Jeffries makes historic bid to lead House Dems after Pelosi
A day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she would step aside, congressman Hakeem Jeffries of New York has announced his history-making bid to become the first Black person to helm a major political party in Congress as leader of the House Democrats.
Manchin rails against 'revenge politics' on permit plan
Sen. Joe Manchin on Tuesday railed against what he called “revenge politics″ being used against him, as liberals in the House and Senate team up with Republicans to oppose his plan to speed permits for natural gas pipelines and other energy projects.
House approves bill to help West fight wildfires, drought
The House has approved wide-ranging legislation aimed at helping communities in the West cope with increasingly severe wildfires and drought — fueled by climate change — that have caused billions of dollars of damage to homes and businesses in recent years.
Eager to act, Biden and Democrats leave Republicans behind
But lawmakers and advocates are racing to capitalize on House rules that allow any bill to bypass lengthy committee hearings if brought forward by April 1. Senate Republicans are now threatening similar delays. Ad“We’ll be fighting this in every way that we can,” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said about the COVID-19 package. McConnell wants Senate Republicans to vote in lockstep against the virus aid, calling it a bloated liberal wish list, following the lead of House Republicans who gave it zero support. That leaves Democrats negotiating with themselves on the COVID-19 package, with Biden warning they won’t like every aspect as he courts centrists.
Senate clears path for $1,400 stimulus checks
“A lot of folks are losing hope,” Biden said in a speech at the White House. Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate, her first. Biden concluded in his Friday speech that aid at that level would only prolong the economic pain. Following Senate approval, the House passed the measure 219-209 on Friday afternoon, also without a Republican vote. The Senate also passed an amendment 99-1 that would prevent the $1,400 in direct checks in Biden’s proposal from going to “upper-income taxpayers.” But the measure, led by Sens.
Rep. Greene says 'morons' voted to boot her from committees
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., goes back to her office after speaking on the floor of the House Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)WASHINGTON – Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene lashed out Friday at “morons” in both parties who voted to kick her off her committees, a day after the House meted out the unprecedented punishment that Democrats said she’d earned by spreading hateful and violent conspiracy theories. Underscoring the political vise her inflammatory commentary has clamped her party into, all but 11 Republicans voted against the Democratic move on Thursday but none rose to defend her lengthy history of outrageous social media posts. Even social media stars like Greene could find it harder to define themselves without the spotlights that committees provide. That chamber’s minority leader, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., this week called Greene’s words a “cancer” on the GOP and country.
GOP's McConnell blasts 'loony lies' by Ga. Rep. Greene
It comes as House Democrats moved Monday to strip Greene of her committee assignments if Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., refuses to do so himself. One suggested shooting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the head. Last week, Pelosi pressed House Republicans to take action. A spokesperson for the Republican leader declined to comment Monday. AdAlthough it’s not certain he will take action against Greene, McCarthy has punished members of the House Republican caucus before.
Democrats to 'act big' on $1.9T aid; GOP wants plan split
In this Jan. 27, 2021, photo, President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington. Democrats in the House and Senate are operating as though they know they are borrowed time. Schumer said he drew from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's advice to “act big” to weather the COVID-19 economic crisis. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, a former White House budget director under George W. Bush, wants a deeper accounting of what funds remain from the $900 billion coronavirus aid package from December. “The risks of going too small dramatically outweigh the risks of going too big,” said Gene Sperling, a former director of the White House National Economic Council, who signed the letter.
Impeachment could become defining moment for Liz Cheney
3 House Republican had already broken with the president on everything from mask-wearing during the coronavirus pandemic to pulling back American troops in Afghanistan. Defying Trump also carried the historical weight of coming from the daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, a conservative force in Washington for decades. On a conference call with home-state reporters after Trump's impeachment, Cheney defended her decision saying, “I will continue to talk to and hear from my constituents all over Wyoming. Other top members of her own party have begun clamoring for Cheney to quit — or be voted out of — her post as chairwoman of the House Republican Conference. “I’m not judging anybody on this,” said Utah Republican Rep. John Curtis.
