independents

Trump again pressures Fed to cut rates with lukewarm comment about its chairman
President says he wants a ‘level playing field’ from central bank

President Donald Trump answers questions as he departs the White House on April 26. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday opted against giving a public vote of confidence to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell as the central bank mulls a possible interest rate cut in coming weeks.

“Let’s see what he does,” the president said, appearing to suggest Powell’s future as chairman could be linked to whether the Fed answers his call and slashes rates.

Angus King gives Susan Collins a rose after her 7,000th Senate vote

Sen. Angus King offers a rose to his Maine colleague, Sen. Susan Collins, after her 7,000th Senate vote.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins cast her 7,000th vote on the Senate floor Tuesday, having never missed a roll call vote since joining the Senate in 1997.

Spending talks between White House, Hill leadership to resume Wednesday
A round of meetings on May 21 with the same principals involved got off to a positive start, but then petered out in the afternoon

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., conducts a news conference in the Capitol in Washington on Tuesday, June 18, 2019. He told reporters he planned to push for “robust” funding levels during spending talks, and also said he’d make a pitch for election security funds to combat foreign interference. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The four top congressional leaders from both parties plan to sit down again Wednesday morning with senior Trump administration officials to try to hammer out an agreement on next year’s spending levels.

The talks at the Capitol will include acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and acting budget director Russell Vought, according to sources familiar with the plans.

Susan Collins casts her 7,000th consecutive Senate vote
Republican senator from Maine hit another milestone with the first floor vote Tuesday

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, arrives for a committee hearing on Tuesday. She has never missed a vote — even after breaking her ankle over Christmas in 2016.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:39 p.m. | Neither snow nor rain nor broken ankles can stop Susan Collins from making it to work.

Tuesday brings a new milestone: The first roll call vote of the day was the 7,000th in a row for the Republican from Maine, who takes pride in having never missed a vote since arriving in the Senate back in 1997.

Interior held back FOIA’d documents after political screenings
Watchdog: ‘Are there bad actors at these agencies that are willfully ignoring the law?’

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has defended his department’s protocols on Freedom of Information Act requests, but watchdogs say the process is rife with political considerations and run outside the law. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Documents sought under the Freedom of Information Act were withheld by the Interior Department under a practice that allowed political appointees to review the requests, internal emails and memos show.

The policy allowed high-ranking officials to screen documents sought by news organizations, advocacy groups and whistleblowers, including files set to be released under court deadlines. In some cases, the documents’ release was merely delayed. In other cases, documents were withheld after the reviews.

Sen. King calls out drugmakers suing to keep drug list prices out of TV ads
Drug pricing transparency is one area where Trump administration is imposing new regulations

Sens. Angus King, right, and Richard Burr arrive for an all senators briefing on November 28, 2018. King in a Monday tweet called out drugmakers suing to prevent a Trump administration rule requiring them to include list prices in TV ads. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Angus King called out drugmakers suing to prevent a Trump administration rule requiring them to include list prices in their TV ads.

Drug manufacturers Amgen, Merck and Eli Lilly teamed up with the Association of National Advertisers to challenge the rule making drugmakers put list prices in ads. The suit was filed Friday in federal court against the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Her antidote to Trump: A greeting card company
Veteran operative Jill Rulli left politics to get into the card business. Hallmark it is not

(Courtesy The Thought)

Ethics report on former Schweikert chief of staff raises questions about lawmaker’s conduct
Schweikert says he will not let ethics cloud deter re-election efforts

Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., said the ethics investigation into him and his chief of staff was prompted by a disgruntled former employee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. David Schweikert’s former chief of staff used official funds on a six-day trip to Arizona in which he attended Super Bowl XLIX; separately, he made impermissible contributions to his boss and received income beyond the House’s outside earned income limit for his position, according to a report made public Wednesday by the Office of Congressional Ethics.

Many of the allegations into the former chief of staff, Richard Oliver Schwab, Jr., relate to Schweikert, who is under the scrutiny of a House Ethics Committee investigative subcommittee.

North Carolina’s Republican Party is having an identity crisis
Will the rebranding work in time for a Trump repeat victory in 2020?

Thom Tillis’ Senate re-election campaign captures the state of play in North Carolina, Curtis writes. The Republican is sticking with the president, while his office churns out releases showing a more bipartisan side. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — All eyes with be on North Carolina next year, when the Republican Party holds its 2020 convention in Charlotte to nominate President Donald Trump for a second term. In truth, though, the state has been the center of attention for a while because of actions of party members — and the gaze has not been kind.

The North Carolina GOP realizes it has a problem, quite a few of them, and is busily trying to recover. But what’s the best path as the party tries to regain the trust of voters in a state that is a crucial battleground, one where independents are an important part of any winning coalition, and where millennials and Generation Z voters are fickle?

Panel approves pilot program to take military sexual assault cases outside chain of command
The number of sexual assaults at military service academies more than doubled 2013 to 2018, Speier said

Rep. Jackie Speier succeeded in getting her amendment to establish a program taking prosecution of military sex assault cases outside of the chain of command at the service academies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Advocates of taking the decision for prosecuting military sexual assaults — a persistent problem within the ranks — outside the chain of command scored a significant victory Wednesday when the House Armed Services Committee approved a pilot program that would do just that at the service academies.

Rep. Jackie Speier, chairwoman of the Military Personnel Subcommittee, pushed through a four-year program that would require the commandants of the service academies to follow the recommendation of an independent prosecutor in cases of sexual assault.