Congress

Democrats line up three gun bills in early House Judiciary return
The bills could lob political pressure onto Senate Republicans to respond to recent mass shootings

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee, speak to reporters about the testimony from former special counsel Robert Mueller on July 2019. Nadler announced the committee will consider three gun control bills when it convenes Sept. 4. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Judiciary Committee will consider three gun control bills when it convenes September 4, an early return from a summer break that could lob political pressure onto Senate Republicans to respond to recent mass shootings.

The committee announced Friday it will mark up a bill to outlaw large capacity magazines and other ammunition feeding devices, along with a bill that would prevent people who have been convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime from owning a weapon.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib rejects Netanyahu’s terms and forgoes trip to visit grandmother
A day after rejecting Muslim Democrats’ visit, Israel said it would allow Tlaib entry on ‘humanitarian’ grounds

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Michigan, agreed not to voice support for BDS in order to secure a trip to her grandmother's village in the West Bank but then rejected the conditions of the trip. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Rashida Tlaib will forgo a trip to see her aging grandmother in the West Bank after the Israeli government said it would allow a visit on “humanitarian” grounds.

In a reversal, Tlaib rejected the conditions laid out by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the humanitarian visit, namely, that she not broadcast her support for boycotting Israel over its actions against Palestinians during her stay. 

Election officials want security money, flexible standards
After 2016 Russian intrusion, slow progress seen toward securing rolls and paper ballots

Voters line up at a temporary voting location in a trailer in the Arroyo Market Square shopping center in Las Vegas on the first day of early voting in Nevada in October of 2016. Louisiana and Connecticut officials requested more money and clear standards from the federal government before voters head to the polls in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

State officials from Louisiana and Connecticut on Thursday asked for more money and clear standards from the federal government to help secure voting systems before the 2020 elections.

But the officials, Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin and Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill, stressed the differences between their election systems and asked for leeway from the federal government in deciding how to spend any future funding.

Democrats seek info on CFPB official’s ties to Christian group
Paul Watkins spent three years at the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other Democrats want documents from the CFPB on the hiring of Paul Watkins as director of the Office of Innovation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A group of Democrats, including presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, are continuing to pressure the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over a senior official’s ties to a conservative Christian group.

In a letter sent Wednesday to CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger, Warren — along with Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois, Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts and Katie Porter of California — demanded documents related to hiring Paul Watkins as director of the Office of Innovation, which has the power to grant fintech firms limited immunity from consumer protection laws.

New FDA cigarette labels include realistic images of smoking-related health problems
The long-delayed warnings, now subject to public comment, would update textual statements already on cigarette packs

Examples of the new Food and Drug Administration warnings on packs of cigarettes. The warnings would update the textual statements already on cigarette packages, and for the first time include photorealistic images that depict smoking-related health problems. (Courtesy/FDA)

The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday proposed long-delayed graphic health warnings for cigarette packages, taking a step toward fulfilling a requirement of a decade-old smoking prevention law.

The new warning label proposal will now be subject to a public comment period, and is under a court-ordered deadline to be finalized by March 15, 2020.

Israel bars entry to Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar
Trump said Netanyahu would ‘show weakness’ by allowing House members to visit

Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib had planned to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories along with Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A planned trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories by Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota has been halted by Israeli officials.

“The state of Israel respects the U.S. Congress, as part of the close alliance, but it is inconceivable that anyone who wishes to harm the state of Israel will be allowed, even during the visit,” a media statement from the government read.

Border emergency hits six months; ball back in Congress’ court
Lawmakers may again try to terminate Trump's declaration allowing him to shift funds for wall construction

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House Democrats appear in February at a news conference on the joint resolution to terminate Trump's emergency declaration. It is not clear whether they will try again to pass a similar measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Thursday marks six months since President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on the southern border, a notable anniversary because it gives Congress another shot at ending it.

The flashpoint in the debate remains funding for the construction of a wall along the Mexican border, a prominent pledge made during Trump’s 2016 presidential bid that now hangs over the 2020 campaign.