House passes resolution urging Pence to remove President Trump from office; VP rules it out
Already scheduled to leave office next week, Trump is on the verge of becoming the only president in history to be twice impeached. The House on Tuesday night approved a resolution urging Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to remove Trump with a Cabinet vote, although Pence had already said he would not do so. Meanwhile, five Republican lawmakers, including third-ranking House GOP leader Liz Cheney of Wyoming, announced they would vote to impeach Trump on Wednesday, cleaving the Republican leadership, and the party itself. Trump, meanwhile, warned the lawmakers off impeachment and suggested it was the drive to oust him that was dividing the country. Some Republican lawmakers complained about it.
Democrats tighten control with House rules changes
The rules changes come as Democrats hold a bare majority in the House of fewer than a half-dozen seats, significantly smaller than over the past two years. Also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is beginning what promises to be her fourth and final term as leader of the chamber. Understanding the bundle of changes requires a dive into the arcane world of House rules and parliamentary maneuvering. The Democratic-imposed rules continue a years-long trend of eroding the powers of the House minority through revisions enacted every two years. “It is all designed to take away the voice of 48 percent of this House chamber,” said Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La.
GOP blocks $2,000 checks as Trump leaves COVID aid in chaos
The congressional Republican leaders have been left almost speechless by Trump’s year-end scorching of their work. Instead, Washington is now hurtling toward a crisis with COVID aid about to collapse, as the president is at his Mar-a-Lago club. Many have opposed larger $2,000 checks as too costly and poorly targeted. Even if the House is able to approve Trump's $2,000 checks on Monday, that measure would likely die in the GOP-controlled Senate, which is due back in session on Tuesday. The year-end package Trump railed against as a “disgrace” is the product of months of work.
Biden may time confirmation votes to protect House majority
FILE - In this Sept. 17, 2020, file photo, House Majority Whip James Clyburn, of S.C., speaks during a news conference about COVID-19, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Pelosi will start the Biden era with a narrow majority, 222-211, with a few races still undecided. Biden's first pick from the House, Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., would join the administration quickly once the president-elect is inaugurated Jan. 20, Clyburn said. Democrats are already deep into political soul-searching after a dismal November outcome for House Democrats. The danger zone was close enough that House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer warned Biden last month off taking any more Democrats from his ranks.
Biggest vets groups step up pressure on Trump to fire Wilkie
FILE - In this July 7, 2020 file photo, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Richard Wilkie speaks at the National Press Club in Washington. Confronted with a sexual assault allegation at a veterans hospital, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie repeatedly sought to discredit the female congressional staffer who made the complaint. The groups pressed Trump to act in the last weeks of his administration since Wilkie had refused to accept responsibility and was refusing to resign. Wilkie and other senior officials had declined to fully cooperate with the investigation by VA Inspector General Michael Missal. Wilkie is Trump’s second VA secretary after David Shulkin was fired in 2018.
Negotiators report progress on long-delayed COVID aid bill
McConnell is playing a strong hand in the lame-duck session and is pressuring Democrats to drop a much-sought $160 billion state and local government aid package. McConnell says he'll drop a demand for provisions shielding businesses from COVID-19-related lawsuits, a key priority, if Democrats agree to drop the $160 billion state and local aid package. “We’ve got to get people a lifeline.”Manchin is an architect of a bipartisan $748 billion aid package that is aimed at serving as a template for the leadership talks. A state and local aid package was part of the almost $2 trillion CARES Act that passed the Senate unanimously in March. The $150 billion aid package to states and large cities evoked little controversy then, but many Republicans are adamantly against the idea now, though any additional aid would also go to smaller municipalities left out of the prior round.
