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The Grand Tour

Top Political News provided by Roll Call©

  • Democratic Senators Ask if CFPB Nominee Worked on Immigration Policy Separating Children and Parents
    Did President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau approve the administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy that has led to a wave of families being separated near the Southern border? That is the question posed by Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts to Kathy Kraninger, the program associate director at the Office of Management and Budget whose job includes policy implementation oversight for both the Justice Department and Homeland Security Department, according to the senators.
  • Here Are the Republicans Opposing Migrant Family Separation
    Legislators from both parties are raising their voices against the Trump administration policy separating undocumented migrant children from their parents when they cross the southern border. The policy has garnered intense and unified Democratic opposition, with all 48 of the party’s senators endorsing a bill, proposed by California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, to reverse the policy. A growing number of Republicans also have come out against the current conditions on the border, while largely avoiding placing blame directly on President Donald Trump or his administration.
  • Steve King Defends Child Detention Centers
    Republican Rep. Steve King defended the detention facilities where child migrants are being held at the border after being separated from their parents. The Iowa congressman was asked by TMZ about Democrats calling detention facilities “concentration camps” and said he had been down to one of the the facilities in 2014 that was a retrofitted warehouse.
  • Burgess Heckled At Town Hall About Children at the Border
    Republican Rep. Michael Burgess was confronted by constituents in a town hall meeting in his North Texas district Monday about the Trump administration’s policy of separating child migrants from their parents at the border. Speaking at Denton High School, constituents asked him about his stance on undocumented immigrants being separated from their children while they await prosecution, NBC5 reported.
  • 5 Things to Watch in House Immigration Debate This Week
    House Republicans this week will vote for the first time in their running eight-year majority on the divisive issue of legalizing certain undocumented immigrants. The House is expected to hold Thursday votes on two immigration bills that address the legal status of so-called Dreamers, young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, as well as border security and enforcement.
  • Trump Heads to Hill After Sowing Confusion on Immigration
    Senior White House officials say Democrats enraged by the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant families should negotiate with Donald Trump. Yet when the president heads to Capitol Hill Tuesday afternoon, he will see only Republican faces. White House aides want to use the meeting to allow the president, in his own words, to clear up confusion he sowed in the House GOP conference late last week over its dueling immigration bills. He is expected to endorse both measures, with senior administration officials contending both would address the migrant separation issue.
  • Despite New CFPB Nominee, Mulvaney Could Be Around a Long Time
    Democrats could play into the White House’s hand if they plan to delay President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, experts say. The White House announced Saturday that the president intends to nominate Kathy Kraninger, who is currently an associate director of the Office of Management and Budget, where Mick Mulvaney is the director.
  • Fight Over Food Stamps Among Big Hurdles Facing Farm Bill
    If everything goes according to plan this month, House leaders will round up the necessary Republican votes to pass the chamber’s 2018 farm bill after an unexpected defeat on the floor put the legislation on hold. The failed May 18 vote marked the second time in five years that a farm bill ran into obstacles in the House. In the Senate, meanwhile, leaders have indicated they want to pass the bipartisan legislation by the July Fourth recess.
  • Trump’s Space Force Order Would Need Congressional Action
    President Donald Trump on Monday ordered the Pentagon to create a new service branch dedicated to military operations in space. “I’m hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces,” Trump said at the White House, indicating that the proposed service would be completely separate from the other five existing services.
  • Senate Majority PAC Joins TV War Over Outsourcing in Indiana Senate Race
    The outsourcing of American jobs — along with allegations of having done so — has become a common refrain in the Indiana Senate race. The latest paid communication on the issue comes from Senate Majority PAC. The Democratic super PAC is debuting two statewide TV ads on Tuesday — one positive spot about incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly and one negative ad attacking the GOP nominee, former state Rep. Mike Braun. The ads, obtained first by Roll Call, are backed by a $450,000 buy.
