Back home in Iowa for the August recess, Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley is making the case in this conservative state for a sweeping drug bill, even though many in his party do not support it.
"One of the few times, if it isn't the only time, that I've been chairman of various committees that I haven't had at least a majority of Republicans on my side," Grassley conceded at a town hall meeting in Aurelia this week, but he added: "It's probably more valuable to have the president on your side."
The invitation reads: Jim Clyburn's World Famous Fish Fry.
"Well, it's my world," Majority Whip James Clyburn said, chuckling. "And anybody else who would like to claim space in it." When it comes to South Carolina Democratic politics, it's hard to argue. Clyburn, at 78 years old, is the most influential Democrat in the state, which explains why most of the 2020 Democratic presidential field is headed to Columbia, S.C., next Friday for a chance to appear by his side.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will convene a meeting Wednesday morning to hear from Democrats on whether to move forward with impeachment proceedings against President Trump.
Pelosi, a public skeptic of impeachment, is confronting a rising tide of support for it among rank-and-file House Democrats and members of her own leadership team. Democrats are outraged by the Trump administration's ongoing effort to stymie congressional oversight into the president, his administration, and the findings in special counsel Robert Mueller's report.
More than a decade ago, then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared victory over the Bush administration in a clash between Congress and the president's assertion of executive privilege to try to block members of his administration from testifying as part of a congressional oversight investigation.
"It's a triumph for the balance of power, checks and balances, the Constitution of the United States," Pelosi said in March 2009.
Attorney General William Barr's refusal to appear before the House Judiciary Committee did accomplish one thing, according to Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md.
"They have succeeded in building a near unanimous sense in the Democratic Caucus that the executive branch of government is in defiance of the Constitution and the rule of law," said Raskin, a former constitutional law professor who sits on both the House Judiciary and Oversight committees.
President Trump is trying to ratchet up public pressure on congressional Democrats to bend to his administration's will on immigration, but the House majority is dismissing new White House proposals to discourage the surge of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.
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AILSA CHANG, HOST:
House Democrats have left Washington for suburban Virginia, where they're holding their annual retreat right now. Their new majority in the House ended Republican control of Washington, and now they're about to mark 100 days in power.
The House of Representatives approved legislation renewing the Violence Against Women Act with new provisions that restrict gun ownership and expand transgender rights.
The National Rifle Association opposed the bill — putting GOP lawmakers in a tough position of voting against a measure protecting victims of domestic and sexual violence or opposing the politically powerful gun lobby.
The vote was 263 to 158, with 33 Republicans joining all but one Democrat to pass the measure. One GOP member voted present.
President Trump's decision to kick off a renewed battle to dismantle President Barack Obama's health care law stunned lawmakers on Capitol Hill, who will face the reckoning from voters if the administration's efforts to overturn the law succeed this time around.
Members of Congress have not received a pay raise in a decade. So like most Americans, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., would like a raise.
"The cost of rent, childcare and other necessities has risen substantially in Washington and across the country in recent years, but members and staff pay and benefits have not kept pace with the private sector," Hoyer said last week at a hearing held by the new Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress.
The Republican-controlled Senate approved a resolution to terminate President Trump's national emergency declaration at the U.S.-Mexico border, putting Congress on a path to its first veto confrontation with the Trump administration.
The House approved a resolution Thursday to condemn "anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism and other forms of bigotry" in a move that Democrats hope will quell the latest uproar over Rep. Ilhan Omar's criticism of Israel.
The vote on the measure was 407-23. The 23 opposed were all Republican lawmakers.
House Democrats are again considering a vote on a new resolution condemning anti-Semitism in response to recent comments by Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., that senior members of the party and Jewish groups say play on anti-Semitic tropes. A House Democratic leadership aide said the vote could come as early as Wednesday.
A spokesman for Omar has not responded to a request for comment on the resolution.
Two lawmakers who engaged in a heated exchange that included accusations of racist behavior during a Wednesday committee hearing hugged it out on the House floor on Thursday.
"It was a very good conversation," Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., told reporters after. Meadows approached Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., on the House floor where they engaged in a brief conversation and embraced. "I just wanted her to know there is no animosity or hard feelings at all and she said the same and it was a very good moment."
The Democratic-led House approved by a 245-182 vote a resolution on Tuesday that would terminate President Trump's declaration of a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border — a declaration he made to allow him to access funds to build a wall without congressional consent.
Only 13 Republicans joined Democrats to oppose the president, signaling that Congress will not ultimately have the veto-proof margin required to override Trump.
Congressional negotiators are hurtling toward another deadline — Feb. 15 — to avoid a partial government shutdown. A bipartisan group of 17 lawmakers on the House and Senate appropriations committees are working to reach a deal to fund seven of the 12 outstanding annual bills to fund the federal government.
The controversy centers on just one of the funding measures for the Department of Homeland Security. President Trump waged the longest shutdown in U.S. history because the bill did not include enough money to help build his long-promised "wall" along the U.S.-Mexico border.
One of the two first Muslim women to serve in Congress has apologized for comments on social media widely condemned as anti-Semitic. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., said she apologized "unequivocally" following a joint statement released by House Democratic leaders calling on her to do so.
"Anti-Semitism is real," Omar tweeted Monday afternoon, "and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes."
The most important political issues of the past year will be on display Tuesday night, not only in what President Trump says in his State of the Union address but in who will be in the audience.
Furloughed federal workers, Border Patrol agents, immigrants, school shooting survivors and the first inmate to benefit from a new criminal justice law will be among those to gather in the chamber of the U.S. House.