Democrats squeezed as COVID-19 relief talks continue
This should not be Congress’ last COVID relief bill, but it is a strong compromise that deserves support from both Republicans and Democrats in the Senate," said Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del. The Kentucky Republican is pressing a lowest-common-denominator approach that would drop the lawsuit shield idea for now if Democrats agree to drop a $160 billion state and local aid package. Several Democrats appeared at the bipartisan news conference endorsing the $748 billion package. One is a $748 billion aid package containing money for struggling businesses, the unemployed, schools and vaccine distribution. Negotiations on the $1.4 trillion catchall spending bill are “essentially finished," said a congressional aide participating in the talks.
Senate sends Trump defense bill he has vowed to veto
Trump has vowed to veto the bill unless lawmakers impose limits on social media companies he claims were biased against him during the election. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in a rare break with Trump, urged passage of the measure despite Trump's threat to veto it. The Democratic-controlled House overwhelmingly approved the defense bill on Tuesday, defying Trump’s veto threat and setting up a possible showdown with the Republican president in the waning days of his administration. It follows Trump’s bid over the summer to sabotage the package with a veto threat over Confederate base names. If he does veto the defense bill, Congress could cut short its Christmas recess to hold override votes.
In break with Trump, McConnell urges passage of defense bill
(Sarah Silbiger/Pool via AP)WASHINGTON – In a rare break with President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is urging passage of a wide-ranging defense policy bill that Trump has threatened to veto. The Democratic-controlled House overwhelmingly approved the defense bill on Tuesday, defying Trump’s veto threat and setting up a possible showdown with the Republican president in the waning days of his administration. McConnell did not address Trump’s veto threat, but said the bill “will secure President Trump’s major progress at modernizing our capabilities, our technologies and our strategic nuclear deterrent.'' It follows Trump’s bid over the summer to sabotage the package with a veto threat over Confederate base names. If he does veto the defense bill, Congress could cut short its Christmas recess to hold override votes, senior House members said.
House approves defense bill with veto-proof margin
It follows Trump's bid to sabotage the package with an earlier veto threat over Confederate base names. If he does veto the defense bill, Congress could cut short its Christmas recess to hold override votes, senior House members said. And I think he will get substantial pressure, advice (from Republicans) that, you know, you don’t want to put the defense bill at risk.'' The defense bill is typically a widely bipartisan measure, one of the few areas of common ground. Some Democrats, including Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, agree the Section 230 provision could be revisited, even as they disagree with Trump’s tactic of attaching it to the defense bill.
The Latest: Biden says he plans to name Austin defense chief
WASHINGTON – The Latest on President-elect Joe Biden (all times local):4:20 p.m.President-elect Joe Biden is confirming that he will nominate retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin to be secretary of defense. And he wrote that Austin knows that the secretary of defense has a different set of responsibilities than a military officer. ___HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PRESIDENT-ELECT JOE BIDEN'S TRANSITION TO THE WHITE HOUSE:President-elect Joe Biden will nominate retired four-star Army general Lloyd J. Austin to be secretary of defense, according to four people familiar with the decision. Those pledges came even as Biden struck a somber tone about the toll the coronavirus has already taken. The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies is being prevented from publicly announcing its plans for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
New White House offer adds $600 checks to COVID-19 relief
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made the offer to Pelosi late Tuesday afternoon, he said in a statement. Mnuchin reached out to Pelosi after a call with top congressional GOP leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who remains at odds with Democratic leaders over COVID-19 relief. The $916 billion Mnuchin offer, the separate ongoing talks among key rank-and-file senators, and the shifting demands by the White House all add up to muddled, confusing prospects for a long-delayed COVID-19 aid package. McConnell said Congress will not adjourn without providing the long-overdue COVID-19 relief. Pelosi blasted McConnell's offer as an attempt to undercut the bipartisan group whose framework she supports as a foundation for the negotiations.
