White House Signals Own Path on Health Care
Reference to president’s own plan signals dual tracks for GOP

That President Donald Trump could roll out his own health care overhaul plan was something his top spokesman would not rule out on Wednesday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The White House declined Wednesday to rule out that President Donald Trump will push his own plan to replace the 2010 health care law rather than pursue one course with congressional Republicans.

When asked if there will be a single White House-congressional GOP plan, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer left the door open for the president to roll out his own plan — no matter what lawmakers do. Minutes later, Spicer referred to “the president’s plan” when discussing how the administration intends to achieve one of its top campaign goals.

Ellison Gets Unlikely Boost From Trump in DNC Chairman Race
President touts Minnesota Democrat as soothsayer

Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison could become the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison picked up a semi-endorsement from an expected — and potentially unwelcome — source Wednesday morning in his bid to become the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee: Donald Trump.

With DNC members set to vote on a new leader in just three days, the Republican president, apparently while watching morning cable news talk shows, felt the need to weigh in. He did so in a tweet pointing out that Ellison predicted Trump would become the 45th chief executive.

House Democrats Look Beyond DNC Chairman Race
They have no say in the election but hold high hopes for the winner

Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison is the only member of Congress running for the Democratic National Committee chairmanship. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Congressional Democrats have little sway over who the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee will be. But the eventual winner — to be elected by DNC members this weekend in Atlanta — may play an important role in shaping the direction of a party that desperately needs help articulating its message and organizing ahead of the 2018 midterms.

“Right about now, they do nothing with the Congress. So anything would be an improvement,” Michigan Rep. Debbie Dingell, a former DNC member, said of the committee last week, outside the House chamber. 

McMaster Needs Senate Confirmation to Keep All Three Stars
New job would entail demotion unless Senate signs off

McMaster, left, was announced as the new national security adviser by President Donald Trump on Monday at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla. (Jenna Johnson/Washington Post/Print Pool)

National security advisers don’t need the consent of the Senate, but the decision by President Donald Trump to tap Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster for the assignment brings up an unusual question of military rank. Why? Without the Senate confirmation, McMaster would effectively be demoted as result of the new responsibilities, since three star generals generally have their rank tied to a particular function.

A National Security Council spokesman confirmed to Roll Call that McMaster is expected to face a Senate confirmation vote to maintain his three stars as a result of his new job, with the process already getting under way.

White House Not Dropping Travel Ban Court Fight
Justice Department had indicated otherwise, though Trump was murky

Passengers from a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight from Jeddah are greeted by protesters as they arrive at Dulles International Airport in Virginia on Jan. 29. Protests erupted at airports around the country following President Trump’s since-blocked executive order restricting travel from several Islamic countries. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Pool)

The Trump administration says it is keeping up its court fight to revive an executive order banning entry in the United States by people from Syria and six other Muslim-majority countries, despite Justice Department lawyers stating the opposite.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday the administration is moving ahead on dual paths: a new executive order that should be issued in a few days, and a continued legal fight over the initial order.

Trump Intends to Release 2018 Budget in Mid-March

President Donald Trump speaks at the GOP Congressional retreat in Philadelphia on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017. House and Senate Republicans are holding their retreat through Friday in Philadelphia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Pool)

President Donald Trump’s administration is aiming to release a fiscal 2018 budget outline on March 14, a White House official confirmed Sunday to CQ.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it is the White House’s “intention” to release the outline, also called a “skinny” budget, on that date.

Ep. 5: Why Trump’s New Budget Director Should Prepare for a Fight
Budget Tracker Extra

President Donald Trump finally has his budget director Mick Mulvaney in place, but with a daunting agenda it’s unclear how much he can get accomplished, says CQ Budget Tracker Editor David Lerman. Mulvaney faces, among other challenges, an April deadline when government funding expires and the unknown costs of Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Opinion: Trump Is Neck and Neck With the Worst Presidents
Could he even make Warren G. Harding look good?

Even Warren G. Harding had a better first month than President Donald Trump, Walter Shapiro writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

DUBLIN — A long holiday weekend in Ireland proved to be less of an escape and more of a reminder of the omnipresence of the 45th president. The front page of the Sunday Independent featured a column by conservative writer and media personality Brendan O’Connor that began, “Ireland 2021. The country has been laid waste to after Donald Trump caused nuclear Armageddon.”

New National Security Adviser: No Friend to Russia?
McMaster has warned against Russian military might, plans to disrupt Europe

Lt. Gen. Herbert Raymond “H.R.” McMaster, President Donald Trump’s new national security adviser. (Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army)

Lt. Gen. Herbert Raymond “H.R.” McMaster, President Donald Trump’s new pick as national security adviser, does not appear to be a friend of Russia. 

He’s warned that the Kremlin wants to disrupt the post-World War II security and political order in Europe. And he was behind the “Russia New Generation Warfare Study,” which was prompted by concerns over the country’s growing military might.

Congress Caught Unaware by National Guard Report
Mitch McConnell says he will ‘take a look’ at any White House proposal

Border protection agents during a service at the Capitol in 2008. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Congress was caught somewhat flat-footed Friday by reports that the Trump administration is considering calling on the National Guard to round up and deport undocumented immigrants. 

“I hadn’t heard about it,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said when asked about an Associated Press report on a memo drafted by the Department of Homeland Security. The document proposed mobilizing as many as 100,000 National Guard troops across 12 states to gather immigrants who were in the country illegally. AP reported that the memo, dated Jan. 25, bore the name of DHS Secretary John Kelly, and had circulated among DHS staff.

Capitol Hill Staff Is Sleepier Than Last Year, So Far
Survey shows staffers are working longer hours in the 115th Congress

Late nights are part of working on Capitol Hill, especially in the 115th Congress.

Cory Booker’s Mysterious Mission to Texas
New Jersey senator spent recent weekend visiting a private prison

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker has been one of the leading voices of the congressional effort to overhaul the criminal justice system. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As most of his colleagues headed home last weekend, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker spent Friday night on a journey to the center of the country.

After flying from Washington to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on Feb. 10, one of the rising stars in the Democratic Party sat unnoticed at a charging station, at the far end of Terminal B, where small regional jets arrive and depart.

White House Watch: For Trump, Back to What Worked
 

Chaffetz Wants Charges for Former Clinton Aide
Former State Department employee who set up private email server refused to testify

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, was criticized by ranking Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, who said apparently Chaffetz and President Donald Trump “are the only two people in Washington today who think we should still be investigating Secretary Clinton.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Jason Chaffetz is seeking charges for a former State Department employee who helped Hillary Clinton set up her private email server.

Chaffetz, R-Utah, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking to convene a grand jury or charge Bryan Pagliano, The Associated Press reported.