  • Amid Mounting Criticism, Administration Digs In Over Migrant Separation Policy
    Facing an ever-widening swath of criticism, including from senior Republicans, Trump administration officials dug in Monday on their decision to separate migrant parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border, signaling they will only end the practice if lawmakers pass immigration legislation. “Congress and the courts created this problem, and Congress alone can fix it,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said during a contentious press briefing at the White House. “Until then, we will enforce every law we have on the books to defend the sovereignty and the security of the United States.”
  • Congress’ Move to Leave Obamacare Mostly Intact May Save Law
    Congress killed off a key penalty in the 2010 health care law last year but left the rest of the law intact — and that might prove pivotal to a lawsuit in which the Justice Department and 20 Republican-led states argue that the law’s other major provisions must now be struck down. That’s because the federal courts will look at what Congress intended to accomplish regardless of what individual lawmakers wanted to do, according to a group of five law professors with deep experience in litigation over the health care law.
  • Schneider Combines Cycling Passion With Public Outreach
    Illinois Democrat Brad Schneider hosted a rather unconventional town hall this weekend as he and a group of constituents biked 15 miles around his district and chatted about policy issues. “It was a great opportunity to combine my passion for cycling with the ability to connect with constituents” Schneider said. “We continue to look for creative ways of making those connections.”
  • DFL Endorsee for Ellison’s Seat Would Be First Muslim Congresswoman
    The Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party endorsed Minnesota state Rep. Ilhan Omar at a special convention Sunday in her bid to succeed Rep. Keith Ellison. After Ellison abruptly announced two weeks ago he would run for state attorney general, five DFL candidates are vying for the open 5th District seat. Omar won the endorsement with 68 percent of the vote, the Twin Cities Pioneer Press reported.
  • Democrats Blast Nielsen’s Family Separation ‘Lie’ as Outrage Intensifies
    Democrats in Congress accused Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen of lying amid intensifying outrage over a Trump administration policy requiring border agents to separate migrant children from their parents. Several members of Congress called Nielsen out after she tweeted Sunday evening “we do not have a policy of separating families at the border.”
  • High Court Leaves Partisan Gerrymandering Issue for Another Day
      Updated 12:50 p.m. | The Supreme Court sidestepped a major ruling on partisan gerrymandering on Monday, leaving open the question of whether federal courts can decide if congressional or statehouse maps give one political party an advantage over another.
  • Trump Warns U.S. Could Follow Path of Germany on Immigration
    Updated 10:05 a.m. | President Donald Trump on Monday appeared to defend his administration’s policy of separating migrant families by warning that Germany’s and Europe’s immigration issues could be replicated here. He used several tweets Monday morning to blast not only German and European immigration laws, but also Democratic lawmakers. The GOP president claimed anew that the opposition party is withholding the votes needed to pass a sweeping immigration overhaul measure that would address a list of unresolved matters.
  • Trump to Raise Money for Vulnerable Heller in Nevada
    In attempts to bolster a vulnerable Senate seat, President Donald Trump will headline a fundraising event Saturday for incumbent Nevada Republican Dean Heller. Tickets run at $15,000 per couple for a photo reception and $50,000 to be seated at a private roundtable with the president.
  • Judge Asked to Toss Lawsuit Challenging Gosar’s Facebook Blocks
    The House general counsel is asking a federal judge in Arizona to throw out a lawsuit seeking to bar Rep. Paul Gosar from blocking constituents on Facebook. Thomas Hungar said the two plaintiffs, who sued Gosar after he blocked them on the social media platform, do not have standing to sue the representative because they are not blocked from his page anymore, according to local media reports.
