Congress

Emergency border funds face delays as money and time run short
House Democrats face possible revolt, Rand Paul threatens to hold up action in Senate

Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Mark Pocan says talk from the White House of raids of undocumented migrants have “have many people nervous and agitated.” His caucus has offered House Democratic leadership changes they would like to see to the emergency border package. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Swift passage of billions of dollars in emergency aid to help care for tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants, many of them children, was in doubt Monday night as House Democrats were facing a possible revolt and a lone Republican senator was holding up action across the Capitol.

Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus made their concerns known to Speaker Nancy Pelosi about their chamber’s $4.5 billion package that leaders wanted to put on the floor Tuesday.

Chuck Schumer wants Senate to vote on Iran, after the Democratic debates
New York Democrat: All senators should be present for vote on restricting Trump actions

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y.,  wants all senators present for a vote related to Iran policy.(Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer wants senators to vote on restricting the ability of the Trump administration to go to war with Iran, but he suggested Monday that vote should not take place until after this week’s Democratic presidential debates.

“One of the best ways to avoid bumbling into a war is to have a robust, open debate, and for Congress to have some say,” the Democrat from New York said on the Senate floor.

Supreme Court to decide whether Congress can use riders to defund laws
The court will decide a trio of cases dealing with $12 billion in payments to insurers related to the 2010 health care law’s exchanges

Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky., leaves the House Republican Conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club on April 22, 2015. A Federal Circuit Court cited a statement from Rogers in its decision in a case now headed to the Supreme Court over whether lawmakers should be allowed to effectively repeal a previous law by preventing payments to the program. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Supreme Court will delve into how much power members of Congress wield when they insert riders on appropriations bills, in a trio of cases that deals with $12 billion in payments to insurers related to the 2010 health care law’s exchanges.

The justices agreed Monday to decide whether lawmakers can essentially repeal a previous law that obligates government payments by later adding riders to a spending bill to prevent those payments.

Trump order to make medical service costs more transparent
The order will require hospitals and insurers to provide more information on costs of medical services before patients receive them

U.S. President Donald Trump signs an executive order during an East Room event at the White House on March 21, 2019. Trump signed an executive order Monday that would put rules in place requiring hospitals and insurers to provide more information about the costs of medical services before a patient receives them. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Monday will issue an executive order directing his administration to put rules in place requiring hospitals and insurers to provide more information about the costs of medical services before a patient receives them.

The order will kick off a process at the Health and Human Services Department to develop rules for the transparency requirements. The new rules will be meant to require hospitals to publicly post charges for common items and services in a consumer-friendly manner, and to require insurers to inform patients about the amounts they must pay before services are actually provided.

Sen. Bernie Sanders bill would forgive all college debt
Sanders plan ups the ante on Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s plan to cancel student debt for 95 percent

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders will unveil his plan to cancel out debt for all who are paying for student loans. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Bernie Sanders touted new legislation Monday to zero out student debt for millions of borrowers.

The proposal — the College For All Act — would relieve the debt of all borrowers and would be paid for by a series of taxes on Wall Street transactions. States would ensure that students can attend public colleges without paying tuition or fees, in exchange for $48 billion per year in federal funding.

Democrats weave climate messages into spending bills
Aggressive action on climate change and halting rollback of environmental regulations

Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., shepherds action on the House’s environmental spending measure. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats are using the budget process to offer a clear contrast ahead of an election year between their embrace of aggressive action on climate change and the rollbacks of environmental regulation championed by Republicans when they controlled the chamber in the 115th Congress.

Many of the provisions they’ve included in the fiscal 2020 spending bills may not survive the GOP-led Senate, but Democrats are aware of national polls showing growing voter concern about the climate crisis.

When it comes to Facebook, breaking up is hard to do
2020 Democratic hopefuls rail against social media giant, but rely on it for fundraising

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has called for breaking up Facebook, is using the platform the most among Democratic presidential candidates. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Most of the current lawmakers spending big on Facebook advertisements are Democrats running for president. That’s no surprise, given the effectiveness the social media giant gives them in reaching the slice of the electorate they need to raise money and qualify for primary debates.

Still, it’s notable that the one using the platform the most is Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat who has called for breaking up the tech giant.

