Categories for House of Reps
HOUSE OF REPS/GOP/IMMIGRATION/PAUL RYAN: “House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows issued a blunt warning to House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday [2-14-18], suggesting if he fails to address conservatives’ concerns on immigration he’ll risk his top leadership post… The North Carolina Republican stressed, ‘this president was elected largely on an immigration issue that defined him differently than the other candidates and so it is the defining moment, more so than the budget or anything else that we’ve passed.’ Ryan’s office did not provide a response to Meadow’s comments.
Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Jordan also piled on Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican. He criticized Ryan for backing the budget deal that avoided a government shutdown last week, tweaking the speaker, who rose to national prominence for his focus on cutting deficits… Jordan also pointed out that Ryan’s positions on immigration do not sync up with many House conservatives…
House conservatives are demanding a vote on an immigration proposal from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia, and argued that the Republican-controlled House should ignore any deal that could emerge from the current Senate debate…
Ryan has been careful to say that House Republicans would continue to work on a proposal separate from the Senate, and that he would move a proposal that President Donald Trump backed, and he reiterated that position Wednesday morning.”
-Deirdre Walsh, “House conservatives put Paul Ryan on notice over immigration bill,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, Feb. 14, 2018 02:02pm
HOUSE OF REPS/TRUMP PEOPLE: “The House Oversight Committee has opened an investigation into the White House’s employment of Rob Porter, a former adviser accused of domestic abuse, its chairman said Wednesday [2-14-18].
Asked in a CNN interview whether the panel would launch an investigation of the White House’s employment of Mr. Porter and its awareness of the allegations against him, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.), said: ‘We did last night.’…
Mr. Gowdy said he planned to direct questions in particular to the Federal Bureau of Investigation… FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday said his agency had first flagged parts of its background check on Mr. Porter to the White House in March, providing a timeline that conflicted with the West Wing’s chronology. The White House had said repeatedly in recent days that the background check on Mr. Porter was ‘ongoing.’ Mr. Wray, speaking to the Senate Intelligence Committee in Washington, said the FBI closed its file on Mr. Porter in January…
Mr. Porter served in the White House for more than a year with a temporary security clearance, despite accusations from two former wives that he had been physically abusive. Mr. Porter has denied the accusations, and resigned a week ago—more than 10 months after the FBI had first flagged issues in his background check to the White House.”
-Rebecca Ballhaus, “Lawmakers Launch Probe of Rob Porter’s White House Employment,” The Wall Street Journal online, Feb. 14, 2018 11:21am
ETHICS/HOUSE OF REPS/LEGAL: “The House of Representatives voted Tuesday [2-6-18] to overhaul its policies on sexual harassment, banning lawmakers from using taxpayer funds to pay for settlements and mandating public reporting of cases.
The measures, which passed unanimously, would mark a major shift in how sexual-harassment claims are handled in the Capitol. The legislation, which lawmakers say was written with input from victims of sexual harassment, grants subpoena power to the office investigating allegations and requires it to release a biannual report listing each award or settlement paid during the previous year, including the amount of the settlement and the member office involved. Cases would be referred to the House Ethics Committee upon conclusion of an investigation.
The bill also bars members from having sexual relationships with their employees.
Under the previous law, no settlement amounts or names were disclosed from this office. People who accuse members or staff of sexual harassment have had to sign nondisclosure agreements and undergo counseling.
The new policies also create an Office of Employee Advocacy for victims.”
-Natalie Andrews, “House Passes Sexual-Harassment Revamp,” The Wall Street Journal online, Feb. 6, 2018 03:40pm
BUDGET/GOP/HOUSE OF REPS: “The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives was set to vote on Tuesday [2-6-18] on a short-term budget measure that would avert a rerun of last month’s three-day partial government shutdown, as lawmakers continued to grapple with divisive immigration measures.
The stop-gap measure drafted by House Republicans would extend funding through March 23, as well as provide for a year of funding for defense and two years of funding for community health centers, lawmakers said after they met on Monday night.
But Senate Democrats are likely to balk at the House spending bill, likely requiring a last-minute retooling before existing money for government agencies runs out on Thursday. Republicans also control the Senate, but with a slim 51-49 majority they need some Democratic support to pass spending bills.
