Mississippi

Former Delta pilot named to lead FAA as Chao seeks Max 8 audit
The agency faces questions about its handling of the Boeing 737 Max plane, involved in two catastrophic crashes

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao is escorted into her chair by R.D. James, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, before a Senate Environment and Public Works Senate Committee in Dirksen Building titled “The Administration’s Framework for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America” on March 01, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Delta Air Lines executive and pilot Stephen M. Dickson was nominated Tuesday to take over as administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, an agency facing questions about its handling of the Boeing 737 Max plane involved in two catastrophic overseas crashes.

Also on Tuesday, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said she had asked the department’s inspector general to conduct a formal audit of the certification process for the 737 Max 8.

Senate rejects Trump’s emergency declaration on border
President has promised to veto the joint resolution

A fence marking the U.S.-Mexico border is seen at sunset on July 22, 2018, in Nogales, Arizona. (John Moore/Getty Images file photo)

On this day in the Senate, no man a king, not even President Donald Trump.

The Senate passed a resolution Thursday to terminate Trump’s national emergency declaration that would have allowed him to redirect up to $6.7 billion from other Cabinet departments toward constructing his long-promised wall on the southwestern border.

‘Shooting with real bullets,’ Democrats change tune on impeachment vote
Rep. Al Green prepared to force third vote on impeaching Trump but has lost some support

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., left, said she now agrees with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., that Democrats should not go down the path of impeaching President Donald Trump after supporting two efforts to bring articles of impeachment to a vote last year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

An intransigent proponent of impeaching President Donald Trump plans to force his Democratic colleagues to go on record on the issue again this year — after twice doing so last Congress. But the vote tally may look a lot different than in 2017 and 2018 when roughly five dozen Democrats wanted to debate and vote on impeachment.

Democrats, then in the minority, were eager for any forum to debate the president’s alleged crimes since Republicans weren’t investigating them. But now that they’re in the majority and have multiple congressional committees probing Trump, most Democrats want to avoid rushing to judgement or action.

Boeing faces increasing political pressure to ground 737 Max 8
Elizabeth Warren weighs in through her presidential campaign, for one

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., issued a statement from her presidential campaign that Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes should be grounded, adding to a growing chorus of concern about the airplanes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Amid concerns over the safety of new Boeing 737 Max 8 planes, the debate is spilling into presidential politics.

Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren was among those calling for the United States to join other countries in grounding the planes on Tuesday after two crashes abroad.

Data privacy bill faces long odds as states, EU move ahead
Most tech companies agree laws on how to collect and use consumer data are essential, but the specifics are still being debated

Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., right, and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., are seen in the basement of the Capitol before the Senate policy luncheons on Sept. 25, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers want to pass a federal data privacy bill before 2020 to put Washington on par with Europe and ahead of several U.S. states. But those efforts could be delayed because of differences between technology companies and Congress over how powerful the law should be and how it should be structured.

A delay in enacting a uniform federal law could leave technology giants and startup app makers trying to meet a latticework of standards set by multiple regulations passed by many states as well as a growing international set of rules being modeled after the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. Companies also could be liable for fines and face consumer lawsuits allowed by state laws.

Homeland Secretary to face tough questions from Democrats
Democrats are expected to grill Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during the House Homeland Security Committee hearing

Kirstjen Nielsen (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats are expected to grill Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during the House Homeland Security Committee hearing Wednesday about President Donald Trump’s immigration and border security policies. It is the first time Nielsen has appeared before the Democratically controlled House.

Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency to reallocate more than $6 billion from other departments to construct a border wall will likely take center stage. Senators are poised to vote soon on a resolution to block the national emergency, following the House's vote last week to block Trump's emergency declaration.

Senate Commerce chairman eyes data privacy bill this year
Sen. Roger Wicker hopes to act decisively on a federal privacy bill to avoid a patchwork of state legislation

Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman Roger Wicker. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman Roger Wicker is aiming to have a federal data privacy bill written and passed by Congress this year as technology companies, privacy advocates and civil rights groups press lawmakers to act decisively to avoid a patchwork of state legislation.

“It would be nice to have it on the president’s desk this year,” the Mississippi Republican told reporters Wednesday after leading a hearing on how Congress should approach a federal data privacy bill. Wicker said the bill that emerges from the discussions is likely to be a “good strong bill” that will garner bipartisan support and also avoid a 50-state grab bag of laws.

Forget federal races. Democrats are targeting a key state office
Secretaries of state are in the spotlight with voting rights under siege

Allison Plummer waits in line with other voters to cast her ballot at Grady High School during the midterm elections in Atlanta. Democrats are attempting to regain lost ground at the state level after years of focusing on federal elections and offices. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images file photo)

The presidential, congressional and gubernatorial races typically get all the media attention as Republicans and Democrats duel for dominance, but another statewide office is quietly becoming a battleground between the two parties: the secretary of state, who in most states is responsible for administering elections.

Democrats, who control fewer secretary of state offices nationwide than Republicans, see gaining control of the office as key to ensuring free and fair elections. The results of the November elections left Democrats controlling 20 secretary of state offices and Republicans 25. Two state offices are nonpartisan and the position does not exist in three states — Alaska, Hawaii and Utah.

Joe Crowley, Bill Shuster decamp to K Street
Former members setting up at Squire Patton Boggs

Former Reps. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., seen here, and Bill Shuster, R-Pa., are joining promiment K Street firm Squire Patton Boggs. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ex-Reps. Joseph Crowley, the New York Democrat who lost his primary race to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Republican Bill Shuster, who retired after the 115th Congress, are setting up shop on K Street.

The bipartisan duo is joining the global public policy practice at lobbying and law firm Squire Patton Boggs — home of other former lawmakers including House Speaker John A. Boehner and Sens. Trent Lott and John Breaux. The firm also had a now-severed strategic affiliation with Michael Cohen, the former attorney to President Donald Trump, who has since pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations.

Border, homeland security deal could come over weekend
Members said they would use the weekend to resolve remaining concerns and aim to have legislative text on Monday

Cuellar wants five border areas off-limits to barrier construction. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House and Senate negotiators were planning to work through the weekend to reach a border security deal that would clear the way for a final fiscal 2019 spending package.

A House-Senate conference committee on a Homeland Security bill had been hoping to reach an agreement by Friday. But members said they would probably use the weekend to resolve all remaining concerns, with the goal of producing legislative text on Monday.