Tom Cotton

House Appoints Defense Bill Negotiators As Space Corps Fight Looms
F-35 fighter jets will be another point of contention as the chambers confer

The Senate so vigorously opposes the Space Corps proposal that it adopted by unanimous consent an amendment — offered by Sens. Bill Nelson and Tom Cotton, shown here in 2016 — to the Senate NDAA that would block it. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

The House on Thursday agreed by unanimous consent to begin negotiations with the Senate on the fiscal 2018 Defense authorization bill. Throughout the coming weeks, a panel of conferees from each chamber will negotiate a final version of the legislation before Congress votes to send the bill to the president.

The House will send to the conference 46 Republicans and 27 Democrats. Eighteen Republicans and 13 Democrats will represent the Armed Services Committee in the negotiations.

New Foreign Surveillance Bill Would Boost Privacy Protections
Top House Judiciary leaders reached decision last week

House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte and ranking member John Conyers Jr. introduced the so-called USA Liberty Act on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte and the panel’s top Democrat Rep. John Conyers Jr. reached agreement last week on a new bill that would tighten privacy protections in a surveillance law considered vital by U.S. intelligence agencies.

The bill’s attempt to shore up civil liberties runs contrary to what the White House and intelligence agencies have sought, and is likely to face opposition from a group of national security hawks in the Senate who back the Trump administration position.

This Senator Has Gotten Two Audiences with Trump in Four Days
Monday dinner focused on border security, immigration system changes

Sen. Tom Cotton boards a shuttle bus that transported senators to the White House on April 26. Cotton has met with President Donald Trump at the executive mansion twice this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

One lawmaker who could be crucial to Donald Trump’s goal of signing an immigration overhaul bill into law met twice with the president at the White House this week. But it wasn’t Speaker Paul D. Ryan or Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, or the chairmen of the House or Senate Homeland Security or Judiciary committees.

It wasn’t even Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, perhaps the senior-most Republican senator with much at stake from an immigration bill since he represents Texas and its 1,240-mile border with Mexico. Rather, it was the relatively junior GOP senator who hails from thousands of miles from the border: Arkansas’s Tom Cotton.

Warren Says SEC’s Clayton Puts Interests of Bankers Over Average Investors
Massachusetts Senator says she doesn’t see the value of more IPOs

Sen. Elizabeth Warren took issue with SEC Chairman Jay Clayton at a Tuesday hearing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren accused Wall Street’s top regulator of supporting policies that benefit “a handful of bankers and lawyers” instead of average investors.

The Massachusetts Democrat has been an outspoken critic of Wall Street and the Securities and Exchange Commission, the federal agency that oversees the financial sector.

Space Corps Proposal Has Military Brass Going Orbital

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, center, seen here with Gen. David L. Goldfein, right, chief of staff of the Air Force, is opposed to the creation of Space Corps, seeing it as within the purview of her service branch. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It was, to be sure, a bold and audacious move from a relatively unknown member of Congress, who moved forward despite fervent objections from both the Defense Department and the White House and not so much as a full committee hearing or debate.

Alabama Republican Mike D. Rogers nevertheless used his perch atop a House Armed Services subcommittee to slip language into the annual Pentagon policy bill to create an entirely new military service focused on space.

Tech Lobbyists Join Fight Over DACA and Immigration
Company execs lambast decision to rescind Obama-era program

Immigration rights demonstrators march from the White House to the Trump Hotel and the Justice Department to oppose President Trump's decision to end the DACA program for "dreamers" on Sept. 5. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Tech industry giants are beginning to mobilize their deep K Street networks to pressure lawmakers as Congress tries to address the legal status of undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children.

A week after the sector’s top brass, such as Microsoft President Brad Smith, lambasted the Trump administration’s decision to rescind an Obama-era program for those young undocumented immigrants, tech industry lobbyists are looking for a way to turn their bosses’ words into a strategy on Capitol Hill.

Senate Set to Pass Defense Authorization Measure

Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, left, seen here with Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, expressed regret the chamber could not agree on how to bring up all the amendments senators wanted to vote on. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With the Senate’s 2018 defense authorization bill passing a procedural hurdle Thursday, the chamber is expected to vote on final passage of the massive military policy bill Monday.

The Senate voted 84-9 to invoke cloture and limit debate on a substitute version of the bill that includes 104 amendments.

Congress Braces for Tense Debate on Surveillance Law
Spy agencies argue for permanent reauthorization of FISA amendments

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., is sponsoring legislation to reauthorize the 2012 FISA amendments with no sunsets. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers are facing a potentially bruising fight over a surveillance law that expires Dec. 31 and must be extended in time to preserve what U.S. spy agencies consider a vital piece of their arsenal.

Congress has to extend the 2012 FISA Amendments Act, which will pit the Trump administration and national security hawks in Congress who favor a permanent reauthorization with no changes, against lawmakers of both parties, libertarians, privacy advocates and communications companies seeking to tighten protections for U.S. persons whose communications may get caught up in the wide electronic net cast by spy agencies.

Analysis: Trump Hits Congress With Immigration Quandary
Administration’s decision on DACA could derail work on other items

Demonstrators march from the White House down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Trump International Hotel and the Justice Department on Tuesday to oppose President Donald Trump's decision to phase out the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Republican legislative agenda for the remainder of the year was thrown into question Tuesday after the Trump administration announced its decision to gradually wind down an Obama-era program affecting undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children.

The White House essentially put Congress on a six-month clock to advance a comprehensive immigration overhaul, an achievement that has so far been unreachable for many years due to the complexity of the issue and vast differences of opinions.

Battle Lines Forming on DACA Fix
Differences emerge on what an immigration bill should include

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said the status of DACA beneficiaries was one of many immigration issues Congress has failed to adequately address. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 9:27 p.m. | Congressional Republicans and Democrats were quick to promise legislative action to protect children of undocumented immigrants after the Trump administration announced Tuesday it would end an Obama-era program that sheltered them from deportation. But lawmakers did not agree on what a bill should include.

The battle lines have already started taking shape, with lawmakers divided in three main camps: those who want to swiftly pass stand-alone legislation to provide children of undocumented immigrants with permanent legal status under certain conditions; those who want Congress to address the issue in a comprehensive overhaul of the immigration system; and those who want something in between.