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Jamie Dupree Washington Insider

    After a high profile confrontation in the first set of Democratic debates in the 2020 race for the White House, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris will be paired together again on the same debate stage, as Democrats will gather in Detroit July 30-31. The makeup of the two debates were announced after a draw live on CNN, as the network randomly placed the 20 qualifying candidates for the second pair of Democratic debates. While Biden and Harris headline the second night, the debates will kick off with three of the top five Democrats on stage for the first debate:  Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
  • With GOP lawmakers in Congress publicly expressing their concerns about a campaign rally chant aimed at Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), President Donald Trump on Thursday made clear he did not endorse the 'Send her back' call, as Democratic leaders expressed fears for Omar's security. 'I wasn't happy with that message that they gave last night,' the President told reporters at the White House. Asked several times by reporters why he didn't stop the chant, Mr. Trump said it was a 'packed arena,' very specifically saying he did not endorse the message against Omar. 'I was not happy with it,' the President added. 'I didn't like that they did it.' Here was the moment the chant started during his rally, in response to his criticism of four minority women Democratic House members, including Omar: On Capitol Hill, a number of Republicans expressed their concern about the message from the Trump crowd. 'No American should ever talk to another American that way,' said Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK). 'That's a very inappropriate sentiment in this country,' Cole told reporters just off the House floor. “The tweet was wrong & the chant last night grotesque,” wrote Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Twitter. “What I’m hearing from Capitol Police is that threats are up across the board for all members,” said Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), who expressed his concern about the ‘send her back’ chant just a few hours after the rally had ended. As for Omar, she met on Thursday morning with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as reporters pressed her to respond to the chant. “We have said this President is racist,” Omar said as she walked from the Capitol back to her House office. Democrats said they were concerned about Omar’s safety and possible threats against her. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), the head of the House Democratic Caucus, encouraged lawmakers and the Capitol Police to quickly share any information about threats to police back in their home districts. “We got to make sure every single person, Democrat, Republican, progressive, conservative, the left and the right, get through it together,” Jeffries said.
  • Pressing ahead with one of their main agenda items in the 116th Congress, Democrats are poised to push a bill through the House on Thursday which would more than double the federal minimum wage over the next six years, taking it from the current level of $7.25 an hour, and pressing it up to $15. 'This is a fair and overdue adjustment,' argued Rep. Joseph Morelle (D-NY), as debate started Wednesday on the floor of the House.  'American workers haven't had the benefit of a federal minimum wage increase in over a decade, while the prices of everything have gone up,' said Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH). House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pressed Democrats to stick together on the minimum wage bill, arguing it 'lifts 1.3 million Americans out of poverty.' But for most Republicans, the idea of raising the wage would be a giant economic mistake, hurting rural areas, and younger Americans looking for work. 'When Congress should be focused on pro-growth policies, this bill would be detrimental to American families, workers, and entrepreneurs,' said Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX). Republicans have pointed repeatedly to a recent Congressional Budget Office report, which estimated that the $15 minimum wage could cause job losses of 1.3 million - with a high estimate over 3.7 million. 'That's like firing the entire population of the state of Oklahoma,' said Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), in a line that's been used by a number of GOP lawmakers in recent weeks. The original plan was to raise the minimum wage in five steps over five years - but because of resistance among some Democrats - the plan was changed to make it a six year increase. The bill would raise the wage in steps, first to $8.45 an hour, then $9.50 a year after that, followed by a jump to $10.60, then $11.70 an hour, $12.80 an hour, $13.90, and lastly to $15 an hour. After that, the minimum wage would be indexed to rise along with median wage growth in the United States. While Democrats will certainly celebrate the passage of the plan - the bill seems unlikely to get a vote in the Republican-led Senate.
  • Accusing the Trump Administration of intentionally withholding documents and information about the failed effort by President Donald Trump to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, the House on Wednesday voted along party lines to find the Attorney General and Secretary of Commerce in Contempt of Congress. 'Neither of the Departments have provided the documents we have asked for,' said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), as the House resolution targeted both Attorney General William Barr, and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. 'I even asked Secretary Ross to meet with me personally,' Cummings said on the House floor. 'He refused.' It was the second time Barr had been held in contempt by the current Congress; the first was a civil contempt citation passed by the full House for ignoring a subpoena for his testimony about the Russia investigation and the Mueller Report. Democrats said it was nothing but a cover-up by the White House. Just before the vote, Barr and Ross sent a letter to Democrats asking that the contempt vote be delayed, as Republicans argued that the Trump Administration has been cooperating with requests for documents - something Democrats say just isn't true. 'It is unfortunate that the House has scheduled a vote to hold two sitting members of the President's Cabinet in contempt of Congress given the clear record of cooperation,' Barr and Ross wrote, as they said 'any contempt vote is, at best, premature.' 'This is all about a show,' said Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), as Republicans rallied around a message that Democrats were pursuing political attacks on the President, while ignoring major issues on Capitol Hill. 'Don't play politics with contempt,' said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC). 'We're better than that.' Democrats countered that the courts have already shown that the Trump Administration didn't tell the truth about why the citizenship question was being pursued - as Democrats argued that the feds had held back information to Congress about the Census citizenship question. 'Wilbur Ross lied. William Barr lied,' said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). In a defiant statement sent out just after the vote, the White House denounced the House action. “Today’s vote by Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats to hold Attorney General Barr and Secretary Ross in contempt is ridiculous and yet another lawless attempt to harass the President and his Administration,” the statement read.
