South Dakota

Sen. Mike Rounds says wife’s chemotherapy has shrunk tumor in half
Jean Rounds had been diagnosed with a “high-grade, aggressive tumor near her sciatic nerve”

South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds, left, here with North Carolina Sen. Richard M. Burr in the Capitol in 2018, announced some good news about his wife’s cancer treatment this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Mike Rounds said there’s been a positive development in his wife’s cancer treatment.

“After multiple rounds of chemo treatment, we’re pleased to report that not only has Jean’s tumor shrunk in half, a Computerized Tomography (CT) scan showed no signs of the tumor spreading or metastasizing,” the South Dakota Republican said in a statement. He added that “the chemo is working as intended and Jean continues to handle the treatment well.”

Senate biofuel advocates want a piece of transportation bill
The bill would set aside $1 billion to build charging and fueling stations for electric-, hydrogen- and natural gas-powered vehicles

Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Mike Rounds, R-S.D., say incentives in the bill would only benefit wealthy people in coastal states while leaving out rural America. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A provision in the Senate’s surface transportation bill that would help pay for charging and refilling stations for zero- or low-emissions vehicles should also support more stations for biofuels like ethanol, say two Midwestern senators.

The bill would authorize spending on highways and bridge projects for five years. Republican Sens. Joni Ernst of Iowa and Mike Rounds of South Dakota say incentives in the bill would only benefit wealthy people in coastal states who can afford electric-, hydrogen- and natural gas-powered vehicles, while leaving out rural America.

Not so fast, recess: Senate hurdles to late-summer departure
McConnell: There’s little time to confirm several Trump nominees, and clear a budget measure to beat the debt ceiling deadline

Empty chairs and a “quiet please” sign sit outside the Senate Committee on Appropriations hearing room in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Tuesday, July 30, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senators hoping to get out of town for an early summer recess departure faced a potentially lengthy workweek.

There’s little time to confirm several of President Donald Trump’s nominees, including judges, and clear a budget measure to beat the Treasury Department’s debt ceiling deadline before leaving, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday in opening remarks.

Trump administration works to revive federal death penalty
Congress hasn't tried to prevent it, but it will face legal challenges from civil rights groups

The Trump administration moved Thursday to revive the federal death penalty, which would be the first executions by the federal government since 2003. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration moved Thursday to revive the federal death penalty, a policy move Congress has not tried to prevent but one that will face a legal challenge from civil rights groups.

Attorney General William Barr directed the Bureau of Prisons to adopt a new execution protocol — which would kill inmates with an injection of a single lethal drug called pentobarbital — and schedule the execution of five men in December and January.

House clears bill to relieve onslaught of robocalls plaguing Americans
The House voted to pass a bill that would require phone companies to offer screening technology to customers at no cost

The House passed a bill, sponsored by Reps. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., to tackle robocalls. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers and their constituents are fed up with the bombardment of nuisance and scam calls plaguing their cell phones and on Wednesday the House passed a bipartisan measure to combat robocalls.

The House voted 429-3 to pass a bill that would require phone companies to offer screening technology to customers at no cost that would identify and block spam robocalls. It would also double, to four years, the time period that parties can be prosecuted for illegal robocalls.

Russians will interfere again, maybe others too, Mueller warns
Mueller said it was unusual for a prosecutor to testify before Congress, said he would not comment on counterintelligence questions

Former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III testifies during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on “Oversight of the Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election” in Washington on Tuesday, July 24, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Former Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III told lawmakers on Wednesday that Russia, and possibly other countries, are looking to interfere in upcoming U.S. elections.

During his appearance before the House Intelligence Committee on the outcome of his investigation into Russia and links to the 2016 Donald Trump campaign, Mueller urged Congress to require U.S. intelligence agencies to work together to stop such efforts.

Armed Services panel to huddle on three top Pentagon nominees
Joint Chiefs vice chairman nominee faces stiff headwinds

The committee will probably vote overwhelmingly to give its consent to Army Secretary Mark Esper becoming the next Pentagon chief. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate Armed Services Committee, in a closed-door meeting Thursday, is expected to approve the president’s choice for Defense secretary and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman and to discuss the embattled nomination of the Air Force general tapped to be the military’s No. 2 general, committee members and staff said Wednesday.

The committee will probably vote overwhelmingly to give its consent to Army Secretary Mark Esper becoming the next Pentagon chief, clearing the way for a Senate vote in the coming days to confirm him. The panel is also expected to send to the floor the nomination of Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley to be the next Joint Chiefs chairman.

Esper approval likely, but sexual assault allegations slow Joint Chiefs vice chair pick
Kirsten Gillibrand told CQ Roll Call that she would not support even giving Hyten a vote

The Senate Armed Services committee is expected on Thursday to approve Secretary of the Army and Secretary of Defense nominee Mark Esper as the next Pentagon chief. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 7:05 p.m. | The Senate Armed Services Committee, in a closed-door meeting Thursday, is expected to approve the president’s choice for Defense secretary and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman and to discuss the embattled nomination of the Air Force general tapped to be the military’s No. 2 general, committee members and staff said Wednesday.

The committee will probably vote overwhelmingly to give its consent to Army Secretary Mark Esper becoming the next Pentagon chief, clearing the way for a Senate vote in the coming days to confirm him. The panel is also expected to send to the floor the nomination of Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley to be the next Joint Chiefs chairman.

House demands to see Trump’s cyberwarfare directive
But senators who oversee the Pentagon are not as concerned

Rep. Jim Langevin chairs the Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities. He’s part of a bipartisan group asking the Trump administration to share its secret cyberwarfare directive. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

A small but significant quarrel is emerging between a bipartisan team of lawmakers in the House and the Trump administration over how the Pentagon is going about using its newly minted authority to strike back against adversaries in cyberspace.

Democratic and Republican leaders of the House Armed Services Committee and its emerging threats subcommittee — in a rare instance of bipartisan pushback against the White House — have repeatedly asked administration officials for a still-secret memo issued by President Donald Trump that lifted earlier restrictions on U.S. Cyber Command’s operations against adversaries.

House to Trump: Cough up cyberwarfare directive
Administration's decision to withhold policy doc from Congress is highly unusual, members say

The Trump administration has has made clear that the Pentagon is boosting its cyber operations — both defensive and, increasingly, offensive. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House on Thursday voted to require the White House to give Congress a cyberwarfare directive that senior members say the administration has refused to turn over for nearly a year.

The language, which would force the administration to turn over “all National Security Presidential Memorandums relating to Department of Defense operations in cyberspace,” sailed through the chamber on a voice vote as part of a package of noncontroversial amendments to the annual defense policy bill.