To avert another shutdown, both the House and the Senate must pass at least a short-term spending bill, the latest in a series of such temporary measures that have become entwined with a months-long debate over protections for young ‘Dreamer’ immigrants. A vote on the House measure was expected after 11:30 a.m. (1630 GMT).”
-Richard Cowan, “U.S. House to vote on government funding as immigration battle simmers,” Reuters, Feb. 6, 2018 06:12am
BUDGET/DEFENSE/GOP/HOUSE OF REPS: “House GOP leaders on Tuesday [2-6-18] are expected to bring up for a vote legislation that would fund the Defense Department for the rest of the fiscal year, but keep the rest of the government running only through March 23, setting up a showdown with the Senate.
With the government’s current funding set to expire at 12:01 a.m. Friday, House Republicans are preparing to approve a bill that stands little chance of passing the Senate. But House GOP lawmakers said Monday night their strategy was the only way they could secure enough votes to pass another short-term spending bill now—and that they expect the bill to change later in the week… The House bill would fund the government through March 23, boost spending for the Defense Department for the full fiscal year, which goes through September, and fund community health centers for two years, lawmakers said.
Adding the extra defense money helped win over conservative House Republicans, whose votes will be needed. Most House Democrats are expected to oppose the short-term spending bill until a fight over immigration has been resolved…
Senate Democrats support lifting military spending above limits established in the 2011 debt-limit fight, but they have pushed to secure an equal increase in spending for domestic programs in continuing negotiations over a two-year budget deal.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D, N.Y.) said earlier Monday that Democrats wouldn’t support a stopgap spending bill that only provides long-term funding for the military.”
-Kristina Peterson, “House GOP Plans Spending Vote to Fund Military,” The Wall Street Journal online, Feb. 6, 2018 05:30am
2016 ELECTION/CATER PAGE/DEMS/HOUSE OF REPS/INTELLIGENCE: “The House Intelligence Committee on Monday [2-5-18] voted unanimously to release a classified Democratic memo that defends the federal investigation into a Trump campaign associate, a move that gives the White House five days to allow or reject its disclosure.
Democrats wrote the 10-page memo as a response to a Republican document released last week that details how the federal government got a warrant to conduct surveillance on Carter Page, a foreign-policy adviser to the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.
That GOP document suggested possible partisan motives by investigators in targeting Mr. Page, who left the campaign a month before prosecutors applied for the warrant in October 2016. Democrats said the GOP memo was an attempt to discredit a wide-ranging Justice Department probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign, an investigation that is also looking into potential obstruction of justice by the president and his aides… The White House approved the release of the GOP document on Friday, and will now review the Democrats’ document and decide whether it should be released, as well as identify any redactions.”
-Byron Tau and Rebecca Ballhaus, “House Panel Agrees to Release Democratic Memo on Surveillance of Trump Associate,” The Wall Street Journal online, Feb. 5, 2018 11:11pm
DEMS/GOP/HOUSE OF REPS/INTELLIGENCE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “The House Intelligence Committee on Monday [2-5-18] is expected to consider whether to release a Democratic rebuttal to a GOP-authored document about surveillance of a onetime Trump campaign adviser, according to people familiar with the matter.
The four-page Republican document, released Friday, alleged political bias by federal law-enforcement officials in seeking surveillance of former Trump adviser Carter Page. Democrats have said the memo cherry-picked facts as a way to muddy the waters of the broader probe into ties between Trump associates and Russia, led by special counsel Robert Mueller. The buildup to the memo’s release late last week fueled tensions between President Donald Trump and his own Justice Department, with top law-enforcement officials saying they had ‘grave concerns’ about what they said were its factual omissions and accuracy.
The GOP-controlled committee has so far blocked the release of the Democrats’ memo, but it will meet Monday at 5 p.m. to consider ‘the public disclosure of executive session material…and other matters,’ according to the panel’s website.
Some Republicans on the Intelligence Committee have said they would vote to allow the Democratic document to become public once the full House of Representatives had a chance to review it. It was made available to all lawmakers last week.
