Homeland Security

Senate floor debate beckons amid spending bill impasse
Under stopgap law, lawmakers have about five weeks to reach funding agreement

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby says there’s a “good chance” the chamber can start debating spending bills next week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate next week could debate a package of spending bills that have received bipartisan support in the Appropriations Committee, according to Chairman Richard C. Shelby.

“I’ve been hearing that and conversations lend me to think there’s a good chance,” the Alabama Republican said Wednesday, noting that the final decision is up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “I think there are five, six, seven appropriations bills that we could pass if we get to the floor.”

Lowey retirement sparks Democratic Appropriations scramble
Contested battle expected for top spot on powerful House spending panel

New York Rep. Nita M. Lowey announced her retirement last week at the end of the 116th Congress. Who will replace her as the top Democrat on House Appropriations? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey’s decision to retire at the end of the 116th Congress will set off a lengthy and contentious campaign among her colleagues to determine who will become the top Democrat on the spending panel.

Unlike the Senate, which predominantly relies on seniority to determine who serves as a chairman or ranking member, the House weighs several factors before deciding who will lead a committee. And right now, assuming Democrats keep their House majority next year, signs may be pointing in the direction of Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro, who will be the third-ranking Democrat on the powerful committee in 2021. 

McAleenan out at Homeland Security, Trump says
Trump to name new acting secretary next week

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan testifies during an appropriations hearing on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan is leaving his job, President Donald Trump announced on Twitter.

“We have worked well together with Border Crossings being way down. Kevin now, after many years in Government, wants to spend more time with his family and go to the private sector,” Trump wrote.

CBP Chief: Harassing journalists 'absolutely unacceptable'

Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan talks to reporters in the James Brady Press Briefing Room Tuesday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Mark Morgan, the acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, told reporters at the White House on Tuesday that it is “absolutely unacceptable” for his officers to stop a journalist “because they’re a journalist.” He was responding to a question, based in part, on an Oct. 3 incident between Defense One editor Ben Watson and a CBP officer at Dulles International Airport. Defense One’s report on the exchange alleged that “A U.S. passport screening official held a Defense One journalist’s passport until he received an affirmative answer to this repeated question: ‘You write propaganda, right?’” and characterized the officer’s actions as harassment.

The question in Tuesday’s briefing came from Andrew Feinberg, who said this was one of a number of such incidents involving CBP officers over the last year.

If Perry leaves Energy, his deputy seems likely to sustain his policies
Rumors of Perry's impending departure put Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette in spotlight

Energy Secretary Rick Perry is one of President Donald Trump's longest-serving Cabinet members. An Energy Department spokeswoman denied reports that he was planning to step down soon. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The No. 2 man at the Energy Department is primed to carry on the agency’s “energy dominance” agenda should his boss, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, step down.

Perry is preparing to step down before the end of November, Politico and other media outlets reported Thursday, a decision that would end the service of one of President Donald Trump’s longest-lasting Cabinet secretaries. Perry’s departure would likely place Dan Brouillette, the deputy secretary, in charge of the Energy Department.

DHS advances plan to get DNA samples from immigrant detainees
Immigration advocates worry about long-term privacy implications of proposal

U.S. Border Patrol agents watch over a group of undocumented immigrants in June after chasing and apprehending them in a cane field near Mission, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images file photo)

Immigration advocates sounded alarm over the Department of Homeland Security’s new proposed rule to collect DNA samples from migrants in government custody, expressing grave concern over long-term privacy implications.

“The government doesn’t have a very good track record of collecting and protecting the genetic material of marginalized populations, including foreign nationals and black and brown people,” Andrew Free, a Nashville-based immigration and civil rights lawyer, told CQ Roll Call. “In the absence of a limiting principle, I just really worry about the abuses.”

Trump ‘even more unhinged than usual’ as impeachment heats up, Democrats warn
President passed along civil war threat, said House chairman should be arrested and continued peddling ‘debunked’ Biden conspiracy theories

President Donald Trump and his Republican allies in Congress continued peddling conspiracy theories about former Vice President Joe Biden and his son over the weekend as Democrats pursue an impeachment inquiry of the president. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

From “unhinged” to “reprehensible” to  “wacky,” Democratic lawmakers had harsh words for President Donald Trump and Republicans after the president and his allies in Congress over the weekend tried to defend his phone call pressuring Ukraine to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden.

Since Sunday, Trump has blamed the “corrupt media” for not accepting conspiracy theories about Biden and his son Hunter, called for House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff to be arrested for treason, demanded to meet the whistleblower who alerted the public to his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr  Zelenskiy, and retweeted a sentiment that removing him from office would result in a “Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.”

The art of the ask: Foreign aid isn’t a campaign ‘slush fund’
Trump’s Ukraine request deviates from the traditional carrot-and-stick approach

President Donald Trump is under fire for a July 25 conversation in which he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to open an investigation into potential 2020 opponent Joe Biden. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Arms sales and foreign aid have long been a part of the United States’ carrot-and-stick approach to foreign policy. But President Donald Trump’s call with the Ukrainian leader is something entirely different.

Making access to American weapons or dollars contingent upon behaviors that support U.S. interests is standard procedure.

White House plans to cut refugee admittance to all-time low

The Statue of Liberty in New York City is seen through fencing on Aug. 14, 2019. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images file photo)

The Trump administration announced on Thursday plans to slash its refugee admittance program by almost half next year, the lowest cap since the refugee system was created in 1980.

The White House said it would admit no more than 18,000 refugees for the next fiscal year, a drop from its current limit of 30,000 and a plunge from the 110,000 admitted in 2016 under President Barack Obama’s final year in office.

Senate clears stopgap, pivots to endgame spending talks
The bill funds the government through Nov. 21, giving Congress and the White House more time to reach agreement on appropriations

Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., right, and Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., prepare for a Senate Appropriations Committee markup on Wednesday, June 19, 2019. The Senate voted Thursday to approve the House-passed bill to fund the government through Nov. 21. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate on Thursday cleared a spending bill that will fund the government through Nov. 21, giving lawmakers and the White House more time to reach agreement on the annual appropriations process. The vote was 81-16, with all of the ‘no’ votes coming from Republicans.

President Donald Trump is expected to sign the continuing resolution, holding off another partial government shutdown for at least 52 more days. But this could be the first of several stopgap bills amid tense debates about abortion policy and the border wall.