Illinois

House Administration Adopts Ad Change Aimed at Open Enrollment

Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., right, seen here with Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., signed off on the change to franking procedures. He chairs the Franking Commission.. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Administration Committee unanimously adopted on Wednesday a change in the member handbook that could help Democrats seeking to promote HealthCare.gov.

The new rule allows lawmakers to promote and link to federal government websites besides their own. Democrats had encountered the hurdle while attempting to promote the federal health insurance exchange through taxpayer-funded advertisements, known as franking.

Judge Tightens Hastert Parole
Prohibited from accessing pornography, sex chat lines and speaking to minors

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., is pictured in a 1975 Yorkville, Ill., High School yearbook. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert had his parole terms tightened to prohibit him from accessing pornography and speaking with minors.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Durkin added that Hastert was prevented “any pornographic, sexually oriented, or sexually stimulating materials, including visual, auditory, telephonic, or electronic media, computer programs, or services” according to USA Today.

Analysis: McConnell Enters Year-End Sprint With Options Limited
Promises made to GOP senators could come back to haunt him

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made many deals to get the Senate GOP tax bill through the chamber, and that might limit his options in the homestretch. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is hoping to close out 2018 with a bang and silence the skeptics who just a few short months ago were ramping up calls for his ouster following a brutal defeat on the Republican effort to overturn the 2010 health care law.

But after creating an intricate web of promises to get the GOP tax legislation past the Senate, the Kentucky Republican must now juggle the difficult task of keeping those commitments.

House Republicans Propose Deal on Congressional Ads
Franking rule change would let lawmakers link to HealthCare.gov

After complaints from Democrats, Franking Commission Chairman Rodney Davis, shown here in 2014, has floated a rule change that would allow lawmakers to link to HealthCare.gov in taxpayer-funded ads. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans are working to resolve a dispute over rules that Democrats say are stopping them from promoting the health insurance exchanges.

Currently, lawmakers are prohibited from linking to any website other than their own in taxpayer-funded advertisements. Rep. Rodney Davis is proposing to allow them to link to other federal government websites, including HealthCare.gov.

Six Things to Watch as Tax Overhaul Endgame Nears
Final votes could come just before lawmakers leave for the holidays

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady says both Senate and House tax plans have “strengths” when it comes to the treatment of income of pass-through entities. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A number of sticking points emerged last week as Republican lawmakers began jockeying for their favorite parts of the House and Senate tax plans.

Top tax writers from each chamber will formally meet Wednesday at 2 p.m. to discuss their differences, but the real negotiations have already begun behind the scenes.

Can Presidents Obstruct Justice? Republicans and Democrats Say Yes
Durbin: ‘Desperate statement’ suggests ‘they expect to lose on the merits’

Vermont Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, left, and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham confer before a hearing in 2015. Both senior Judiciary Committee members say there is ample precedent showing a president can obstruct justice, despite a claim to the contrary by President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican and Democratic lawmakers say an assertion by Donald Trump’s personal lawyer that a sitting president cannot obstruct justice is dubious, warning the White House there is ample precedent to the contrary.

The members were reacting to Trump lawyer John Dowd’s legal argument in a recent interview with Axios that “the president cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [Article II of the Constitution] and has every right to express his view of any case.”

Senate GOP’s Immigration Bill Without Path to Citizenship Panned
Democratic lawmakers and even some Republicans have concerns

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley supports offering immigrants enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program three years of protected status in return for enhanced border security, a crackdown on “sanctuary” cities and other GOP immigration priorities. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Democrats and even some Republicans are panning a GOP bill designed to protect undocumented young people and toughen immigration laws because it would not offer the so-called Dreamers a path to citizenship.

The bill, introduced this week by Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley and Majority Whip John Cornyn, would offer Dreamers enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, three years of protected status in return for enhanced border security, a crackdown on “sanctuary” cities and other GOP immigration priorities.

Photos of the Week: Three Resignations, a CR Extension and the Holidays Kick Off
The week of Dec. 4 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Ranking member Rep. Jerrold Nadler arrives Thursday for the House Judiciary Committee hearing on oversight of the FBI. Nadler became the top Democrat on the panel following Michigan Rep. John Conyers Jr.’s resignation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated at 10:08 a.m.The week on the Hill was not short on news. Michigan Rep. John Conyers Jr. resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct while Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, a fellow Democrat, announced he intended to do the same soon. Late Thursday, Republican Trent Franks from Arizona said he would resign effective Jan. 31 over sexual harassment allegations in his office.

At the same time, the funding deadline to keep the government open loomed. But a government shutdown was averted Thursday — at least for another two weeks — when both chambers passed a continuing resolution through Dec. 22. 

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing Around the Capitol
Dogs on the Hill, Franken’s emotional speech, and who was most retweeted on the Hill

Immigration protesters, including Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., center, stand in  line after being arrested for staging a demonstration on the steps of the Capitol on Wednesday. Rep. Judy Chu was also arrested in the protest. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. And some of the best ones are those that we come across while reporting the big ones.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

A Gun Rights Vote Only the GOP Base Can Appreciate
Expansion of concealed carry permission will die in the Senate, but the NRA really wanted the vote

Majority Whip John Cornyn has some doubts that he can get a bill passed that would improve background checks for gun purchasers but doesn’t make it easier for gun owners to carry concealed weapons across state lines. A House bill passed Wednesday would do both. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

One government shutdown may be narrowly averted, but another looms right around the corner. The stain of sexual misconduct at the Capitol continues to spread, and an alleged child predator is days away from possibly joining the Senate. Middle East destabilization seems assured as Congress gets its wish to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Public support dwindles daily for a loophole-encrusted, deficit-busting tax package that would be the year’s biggest legislative achievement. The push for presidential impeachment has gone far enough to necessitate procedural pushback in the House.

A week such as this one — already chockablock with headlines touching the Hill — seemed to the Republicans who run the place like an ideal time for making a bold hiding-in-plain-sight move.