  • Next summer will mark forty years since I drew my first paycheck on Capitol Hill as a Page in the House of Representatives. Between working for the Congress, and then covering lawmakers as a reporter, I've seen lawmakers almost come to blows, watched Speakers angrily denounce their critics, seen lawmakers block the doors to the House floor to keep lawmakers from leaving, and all sorts of other legislative mischief. But I have never seen what happened on Tuesday, when Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO) did what amounted to a 'gavel drop,' as he refused to read a parliamentary ruling against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and simply walked away. 'I abandon the Chair,' Cleaver said, after getting my attention by clearly not reading the script in front of him, and speaking in the first person from the Speaker's Chair. Maybe it's happened before in the almost 230 years that the House and Senate have been at work - but what Cleaver did on Tuesday was something that left my jaw on the floor. In his off-the-cuff remarks, Cleaver seemed to indicate that he had given a pass to Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), who during debate on a resolution condemning President Trump, had denounced a group of minority women Democrats as 'anti-American.' When one Democrat rose to ask that Duffy's words be 'taken down' and scrubbed from the Record, Cleaver brushed off the complaint. And he evidently thought the same should have been done for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, when she referred to the President's 'racist tweets,' directly going against precedents of the House which clearly state that such speech is against the rules. In a statement, Cleaver said he was simply frustrated at what was going on before his eyes. 'I have spent my entire life working with people of all faiths and stripes in an effort solve real-world problems with concrete solutions, but never have we been this divided and this unwilling to listen to countering opinions or accept objective truths,' the Missouri Democrat said. 'However, a house divided against itself cannot stand, regardless of how strong the foundation,' Cleaver added. Some of my colleagues were just as surprised at the turn of events. The rules rebuke of Pelosi was historic as well - it was the first time a Speaker had words 'taken down' in 35 years, since a famous floor spat between Speaker Tip O'Neill, and future Speaker Newt Gingrich (though not many people at the time would have predicted Gingrich's ascension to that leadership post).
  • The House voted Tuesday mainly along party lines to publicly rebuke President Donald Trump for tweets and remarks aimed at a group of minority women Democrats, but the legislative reprimand dissolved into hours of parliamentary disarray on the floor, as for the first time in 35 years, a Speaker of the House ran afoul of the House rules during debate on the Trump resolution. Four Republicans broke ranks with the President and voted for the resolution to condemn the President's remarks: Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX), Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN), Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), plus one Independent, former GOP Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI). 'Every single Member of this institution, Democratic and Republican, should join us in condemning the President's racist tweets,' Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, triggering hours of delay, as the GOP demanded that her words be 'taken down' and expunged from the Congressional Record. When challenged by Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) - who suggested gracefully that the Speaker re-frame her comments to avoid running afoul of rules which severely limit what can be said about a President on the House floor - Pelosi said her remarks had been cleared by the Parliamentarian. But that did not turn out to be the case, as the chair ruled that the Speaker's words were out of order - though the House later overturned that ruling in a party line vote. 'I was compelled to demand that the House enforce the rules against Speaker Pelosi,' Collins said, 'for her deliberate attack on the President.' The House precedents are very clear that the word 'racist' - or anything which suggests that a President has engaged in 'racist' behavior - is not allowed in debate. It was the first time in 35 years - since Speaker Tip O'Neill had his words 'taken down' during a 1984 House floor dispute with future Speaker Rep. Newt Gingrich R-GA - that a Speaker had been so sanctioned. But this time, Democrats refused to strike the Speaker's words from the Record, and then voted to go against a long standing precedent by allowing the Speaker to re-join the debate. Normally, if a member is sanctioned - and has their words taken down - that person is not allowed to speak for the rest of the day. The day also included a highly unusual scene, after the Parliamentarian determined that Pelosi had violated House rules by referring to the President's 'racist tweets,' as Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO) refused to publicly admonish the Speaker, dropping the gavel and leaving the Speaker's chair. 'I abandon the Chair,' Cleaver said, leaving Congressional veterans grasping for any historic parallel. If the President was worried by the House vote, he didn't show it, using a session with reporters at the White House to again criticize four new Democratic women, who have repeatedly attacked his actions and policy choices. “It’s my opinion they hate our country. And that’s not good. It’s not acceptable,” Mr. Trump said. Republicans denounced the resolution as a political ploy. “If Democrats were serious about changing the rhetoric in Washington, this resolution would address at least a few of the egregious remarks made by Members in their own caucus,” said Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA).
