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Photos of the Week: Hot dishes, tulips and high fives
The week of April 12 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Tulips bloom on the West Front of the Capitol on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congress is heading out of town for its two-week April recess, but members had an eventful week before they hit the road. 

Spring entered full bloom as Minnesota members enjoyed delicious hotdishes during their annual cooking competition, and Democrats pow-wowed in Leesburg, Virginia, for their retreat — with some celebrity guests.

Senators remain skeptical of Space Force
Lawmakers agreed space defense is important, but many logistical questions remain

Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford (center) is seen while protesters hold up signs before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on April 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. The acting defense secretary is pitching the idea of creating a Space Force as a separate branch of the military to Congress. (Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)

Top Pentagon officials on Thursday deployed old arguments to argue for a new military service within the Department of the Air Force focused specifically on space.

The United States risks losing its competitive edge in space to Russia and China unless the Pentagon stands up Space Force to defend extraterrestrial military and commercial interests, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

A Saudi nuclear deal is causing lawmakers from both parties to worry
The concern is whether Trump's administration is attempting to skirt legal oversight involving a potential nuclear agreement with Saudi Arabia

From left, ranking member Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., James Inhofe, R-Okla., and Energy Secretary Rick Perry talk before Senate Armed Committee confirmation hearing titled “The Department of Energy’s Atomic Energy Defense Programs,” in Dirksen Building on Thursday, March 28, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats and Republicans are growing more worried the Trump administration is attempting to skirt their legal oversight authorities when it comes to negotiating a potential nuclear cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia.

Congress is entitled to review and potentially block proposed trade agreements that would enable a significant amount of nuclear collaboration with another country. But there is a lower level of nuclear exchanges happening outside of lawmakers’ and the public’s awareness, according to information made public in congressional hearings this week.

Democrats accuse Barr of bias in handling Mueller report, but what about Rosenstein?
Most are holding fire on Rosenstein but want to know how he and Barr decided against obstruction within 48 hours

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has so far largely escaped Democratic criticism his boss Attorney General William P. Barr has faced for their conclusion that the special counsel investigation did not yield enough evidence to prosecute President Donald Trump for obstruction of justice. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats have been quick to suggest bias in Attorney General William P. Barr’s assessment that the special counsel investigation lacked enough evidence to prosecute President Donald Trump for obstruction of justice. But most of them are holding their fire when it comes to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who joined Barr in that conclusion.

“We cannot make a judgement on the basis of an interpretation by a man who was hired for his job because he believes the president is above the law, and he wrote a 19-page memo to demonstrate that,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her caucus during its weekly meeting Tuesday, according to an aide present.

GOP Rep. writes 407-word Fox News op-ed defending McCain — doesn’t mention Trump once
Kinzinger’s apparent hesitation to explicitly invoke Trump’s name has been a trend among many GOP lawmakers

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., has criticized President Donald Trump in the past for some of his words and actions, but he declined to name the president when defending the late Sen. John McCain. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Adam Kinzinger penned a Fox News op-ed Friday defending the late Sen. John McCain as a bipartisan “maverick,” a man who stuck to his convictions in a civil manner and a rare politician who was “first to say he wasn’t always right.”

The Illinois Republican, who counted the longtime Arizona Republican as a friend and mentor, did not explicitly mention the reason McCain’s legacy emerged in the news cycle seven months after his death: President Donald Trump has re-upped his criticism of the longtime lawmaker this week.

Colorado joins effort to elect presidents by popular vote, go around Electoral College
Colorado is the latest state to join a group pledging to elect presidents based on who wins the national popular vote

Trump's election in 2016 boosted interest in the national popular vote — at least among Democrats. (Tom Williams, CQ Roll Call file photo)

Colorado has become the latest state — and the first swing state — to join a group pledging to elect presidents based on who wins the national popular vote.

Eleven other states and the District of Columbia have signed onto the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, an agreement that requires those states to select their presidential electors based on who wins the most individual votes nationwide, regardless of which candidate wins in the state.

Photos of the week: A budget, Marie Antoinette and St. Patrick’s Day
The week of March 11 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., holds a copy of the president's budget proposal during a news conference after the Senate policy luncheons on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Trump administration’s budget for fiscal year 2020 was released at the beginning of this week with little fanfare. And President Donald Trump attended the annual St. Patrick's Day reception on the Hill on Thursday. Lawmakers then headed out of town for their March recess next week.

Here's the entire week in Washington in photos:

These GOP senators voted to potentially let Trump pull funds from military projects back home
Votes could carry some risk for Republicans up for re-election in 2020

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., voted “no” on a resolution to revoke President Donald Trump’s authority to shift military construction funds, putting funds for several military bases in his state at risk. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Some Republican senators who voted Thursday against terminating the President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration may face backlash for risking military projects in their home states.

Twelve GOP senators joined all Democrats in voting for the joint resolution to block the president’s bid to redirect up to $6.7 billion from other Cabinet departments for his southern border wall. But 41 Republicans, some facing competitive re-elections in 2020, voted against the measure. 

House Judiciary Committee approves Violence Against Women Act reauthorization

Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and the majority Democrats on his panel approved a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved, along party lines, 22-11, a bill to reauthorize and expand programs designed to help victims of sexual and domestic violence.

The protections and programs authorized by the 1994 law lapsed during the partial government shutdown last year, but were reinstated in the January short-term fiscal 2019 spending deal. An extension was not included in last month’s deal that provided for spending through the end of fiscal 2019.

Guidance for paying House interns adopted, as application deadlines fly by

House Administration Committee Chair Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., noted that she began her congressional career as an intern. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House offices now have guidance, however brief, on how to implement paid internships in their offices with the inaugural funding provided specifically for that purpose.

The House Administration Committee approved a resolution Tuesday afternoon by voice vote that outlines “interim regulations governing House paid internships.”