Steny H Hoyer

Democrats divided over whether it’s time to open impeachment inquiry
Caucus to discuss the matter during a special meeting Wednesday

Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky is among the Democrats who do not think it is quite time to begin impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 2:50 p.m. | House Democrats are divided over whether they should open an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, with top leaders still hesitant to do so even as more rank-and-file members say it’s time.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called a special caucus meeting Wednesday morning to discuss oversight matters, including the impeachment question, several members said.

Pelosi: To woo Trump, border aid will likely be attached to disaster bill
Adding a border-related element to the disaster relief bill could garner the Trump administration’s support

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., holds her weekly press conference in the Capitol on May 16, 2019. She told reporters that a disaster aid package will likely include humanitarian assistance to address the surge of migrants across the southern border. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

An emerging multibillion-dollar disaster aid package will likely include humanitarian assistance to address the surge of migrants across the southern border, an element that could garner the Trump administration’s support.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday that lawmakers are planning to add funding to the unreleased package that would help stem the “humanitarian crisis.”

Grasswho? Members raised hundreds of thousands, almost none from small donors
Democrats tout small-dollar contributions as grassroots support, but several raised less than $400 that way

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., received less than $200 in donations too small to require the donor’s name to be disclosed, a metric some tout as an indicator of grassroots support. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats have long touted the importance of raising small amounts of money from a large number of donors as a sign of political strength on the campaign trail and in Congress.

But recent campaign finance disclosures show some lawmakers — from both parties — raised next to no money from so-called small donors in the first three months of 2019 for their campaign accounts. The names of contributors giving less than $200 in the aggregate do not have to be included in reports to the Federal Election Commission, but the total received from all those “unitemized” contributions is disclosed.

Our trillion-dollar problem deserves bipartisan attention
Our national debt is projected to grow faster than the economy — forever

President Bill Clinton signs into law two budget reconciliation measures in a 1997 White House ceremony on the South Lawn. The measures helped lead to a balanced budget, which former Reps. Tim Penny and David Minge believe can be accomplished only through bipartisan commitment. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Our nation is now staring at trillion-dollar annual deficits. The Congressional Budget Office in a report this month warned the nation once again that our yearly red ink could top $1 trillion as soon as next year. Our national debt is projected to grow faster than the economy — forever.

How many warnings will it take for our leaders to pay attention? What is the tipping point that will force our leaders to act?

Are Democrats using quest for unredacted Mueller report as shield against impeachment?
Court fight to obtain full report could drag beyond 2020 election, allowing Democrats to avoid impeachment decision

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., conducts a markup on a resolution to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to respond to a committee subpoena for the unredacted special counsel report and investigatory materials. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democratic leaders have unequivocally accused President Donald Trump of ongoing obstruction of justice, but they say they won’t decide whether to begin impeachment proceedings against him without seeing the full report and evidence from the special counsel’s investigation.

The result is a single-track process that will likely involve a lengthy court battle for the unredacted version of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report and his underlying investigatory materials. Trump on Wednesday asserted executive privilege over those documents, before the Judiciary  Committee voted along party lines to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for ignoring the panel’s subpoena to turn them over.

3 things to watch when Trump, GOP senators talk tricky trade issues
Sen. Grassley will attend three days after his ultimatum to the president over tariffs

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, will be among GOP senators talking trade Thursday with President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Seeking to build support among his fellow Republicans for a key trade pact, Donald Trump will meet privately Thursday afternoon with Republican senators. And fireworks are possible if the president refuses to drop his tariffs on two U.S. neighbors despite GOP pleas and threats.

The White House has yet to submit to Congress a revised version of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump’s top trade advisers negotiated with Mexico and Canada amid a litany of presidential demands and threats toward two longtime U.S. allies.

Will Trump, Democrats’ agreement to do a $2 trillion infrastructure plan hold?
President has walked back promises before and lawmakers on both sides are skeptical about a deal to pay for it

House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter A. DeFazio, D-Ore., says President Donald Trump could give both parties political cover if he advocates revenue-raising measures as part of an infrastructure deal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An agreement between congressional Democrats and President Donald Trump to pursue a $2 trillion infrastructure package could be short-lived if the president walks back his position or if the parties fail to agree on how to pay for it. 

Both are familiar scenarios and ones lawmakers in both parties acknowledge could nullify the agreement top congressional Democrats say they reached with Trump during a White House meeting meeting Tuesday.

Lobbyists to Congress: Pay staffers better
Six ex-lawmakers offer recommendations on making Capitol Hill great again

The House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress heard from lobbyists and former colleagues at a hearing Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

K Street denizens and former members of Congress offered tips on Wednesday for making Capitol Hill great again to the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, including recommendations to help Congress keep pace with lobbyists like themselves.

Six ex-lawmakers — including Virginia Republican Tom Davis — suggested that Congress pay its staffers more money to better hold their own with experts from K Street and the executive branch. They also called for more civility on Capitol Hill, less emphasis on fundraising, and to invest more in technology and technological savvy within the legislative branch.

House Oversight Republican wants to force perjury vote on Cohen
Rep. Mark Green says ‘the integrity of the Oversight Committee and the entire House is at stake’

GOP Rep. Mark Green filed a privileged motion to refer perjury charges against former Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen to the Justice Department over his February testimony against the president. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform is forcing a House floor vote on whether to refer an investigation into former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen to the Justice Department for perjury.

Freshman GOP Rep. Mark Green of Tennessee filed the privileged resolution on Tuesday afternoon, giving the House Democratic majority 48 hours to hold a vote on the measure.

House Democrats get a spending jump on the Senate
By marking up 2020 appropriations bills first, they aim to exert some leverage on spending caps talks

Appropriations are stalled in the Senate, in part because Chairman Richard C. Shelby has prioritized reaching agreement on disaster aid legislation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers return to the Capitol this week to start navigating a thicket of budget issues, including a stalled aid package for natural disaster victims and spending levels for the upcoming fiscal year.

Staff-level talks between the “four corners” of the congressional leadership and top White House aides have been taking place to try to bridge a wide gulf between the Trump administration and Democratic leaders on nondefense appropriations. Democrats are pushing for over $100 billion more than President Donald Trump wants for domestic and foreign aid programs in fiscal 2020, once various add-ons to the current spending caps, like overseas foreign assistance and 2020 census preparations, are factored in.