congressional-affairs

US ready for potential coronavirus outbreak, CDC assures lawmakers
CDC officials said they currently have the resources needed to address the spread of the virus

Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., departs from a news conference on Tuesday. He told reporters Friday that federal health officials had positive things to say about China’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Federal health officials told lawmakers Friday that they have the resources they need to address the spread of the virus originating from Wuhan, China, although senators acknowledged the potential need for supplemental funding down the road.

The briefing for roughly two dozen senators came as the case count for the new version of coronavirus in China was rapidly increasing, prompting authorities there to effectively quarantine tens of millions of people in Wuhan and surrounding cities. China’s National Health Commission reported 571 cases and 17 deaths as of Thursday, though news reports on Friday said there were now more than 800 cases and at least 26 deaths.

This is what a giant pile of impeachment candy looks like
If anyone is happy this week, it’s the National Confectioners Association

This is what an impeachment trial looks like. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

If you’re wondering how the Senate impeachment trial is going, consider this historic photo.

A pallet of candy stands outside Sen. Pat Toomey’s office, shrink-wrapped. Notice the Hershey’s bars (milk chocolate with almonds). And the Rolos. And the stray Mike and Ikes (flavor: berry blast).

Democrats pick women from key 2020 states for State of the Union response
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar to follow Trump

Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar will give the Democrats’ Spanish-language response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address next month. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic leaders announced Friday that Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar, who both hail from critical 2020 states, will give the responses to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Feb. 4.

Whitmer leads Michigan, a top presidential and congressional battleground that Trump won by less than half a percentage point in 2016. Escobar, who will give the Spanish-language response to the president’s address, represents a deep-blue district in Texas, where Democrats are hoping to make gains in the state’s diversifying suburbs. 

Photos of the week: Trump's impeachment trial begins
The week ending Jan. 24 as captured by Roll Call’s photojournalists

House impeachment managers Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., at podium, flanked by, from left, Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., Val Demings, D-Fla., Sylvia R. Garcia, D-Texas, Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and Jason Crow, D-Colo., address the media in the Capitol on the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Impeachment news roundup: Jan. 24
Democrats start their final eight hours to present their case, Republicans so far not convinced

House impeachment managers, from left, Reps. Sylvia R. Garcia, D-Texas, Jason Crow, D-Colo., Val B. Demings, D-Fla., and Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., walk through the Ohio Clock Corridor Friday on their way to hold a news conference before the start of their third and final day to make their impeachment case against President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

File updated 5:45 p.m.

President Donald Trump’s attorney, Jay Sekulow, previewed what Saturday’s defense presentation would look like, noting it would begin at 10 a.m. and include time to lay out an overarching view of the president’s rebuttal with the main arguments taking place early next week.

Impeachment managers attempt to preempt Trump’s defense
Trump, Lindsey Graham used to bolster case for removal

House impeachment manager Jerrold Nadler says the president’s defense team will not be able to refute the evidence provided for the abuse of power charge. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Regardless of whether Democratic impeachment managers get to call witnesses in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, they are already making their case by using the president’s own words — and even those of a prominent Republican senator — in dramatic fashion in the Senate chamber. 

The managers focused much of their arguments Thursday on the abuse of power charge the House used to condemn Trump, citing history and attempting to poke preemptive holes in the defense team’s upcoming arguments.

View from the gallery: Senators sit, spin and fidget during Trump trial
They found more ways to pass time during second day of opening presentations

Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst arrives for the Senate Republicans’ lunch in the Capitol before the start of Thursday’ impeachment trial session. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Bill Cassidy charted a course along the back corner of the Senate chamber Thursday during President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. The Louisiana Republican walked through an area usually reserved for staff seating, hands in pockets, retracing a short path over and over again for more than 15 minutes.

When Georgia Republican David Perdue took to standing along his path, Cassidy squeezed by and just kept pacing.

Do Republicans hate or respect Adam Schiff? Maybe it’s both
Some GOP senators have complimented Schiff for his impeachment trial presentation

California Rep. Adam B. Schiff, center, the lead House impeachment manager, has drawn unexpected praise from some Republican. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

To President Donald Trump and his House Republican allies, Rep. Adam B. Schiff is public enemy No. 1. But as the lead House impeachment manager makes his case against Trump in the Senate, the California Democrat has drawn some surprising compliments from a few GOP senators.

That’s not to say that Trump will stop attacking the man he calls “Shifty Schiff,” or that other Republicans won’t use Schiff as the scapegoat for everything they think is wrong with the House Democrats’ impeachment charges.

Fear of ICE raids during census could hamper count of immigrants
Outreach organizations fear that Trump officials may try to deport immigrant communities they need to count

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Fugitive Operations Team members on a raid in Los Angeles. Some census outreach groups worry the Trump administration may try to deport immigrants they need to count. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

As census efforts ramp up this spring, outreach organizations fear that Trump administration officials may try to deport the immigrant communities they need to count.

A network of nonprofits, local governments and advocacy groups has fanned out to help the Census Bureau conduct its decennial count of America’s residents. Some advocates worry the administration, after its failed push to add a citizenship question to the census, may continue on-the-ground immigration enforcement efforts in a departure from previous censuses.

Burr is giving senators fidget spinners to stay busy during trial
Impeachment arguments have tested lawmakers ability to sit still for hours at a time

A fidget spinner belonging to Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., is displayed in his Capitol Hill office on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. The toy was one of many that the senator handed out to his colleagues on Thursday ahead of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. (Graham MacGillivray/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Richard M. Burr is trying to help out his antsy Senate colleagues.

The North Carolina Republican is providing an assortment of fidget spinners and other gizmos to his GOP colleagues at this week’s Thursday lunch.