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Democrats seek to put teeth into ‘impoundment’ law
Going to court is only current option to force release of funds

House Budget Chairman John Yarmuth wants to make it hurt if a president tries to block funding against lawmakers’ wishes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A fresh legal opinion challenging President Donald Trump’s hold on Ukraine military aid under a Nixon-era budget law may or may not move the needle with senators in the president’s impeachment trial.

But one thing is clear: Trump’s delay of $214 million in Pentagon funds is just the latest in a long line of findings by the Government Accountability Office going back decades that presidents of both parties have run afoul of the 1974 law. That statute was aimed at restricting “impoundments,” where the executive branch refuses to spend money appropriated by Congress.

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 cellphone ban gives Senate pages a workout
Teens stay busy relaying messages, fetching water, even pouring glasses of milk

Senate pages are getting in their steps this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Trump’s impeachment trial may be requiring senators to stay seated hour after agonizing hour, but there’s one group getting lots of exercise: Senate pages.

The blue-jacket-clad teens have been running all over the Senate floor, relaying messages between senators and staff, fetching water and even pouring the occasional glass of milk.

Taylor Swift reaches peak politics with ‘Miss Americana’
Her song ‘Only the Young’ was inspired by the 2018 midterm elections, and a new documentary is here to mythologize it all

Taylor Swift performs onstage during her 2018 Reputation stadium tour. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images file photo)

Taylor dropped a teaser Wednesday ahead of her upcoming Netflix documentary “Miss Americana” — and, in typical fashion, the internet needed to calm down.

The film, directed by Emmy Award winner Lana Wilson, takes an intimate look at the megastar turned newly minted activist’s career over the last several years: the good, the bad and the political.

Schumer says Democrats not looking to make deals over witnesses
Murphy says notion of making deal over Hunter Biden testimony is being ‘overblown’ by the media

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, right, and Sen. Chris Murphy listen as Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse speaks during a news conference before the Senate convened for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Wednesday that Democrats aren’t looking to cut deals with Republicans to hear from witnesses in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. 

Asked whether Democrats would be willing to make a deal with Republicans to allow former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden to testify in exchange for witnesses Democrats want like former national security adviser John Bolton, Schumer shot down that notion.

Impeachment news roundup: Jan. 22
Coons lauds Schiff for 30 minutes of ‘mastery’; White House defense could begin Saturday

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, followed by Democratic Sen. Richard J. Durbin, leaves a news conference Tuesday. The Senate rejected all of the amendments Schumer introduced to try to change the rules for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

File updated 10:10 p.m.  

Delaware Democrat Chris Coons said House impeachment manager Adam B. Schiff’s closing 30 minutes was “compelling” and that he showed a “mastery” of the material. Coons also said that there were snacks and coffee in the cloakroom. Coons said there has not been much outreach to him from Republicans.

Abortion policy activism heats up for Roe v. Wade anniversary
Groups gear up for ‘pivotal year’ with emphasis on states

Both sides of the abortion rights debate are doubling down on grassroots efforts to energize voters who share their beliefs about abortion. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Groups pushing for the advancement of abortion rights and those looking to limit the procedure have an ambitious agenda starting this week, foreshadowing a year that could be critical for advocates on both sides of the debate.

In two months, the Supreme Court will hear its first major abortion case since 2016, and both sides are revving up for a major presidential election. States are also eyeing a number of new reproductive health bills as their legislatures come back into session.

K Street firms post big earnings gains for 2019
Trade, health care and immigration issues paced lobbying spending last year

Lobbying firms are working with clients about their agendas for 2021, which will be hugely dependent upon who wins the White House this November. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

K Street’s top-tier firms posted sizable gains last year, fueled by technology, pharmaceutical and big-business interests concerned with such policy matters as trade, health care, taxation and government spending.

And lobbyists say impeachment proceedings and the 2020 campaigns haven’t yet derailed the influence industry’s agenda this year.

View from the gallery: Senators struggle to sit in silence at Trump trial
Senators-turned-jurors sneak in snacks, lunge for phones during rare breaks to weigh in on arguments

Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, arrive at the Capitol on Tuesday for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Lindsey Graham looked restless during the first hour of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, when none of the senators had access to their cellphones and the president’s lawyers and the House managers traded procedural arguments.

It was an unusual first day of buttoned-down decorum for the exclusive club of 100 senators-turned-jurors, who were made to stay in their floor seats, not eat, not talk and not tweet during only the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history.

Watch: Chief Justice Roberts swears in senators, starts impeachment trial
Full swearing in ceremony for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump

Senators raise their hands as Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. administers the oath of the Senate court of impeachment Thursday. (Screenshot/Senate Recording Studio)

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. officially began the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history Thursday. Shortly after arriving at the Capitol, Senate President Pro Tempore Charles E. Grassley swore in the justice on the Senate rostrum.

Roberts then administered the oath to lawmakers. Alphabetically and in groups of four, the senators’ names were read by the clerk and the senators approached the Republican desk — normally used by Republican floor staff — to sign the impeachment oath book.