Virus talks drag on liability as Congress preps stopgap aid
WASHINGTON – Lawmakers are giving themselves more time to sort through their end-of-session business on government spending and COVID-19 relief, preparing a one-week stopgap spending bill that would prevent a shutdown this weekend. House floor leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said on Twitter that the temporary government funding bill is slated for a vote on Wednesday, when it is sure to easily pass. Disagreements flared Monday over one key provision — a proposed liability shield from COVID-19-related lawsuits for businesses, schools and organizations that reopen. Republicans initially proposed a sweeping five-year liability shield, retroactive to December 2019, to protect companies and organizations from COVID-19-related lawsuits. Negotiators suggested a scaled-back liability shield, but a six-month proposal was panned by Republicans and there is no agreement yet from Democrats.
COVID-19 relief: What's on the table as Congress seeks deal
The duo were the architects of the $1.8 trillion CARES Act, the landmark relief bill passed in March. Here are the top issues for the end-stage COVID-19 relief talks. ___JOBLESS BENEFITSThe CARES Act created a $600 per-week bonus COVID-19 unemployment benefit that sustained household incomes and consumer demand during the springtime shutdowns. House Democrats support the idea, but it is unpopular with many Senate Republicans and was left out of a scaled-back Senate GOP plan. ___LIABILITY SHIELDBusinesses reopening during the pandemic have for months been seeking a shield against lawsuits claiming negligence for COVID-19 outbreaks.
Optimism growing for COVID relief bill as pressure builds
I think we’re both interested in getting an outcome, both on the omnibus and on a coronavirus package,” McConnell said. Some conservatives, including Republicans from COVID hotspots like North Dakota and Iowa, said they were comfortable with an aid package carrying the almost $1 trillion price tag. Added Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.: “There’s a bipartisan package for $908 billion that will really help people." Biden is supporting an additional aid package that's as large as possible now. Any relief package would be attached to a $1.4 trillion year-end spending bill required to avert a government shutdown next weekend.
The Latest: Trump, US agency allow formal Biden transition
WASHINGTON – The Latest on President-elect Joe Biden (all times local):8 p.m. The General Services Administration has formally designated President-elect Joe Biden as the “apparent winner” of the Nov. 3 election. ___3:30 p.m.President-elect Joe Biden says he wants to work closely with the nation’s mayors to help Americans cope during the coronavirus pandemic. Haines, 51, was the White House deputy national security adviser during the Obama administration. About a dozen other senior White House staffers also have been announced by the president-elect.
Dems nominate Pelosi as speaker again to lead into Biden era
Against that backdrop, many House Democrats have for years impatiently insisted it's time for fresh leadership. To become speaker again, Pelosi will need more votes than House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who’s likely to garner nearly unanimous GOP support. Though she's likely to succeed, it won’t be simple because when Pelosi was elected speaker in January 2019, 15 Democrats opposed her. Pelosi came to Congress in 1987 and has led House Democrats, both as the minority and majority party, ever since 2003. Pelosi has won wide acclaim among Democrats as a leading Trump foe in battles over impeachment, immigration and health care.
Americans across party lines, regions embrace marijuana
Montana Advanced Caregivers owner Richard Abromeit talks about different strains of marijuana stored in a refrigerator at the Billings, Mont., medical marijuana dispensary on Nov. 11, 2020. Recreational marijuana initiatives passed in four states this year, from liberal New Jersey to conservative Montana and South Dakota. Fifteen states have now broadly legalized it, while 36 states allow medical marijuana. The owner of a chain of medical marijuana dispensaries in Billings, Montana, credited passage of the recreational marijuana initiative to a yearslong campaign by medical marijuana supporters to educate the public about the benefits of cannabis. Chris Nylen, 50, of Flagstaff, Arizona, is a Trump supporter who voted to legalize recreational marijuana.
