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House Judiciary Advances Foreign Lobby Overhaul
Panel Democrats say GOP is moving too quickly on the bill

Ex-lobbyist Paul Manafort, a former Trump campaign chairman, has been charged with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

House Republicans took a significant step Wednesday in an effort to overhaul the nation’s foreign lobbying disclosure regulations amid scandals in the influence sector.

The House Judiciary Committee advanced as amended, 15-6 along party lines, the measure that would give the Justice Department new subpoena-like investigative powers. That new authority sparked controversy among the panel’s Democrats.

Lawmakers Make New Year’s Resolutions
Resolutions focus on legislating rather than personal goals

The House is back, and members are ready to work on their resolutions for the new year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate is back and the House will return next week after regrouping over the winter recess and preparing to tackle another tough year ahead.

Between midterms and a long legislative agenda, lawmakers have a lot to figure outSo it’s no wonder that their New Year’s resolutions revolve around policy issues and the election, instead of typical goals such as getting healthy or spending time with family.

Tax Bill Becomes Law as Trump Heads to Mar-a-Lago
President secures legislative win as he closes out 2017 at White House

President Donald Trump signed a tax overhaul and stopgap government funding bill into law on Friday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Donald Trump secured his first major legislative victory as president Friday, signing a sweeping Republican tax measure into law as he closed out a turbulent 2017 at the White House.

After a raucous celebration with Republican lawmakers Wednesday on the White House’s South Portico — during which senior GOP members lavished him with effusive praise — Trump opted to sign the bill in the Oval Office rather than hold another signing ceremony.

Trump Predicts He’ll Start Working With Democrats in 2018
On Tuesday, president said Dems ‘complain a lot’

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer makes a point to President Donald Trump in the Oval Office before leaving a White House meeting in September. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

Updated 2:30 p.m. | After scoring his first major legislative win without a single Democratic vote, President Donald Trump on Friday predicted Republicans and Democrats will begin working together “for the good of the country.”

And the first item the president, who has spent weeks criticizing Democratic lawmakers for opposing his tax plan and accusing them of favoring a government shutdown, sees the parties collaborating on is a massive package to upgrade the country’s infrastructure.

Pence Doesn’t Rule Out Sending More Troops to Afghanistan
‘Bureaucrats don’t win wars, soldiers do,’ VP says during surprise visit

U.S. Army soldiers walk away as a NATO helicopter flies overhead at Forward Operating Base Connelly in the Khogyani District in the eastern province of Nangarhar, Afghanistan. (WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Mike Pence is not ruling out sending more American troops to Afghanistan.

The vice president also defended the Trump administration’s strategy in the country, which has been criticized by Democratic lawmakers.

EPA Ends Media Research Deal With GOP-Tied Firm Amid Complaints
Whitehouse: ‘Powerful odor’ surrounds contract

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is raising questions about a media services company with ties to political action committee America Rising. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A $120,000 no-bid contract the EPA awarded to a Republican-affiliated group to provide media monitoring services has been terminated after reports it was seeking emails of agency employees.

The group awarded the contract, Definers Public Affairs, has employees previously or currently affiliated with America Rising, a prominent political action committee that performs opposition research for Republican candidates.

Third Trump Judicial Pick Withdraws Nomination
Matthew Petersen could not answer basic questions about legal principles

Sen. John N. Kennedy, R-La., asked Matthew Petersen basic questions about litigation that Petersen could not answer. Petersen withdrew his nomination on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Matthew Petersen on Monday withdrew his nomination to be a judge on the federal district court in Washington, less than a week after a video of his confirmation hearing went viral because it showed him unable to answer Sen. John N. Kennedy’s questions on basic litigation principles.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., mocked Petersen’s performance when he posted the video of the nominee stumbling over answers as a “MUST WATCH” in a tweet that concluded “he can’t answer a single one. Hoo-boy.”

A Huge Congressional Settlement Involving Sexual Harassment — And Hardly Anyone Knew
Lawmakers on Helsinki Commission blindsided by report of $220K payout

Florida Rep. Alcee L. Hastings has denied allegations of sexual misconduct that led to a $220,000 payment to a former congressional staffer. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The $220,000 paid to former staffer Winsome Packer in 2014 is by far the largest known settlement involving Congress and accusations of sexual harassment in recent years.

But few, if any, of the lawmakers who served on the congressional commission where Packer worked seem to have been informed about it until the sum was reported by Roll Call on Friday.  

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing Around the Capitol
Pups on parade, Scalise on next year’s Congressional Baseball Game starting lineup, and more holiday parties

Carter Reardon, 5, of Fredericksburg, Virginia, checks out the U.S. Botanic Garden's annual model train exhibit which features roadside attractions from around the nation including Rhode Island's Mr. Potato Head on Monday. (Tom Williams/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.

Trump Poised to Set Record for Appeals Court Judges
Three more nominees set to be confirmed this week

Appellate nominee Steve Grasz, who is set to be confirmed by the Senate this week, was , nominee to be U.S. circuit judge for the Eighth Circuit, testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee nomination hearing in Dirksen Building on November 1, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans are set to confirm three more of President Donald Trump’s appeals court picks this week, a push that will help set a record for the most such appointments in a president’s first year in office.

The Senate is expected to confirm Steve Grasz for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, and James Ho and Don Willett for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, over the objections of Democrats who question whether they can be unbiased.