  • Trump To Meet with House Republicans Tuesday to Sell Immigration Compromise
    President Donald Trump will meet with House Republicans Tuesday evening to express his support for a compromise immigration bill the chamber will vote on later in the week, according to a source familiar with the plan. The president will head to the Capitol to meet with the House Republican Conference Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
  • How Donald Trump Shivved a Compromise GOP Immigration Bill
    Updated 3:03 p.m. | Senior White House officials worked with House Republicans for weeks on a compromise immigration measure, but were careful to avoid saying anything publicly that would sink the measure. That changed Friday morning when President Donald Trump walked out to the White House’s North Lawn. House Republicans reached agreement on a sweeping immigration overhaul measure after conservatives, moderates and leaders negotiated behind closed doors for weeks — with White House legislative affairs director Marc Short also involved. Members said Thursday they had reached a deal to vote on two measures: a measure favored by conservatives and a compromise version in which all sides gave some ground.
  • Rand Paul Neighbor Sentenced to 30 Days
    Sen. Rand Paul’s neighbor Rene Boucher will serve 30 days in prison and pay a $10,000 fine for assaulting the Kentucky Republican. Boucher pled guilty to assaulting a member of Congress. He is also not allowed any intentional contact with Paul’s family and will also have to perform 100 hours of community service, WKYT reported.
  • Grimm and Donovan Go Nasty at Second Debate
    Rep. Dan Donovan and former Rep. Michael Grimm’s second debate led to intense attacks and barbs not dissimilar from their first debate. Grimm is challenging Donovan in the Republican primary to win back the seat for New York’s 11th District.
  • Photos of the Week: A Parade, Virginia Holds Primaries and, of Course, the Baseball Game
    The annual Congressional Baseball Game in mid-June marks the unofficial start of summer in Washington. Below are photos from Thursday night’s game as well as the rest of the week: Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.
  • House Immigration Votes in Question After Trump Weighs In
    House Republican leaders are delaying until next week their plans to whip a compromise immigration bill as they seek clarity on President Donald Trump’s position on the measure, according to Chief Deputy Whip Patrick T. McHenry. “House Republicans are not going to take on immigration without the support and endorsement of President Trump,” the North Carolina Republican said.
  • Analysis: The GOP Civil War Continues Without Even a Pause
    While many dissected Corey Stewart’s recent Virginia Republican Senate primary victory and South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford’s defeat in his bid for renomination, an even more interesting runoff race is underway in the Palmetto State. The June 12 Republican primary in Trey Gowdy’s open 4th District seat produced a runoff pitting first-place finisher Lee Bright, a former state senator, against William Timmons, a first-term state senator.
  • Trump Hits FBI, Defends N.Korea Summit in Wild Driveway Scene
    President Donald Trump suggested Friday outside the White House that former FBI Director James B. Comey should be jailed and his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un averted “nuclear war.” Trump broke with decades of protocol and ventured out to the executive mansion’s North Lawn to do a live interview with Fox News. He stayed outside with Secret Service agents scanning nearby Pennsylvania Avenue and Lafayette Park for nearly an hour, taking a half hour of questions from a Fox anchor then another 30 minutes of questions from White House correspondents.
  • White House Hits China With New Tariffs, Ramping up Trade War
    The White House on Friday announced it is slapping tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods in response to alleged intellectual property theft, another escalation in President Donald Trump’s trade-related acts against allies and rivals alike. “This situation is no longer sustainable. China has, for example, long been engaging in several unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology,” President Donald Trump said in a statement released Friday morning that formally announced 25 percent import penalties on some Chinese-made products.
  • Trump Uses Justice IG Report to Continue Attack on Comey
    President Donald Trump on Friday suggested a Justice Department inspector general report that faulted the FBI for its actions during the 2016 campaign shows James B. Comey is not credible as the president tries to sow doubts about the agency’s Russia probe. The department released the IG’s final report on the FBI’s handling of a probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of State, which contained an anecdote from one senior agent involved in that case texting another about the prospect of then-businessman and reality television star Trump becoming president: “We’ll stop it.”