  • As lawmakers kick off hearings on Capitol Hill Tuesday about a cryptocurrency plan launched by a group led by the social media giant Facebook, the 'Libra' idea faces increasing resistance from the White House, federal banking regulators, and lawmakers in both parties. 'The Treasury Department has expressed very serious concerns that Libra could be misused by money launderers and terrorist financiers,' said Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin on Monday. 'This is indeed a national security issue,' Mnuchin said, in a rare briefing for reporters at the White House. On Capitol Hill, lawmakers share many of the same concerns, and heard those amplified last week at a hearing by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. 'Libra raises many serious concerns regarding privacy, money laundering, consumer protection and financial stability,' Powell said in remarks to the House Banking Committee - where he seemed very ready to give a public warning about Libra. 'I strongly believe that we all need to be taking our time here,' Powell told lawmakers about the Libra proposal. 'We all want innovation,' said Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH). 'But we all want innovation that protects data security.' 'We got to have a better understanding of the impact on our economy and our ability to manage money,' said Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), as lawmakers in both parties expressed concern. More of that is going to be heard on Tuesday and Wednesday, as the head of the Libra project for Facebook goes before House and Senate committees 'Libra is about developing a safe, secure, and low-cost way for people to move money efficiently around the world,' said David Marcus, the head of the Libra effort. 'We believe that Libra can make real progress toward building a more inclusive financial infrastructure,' Marcus will tell lawmakers, even as he agrees with the Federal Reserve chairman's call for a thorough review of the cryptocurrency plan. But the idea is already a loser in the mind of President Trump. 'If Facebook and other companies want to become a bank, they must seek a new Banking Charter,' Mr. Trump tweeted last week, as he made clear his opposition to Libra. 'I’m not comfortable today,' Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said of the Facebook Libra plan. 'As I’ve said, they and others have a lot of work to do before they get us comfortable.
  • As President Donald Trump on Monday intensified his criticism of a group of more liberal Democratic women lawmakers in Congress, Democrats announced they would bring a resolution to the House floor this week to condemn the President's weekend tweets, in which he said the group of minority women members should 'go back' to the countries they 'originally came from.' 'The House cannot allow the President’s characterization of immigrants to our country to stand,' House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a letter to fellow Democrats.  'Our Republican colleagues must join us in condemning the President’s xenophobic tweets,' Pelosi added. At the White House, the President stood by his criticism. “If you're not happy here, then you can leave,” Mr. Trump told reporters. The Speaker's announcement came as a handful of GOP lawmakers publicly criticized President Trump's tweets, which targeted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA). 'Those tweets are racist and xenophobic,' Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) said on CNN. 'President Trump was wrong to suggest that four left-wing congresswomen should go back to where they came from,' said Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) in a written statement. 'I urge our President immediately disavow his comments,' said Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX). 'Frankly I’m appalled by the President's tweets,' said Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI). 'There’s no excuse.' Returning to Capitol Hill for the legislative work week, Democrats were furious. 'Donald Trump's bigoted attacks over the weekend were intended to divide this country,' said Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV). 'Another vile, racist attack from the President,' said Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ). But none of that slowed Mr. Trump. “These are people that hate our country,” the President said, as a crowd outside the White House cheered his comments. One Democrat, Rep. Al Green of Texas, announced that he would file articles of impeachment against the President - based just on his weekend tweets.  “I will again, this month, bring impeachment to a vote on the Floor of the U.S. House of Representatives for bigotry in policy, harmful to our society,” Green said.