Matt Gaetz says Florida Bar finds ‘no probable cause’ he violated rules with Cohen tweet
Florida Republican had appeared to intimidate ex-Trump lawyer with February tweet

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, right, says the state bar is taking “no disciplinary action” against him for a February tweet directed at former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Matt Gaetz announced Wednesday that the Florida Bar had found “no probable cause” that he violated the rules of his profession over a tweet that appeared to intimidate President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen.

“They are taking no disciplinary action against me & are sending a letter of advice,” the Florida Republican tweeted. Gaetz is licensed to practice law in the Sunshine State.

Trump names new nominee to oldest federal judicial vacancy
Richard E. Myers II, a Jamaica native and UNC professor will be the next pick for the Eastern District of North Carolina

Richard E. Myers II, a Jamaica native and a professor at the University of North Carolina law school who focuses on criminal law, has been nominated by President Donald Trump to be the next pick for the Eastern District of North Carolina, the White House announced. (Courtesy iStock)

President Donald Trump named a new nominee Wednesday for a spot on the federal bench in North Carolina that has remained vacant for more than 13 years and has been one of the most contentious in Senate judicial confirmation fights.

Richard E. Myers II, a Jamaica native and a professor at the University of North Carolina law school who focuses on criminal law, will be the next pick for the Eastern District of North Carolina, the White House announced. The seat is the only vacancy in that district, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

New calls for Rep. Steve King to resign in wake of graphic comment about rape and incest
Liz Cheney, No. 3 House Republican, joins Democrats in calling on Iowa congressman to stand down

Iowa Rep. Steve King is facing renewed calls to resign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Iowa Rep. Steve King is facing new calls to resign in the wake of his latest inflammatory remarks — this time for saying humanity might not exist were it not for rape and incest.

Speaking before the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, Iowa, the Republican congressman made the comment while defending his opposition to exceptions for rape and incest in anti-abortion legislation, The Des Moines Register reported

Watch: King calls principles ‘timeless’

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, attends a rally with Angel Families on the East Front of the Capitol, to highlight crimes committed by illegal immigrants in the U.S., on September 7, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Ted Cruz gifted Houston Rockets tickets worth $12K
Texas Republican was criticized for cursing the team in last year’s Game 7 loss to the Warriors

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz received over $12,000 worth of Houston Rockets tickets in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo.)

Sen. Ted Cruz stood courtside, gleefully grinning during pregame on the night the Houston Rockets were bounced from the 2018 NBA playoffs in a devastating Game 7 Western Conference finals home loss to the Golden State Warriors, a marquee matchup the Texas Republican was able to watch for free thanks to a powerful Republican donor.

Cruz attended the May 28, 2018, game with a ticket gifted to him by Robert Marling, the CEO of Woodforest National Bank and a financial supporter who contributed to his Senate and presidential campaigns.

Katko challenger Dana Balter accepted campaign salary too early, FEC says
Democrat pledges to repay the $6,720 she improperly withdrew

Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., walks up the House steps for votes in the Capitol in 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A two-time Democratic challenger to New York Rep. John Katko has been dinged for a campaign finance error early on in her campaign.

Dana Balter improperly accepted a salary paid out by her campaign before campaign finance rules permit that sort of arrangement, federal regulators wrote in a letter. 

Crenshaw got $250,000 advance for book about ‘outrage culture,’ new filing shows
Freshman rep has been a social media fixture since a ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit, but critics say he has used his platform to incite hatred

Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, is seen after the freshman class photo on the East Front of the Capitol on Nov. 14, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Dan Crenshaw has signed a $250,000 deal to publish a book. 

Crenshaw inked a contract with Grand Central Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Group, according to the freshman Texas congressman’s most recent financial disclosure form, which was filed Monday. 

Rep. Duncan Hunter’s trial pushed to 2020
California Republican accused of misusing more than $250,000 in campaign funds will go to court just weeks before primary

The trial of California Rep. Duncan Hunter is now scheduled to begin Jan. 14, 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Duncan Hunter’s trial on charges that he improperly spent hundreds of thousands in campaign funds on lavish vacations, golf outings and copious amounts of alcohol has been moved to Jan. 14.

The California Republican’s trial was originally scheduled to start Sept. 10.