  • Pro-Trump Super PAC Jumps Into Primary to Back Dan Donovan
    A super PAC aligned with President Donald Trump is coming to the defense of New York Rep. Dan Donovan, who is facing a Republican primary threat from his predecessor, former Rep. Michael G. Grimm.  America First Action will spend $166,000 on direct mail, phone banking, and a digital campaign to support Donovan in the Staten Island-based 11th District, according to figures from the group. 
  • Democrats Score Big in 21–5 Baseball Blowout Over GOP
    Democrats continued to show their dominance on the diamond Thursday night with a massive 21–5 win over the Republicans at the 57th annual Congressional Baseball Game.  “More of a football game than a baseball game, but I think both sides gave it their all,” New York Democratic Rep. Joseph Crowley said of the score after the game. 
  • Congressional Baseball Game Highlights
    Democratic members of Congress beat their Republican counterparts, 21-5, Thursday in the annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity at Nationals Park in Washington. Rep. Cedric L. Richmond pitched a complete game for the Democrats, who won 11-2 last year. 
  • GOP Seeks Changes to Immigration Deal They Crafted
    A compromise immigration deal brokered by House Republicans this week would offer so-called Dreamers a path to citizenship, provide nearly $25 billion for President Donald Trump’s border wall and end family-based visa programs for certain relatives of U.S. citizens, according to a discussion draft of legislation circulated among lawmakers Thursday. The discussion draft, provided to Roll Call by a staffer with knowledge of the negotiations, would create a new merit-based visa that Dreamers and other young immigrants could obtain starting six years after the bill is enacted. The visa would be available to Dreamers enrolled in the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, as well as those who are eligible but never signed up.
  • Iowa Rep. Blum Spends Big on Taxpayer-Funded Mass Mailings
    Rep. Rod Blum, an Iowa Republican waging a tough battle for re-election, has spent more on taxpayer-funded mass mailings to constituents than any other House representative. Blum spent more than $400,000 in taxpayer money on mass mailings and mass communications to his district from January of 2017 through March 31, according to expense records reviewed by the Associated Press.
  • At the Races: He’s Off the Trail
    Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter by subscribing here. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. —Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman
  • Supreme Court Strikes Down State Ban on Polling Place Apparel
    The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down Minnesota’s ban on political apparel worn by voters when they cast ballots as a violation of the First Amendment, ruling that the state’s definition of what can’t be worn at the polling place is too vague. In a 7-2 opinion, the majority found that while the state’s election judges can strive to enforce the statute in an evenhanded manner when they decide what is political when they screen individuals at the entrance to polls, there are no “objective, workable standards.”
  • Ryan: No Guarantee Immigration Compromise Will Pass
    There is no guarantee that a compromise immigration bill House Republicans are finalizing for floor consideration next week will pass, Speaker Paul D. Ryan acknowledged Thursday. “I’m not going to predict what the whip’s going to be,” he said when asked whether he’d bring the bill to the floor if the whip count comes up short or continue working to get more votes for it.
  • Senate Democrats Oppose Federal Retirement Cutbacks
    More than half of the Senate Democratic caucus wants the Trump administration to abandon proposals that could curb retirement benefits for federal employees. “As you continue to develop legislative proposals related to the compensation of federal employees, we urge you to move past draconian cuts that harm the financial security of federal employees in every state across the country, and instead commit to comprehensive reforms that modernize our government’s compensation system in a way that encourages the best and brightest talent to join the ranks of our dedicated civil servants,” the senators, led by Virginia Democrat Mark Warner, wrote in a letter dated Wednesday.
  • New Democrats’ PAC Adds 11 to Watch List
    The political arm of the moderate New Democrat Coalition is adding 11 more candidates to its watch list Thursday.  The PAC is now supporting 40 candidates. 
  • Is Trump Coming to the Congressional Baseball Game?
    As Capitol Hill gears up for this year’s traditional congressional charity baseball game, one invited guest has not yet RSVP'd: President Donald Trump. Republican Rep. Roger Williams of Texas, the coach of the GOP team, said he invited Trump to attend on a recent visit to the Oval Office, The Associated Press reported.
