitol on August 3, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans introduced legislation Thursday that would authorize $15 billion for new border wall construction and technology, the hiring of thousands more Border Patrol and interior enforcement agents, and measures to withhold federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities.

The bill, authored by Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., is a companion measure to a House bill introduced last month by Johnson’s counterpart, House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas.

Stripping Health Care Benefits From Lawmakers Gets More Complicated
Trump nominee to lead the OPM withdraws from consideration

Members and many staffers get their health insurance through the D.C. exchange. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The man who could act on President Donald Trump’s behalf to slash health care benefits for members of Congress does not want the job.

Trump’s nomination of George Nesterczuk to be director of the Office of Personnel Management was withdrawn Wednesday, according to a formal notification sent to the Senate.