If the committee votes to release the memo, Mr. Trump would have five days to object to its release. If he objects, the matter would return to the full House of Representatives for a vote. On Sunday, Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Senate Democratic leader, urged Mr. Trump in a letter to approve the Democratic memo.”
-Michelle Hackman and Byron Tau, “House Panel to Consider Democrats’ Own Surveillance Memo,” The Wall Street Journal online, Feb. 4, 2018 05:23pm
BUDGET/GOP/HOUSE OF REPS/PAUL RYAN: “House Speaker Paul Ryan, speaking at a GOP policy retreat, called for overhauling government-aid programs to be a legislative priority in 2018, though his plan is likely to face difficulties getting through the Senate and to be delayed by fights over government spending, the nation’s debt limit and immigration.
Mr. Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, focused on tightening workforce requirements for welfare and food-stamp programs in his presentation Wednesday to GOP lawmakers and ‘getting people the skills and opportunities to get into the workforce,’ as a measure of helping people, not as a budget-cutting exercise, according to a person in the room. A follow-up discussion on Thursday echoed some of the speaker’s ideas.
He showed Republicans at the retreat poll data from the conservative advocacy group Foundation for Government Accountability that found 90% of voters support requiring able-bodied adults to work, train or volunteer at least part-time in order to receive government assistance…
The programs being targeted for a revamp make up a tiny portion of the national budget. Before counting last year’s $1.5 trillion in tax cuts, deficits are projected to swell over the coming decade due to the costs of caring for an aging population. Just three components of the budget—Social Security, Medicare and interest payments on the national debt—will account for 70% of all growth in government spending over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office.”
-Natalie Andrews, “Paul Ryan Pushes to Keep Overhaul of Safety-Net Programs on GOP Agenda,” The Wall Street Journal online, Feb. 4, 2018 08:00am
HOUSE OF REPS/RUSSIA/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “President Trump said on Saturday [2-3-18] that a partisan memo released by House Republicans ‘totally vindicates’ him in the investigation into Russian election interference, complaining that the ‘witch hunt’ would go ‘on and on’ even though there had been no collusion or obstruction of justice.
Mr. Trump, who is in Florida for the weekend, took to Twitter to proclaim his innocence and denounce the investigation a day after the release of the highly contentious classified memo, which he had authorized to be made public. The document claimed that top law enforcement officials had abused their powers to spy on a Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page, who was suspected of being an agent of Russia.
The memo, while trying to paint the origins of the Russia investigation as tainted, did nothing to clear Mr. Trump of either collusion or obstruction — the lines of inquiry being pursued by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.
The memo in fact undermined Republicans’ efforts to cast doubt on the roots of the investigation by confirming that the inquiry was already underway when law enforcement officials obtained a warrant from a secret intelligence court to conduct surveillance on Mr. Page.”
-Emily Cochrane, “Trump Says Republican Memo ‘Totally Vindicates’ Him,” The New York Times online, Feb. 3, 2018
BUDGET/HOUSE OF REPS/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “House Republicans are considering voting next week on a stopgap spending bill that would keep the government funded through late March, lawmakers and aides said Thursday [2-1-18].
The government’s current funding expires at 12:01 a.m. Feb. 9, and lawmakers have said they will need to pass another short-term spending bill to keep it running. Congress ended a three-day partial government shutdown last week with an agreement to keep it operating though Feb. 8 but have yet to reach a longer-term budget deal…
Lawmakers and aides widely expect Congress to keep the government funded without the showdown that led to a partial shuttering last month…
Many lawmakers are frustrated by the frequent passing of short-term spending bills, which Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Republicans at the retreat Thursday morning harms the military. The last two-year budget deal ran out at the end of September. Congress has kept the government running with short-term spending bills since then.
Conservative Republicans, who often balk at passing short-term bills, are threatening to oppose it next week.”
