Congress

Planned Parenthood exits Title X program over gag rule
It left the program over a new rule prohibiting clinics receiving Title X funds from discussing abortions with patients

The exterior of a Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services Center is seen on May 31, 2019, in St Louis, Missouri. The nation’s largest provider of reproductive health services will exit the federal family planning program over the Trump administration’s “domestic gag rule.” (Michael Thomas/Getty Images)

The nation’s largest provider of reproductive health services, including abortions, will exit the federal family planning program over the Trump administration’s “domestic gag rule,” which prohibits clinics receiving Title X funds from discussing abortions with patients.

Alexis McGill Johnson, Planned Parenthood Federation of America acting president and CEO, told reporters Monday that its clinics receiving Title X grants would begin submitting notices of withdrawal. The Department of Health and Human Services is requiring clinics to submit compliance plans by the end of the day.

Attorney general installs new leadership at Federal Bureau of Prisons
Moves follow suicide of Jeffrey Epstein in prison custody

Attorney General William  Barr has installed new leaders at the Federal Bureau of Prisons (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Attorney General William Barr has replaced the leadership of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Barr is appointing Kathleen Hawk Sawyer to the position of director. Barr previously appointed her to the same post in 1992, when he was last the attorney general.

Rep. King falsely claims he was misquoted on ‘rape and incest’ abortion comment
Iowa Republican demands an apology from the media and his own party

Rep. Steve King talks with reporters at the Iowa State Fairlast week. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call).

Rep. Steve King demanded an apology over the weekend from GOP leaders and media outlets that criticized him for speculating that humankind may not exist without our species’ history of rape and incest.

The embattled Iowa Republican claimed, misleadingly, that he was misquoted in a Des Moines Register article — later picked up by The Associated Press — about comments he made defending his view that abortion should be illegal in all cases, including in instances of rape and incest.

Lowey faces her first primary challenge in three decades
Powerful chairwoman to face 32-year-old newcomer in Democratic contest

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, an 82-year-old incumbent who was first elected in 1988, speaks to reporters in July 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The year was 1988. Def Leppard topped the charts and stonewashed jeans were all the rage. It was also the last time powerful House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey faced a primary challenge.

That’s all changed now with the decision by Mondaire Jones, a former Obama administration Justice Department staffer and attorney for Westchester County’s Law Department, to challenge Lowey in next June’s primary. The 32-year-old political novice plans to take on the New York Democratic incumbent over her positions on issues ranging from climate change to student debt forgiveness to oversight of the Trump administration.

FEC chairwoman: Penalty ‘slashed’ for ex-congressman who used leftover campaign money to lobby
The law forbids former members of Congress from using old donations like ‘an illegal pension fund’

Former longtime Florida Rep. Cliff Stearns, once the chairman of the Energy and Commerce's subcommittee on communications and technology, now lobbies for a client list that includes Huawei Tech. Investment Co. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An ex-congressman who diverted leftover campaign money towards dinners and dues at a private club outside of the Capitol just as he began to lobby his former congressional colleagues will only have to pay back a fraction of the campaign funds he misused. 

The Federal Election Commission stalemated in a 2-2 vote over whether to issue a more severe fine to Florida Rep. Cliff Stearns, one that would hold him personally liable, an FEC memo shows. 

Merdon out at AOC, Thomas Carroll named new acting architect
Search continues for permanent Architect of the Capitol

Acting Architect of the Capitol Christine Merdon resigned, and Thomas J. Carroll has been named to lead the agency. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Christine Merdon is out as acting Architect of the Capitol, and Thomas J. Carroll has been named to lead the agency on an acting basis as the search for a permanent AOC continues.

In an internal notice to AOC employees, Merdon said she had accepted a job outside of the agency.

Democrats line up three gun bills in early House Judiciary return
The bills could lob political pressure onto Senate Republicans to respond to recent mass shootings

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee, speak to reporters about the testimony from former special counsel Robert Mueller on July 2019. Nadler announced the committee will consider three gun control bills when it convenes Sept. 4. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Judiciary Committee will consider three gun control bills when it convenes September 4, an early return from a summer break that could lob political pressure onto Senate Republicans to respond to recent mass shootings.

The committee announced Friday it will mark up a bill to outlaw large capacity magazines and other ammunition feeding devices, along with a bill that would prevent people who have been convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime from owning a weapon.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib rejects Netanyahu’s terms and forgoes trip to visit grandmother
A day after rejecting Muslim Democrats’ visit, Israel said it would allow Tlaib entry on ‘humanitarian’ grounds

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Michigan, agreed not to voice support for BDS in order to secure a trip to her grandmother's village in the West Bank but then rejected the conditions of the trip. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Rashida Tlaib will forgo a trip to see her aging grandmother in the West Bank after the Israeli government said it would allow a visit on “humanitarian” grounds.

