Trump nominates GOP fundraiser Kelly Knight Craft for UN ambassador
Former RNC delegate made significant contributions to president’s 2016 campaign

Kelly Knight Craft is President Donald Trump’s choice to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump is nominating Republican fundraiser Kelly Knight Craft to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. The Kentucky native currently serves  as the U.S. ambassador to Canada.

The president tweeted his announcement Friday evening. 

U.S., China reach currency manipulation deal as Trump eyes Xi trade endgame
Steven Mnuchin says visiting trade delegation will extend trip after currency deal

President Donald Trump declines to answer a final question from the press as he departs the White House on Jan. 14. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators have reached a deal on what the Trump administration has called currency stabilization by the Beijing government, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

During talks that have spanned much of the Trump presidency’s two years, administration officials have complained to their Chinese counterparts that they are lessening the value of their own currency. Most recently, they said China is doing so to offset the economic hurt of U.S. tariffs on their goods amid an ongoing trade tiff.

Damn it Jim, I’m a tax collector, not a filmmaker
After years of appropriations cuts, and a disastrous Star Trek-parody, the IRS budget is $600 million short of what it was 6 years ago

The Internal Revenue Service building as seen on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Beam me up, Mr. Speaker, as the late former House lawmaker and convicted felon James A. Traficant Jr. used to say. Congress is finally going easier on the IRS after five years of funding restrictions intended to prevent another onscreen voyage to the “planet NoTax.”

After a pricey Star Trek parody filmed by IRS employees came to light in 2013, the GOP House set its phasers to vaporize the prospect of such videos being made in the future, putting funding prohibitions into five consecutive spending bills beginning in fiscal 2014.

Rants aside, Trump scores big with Congress
Podcast, Episode 141

Trump in the House during his State of the Union address on Feb. 5, 2019. Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Reps Omar and Zeldin are beefing on Twitter... again
New York Republican, Minnesota Democrat have longstanding Twitter beef over terrorism, Middle East politics

Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., speaks during the press conference calling on President Trump to declassify the Carter Page FISA applications on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Reps. Lee Zeldin and Ilhan Omar renewed their Twitter beef this week — this time, over a Coast Guard lieutenant caught using work computers to plan a sprawling domestic terrorist attack against Democratic lawmakers.

Zeldin, a New York Republican who is Jewish, and Omar, a Minnesota Democrat who is Muslim, accused each other over Twitter in January of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

Donors to Rep. Duncan Hunter’s legal defense fund: His uncle, defense contractors
Longtime donors connected to Edison Chouest Offshore also contributed

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-California, walks down the House steps following a vote in the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Donors to a special fund established by Rep. Duncan Hunter to underwrite his legal defense include the board member of the company founded by his uncle and multibillion dollar defense contractors.

Hunter can tap $60,800 in donations to a piggybank separate from his campaign committee — called the Duncan D. Hunter Legal Expense Trust — to finance his legal case. Hunter faces trial in September on 60 federal charges related to spending more than $250,000 in campaign funds on personal expenses such as a family vacation to Italy and dental work.

Some troops will stay in Syria, White House official confirms
‘The exact number has not been determined yet,’ the senior White House official said.

President Donald Trump delivered the State of the Union address, with Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, at the Capitol in Washington, DC on Feb. 5, 2019. (Doug Mills/The New York Times POOL PHOTO)

A senior White House official confirmed the Trump administration plans to keep U.S. troops in Syria even after President Donald Trump announced plans of a complete American withdrawal.

“Yes, some troops will stay in Syria,” the senior official told Roll Call Friday morning. The confirmation comes after Senate Armed Services member Lindsey Graham, a Trump confidant, announced the president decided to leave 200 U.S. forces in the war-torn country to combat the Islamic State.

Democrats introduce disapproval of Trump’s border emergency declaration
Rep. Joaquin Castro told reporters there was one Republican cosponsor — Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan.

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, is leading the resolution of disapproval. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An effort to disapprove of President Donald Trump’s border security national emergency declaration is on the fast track through the House of Representatives.

Rep. Joaquin Castro told reporters that he filed the joint resolution of disapproval on Friday.

From silent to millennial, generations of the Democratic presidential field
The growing primary roster now ranges in age from 37 to 77

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, represent the range of generations making up the 2020 Democratic presidential field. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Say this for the Democrats, they are multigenerational. 

Their presidential field continued to swell as Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent who affiliates with Democrats, announced he was running and promptly raised millions of dollars to show his campaign apparatus was doing just fine. 

White House ‘looking into’ Acosta’s role in sex offender’s illegal plea deal
Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined Friday to say whether Trump still has confidence in his labor secretary

Alex Acosta, nominee for Secretary of Labor, talks with Ranking Member Patty Murray, D-Wash., during his Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions confirmation hearing in Dirksen Building, March 22, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday declined to say whether President Donald Trump still has confidence in Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta a day after a federal judge ruled the Justice Department broke the law while Acosta was a U.S. attorney. 

Florida-based U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra ruled Thursday that Acosta — then the U.S. attorney in Miami — signed off on a 2008 plea deal with Jeffrey Epstein, the Palm Beach billionaire and serial sex abuser, without informing victims about what they were doing. 

Rep. Steve King says he has been cyberbullied
Iowa congressman says New York Times, Washington Post and former NRCC chairman conspired against him

Rep. Steve King told reporters in Iowa that he has “nothing to apologize for.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Steve King was defiant in an interview with Iowa public television this week, insisting he won’t apologize for the racist remarks and actions that cost him all of his committee assignments and endangered his reelection.

“I have nothing to apologize for,” King told a roundtable of reporters on Iowa Public Television in a Thursday taping.

Congress tries to walk the climate crisis talk
Amid debate on Green New Deal, Democrats are treading lightly in their daily lives

Staffers are aiming to lead by example, by creating workplace cultures where being “green” is a priority. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Staffers working for environmentally minded lawmakers are trying to walk the talk on climate change by taking small personal actions while their bosses call for big-picture policy shifts.

Around Capitol Hill, several aides are aiming to create workplace cultures where being “green” is a priority and holding colleagues accountable is the norm.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s call for a ‘living wage’ starts in her office
New York Democrat will pay staffers no less than $52,000 a year

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, center, and Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, third from right, arrive with staff members for a press conference on the Green New Deal outside the Capitol on Feb. 7. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Claudia Pagon Marchena, like so many Hill staffers, moonlighted at a Washington, D.C., eatery to pay her rent until she took a job with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She celebrated her last day at her coffee shop job that same week.

That’s because Ocasio-Cortez, who has called on fellow lawmakers to pay their staffs a “living wage,” is making an example out of her own office. The New York Democrat has introduced an unusual policy that no one on her staff will make less than $52,000 a year — an almost unheard of amount for many of the 20-somethings whose long hours make House and Senate offices run.

Abusive callers, chatty constituents? It’s all in a day’s work on the Hill
For former interns, staff assistants, answering phones has been a formative experience

Aaron Fritschner, communications director for Virginia Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr., has plenty of experience answering constituent phone calls in his previous positions on Capitol Hill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Aaron Fritschner’s first day on Capitol Hill was Dec. 14, 2012.

As the only intern in New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s office, he was being trained how to answer the phones and talk to constituents.