-Kristina Peterson, “House Republicans Say New Stopgap Spending Measure Is Needed,” The Wall Street Journal online, Feb. 1, 2018 06:09pm
FBI/HOUSE OF REPS/INTELLIGENCE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “The House intelligence committee’s top Democrat charged Republicans late Wednesday [1-31-18] with sending the White House ‘an altered version’ of a classified memo alleging misconduct by the FBI in its probe of a former campaign adviser to President Donald Trump.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) made the accusation against Republicans on the intelligence panel as Trump is said to be weighing a release of the politically incendiary memo as soon as Thursday. But the GOP quickly pushed back, accusing the minority of ‘complaining about minor edits’ and asserting that Democrats sought two of the changes at issue…
The memo that Republicans on the House intelligence panel voted earlier this week to release contains information sensitive enough to prompt a rare public statement earlier Wednesday from the FBI, which registered ‘grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.’
The memo is believed to make the case that the FBI overstepped the bounds of the foreign intelligence surveillance program known as FISA in the course of monitoring Carter Page, a former Trump campaign aide with ties to Russia.
The earliest chance for the intelligence panel to meet once again and vote on releasing the changed version of the memo is Monday, Schiff wrote in his letter to Nunes, describing the previously undisclosed change as ‘deeply troubling.’ “
-Elana Schor, “Schiff accuses GOP of secret changes to memo before sending it to Trump,” Politico, Feb. 1, 2018 12:02am
GOP/HOUSE OF REPS/POLITICAL FIGURES: “House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy said Wednesday [1-31-18] that he will leave Congress after this year, the latest House Republican to resign or announce he won’t stand for re-election.
Mr. Gowdy (R., S.C.) is the second Oversight Committee chairman to quit in the past seven months. The post, one of the most powerful in Congress, allows for investigations into any aspect of the federal government. Mr. Gowdy became chairman in June when his predecessor, Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, quit Congress to pursue a career as a television commentator.
About 40 House Republicans have resigned or said they won’t seek re-election in the past year. Including Mr. Chaffetz, Mr. Gowdy is the 10th House GOP committee chairman to resign or announce they will leave Congress in the last year. Reasons for their departures vary, but include being term-limited out of their chairmanship, facing competitive challenges from Democrats for the first time in decades and seeking statewide office.”
-Reid J. Epstein, “Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy to Leave Congress at End of Term,” The Wall Street Journal online, Jan. 31, 2018 04:04pm
2016 ELECTION/GOP/HOUSE OF REPS/INTELLIGENCE/PAUL RYAN: “House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) defended Tuesday [1-30-18] the GOP decision to make public a classified Republican-authored memo that alleges surveillance abuses against an associate of President Donald Trump dating to the 2016 campaign…
The GOP-led House Intelligence Committee voted Monday night to release the memo, which was drawn from highly classified law-enforcement material and written under the direction of its chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), a close ally of Mr. Trump. The four-page document has been made available to all House members for more than a week, but many GOP lawmakers had been calling for it to be released to the public.
The matter now goes to Mr. Trump, who has five days to decide whether to object to the release of the material. If he does, the full House of Representatives can override his decision. If he doesn’t object, the material will be released.
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said Tuesday that Mr. Trump plans to meet with his national security team and White House counsel Don McGahn to review the memo. Mr. Gidley said he didn’t have a timetable on when the president might make a decision on whether to release the memo to the public.”
-Kristina Peterson and Byron Tau, “Paul Ryan Defends Vote to Release GOP Surveillance Memo,” The Wall Street Journal online, Jan. 30, 2018 02:29pm
FBI/GOP/HOUSE OF REPS/JUSTICE DEPARTMENT/RUSSIA: “Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, apparently disregarding Justice Department warnings that their actions would be ‘extraordinarily reckless,’ voted Monday [1-29-18] evening to release a contentious secret memorandum said to accuse the department and the F.B.I. of misusing their authority to obtain a secret surveillance order on a former Trump campaign associate.
