Richard J Durbin

Survey: Optimism Grows Among Democratic Staffers
Aides are more confident minority party can block GOP agenda

The top three Democrats in the Senate, from left, Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and Assistant Democratic Leader Patty Murray leave a policy luncheon in the Capitol on April 25. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican congressional staffers remain hopeful that they’ll enact significant legislation in 2017, but their Democratic counterparts are gaining confidence that they can block the GOP agenda, according to the June Capitol Insiders Survey of Hill aides.

Two-thirds of the Republican respondents expected it’s at least somewhat likely they’ll enact legislation to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law. But only one in five of the Democrats said the same.

Congressional Security Details Remain Murky
‘Over the past two and a half years, I’ve built a special bond with each of them’

A Capitol Police officer keeps an eye on the Republicans’ baseball practice from the dugout at Four Mile Run Park in Alexandria, Va., in June 2015. (Bill Clark/Roll Call file photo)

The special agents who protect congressional leaders are a constant, anomalous presence in the Capitol, a suit-wearing, grim-visaged, hand gun-carrying force that follows at least the top nine members of the federal legislative branch as they travel to, from and in Washington and their home districts or states. They have the same duties as their counterparts in the executive branch, the Secret Service, and none of the publicity.

But in extraordinary circumstances — such as the Flag Day shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, along with a current and a former staffer — details about their work flash into public view.

James Hodgkinson Had Been Frequent Critic of GOP
66-year-old Illinois man identified as shooter at Republicans’ baseball practice

In this undated file photo, James Hodgkinson holds a sign during a protest outside of a United States Post Office in Belleville, Ill. Hodgkinson has been identified as the suspect in the Wednesday, June 14, 2017, Washington D.C. shooting. (Derik Holtmann/Belleville News-Democrat via AP)

James T. Hodgkinson, who wounded five people at Republicans’ congressional baseball practice Wednesday morning before later dying at a local hospital, had been critical of the Republican party.

Hodgkinson, 66, was from Belleville, Illinois, a town outside St. Louis represented by GOP Rep. Mike Bost. The two-term member is not on the baseball team.

196 Democratic Lawmakers, Including Pelosi, Sue President Trump
Lawsuit claims claim violation of constitution’s ‘emoluments clause’

Almost 200 Democratic lawmakers are planning to file a lawsuit alleging that President Donald Trump has violated the Constitution’s “foreign emoluments clause.” (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Nearly 200 Democratic lawmakers, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, have filed a lawsuit alleging that President Donald Trump has violated the Constitution’s “foreign emoluments clause” by retaining interest in his business empire.

Thirty members of the Senate Democratic caucus are among the signatories to the legal effort, along with 166 House members. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and House Judiciary Ranking Democrat John Conyers Jr., are the leaders of the effort.

Dodd-Frank Repeal Set Up for House Passage
Rules Committee allows only five amendments

Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., is not a big fan of the Dodd-Frank repeal bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A massive bill to repeal the Dodd-Frank financial law and allow better-capitalized banks to opt out of much of government regulation is heading to the House floor for a final vote on passage that is expected Thursday.

Over Democratic objections, the House Rules Committee on Tuesday allowed only five amendments that appeared to be uncontroversial plus a manager’s amendment to be considered, and it declined to allow a hearing for a proposal to reinstate the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act.

Dodd-Frank Repeal Bill is Target of Contentious Amendments
Republicans likely to support a few of them on the floor

Rep. Jeb Hensarling has long targeted the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill for repeal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As Rep. Jeb Hensarling’s Dodd-Frank repeal bill heads to the House floor this week, it will be the target of controversial amendments, including a couple that some Republicans are likely to support.

By late Monday, 16 amendments had been filed on the bill, which is scheduled for the House Rules Committee Tuesday evening.

Word on the Hill: Week Ahead
Your social calendar for the week

The Court of Neptune, the fountain at the front of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, got a cleaning in May. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Welcome back from recess!

Your daily Word on the Hill is returning now that Congress is back.

White House Middle East Victory Lap Draws Skepticism
Aides pushing a win, but headaches await return from region

President Donald Trump delivers a statement with Israeli President Reuven Rivlinon on Monday in Jerusalem. The White House says its first Middle East visit was a big success, but some Democrats are skeptical. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

The White House is describing President Donald Trump’s first dose of Middle East diplomacy as a “historic” success, but some lawmakers are skeptical that the optimistic rhetoric will become policy, and at least one is looking to block a major announcement from the trip. 

Trump spent all or parts of four days huddling with Muslim and Israeli leaders before heading to Europe on Tuesday afternoon. So confident was the White House that the first leg of Trump’s overseas diplomatic debut had gone well that they did not wait to land in Italy to declare victory.

Hill and Mueller Don’t Have to Clash, but It Will Not Be Easy
Congressional inquiries and prosecutors have different purposes, but the same witnesses

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller’s appointment as special counsel for the Russia investigation was greeted positively by lawmakers, but they disagreed on the effect his probe will have on their own investigations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congressional inquiries and special counsels can productively coexist, serving complementary purposes because of their reciprocal approaches, unless they’re unable to settle inevitable fights over the same documents and star witnesses.

That may be the best response to a question many on Capitol Hill started asking as soon as Robert S. Mueller III was appointed to run the government’s probe of Russian interference in last year’s election and whether Moscow collaborated with President Donald Trump’s campaign:

Lawmakers Greet Mueller Appointment With Relief
Rank and file smile, although GOP leaders remain reticent

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel by the Justice Department on Wednesday to investigate alleged Russian interference in last year’s election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

By JOE WILLIAMS, LINDSEY McPHERSON and REMA RAHMAN

Even as House and Senate Republicans turned up the heat on the Trump White House for answers about the firing of FBI Director James B. Comey, Democrats got a big win when the Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including any connections to the Trump presidential campaign.