Steny H Hoyer

The dead earmarks society
Congress gave up pork years ago. Now it could be making a comeback

Steny Hoyer says he’s working to restore congressionally directed spending, with “reforms to ensure transparency and accountability.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

From the outside, they looked like a collection of political misfits akin to the characters from “The Breakfast Club.” This peculiar little crew of lobbyists, ethics watchdogs and government spending hawks included the likes of Public Citizen’s Craig Holman and former House member-turned-lobbyist Jim Walsh.

Instead of serving Saturday detention, like the high schoolers of the 1985 hit movie, they spent their meetings nearly a decade ago seeking compromise on one of Congress’ most politically fraught but powerful tools: earmarks. “It was a strange group, an eclectic group,” concedes Holman, whose liberal Public Citizen is best known for taking on K Street, not working with the lobbyists and lawyers in the sector. “We identified what the real problem with earmarks is — and earmarks do pose a serious problem with corruption.”

Legal fight expected for Trump’s national emergency declaration
Experts predict high court will back his power to do so, but maybe not accessing military monies

President Donald Trump, here addressing reporters on Jan. 10, will sign a government shutdown-avoiding bill and declare a national emergency at the border to access Pentagon funds for his proposed southern border barrier. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump will declare a national emergency at the southern border to redirect military funds to his border wall project after lawmakers gave him $4.3 billion less than his $5.7 billion ask. But the move is expected to bring court fights that could sink his plan. 

A House-Senate conference committee could only agree to give the president just shy of $1.4 billion for the barrier project as conferees struck a deal needed to avert another partial government shutdown. The president — who earlier this week said he couldn’t say he was happy about the contents of the compromise — reluctantly agreed to sign it into law after the Senate and House sign off during floor votes Thursday.

Congress pauses to remember its longest serving member, John Dingell
Dingell eulogized by his former House colleagues: Hoyer, Boehner, Upton and Lewis

Rep. John Lewis attends the funeral mass for former Rep. John Dingell at Holy Trinity Church Feb. 14, 2019, in Washington. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

In the last 24 hours of his long life, John D. Dingell, 92, was visited by a few old friends and House colleagues. One of them was House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who eulogized Congress’ longest-serving member Thursday, and recalled that even in his final hours, Dingell “was in command.”

“We talked for an hour about what was, what had been and what should be,” Hoyer said at Dingell’s second funeral Thursday.

Violence Against Women Act extension could complicate spending bill
The existing act has received bipartisan support, but Democrats want an expansion of the law.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says the Violence Against Women Act has arisen as a potential issue with the spending package. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that a potential extension of the Violence Against Women Act has emerged as a bit of a complication to passing the spending package. 

“The Speaker is objecting to a modest extension of the Violence Against Women Act,” the Kentucky Republican said on the Senate floor.

Lawmakers hold service for John Dingell mid-air as weather tangles travel

Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., was among the members of Congress en route to Dearborn for the funeral of John Dingell before weather dictated the plane turn back to Washington. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A military plane carrying members of Congress to Michigan for former Rep. John Dingell’s funeral were turned around due to weather issues, prompting the group to hold a mid-air memorial for the longest serving member of Congress.

The Dingell family announced Sunday that Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. would join Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis and Michigan GOP Rep. Fred Upton in speaking at the service in Dearborn, Mich. Lewis and Upton were among those en route to the funeral in Dearborn, when weather in Detroit made landing unfeasible.

Democratic leaders not looking to punish Ilhan Omar after her apology for anti-Semitic remarks
Omar will not be stripped of her committee assignments, Hoyer said

Post-It Notes with words of support are posted on the nameplate for Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., outside her office in the Longworth House Office Building on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Democratic leaders do not plan to strip freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar of her committee assignments or take other action against her for comments they said were offensive and invoked anti-Semitic tropes.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said he takes Omar at her word that she didn’t intend to be anti-Semitic when she said lawmakers took pro-Israel stances because of political contributions from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

House Democratic leaders, chairmen criticize Omar for ‘anti-Semitic trope’
McCarthy says House Republicans will ‘take action’ this week

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., said tweets from Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., about a pro-Israel lobbying group buying off members of Congress "invoke the anti-Semitic trope of 'Jewish money.'" (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House Democratic leadership team and key Jewish committee chairmen on Monday joined a chorus of criticism against freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar for tweets suggesting that a pro-Israel lobbying group was buying off members of Congress.

Republicans have been attacking the Minnesota Democrat for several weeks for supporting the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement and making comments against the Israeli government. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has said he is likely to take action against Omar and another BDS supporter, Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib — the first two Muslim women elected to Congress.

Dingell memorial services to be held in Michigan, Washington
A motorcade carrying his casket will pass the Capitol Tuesday, and a funeral will be held Thursday

Flags at the U.S. Capitol flew at half-staff Friday, Feb. 8, 2018, in memory of John Dingell who died Feb. 7 at age 92. (Bill Clark/ CQ Roll Call)

Updated Sunday 6 p.m. |  John D. Dingell will drive past the U.S. Capitol one last time Tuesday as part of memorial services remembering the longest-serving member of Congress. 

Dingell died Thursday at age 92 in his home state of Michigan. Services will be held in Dearborn, Michigan, Monday and Tuesday before he returns to Washington.

Washington mourns former Rep. John Dingell
Former presidents, colleagues in Congress share tributes to the Detroit Democrat

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., attends a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center in 2011 to recognize the 46th anniversary of Medicare. (Tom Williams/Roll Call file photo)

The longest-serving member of Congress in history, Rep. John Dingell made an indelible impact on Capitol Hill, the nation’s laws and those who served with him. 

“John Dingell's life reminds us that change does not always come in a flash, but instead with a steady, determined effort,” former President Barack Obama said.

House Democrats to consider publishing internal caucus rules ‘in short order’
Progressive groups have called out secrecy surrounding how Democrats govern themselves

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries and Vice Chairwoman Katherine M. Clark conduct a news conference after a caucus meeting in the Capitol in January. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats will consider making public their internal party rules after pressure from outside groups who say such a move would exemplify the party’s “commitment to open government.” 

“We believe in transparency and accountability,” Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries wrote Thursday in a letter obtained by Roll Call, “and in that spirit, this issue will be presented to the Caucus for consideration in short order.”