The vote threw fuel on an already fiery partisan conflict over the investigations into Russia’s brazen meddling in the 2016 presidential election… The memo, which was made available to all members of the House, is said to contend that officials from the two agencies were not forthcoming to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge. Republicans accuse the agencies of failing to disclose that the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign helped finance research that was used to obtain a warrant for surveillance of Carter Page, a Trump campaign adviser. The research presented to the judge was assembled by a former British intelligence officer, Christopher Steele…
The inclusion of Mr. Rosenstein’s action in the memo could expose him to a torrent of criticism from Republicans on Capitol Hill and from conservatives in the media who have seized on the surveillance to argue that the Russia investigation may have been tainted from the start. Mr. Rosenstein is overseeing that investigation because Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself. It was Mr. Rosenstein who appointed Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel.”
-Nicholas Fandos, “House Republicans Vote to Release Secret Memo on Russia Probe,” The New York Times online, Jan. 29, 2018
HOUSE OF REPS/POLITICAL FIGURES: “Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, Monday [1-29-18] said he wouldn’t seek re-election in 2018, making him the latest in a parade of senior House Republicans and committee leaders heading to the exits.
The New Jersey congressman, who comes from a storied political family and whose father served in the House from 1953 to 1975, faced the toughest re-election race of his 23-year career in his suburban district west of New York City…
Mr. Frelinghuysen’s district, once solidly Republican, has been trending away from the party: It only narrowly voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election and voted for Democrat Phil Murphy in the gubernatorial election in 2017.
Mr. Frelinghuysen, 71 years old, faced a wide field of challengers who have said the incumbent had grown remote and out of step from his constituents. He won with 58% of the vote in 2016.
His leading Democratic opponent this year is Mikie Sherrill, a former Navy helicopter pilot and former federal prosecutor. Martin Hewitt, an attorney, has been running in the GOP primary against Mr. Frelinghuysen, but other Republicans are now expected to jump into the race.”
-Janet Hook, “GOP Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen Won’t Run in 2018,” The Wall Street Journal online, Jan. 29, 2018 01:01pm
ETHICS/GOP/HOUSE OF REPS/POLITICAL FIGURES: “Less than three days after he was removed from the U.S. House of Representatives Ethics Committee, Republican lawmaker Patrick Meehan asked the panel to investigate allegations he engaged in sexual harassment and misused official resources.
The committee on Monday [1-22-18] said it had become aware of public allegations about the misconduct and had received a written request from Meehan to investigate. The allegations published in the New York Times on Saturday led Speaker Paul Ryan to pull Meehan from the committee.
Ryan also told Meehan to repay any taxpayer funds, reported to total thousands, used to settle a former female aide’s claim that Meehan had made unwanted sexual advances. Meehan denied the allegations of inappropriate behavior…
Meehan’s request came after lawmakers introduced a bipartisan bill on Thursday that would stop House members from using public funds for awards or settlements in sexual harassment cases.
In recent months, a wave of women and men have accused high-powered men in entertainment, the news media and government of harassment or abuse. When that wave swept through Capitol Hill, the congressional Office of Compliance revealed it had paid out more than $160,000 in the last decade to settle sexual harassment or discrimination claims against lawmakers, sparking outrage that public funds may have been used hush money.”
-Reuters Staff, “Congressman, ousted from ethics panel, asks it to investigate him,” Reuters, Jan. 22, 2018 04:20pm
HOUSE OF REPS/LEGAL/POLITICAL FIGURES: “House Speaker Paul Ryan ordered an investigation into workplace harassment allegations against a Pennsylvania Republican on Saturday and removed him from the panel that investigates and adjudicates such complaints.
The New York Times on Saturday reported that Rep. Patrick Meehan used taxpayer funds to settle a case brought against him by an unnamed female aide after she complained he made unwanted romantic overtures.
A spokesman for Mr. Meehan denied the allegations… Mr. Ryan (R., Wis.) said the allegations against Mr. Meehan would be investigated by the House ethics committee, which is evenly split between Republicans and Democrats and tasked with investigating allegations of wrongdoing by fellow members of Congress. Mr. Meehan was removed from his post on the committee in light of the allegations leveled against him…
Congress is grappling with multiple allegations of sexual harassment against members of both parties, as a nationwide movement to curb harassment roils businesses, media, Hollywood and politics.
Members are expected to consider a bipartisan bill in the coming weeks aimed at bringing greater workplace protections to Capitol Hill for aides who believe they have been the victims of harassment. In addition, the House voted in November to make all members and employees, including interns, complete a program that includes anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training.”