Trump, Lee, Tillis: Congress reconsiders testing its own
Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., became the latest members of Congress to test positive for the virus that has killed more than 205,000 Americans. All three attended the White House Rose Garden introduction Saturday of Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett. Nationally and on Capitol Hill, there are no comprehensive plans requiring testing or wearing masks. House members can vote by proxy through their colleagues, to cut down on the number of people milling around. Lee, Tillis and other Republican members of the panel were among those who attended the Rose Garden event on Saturday.
Democrats to redraft coronavirus relief bill but keep $1,200 direct payments
WASHINGTON – House Democrats are going back to the drawing board on a huge COVID-19 relief bill, paring back the measure in an attempt to jump-start negotiations with the Trump administration. The Democratic-controlled chamber could also pass the $2.4 trillion measure next week if talks fall through to demonstrate that the party isn't giving up on passing virus relief before the election. The chamber passed a $3.4 trillion rescue measure in May but Republicans dismissed the measure as bloated and unrealistic. Even as Democrats cut their ambitions back by $1 trillion or so, Senate Republicans have focused on a much smaller rescue package in the $650 billion to $1 trillion range. Thursday's developments come as moderate “front line" Democrats in competitive reelection races have been pressing leaders like Pelosi to become more flexible.
Biden ally Clyburn brings civil rights legacy to DNC
FILE - In this Feb. 29, 2020, file photo Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C. listens to Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speak at a primary night election rally in Columbia, S.C. Clyburn is now the highest-ranking Black lawmaker in Congress, the House Democratic Whip, and one of the few leaders of civil rights movement still in elected office today. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
Biden ally Clyburn brings civil rights legacy to DNC
Martin Luther King Jr. as frustrations mounted over civil rights protests in what was becoming a tumultuous, dangerous year. This country moves like a pendulum on the clock, Clyburn told The Associated Press in an interview. Clyburn is pressing many of the same issues he has for decades particularly focusing on Black voting rights ahead of the election. Some Democrats downplay the influence, arguing South Carolina's robust Black electorate was already inclined to vote for Biden. One of Clyburn's longtime colleagues in the civil rights movement and Congress was Lewis, who died in July.
Ocasio-Cortez rejects GOP colleague's apology in verbal spat
WASHINGTON A Republican congressman offered an apology Wednesday for the abrupt manner" he used in a verbal confrontation with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez but denied aiming a sexist slur at her. Ocasio-Cortez rejected her colleague's words, saying they were not an apology and what she heard was a vulgar slur. I rise to apologize for the abrupt manner of the conversation I had with my colleague from New York, Yoho said of Monday's encounter. I will not teach my nieces and young people watching that this an apology, and what they should learn to accept. I hope that Mr. Yoho feels that apology sincerely," Hoyer said.
Apology demanded from GOP lawmaker for Ocasio-Cortez remark
WASHINGTON A top House Democrat demanded an apology Tuesday from a Republican lawmaker who is accused of using a sexist slur after an angry encounter with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The Hill newspaper said one of its reporters witnessed the confrontation on Monday between Ocasio-Cortez and Florida Rep. Ted Yoho on the steps outside the Capitol. The comments by Yoho were despicable and unacceptable" and require an apology on the House floor, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told reporters. But hey, b(asterisk)tches get stuff done," she wrote, using one of the words The Hill reported Yoho had used. It is unfortunate that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is using this exchange to gain personal attention," said Kaveny.
John Lewis, lion of civil rights and Congress, dies at 80
(AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson, File)ATLANTA John Lewis, a lion of the civil rights movement whose bloody beating by Alabama state troopers in 1965 helped galvanize opposition to racial segregation, and who went on to a long and celebrated career in Congress, died. Lewis was the youngest and last survivor of the Big Six civil rights activists, a group led by the Rev. Lewis joined King and four other civil rights leaders in organizing the 1963 March on Washington. Later, when the presidency of Donald Trump challenged his civil rights legacy, Lewis made no effort to hide his pain. If necessary, Im prepared to go to jail.In a speech the day of the House impeachment vote of Trump, Lewis explained the importance of that vote.