In a reversal, Tlaib rejected the conditions laid out by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the humanitarian visit, namely, that she not broadcast her support for boycotting Israel over its actions against Palestinians during her stay. 

Election officials want security money, flexible standards
After 2016 Russian intrusion, slow progress seen toward securing rolls and paper ballots

Voters line up at a temporary voting location in a trailer in the Arroyo Market Square shopping center in Las Vegas on the first day of early voting in Nevada in October of 2016. Louisiana and Connecticut officials requested more money and clear standards from the federal government before voters head to the polls in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

State officials from Louisiana and Connecticut on Thursday asked for more money and clear standards from the federal government to help secure voting systems before the 2020 elections.

But the officials, Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin and Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill, stressed the differences between their election systems and asked for leeway from the federal government in deciding how to spend any future funding.

Democrats seek info on CFPB official’s ties to Christian group
Paul Watkins spent three years at the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other Democrats want documents from the CFPB on the hiring of Paul Watkins as director of the Office of Innovation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated | A group of Democrats, including presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, are continuing to pressure the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over a senior official’s ties to a conservative Christian group.

In a letter sent Wednesday to CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger, Warren — along with Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois, Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts and Katie Porter of California — demanded documents related to hiring Paul Watkins as director of the Office of Innovation, which has the power to grant fintech firms limited immunity from consumer protection laws.

New FDA cigarette labels include realistic images of smoking-related health problems
The long-delayed warnings, now subject to public comment, would update textual statements already on cigarette packs

Examples of the new Food and Drug Administration warnings on packs of cigarettes. The warnings would update the textual statements already on cigarette packages, and for the first time include photorealistic images that depict smoking-related health problems. (Courtesy/FDA)

The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday proposed long-delayed graphic health warnings for cigarette packages, taking a step toward fulfilling a requirement of a decade-old smoking prevention law.

The new warning label proposal will now be subject to a public comment period, and is under a court-ordered deadline to be finalized by March 15, 2020.

Israel bars entry to Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar
Trump said Netanyahu would ‘show weakness’ by allowing House members to visit

Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib had planned to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories along with Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A planned trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories by Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota has been halted by Israeli officials.

“The state of Israel respects the U.S. Congress, as part of the close alliance, but it is inconceivable that anyone who wishes to harm the state of Israel will be allowed, even during the visit,” a media statement from the government read.

Border emergency hits six months; ball back in Congress’ court
Lawmakers may again try to terminate Trump's declaration allowing him to shift funds for wall construction

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House Democrats appear in February at a news conference on the joint resolution to terminate Trump's emergency declaration. It is not clear whether they will try again to pass a similar measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Thursday marks six months since President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on the southern border, a notable anniversary because it gives Congress another shot at ending it.

The flashpoint in the debate remains funding for the construction of a wall along the Mexican border, a prominent pledge made during Trump’s 2016 presidential bid that now hangs over the 2020 campaign.

Matt Gaetz says Florida Bar finds ‘no probable cause’ he violated rules with Cohen tweet
Florida Republican had appeared to intimidate ex-Trump lawyer with February tweet

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, right, says the state bar is taking “no disciplinary action” against him for a February tweet directed at former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Matt Gaetz announced Wednesday that the Florida Bar had found “no probable cause” that he violated the rules of his profession over a tweet that appeared to intimidate President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen.

“They are taking no disciplinary action against me & are sending a letter of advice,” the Florida Republican tweeted. Gaetz is licensed to practice law in the Sunshine State.

Trump names new nominee to oldest federal judicial vacancy
Richard E. Myers II, a Jamaica native and UNC professor will be the next pick for the Eastern District of North Carolina

Richard E. Myers II, a Jamaica native and a professor at the University of North Carolina law school who focuses on criminal law, has been nominated by President Donald Trump to be the next pick for the Eastern District of North Carolina, the White House announced. (Courtesy iStock)

President Donald Trump named a new nominee Wednesday for a spot on the federal bench in North Carolina that has remained vacant for more than 13 years and has been one of the most contentious in Senate judicial confirmation fights.

Richard E. Myers II, a Jamaica native and a professor at the University of North Carolina law school who focuses on criminal law, will be the next pick for the Eastern District of North Carolina, the White House announced. The seat is the only vacancy in that district, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.