Joni Ernst

Veterans in Congress Criticize Trump’s Military Transgender Ban
Pushback against policy announcement is bipartisan

Sen. Tammy Duckworth called President Trump’s announcement banning transgender individuals from the military “discriminatory and counterproductive.”  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Veterans in Congress from across the political spectrum pushed back against President Donald Trump’s announcement banning transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military.

In a series of tweets Wednesday morning, Trump said that based on the advice of military experts, transgender individuals would no longer be allowed to “serve in any capacity in U.S. Military.” The president cited medical costs and unit disruption as part of his reasoning.

Trump Announces Transgender Troops Not Allowed
Reversal of Obama administration policy

President Donald Trump speaks to members of the Navy and shipyard workers on board the USS Gerald R. Ford in March. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that the U.S. military would not allow transgender troops to serve, citing the “the tremendous medical costs and disruption.”

In a series of tweets, Trump tweeted that the U.S. government “will not accept transgender individuals to serve in the military in any capacity.”

Word on the Hill: Happy Recess!
What to do for the Fourth, and Mall concert series lineup

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham walks through the Capitol’s Senate subway on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Fourth of July recess is finally here.

Enjoy the long weekend, and if you’re looking for things to do, check out our roundup of eight different ways to spend the Fourth of July in the DMV. Also check out our calendar for Tuesday in D.C. and logistics you should know.

Opinion: Wanted — Three Senate Republicans to End the Mean Season for Health Care
GOP plan is a cure worse than the disease

The health care bill that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to push through the Senate needs a response — from three Senate Republicans willing to say no, Shapiro writes. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

In a January 2010 speech at Hillsdale College, Paul Ryan decried Barack Obama’s efforts to expand access to health care. The future House speaker declared in apocalyptic tones, “The national health care exchange created by this legislation, together with its massive subsidies for middle income earners, will be the greatest expansion of the welfare state in a generation and possibly in history.”

Then Ryan uttered the fateful words: “Our message must be, ‘We will repeal and replace this government takeover, masked as health care reform.’”

Corn State Lawmakers Get Ethanol Hearing

Sen. Deb Fischer’s legislation would ease restrictions on the sale of ethanol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Bowing to pressure from corn state lawmakers, Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barrasso allowed a hearing on legislation that would ease restrictions on the sale of gasoline blended with at least 15 percent ethanol, a measure he opposes.

The bill (S 517) sponsored by Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., would order the EPA to waive its rule prohibiting the sale of gasoline containing 15 percent corn-based ethanol, also known as E15, during the summer months. The prohibition was based on findings that tied the mixture to smog-causing emissions during warm weather.

Republican Senators Unaware of Health Care Details
Several have no knowledge of specific policy leadership is considering

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has kept details of the health care deliberations close to the vest. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Several Republican senators have no knowledge of the specific policy proposals GOP leadership is weighing for inclusion in the pending legislation to overhaul the U.S. health care system.

The lack of widespread knowledge among members about the exact policy under review calls into question whether Republicans will be able to advance a bill before the Fourth of July recess, the timeline that GOP aides say Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is operating under.

Photos of the Week: Sally Yates, Town Halls and the Post-Comey Chaos
The week of May 8 as seen by Roll Call's photographers

A Senate staffer attempts to deliver a poster to the hearing room where former acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper were set to testify during a hearing on “Russian Interference in the 2016 United States Election” on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Takes Baby Steps on Health Care Overhaul
Meetings have focused on ‘brainstorming’ and sharing ideas

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is giving his caucus a wide berth in discussing health insurance legislation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

By JOE WILLIAMS and ERIN MERSHON, CQ Roll Call

Senate Republicans remain in the very early stages of revamping a House bill to repeal the 2010 health care law: the ideas stage, as one of them puts it.

Photo of the Day: Seen on the Hill
Two senators chat before an Armed Services hearing Tuesday

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans Joni Ernst of Iowa, left, and Deb Fischer of Nebraska talk before the start of a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

The hearing in the Dirksen Building featured testimony from Adm. Michael S. Rogers, director of the National Security Agency.

Schumer Joins Calls for President to Release Tax Returns
Minority Leader: Failure to disclose makes passing tax reform ‘much harder’

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says President Trump could wreck a major campaign pledge, a package of tax code changes and rate cuts, if he keeps his own returns secret. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The top Senate Democrat on Tuesday joined calls for President Donald Trump to release his tax returns, warning that a failure to do so could sink what was a major campaign promise.

Should the president opt to continue keeping his full personal financial picture secret, it would make any package of tax code changes and rate cuts “much harder to pass,” said Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y.