Tom Cole

Senate GOP border aid package to largely track Trump request
Top Democrat on Appropriations details demands that will earn votes on measure

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell outlined the border supplemental aid package the Senate will move in the coming days. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans appear likely to bless President Donald Trump’s $4.5 billion emergency border funding request in its entirety, gambling that either just enough Democrats will fall in line or they’ll be able to send a signal to the White House that it’s time to negotiate.

The Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to mark up a yet-to-be-unveiled draft supplemental measure June 19. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday it will contain $4.5 billion, including “more than $3 billion” for food, shelter, medical care and other necessities for the thousands of unaccompanied minors and families seeking refuge from violence in their home countries, many from the “Northern Triangle” of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

‘Sex-starved males’ comment sets off House floor kerfuffle
Rep. Norma Torres stirs GOP colleagues with comments during debate

Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif., referred to some GOP colleagues as "sex starved males" on the House floor, setting off a brief spat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A routine House debate nearly exploded Wednesday when California Democrat Norma J. Torres implied her Republican colleagues were “sex-starved males” for opposing abortion.

“Mr. Speaker, it is tiring to hear from so many sex-starved males on this floor talk about a woman’s right to choose,” Torres said as lawmakers debated a rule setting up amendment consideration for a four-bill spending package that includes funding for public health programs.

On congressional pay raise, maximum political pain and no gain
Hoyer optimistic, but McCarthy cool on member cost-of-living update

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., says the congressional pay raise issue will be addressed, but it is unclear what the path forward is now. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democratic leaders are learning the hard way that when it comes to the politically dicey issue of raising lawmaker pay, there is maximum risk with a minimum chance of gain. 

Amid the fallout from Democrats in the chamber abruptly pulling a legislative spending bill from a broader package, leaders on Tuesday were left to state an easy to articulate but difficult to achieve goal: that the only path to bigger paychecks was through bipartisan, bicameral negotiations.

Senate to take one last shot at disaster, border aid bill
The remaining sticking points are over immigration and oversight provisions related to Trump’s border funding request

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., arrives for a news conference after the Republican Senate Policy Luncheon on May 14, 2019. On Thursday McConnell said on the Senate floor, that his colleagues need to come up with a disaster aid compromise “today, because one way or another the Senate is not leaving without taking action.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Republicans were huddling behind closed doors Thursday morning to discuss their next move on supplemental aid for disaster victims and handling a huge influx of migrants at the southern border.

One emerging possibility was to drop billions of dollars in aid the White House is seeking for border-related agencies, including Homeland Security and Health and Human Services.

Who’s the guy in the background of all those Capitol Hill TV hits?
Undercover Capitol: taking you inside the historic workplace — one video at a time

CQ Roll Call's Jason Dick chats with Rep. Tom Cole about Oklahoma's favorite son, Will Rogers (Jinitzail Hernández/CQ Roll Call).

He was a Cherokee, a cowboy, an actor and a political commentator. He was born in 1879, but he’s in the background of a handful of Capitol Hill TV news hits every day. 

He’s Will Rogers, Oklahoma’s favorite son. And his statue sits between the House floor and Statuary Hall in one of the few Capitol rooms where TV cameras can regularly shoot interviews. CQ Roll Call’s Jason Dick spoke with Oklahoma Republican Rep. Tom Cole about the ‘Old Country Boy’ himself, a Native American multimedia icon whose celebrity star still shines on Capitol Hill.

Retirement savings bill seeks small business buy-in
Bipartisan momentum for change comes as retirement crisis looms

House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal’s retirement savings bill would create incentives for businesses to provide access to workplace savings plans for some of the most underserved groups. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House on Thursday will take up what could be the most significant changes in retirement savings policy in more than a decade.

But the bill’s backers acknowledge it’s just an initial step in addressing what critics call a huge hole in Americans’ nest eggs, at a time when traditional pension plans are increasingly rare and Social Security is facing financial headwinds.

Native American representation on Capitol Hill concerns House lawmakers
Appropriators take aim at what they call offensive art and disrespectful tours

House Appropriators are urging the Architect of the Capitol to work with the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian to contextualize portrayals of Native Americans on Capitol Hill. Former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo., a member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe and pictured here, spoke at the opening of the museum in 2004. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo.)

House lawmakers are raising issues about Native American representation in and around the Capitol — and they aren’t talking about the record number of Native American women in the 116th Congress.

A House Appropriations Committee report released Wednesday highlights disrespectful descriptions of Native Americans on Capitol tours and depictions in artwork around the Capitol campus, which “do not portray Native Americans as equals or Indian nations as independent sovereigns.” 

The net neutrality bill is dead in the Senate, but Democrats don’t mind
Democrats are confident they’ll be able to use it to skewer vulnerable GOP candidates next November

Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., leave the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already declared the Democratic net neutrality bill, which passed the House on Wednesday, “dead on arrival” in the upper chamber.

But Senate Democrats don’t seem to mind.

Violence Against Women Act clears House
Measure includes firearms restrictions and expansion of transgender rights

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick was the lone Republican co-sponsor of the Violence Against Women Act. He was one of 33 Republicans to support the measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House voted Thursday to renew the lapsed Violence Against Women Act, but the proposal stoked contention over provisions restricting gun rights and expanding rights for transgender individuals.

Lawmakers voted 263-158 to pass the measure, which highlighted divisions within the Republican caucus. While the bill does have one Republican co-sponsor, Pennsylvania’s Brian Fitzpatrick, other House Republicans objected to new provisions included in the VAWA reauthorization measure. In all, 33 Republicans voted for the measure, and one, Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska, voted present.

House Democrats launch push on VAWA expansion
The effort does more than extend the law — it adds a contentious gun control provision

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., pictured talking to Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., at a rally April 2, wants to pass an expanded version of the Violence Against Women Act rather than extend current law. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats take their first step this week to expand the Violence Against Women Act in an effort to prompt the Senate to do more than simply extend the lapsed domestic violence law — and they've included a contentious gun control provision.

The House is expected to pass the bill to reauthorize the 1994 law and add language to expand housing protections for victims, give more help to Native American women and enhance law enforcement tools through grants.