wage

Former Rep. Eligio ‘Kika’ de la Garza Dies at 89
Texas Democrat served 16 terms in the House

Rep. Eligio “Kika” de la Garza, D-Texas, second from right, claps as Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, throws a football in a House conference room in this undated photo. De la Garza passed away Monday. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

In 1978, Texas Democratic Rep. Eligio “Kika” de la Garza was invited to accompany his colleague Rep. Leo J. Ryan to Guyana on a fact-finding mission and escort people being held at the People’s Temple colony to safety.

De la Garza, like several colleagues in the House, turned down the invitation due to the House’s “hectic” schedule. Ryan and four other members of his delegation were murdered as they were getting on a plane to leave the country before more than 900 people committed mass suicide in the jungle.

The Democrat Who Hugged the President
Trump and Sen. Joe Manchin share an interlocked fate

West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin III has embraced the idea of working with President Donald Trump, a smart strategy given the Mountain State’s strong support for Trump in last year’s election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Most Democrats fled after President Donald Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress last week. But Sen. Joe Manchin III instead approached him — and leaned in for a hug.

The gesture only lasted a few seconds. But it speaks volumes about the symbiotic relationship that has emerged between the West Virginia Democrat and the Republican president in recent months.

How a Tenet of GOP Orthodoxy Slipped Away
Trump saying nothing about cutting entitlements, and Ryan saying nothing about that

President Donald Trump faces some grim forecasts on budget issues, but shows no signs of being open to cuts to entitlement programs, Hawkings writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Nothing President Donald Trump said in his first speech to Congress, and nothing visible on this year’s budget battle horizon, will change the grim realities of the long-range federal fiscal forecast.

Trump continues to sound like he’s out to refashion the Republicans as populist protectors of elderly Americans and their expansive government safety net, and GOP leaders on the Hill newly sound like they aren’t going to do anything to stand in his way. That represents a fundamental retreat from three decades of party orthodoxy, which could revive the sort of ballooning annual deficits long derided by Republicans as the enemy of national economic stability.

Conversation: Rick Manning of Americans for Limited Government
Trump’s election represents ‘quantum shift’ on attitudes on free trade

Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government, says current free trade deals haven’t allowed American workers to compete on the world stage. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As president of the activist group Americans for Limited Government, Rick Manning has lobbied conservatives for years about the failings of free trade deals.

He says Donald Trump’s election shows that there’s been “a quantum shift in attitude” in the U.S. toward opposing such deals, and Republicans on Capitol Hill are coming around, too.

Puzder Is First Trump Nominee Spiked by GOP
Votes just weren’t there for fast-food tycoon

Andrew Puzder, left was the first of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees to not get enough Republican votes for confirmation. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The withdrawal of Andrew Puzder’s nomination to be Labor secretary represents a milestone in the nascent Trump administration: the first time congressional Republicans played a significant part in spiking a Donald Trump Cabinet pick. 

The nomination of the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which runs the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s chains, had been plagued by scandal, including revelations he had employed an undocumented immigrant as a housekeeper and failed to pay taxes on her, as well as the fallout from a 1987 divorce that brought up allegations of domestic violence against him.

Puzder Backs Out of Labor Secretary Nomination
Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. head lacked confirmation votes

Andrew Puzder leaves a November meeting with Donald Trump in Bedminster Township, New Jersey. Trump later nominated Puzder to head the Labor Department though recent reports indicate that Puzder is expected to withdraw his nomination. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Andrew Puzder, President Donald Trump’s nominee for Labor secretary, backed out of the confirmation process Wednesday.

In a statement released by the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which runs the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s chains, Puzder said he decided to withdraw his nomination after “careful consideration and discussions with [his] family.”

Capitol Hill: Trump’s Ultimate Truth Squad
Presidents don’t usually get to decree what facts and figures will shape legislation

President Donald Trump arrives at the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday where he addressed employees. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

If President Donald Trump’s emphatic disregard for the facts continues, it will soon threaten the viability of the legislative process and imperil the minimal credibility now afforded Congress. 

During his initial week in office, Trump has stood fast by three whoppers of substantial import — given that they now bear the imprimatur of the Oval Office, not the campaign trail or the board room or the set of a reality TV show. But so far, his spreading of falsehoods has not managed to muddy, or sully, the process of advancing the policy changes the country elected him to make.

In Break from Trump, Mattis Pushes for Tough Stance on Russia

Secretary of Defense nominee James Mattis testifies during his confirmation hearing in the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

James Mattis, Donald Trump’s choice for Defense secretary, advocated several shifts in U.S. national security policy in his confirmation hearing Thursday, including a much tougher stance on Russia than the president-elect has articulated.

On several topics during his Senate Armed Services testimony, the retired Marine Corps four-star general differed in substance or tone from positions Trump took in the campaign. Unless Trump or Mattis changes his view, the contrasts could lead to tensions between the White House and the Pentagon.

Obama Touts Record, Sends Trump Message in Farewell Letter
Letter accompanies exit memos from Cabinet secretaries

President Barack Obama takes questions from student journalists at the White House last year. (Getty Images file photo)

The United States is “stronger and more prosperous” than it was on Inauguration Day 2009, President Barack Obama wrote in a letter to the American people, a dispatch that appears to have a message for his successor.

The letter, which will accompany exit memos from each of Obama’s Cabinet secretaries, begins with the 44th president reminding Americans of the challenges he faced when he was sworn in. Obama then ticks off what he sees as his top achievements, from bailing out U.S. automakers to avoiding an economic depression to passing his health care law to killing Osama bin Laden to a historically high high school graduation rate.

Washington Politics: A Hint of Compromise or North Carolina-Style Dysfunction?
Few signs of a fresh start in 2017

Is House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, left, listening to all of the American people when his party is deciding what it will deliver, Mary C. Curtis asks. Ryan is seen here with Vice President-elect Mike Pence at a press conference at the Capitol on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Though the year has just begun, there are already signs that the partisan power struggle in Washington will not benefit from a fresh start or optimistic resolutions of renewal.

“I want to say to the American people: We hear you. We will do right by you. And we will deliver,” said re-elected House Speaker Paul Ryan, as he no doubt relished uniting with President-elect Donald Trump and a Republican-controlled Washington to celebrate the consolidation of power by undoing President Barack Obama’s actions of the last eight years.