  • Iowa Man Sentenced to 6 Years for Tweeting Threats Against Ernst
    A federal judge sentenced an Iowa man to six years in federal prison for sending threatening tweets to the state’s Republican junior senator, Joni Ernst. Joseph Hilton Dierks, 34, from Waterloo, received the sentence Wednesday after a jury convicted him on three counts of sending threatening communications, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa.
  • How Life Imitates the Congressional Baseball Game
    The spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our newsletter here. “This game is a situation of which, you’re a product of your political success, so if you have a good political year, you have a good recruiting year for this game.” So said former Rep. David Bonior, D-Mich., many years ago about the Congressional Baseball Game and the teams each party gets to field. 
  • Independent Candidate Challenges Taylor to Wrestling Match
    A Virginia man vying to represent Virginia’s 2nd District in Congress challenged incumbent Republican Rep. Scott Taylor to a wrestling match. Aldo DiBelardino, a businessman who filed to run for the seat as an independent, said a physical tussle in addition to a debate would give voters “better insight” into the candidates than a mere debate would provide.
  • Grateful Scalise Gets Back in the Game
    Watch: Scalise Talks About His Recovery and Return to Baseball He’s a force in the Republican Party as the powerful House majority whip. His name is in the conversation as the next speaker. But as Steve Scalise recently reflected in his ornate leadership office in the Capitol, he talked about friendships.
  • Women Hit 25th Anniversary Playing in Congressional Baseball Game
    It’s been 25 years since women first participated in the Congressional Baseball Game, but that doesn’t mean more women are playing. California Democratic Rep. Nanette Barragán is one of only three women signed up to play in this year’s game. But only she and Utah Republican Rep. Mia Love will be on the field. (Rep. Linda T. Sánchez, also a California Democrat, is sidelined with a broken hand.)
  • Why Republicans Aren’t Sweating After 2 Incumbents Lose Primaries
    The defeat of one of the party’s most notorious political survivors this week wasn’t enough to scare House Republicans. South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford, the disgraced former governor, had never lost an election before Tuesday. But his criticism of President Donald Trump did him in.
  • Inhofe, Frustrated by Defense Bill Amendments, May Favor Rules Changes
    The Oklahoma Republican who has been filling in as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee is talking about changing the rules ahead of next year’s edition of the annual exercise. Sen. James M. Inhofe, the bill manager, is blasting the application of the Senate’s procedures allowing any one senator to effectively block the consideration of any other amendments.
  • Democratic Lawmaker Collapses at Immigration Rally
    New York Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley collapsed Wednesday at a rally in Washington to protest the Trump administration’s immigration policy allowing parents and children of illegal immigrants to be separated at the border. ���Until they arrest us, we will stay here, however long it takes,” protesters chanted just as Crowley fell to the street in front of U.S. Customs & Border protection, according to a tweet from a CNN reporter who was at the scene.
  • Analysis: Trump Trip Showed New Approach to Presidency
    First, Donald Trump remade the Republican Party in his own image. And after his double-dip of G-7 and North Korea nuclear diplomacy, it’s even more obvious he’s doing the same to the presidency. Some congressional Democrats are worried the former reality television star’s eagerness to break with decades-old norms and traditions is soiling the office and influencing future chief executives to mirror Trump’s ways. And though a handful of Republican members publicly share those concerns, most are helping him transform the highest — and long the most revered — job in the land.
  • Trump Nominates New Director of Government Publishing Office
    Updated 1:30 p.m. | President Trump announced Tuesday his intent to nominate Robert C. Tapella as the Director of the U.S. Government Publishing Office. Tapella will succeed Da Vita Vance-Cooks, the first African American and first woman to fill the role. Andrew M. Sherman has been serving as the GPO’s acting director since November, following Vance-Cooks’ departure.

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