Remembering John Lewis, rights icon and `American hero'
FILE - In this Thursday, May 10, 2007 file photo, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, R-Ga., in his office on Capitol Hill, in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)WASHINGTON People paid great heed to John Lewis for much of his life in the civil rights movement. A son of Alabama sharecroppers, the young Lewis first preached moral righteousness to his familys chickens. If that speech marked a turning point in the civil rights era or at least the most famous moment the struggle was far from over. He scaled back criticism of President John Kennedys civil rights record.
Religious faith was a lifelong constant for Rep. John Lewis
FILE - In this Friday, March 5, 1999, file photo, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., speaks with reporters in Washington. (AP Photo/Khue Bui, File)BIRMINGHAM, Ala. From his childhood, when he preached to chickens in the dirt-poor South, to his decades as a moral force in Congress, religious faith was a constant in the life of Rep. John Lewis. Lewis spent boyhood days as a make-believe minister, preaching to a congregation of clucking birds at his rural home in Alabama. Martin Luther King Jr., he went on to become a civil rights activist in his own right while attending a Baptist college in Tennessee. In my estimation, the civil rights movement was a religious phenomenon.
Trump faces pressure over Russia bounties to kill US troops
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and a small group of other House Democrats met with White House officials as Trump downplayed the allegations. One official said the administration discussed several potential responses, but the White House has yet to authorize any. Intelligence officials told the AP that the White House first became aware of alleged Russian bounties in early 2019 a year earlier than had been previously reported. Bolton declined to comment on that matter, and the White House did not respond to questions. The intelligence officials and others with knowledge of the matter insisted on anonymity to discuss the highly sensitive matter.
House moves to approve DC statehood; Senate GOP opposes
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., speaks at a news conference on District of Columbia statehood on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, June 16, 2020, in Washington. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Md. will hold a vote on D.C. statehood on July 26. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
House moves to approve DC statehood; Senate GOP opposes
will hold a vote on D.C. statehood on July 26. Or Congress can live up to this nations promise and ideals, end taxation without representation and pass the statehood bill. The House vote would mark the first time a chamber of Congress has passed a D.C. statehood bill, but the legislation faces insurmountable opposition in the GOP-controlled Senate. In a Senate speech, he dismissed Washington, D.C., as a city with little more to offer than lobbyists and federal workers. In other words, Wyoming is a well-rounded working-class state.Cotton also criticized Democrats for prioritizing the D.C. statehood vote while there is mob violence in the streets.
House to vote to make Washington DC the 51st state
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., right, and District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, left, arrive for a news conference on D.C. statehood on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, June 16, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)WASHINGTON Democrats controlling the House have slated a vote next week to make the District of Columbia the 51st state, an issue that they say has become far more important in the aftermath of protests for racial justice in both Washington and across the nation. Next Fridays vote, if successful, would pass a D.C. statehood bill for the first time in the House, but the legislation faces insurmountable opposition in the GOP-controlled Senate. In 1993, the Democratic-controlled Congress defeated a D.C. statehood bill by an almost 2-1 margin. There shouldn't be troops from other states in Washington, D.C., said Mayor Muriel Bowser.
Florida representatives push to make Pulse nightclub a National Memorial Site
ORLANDO, Fla. – Democratic Rep. Darren Soto, of Florida, announced Friday that he is submitting legislation to establish the Pulse nightclub as a federally recognized National Memorial Site. The legislation was a combined effort between Soto, along with Florida Representatives Stephanie Murphy and Val Demings. The bill will be brought to the House floor for a vote by the end of June, according to a news release. “I am pleased to announce that Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has committed to bringing our bill to the House Floor for a vote before the end of June. According to a new release, the legislation passed by unanimous consent on March 11 in the House Committee on Natural Resources.