Richard Blumenthal

Engel wants staffers to warn foreign governments about spending at Trump’s hotels
New memo instructs staff on interactions with foreign governments

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot L. Engel wants Democratic staffers to warn foreign government officials that spending at Trump-owned properties could violate the Constitution’s emoluments clause. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A new directive this week from House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot L. Engel instructs staffers to warn foreign governments that spending at Trump-owned properties could violate the Constitution’s emoluments clause.

The memo, released Monday, issues guidelines for staff engaging with foreign governments. The directive signed by the New York Democrat is aimed specifically at the committee’s majority staff. Republican staffers were not given the same instructions.

Emotional Portman hopes for consensus on combating gun violence after Dayton, El Paso mass shootings
Ohio Republican, at the Capitol on Tuesday, appeared shaken by deaths

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman was back at the Capitol on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ohio Republican Rob Portman said Tuesday that after seeing blood being cleaned from sidewalks in Dayton, he hopes his fellow senators can emerge from their predictable partisan corners to find agreement on more legislation to address gun violence.

Portman pointed to working on “red flag” grants to encourage states to  keep firearms from individuals with mental health challenges as perhaps the most immediate step. Asked about an expanded background check bill sponsored by Pennsylvania Republican Patrick J. Toomey and West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin III, Portman said, “I think we should look at everything.”

Gun control legislation again faces political headwinds following three deadly shootings
Trump addressed nation Monday calling for 'real bipartisan solutions' to stop the attacks

A demonstrator holds a sign on the East Front of the Capitol during the student-led March for Our Lives rally on Pennsylvania Avenue to call for action to prevent gun violence on March 24, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Once again, Congress faces the question of whether it will pass any substantive gun control measures to curb mass shootings, this time in the wake of three events in less than a week where gunmen opened fire on crowds in public settings, killing at least 34 people.

And once again, any effort to change the nation’s gun laws must shake free from years of stalled legislation, lately caused by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican lawmakers, and potentially a conservative Supreme Court that could be poised to stop such measures.

‘Come back ... immediately’: Democrats call for special session in aftermath of mass shootings
There has be no sign that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell intends to change the schedule.

From right, Connecticut Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy attend an event with lawmakers and victims to call on Congress to act on gun violence prevention in 2018. Corey Taylor, who was killed in a 2013 Texas shooting, appears in a photo at left. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats in the Senate have steadily called for a special session to address gun violence after a spate of deaths by assailants armed with assault weapons.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for an end to the Senate's August recess after mass shootings in Texas and Ohio claimed more than two dozen lives. 

Senate Democrats push repeal of state and local tax rule
The $10,000 state tax deduction limit was a key feature of the 2017 tax code overhaul

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., answers questions following a vote on the budget agreement on Thursday, August 1, 2019. Senate Democrats will push to repeal a Treasury Department and IRS rule, which goes into effect Aug. 11. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats will push to repeal a Treasury Department and IRS rule, which goes into effect Aug. 11, that they say would “block critical state workarounds” to the $10,000 limitation on state and local tax deductions.

The $10,000 deduction limit was a key feature of the 2017 tax code overhaul, and has been the subject of hearings in the House Ways and Means Committee where Democratic members are urging a repeal of that provision.

Road ahead: All eyes on the budget and debt limit deal, except when Mueller testifies
House to tackle border issues, while Senate will confirm Defense secretary, clear 9/11 compensation bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wants to clear the debt deal this week before the chamber departs for the August recess. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

All eyes this week will be on whether House lawmakers are able to pass a deal to raise the debt limit and set spending levels for the next two years before leaving for the August recess on Friday.

That is except, of course, when former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III seizes all the attention when he testifies before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees.

Senate seeks to make sure that hacking election systems is a federal crime
Senators unanimously pass narrow legislation, but no broad action is expected

The Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would clarify that hacking election systems and machines is a federal crime. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate took another small step to improve election security Wednesday evening, even as there is no plan for a broader debate on the floor.

As the chamber was closing for the evening, senators passed by unanimous consent a bipartisan bill out of the Senate Judiciary Committee designed to make sure that hacking election systems is actually a federal crime.

Graham: tech companies should ‘earn’ liability shield
Graham said he wants to work with tech giants and others to create a list of “best business practices” for protecting minors online

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., talks with reporters after the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol on June 25, 2019. Graham said he wants to hold big tech companies more accountable by making them “earn” liability protections. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Changes may be coming to the provision in communications law that limits web platforms, like Facebook and Google, from being sued for user content, if Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham has his way.

Following a hearing on protections for children from internet predators before his committee Tuesday, Graham said he wants to hold big tech companies more accountable by making them “earn” liability protections. Those “were given to make sure the industry would flourish, mission accomplished. However, the liability protections now have to be modified so that you earn them,” the South Carolina Republican said.

Justice Department seeks to halt Democrats’ lawsuit against Trump
DOJ lawyers asked a federal appeals court to throw out or freeze the lawsuit led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Rep. Jerrold Nadler

Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., talks with counsel Norman Eisen during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building on June 20, 2019. The Justice Department sought Monday to block a lawsuit requesting a federal appeals court throw out or freeze a lawsuit alleging President Donald Trump violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Justice Department sought Monday to stop what they say would be “intrusive discovery” into President Donald Trump’s personal financial affairs, in a lawsuit brought by more than 200 Democratic members of Congress that raises separation-of-powers questions.

The government’s lawyers asked a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., to throw out or freeze the lawsuit led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., which alleges Trump violated the Foreign Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.

Forget the White House. Will the World Cup women take Pelosi up on her invite?
Speaker on U.S. women’s team: ‘Show them the money’

(Photo illustration by Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

Updated: July 9, 12:45 p.m.

Before the newly minted U.S. women’s World Cup champions could even empty all their celebratory champagne bottles in the locker room, Speaker Nancy Pelosi had invited the players to Capitol Hill, a move that could have implications for the gender pay gap debate. The invite also stands in contrast to the ambivalent reaction from President Donald Trump, who has clashed publicly with the team.