-Byron Tau, “Rep. Patrick Meehan, Facing Harassment Allegations, Is Taken Off Ethics Panel,” The Wall Street Journal online, Jan. 20, 2018 08:37pm
2016 ELECTION/HOUSE OF REPS/INTELLIGENCE/POLITICAL FIGURES: “House conservatives are demanding the public release of a memo spearheaded by Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, detailing allegations of FBI missteps during the 2016 election — a move that Democrats say is an effort to torpedo special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign by discrediting FBI work central to his inquiry.
The full House can now see classified intelligence usually reserved for only the handful of lawmakers with the highest security clearance. That access comes after the intelligence panel voted along party lines to let all members read in a classified setting the four-page summary of the Nunes investigation into the FBI and Justice Department’s use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA. Democrats accused the GOP of hastily allowing members to access intelligence information that even most members of Nunes’ own committee did not have access to, saying it presented a skewed version of events.
But House conservatives who have reviewed the report say the American public would be shocked to learn about what they believe is widespread abuse by the FBI — and are so dead-set in demanding its public release they called on House Speaker Paul Ryan to release the memo as a condition for supporting a continuing resolution to keep the government open past Friday. Ryan, sources said, deferred to Nunes.”
-Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb, “Nunes’ FBI memo becomes conservative rallying cry,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, Jan. 19, 2018 06:52pm
HOUSE OF REPS/INTELLIGENCE/RUSSIA/TRUMP PEOPLE: “Hope Hicks’ highly anticipated testimony before the House Intelligence Committee was abruptly delayed Thursday [1-18-18] amid questions about whether the White House communications director would be able to respond to inquiries about topics after the campaign season, four sources told CNN.
The surprise move came after Steve Bannon refused to answer scores of questions about topics during the transition and his time as President Donald Trump’s chief strategist, with Bannon’s attorney saying he had been instructed by the White House not to answer those questions over concerns that it could breach executive privilege.
Hicks’ appearance Friday was anticipated given her close ties to Trump, which predate the campaign, and the central role she has played through the election season and in the White House.
The committee made the decision to delay Hicks’ appearance in order to give investigators time to sort out with the White House what she could and could not discuss, one of the sources said. She is still expected to speak with the panel at a later date.
The White House and an attorney for Hicks did not respond to request for comment.”
-Manu Raju, “House Intel delays Hope Hicks interview in Russia investigation,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, Jan. 18, 2018 06:46pm
BUDGET/HOUSE OF REPS: “House of Representatives needs to pass Government Funding Bill tonight. So important for our country – our Military needs it!”
-Donald Trump, Twitter.com, Jan. 18, 2018 06:39pm
HOUSE OF REPS/INTELLIGENCE: “Transcripts of testimony given by Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson to the U.S. House Intelligence Committee includes allegations the Trump Organization may have engaged in money laundering, the panel’s top Democrat said in a statement on Thursday [1-18-18].
Transcripts of testimony given by Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson to the U.S. House Intelligence Committee includes allegations the Trump Organization may have engaged in money laundering, the panel’s top Democrat said in a statement on Thursday.”
-Reuters Staff, “Trump Organization money laundering alleged in Fusion GPS testimony: House Democrat,” Reuters, Jan. 18, 2018 02:48pm
HOUSE OF REPS/PAUL RYAN: “Members of the U.S. House of Representatives could no longer use public funds for awards or settlements in sexual harassment cases under bipartisan legislation unveiled on Thursday [1-18-18] that updates a 20-year law governing the rights of congressional employees.
Leaders from both parties, including Speaker Paul Ryan, the most powerful lawmaker in the chamber, support the bill, indicating it should pass quickly and easily in a Congress frequently frozen by partisan standoffs…
When that wave swept through Capitol Hill, the congressional Office of Compliance revealed it had paid out more than $160,000 in the last decade to settle sexual harassment or discrimination claims against lawmakers, sparking outrage that public money may have been used as a ‘hush fund.’ Lawmakers and activists also began to say that protections for congressional employees passed in 1995 were woefully out-of-date…
The bill also requires the compliance office to report and publish information on awards every six months with details on the claims and to survey employees about their work environment every two years. It beefs up employee protections, such as providing an advocate to assist workers in proceedings conducted by the office or the Ethics Committee, as well.”