Power of New York, Texas hinges on immigrant count
Census will determine which states win or lose in redistricting

Texas could gain as many as three seats in Congress after the 2020 census — but not if the census response rate falls among noncitizens in the Lone Star State. (Courtesy Scott Dalton/U.S. Census Bureau)

Two states that have the most on the line in the Supreme Court case over the citizenship question in the 2020 census are taking drastically different approaches to the decennial count next year.

New York and Texas could have the biggest swings in congressional representation after the 2020 census. New York is projected to lose two seats, and Texas could gain as many as three, according to forecasting by the nonpartisan consulting firm Election Data Services. 

Congressional compensation: Isn’t there a select committee for that?
Panel tasked with modernizing Congress will look at staff but not member issues

Chairman Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., right, and vice chairman Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., during a Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress meeting in March. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As lawmakers engage in a contentious debate about whether to thaw a decadelong freeze on their pay, there’s a logical place where the underlying issues of member compensation and housing could be addressed — the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. 

But the panel currently has no plans to take up such matters, its chairman, Rep. Derek Kilmer, and vice chairman, Rep. Tom Graves, told CQ Roll Call. 

Road ahead: House and Senate seek to pass dueling border funding bills
Defense policy, election security and spending also on the agenda ahead of July Fourth

From right, Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, Vice Chairman Patrick J. Leahy and Illinois Sen. Richard J. Durbin huddle Wednesday before the committee marked up a border supplemental package. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Leaders in the House and Senate want to approve spending at least $4 billion more to address the influx of migrants and their humanitarian needs at the U.S.-Mexico border before the July Fourth recess.

Bills in the two chambers differ, however, raising doubts about whether there will be a resolution on President Donald Trump’s desk this month. 

The Facebook coin: What it means for fintech and society
Fintech Beat podcast, Episode 6

(iStock)

Welcome to Fintech Beat, the intersection of finance, technology, policy and regulation. Facebook is poised to enter and potentially reshape the cryptocurrency landscape. Host Chris Brummer, fintech regulation expert, and guests mull over what this means for fintech and society.

Trump delays ICE raids hoping for bipartisan plan — but doesn’t say what he’ll support
Operation to round up undocumented migrants had been scheduled to start Sunday

President Donald Trump said Saturday that a planned roundup of undocumented immigrants would be delayed, but he urged Congress to send him a bipartisan plan that would change asylum procedures. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump announced Saturday that “at the request of Democrats” a planned roundup of undocumented immigrants will be delayed.

In a tweet from Camp David, Trump said he ordered the delay for two weeks “to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the asylum and loophole problems at the southern border.”

Democrats respond with relief to Trump calling off Iran attack
The reaction was mixed, with some renewing objections to military engagement without prior congressional approval

Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., leaves the Senate Democrats' policy lunch onOct. 10, 2018. Udall and Tim Kaine, D-Va., have been leading an effort to attach an amendment to the annual defense policy bill that would require Congress to vote to authorize the use of force before the administration can take military action against Iran. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic response varied Friday to President Donald Trump saying he called off an airstrike against Iran at the last minute, with some renewing their objections to military engagement with Iran without prior congressional approval and others approving of the pull back.

Sens. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Tim Kaine, D-Va., have been leading an effort to attach an amendment to the annual defense policy bill that would require Congress to vote to authorize the use of force before the administration could take military action against Iran.

Senators (rich and not-so-rich) fight to keep lawmaker pay freeze
A bipartisan letter to appropriators follows weeks of strife on member pay

Sens. Rick Scott, R-Fla., (pictured) Kirsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Mike Braun, R-Ind., urge the extension of the lawmaker pay freeze. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A bipartisan group of Senators is speaking out against a pay raise for lawmakers.

The letter, cosigned by Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republicans Rick Scott of Florida and Mike Braun of Indiana, urges Legislative Branch appropriators to include language in their fiscal 2020 bill to extend the lawmaker pay freeze for another year.

Workplace protections for legislative branch employees take effect
Changes include revised dispute resolution process, access to confidential counselor

The Office of Congressional Workplace Rights has announced that more workplace protections for legislative branch employees are now in effect. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Legislative branch employees can now take advantage of a revised dispute resolution process and consult with a confidential adviser about their rights when they make workplace claims.

Those are among the protections in the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 Reform Act. The law also extends workplace protections to unpaid employees, including interns and fellows. Many of the final provisions took effect Wednesday, 180 days after the bill was signed into law in December.