-Reuters Staff, “U.S. lawmakers may soon be liable for sexual harassment payouts,” Reuters, Jan. 18, 2018 12:09pm
BUDGET/GOP/HOUSE OF REPS: “House Republicans are short of the votes they need to avoid a government shutdown, but Speaker Paul Ryan and GOP leaders remain confident they will pass a stopgap funding measure when it comes to the floor on Thursday [1-18-18].
President Donald Trump is personally leaning on GOP lawmakers to fall into line, especially hard-line conservatives who are opposed to virtually anything Ryan and his leadership team propose.
Across the Capitol, Senate Democrats are upset about the House potentially jamming them with a last-minute bill that would do nothing more than avert the worst-case scenario. They’re still smarting over Trump seemingly backing away last week from a bipartisan deal to protect 700,000 Dreamers from deportation.
Senate Democrats have refused to say whether they would block the funding measure, though Republicans believe Democrats won’t risk a shutdown with control of the chamber in play this fall.
With government funding set to run out on Friday — and the two sides far apart on an immigration deal — Ryan and senior House Republicans are pushing legislation to keep the government funded until Feb. 16. In a bid to pick up votes from both parties, the measure would also fund a popular children’s health program for six more years and delay the implementation of several Obamacare taxes.”
-John Bresnahan, Sarah Ferris, and Heather Caygle, “Republicans lack votes to prevent a shutdown,” Politico, Jan. 17, 2018 06:17pm
HOUSE OF REPS/INTELLIGENCE: “The House Intelligence Committee will vote Thursday [1-18-18] on whether to release the transcript of the panel’s interview with Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
The committee has a business meeting scheduled for Thursday posted on its website, in which it plans to vote on whether to release the transcript of Simpson’s interview, which was conducted behind closed doors. Simpson has called for his interview transcripts to be released, as has the top Democrat on the intelligence panel, Rep. Adam Schiff of California.
Rep. Mike Conaway, the Texas Republican leading the committee’s Russia investigation, said the panel would make a decision on that soon… Simpson and Fusion GPS have been at the center of the political firestorm over the opposition research dossier on Trump and Russia, which Fusion GPS hired ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele to compile. Republicans have said that the dossier research, which was paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee, was a politically motivated document that got into the hands of the FBI.
The Senate Judiciary Committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, released the transcript of her committee’s interview with Simpson, without the consent of Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley. Simpson testified last year behind closed doors with the House and Senate Intelligence Committees and the Senate Judiciary Committee.”
-Jeremy Herb, “House Intelligence Committee to vote on releasing Fusion transcript,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, Jan. 17, 2018 11:00am
BUDGET/HOUSE OF REPS/POLITICS: “House Republicans on Tuesday [1-16-18] night appeared to coalesce around a short-term funding bill to avert a government shutdown Friday — even as conservatives threatened to oppose it and a bitter fight continued over the fate of more than 700,000 Dreamers.
Speaker Paul Ryan unveiled a plan at a House GOP Conference meeting to fund the government through Feb. 16, and numerous rank-and-file members quickly endorsed it despite their frustration with another short-term patch. To further sweeten the pot, the Wisconsin Republican’s bill also includes a delay of several Obamacare taxes and a six-year extension of a popular health care program for children.
That — combined with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) threats to withhold Democratic votes to help pass the measure — appeared to have won over key GOP skeptics…
House GOP leaders will whip the bill Wednesday before a possible Thursday vote. If the funding measure passes the House, senior Republican sources in both chambers expect the measure to clear the Senate… After the GOP Conference meeting, the House Freedom Caucus met and did not take a position on the stopgap bill. But Meadows expressed skepticism leadership’s plan would pass in its current form with just Republican votes.”
-Rachael Bade, Sarah Ferris, and Jennifer Scholtes, “House Republicans coalesce behind plan to avert shutdown,” Politico, Jan. 16, 2018 11:01pm