  • The Trump Administration on Monday rolled out new restrictions designed to limit the ability of migrants from Central America to apply for asylum in the United States, stating those who try to make it to the U.S. via Mexico will be ineligible for asylum along the southern border. In a document posted to the Federal Register, the new regulations from the Trump Administration say that if a migrant tries to make it by land to the southern border, they must ask for legal protection in a third country along the way, before asking for asylum in the United States. 'The United States has experienced a dramatic increase in the number of aliens encountered along or near the southern land border with Mexico,' the new rules state. The regulations - scheduled to be published on Tuesday - say, 'an alien who enters or attempts to enter the United States across the southern border after failing to apply for protection in a third country outside the alien’s country of citizenship, nationality, or last lawful habitual residence through which the alien transited en route to the United States is ineligible for asylum.' “This Rule is a lawful exercise of authority provided by Congress to restrict eligibility for asylum,” said Attorney General William Barr in a written statement. “The United States is a generous country but is being completely overwhelmed by the burdens associated with apprehending and processing hundreds of thousands of aliens along the southern border,” Barr added. There are limited exceptions to the new asylum rule, such as if the migrant can demonstrate persecution or torture; or if the person is a victim of human trafficking. In Congress, GOP lawmakers gave the President a quick thumbs up. “For too long, our broken asylum system has been exploited by illegal aliens as a means to enter and remain in our country,” said Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ). The new rules are certain to face a legal challenge. “The Trump administration is trying to unilaterally reverse our country's legal and moral commitment to protect those fleeing danger,” said Lee Gelernt of the ACLU. “This new rule is patently unlawful and we will sue swiftly,” the ACLU added in a statement.
  • U.S. House Democrats denounced President Donald Trump on Sunday, after he said on Twitter that a group of outspoken progressive Democrats in Congress should 'go back' to their 'totally broken and crime infested' countries, even though three of the four women lawmakers were born in the United States. 'When @realDonaldTrump tells four American Congresswomen to go back to their countries, he reaffirms his plan to “Make America Great Again” has always been about making America white again,' tweeted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. 'You are angry because you can’t conceive of an America that includes us,' said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who was born in the Bronx. 'THIS is what racism looks like,' tweeted Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), who was born in Boston. 'WE are what democracy looks like.' 'I will never back down,' said Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), who was born in Detroit. 'As Members of Congress, the only country we swear an oath to is the United States,' said Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who was born in Somalia, and emigrated to the U.S. when she was nine years old. Throughout Sunday, Democrats reacted with bitterness to the President's tweets. 'We have a racist in the White House and these vile comments go beyond dog-whistling,' said Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI). 'I don’t know what else to say but Donald Trump is a racist and a criminal and we have a constitutional duty to impeach him,' said Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA). 'There’s no excuse for such racist and xenophobic comments, especially from the president of the United States,' said Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO). 'Trump’s racist rant against our colleagues unifies all patriotic Americans against him,' said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD). 'The birther-in-chief continues to spout racist, un-American garbage to distract from his failing administration,' said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). 'As I’ve said all along, this President is a racist, and this comment confirms the person we know him to be on the inside,' said Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY). 'Go back where you came from,” the cry of every bigoted tyrant for centuries,' said Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY). These were the tweets from the President on Sunday morning which drew the attention of Democrats: It wasn't immediately apparent what spurred the President's series of social media missives at the four women lawmakers, who have been involved in a growing feud with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. 'To tell these American citizens (most of whom were born here) to “go back” to the “crime infested places from which they came” is racist and disgusting,' said Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI), who recently left the Republican Party in Congress. On Twitter, Republicans were silent about the President's remarks, tweeting instead on Sunday about health care, immigration, Girl Scouts, baseball, and more.
  • Tulsa police and city water crews are asking drivers to avoid the intersection at 21st and 129th East Avenue.  A-36-inch water line burst there around three Friday morning, bringing officers and a repair crew to the scene.  “First step they said was to get the water shut off but then (workers) said the intersection is still going to be torn up for a considerable amount of time after that,” TPD Cpl. Matt Arnold said.  Power was shut off to the area for worker safety. We're told the intersection will be a mess until repairs can be made.
  • Registration opens for the Owasso city-wide block party. This year's event will be held Sept. 14. The city says these block parties are a great way to meet your neighbors, which could lead to a safer community. The deadline to register is August 28, 2019.
  • The 53rd Annual Porter Peach Festival is happening until Saturday night.  Bad weather damaged 90-percent of the crop last year, forcing growers to bring in peaches from Texas.  The festival features live music, local art and a parade Saturday morning. Porter is located at 201 Street South and North 4200 Road.
  • After a high profile confrontation in the first set of Democratic debates in the 2020 race for the White House, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris will be paired together again on the same debate stage, as Democrats will gather in Detroit July 30-31. The makeup of the two debates were announced after a draw live on CNN, as the network randomly placed the 20 qualifying candidates for the second pair of Democratic debates. While Biden and Harris headline the second night, the debates will kick off with three of the top five Democrats on stage for the first debate:  Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
  • An accident is under investigation affecting the eastbound lanes of the Turner Turnpike at the Tulsa gate.  The accident happened around 8 p.m. Thursday and involved two vehicles, including an SUV.  We're told a FedEx truck at the scene may have had hazardous material on board.  Sapulpa police say one person died in the SUV that was involved in the collision. The driver was traveling in the wrong direction on the roadway. One eastbound lane at the bridge was opened for traffic at 4:30 a.m.

Washington Insider

  • After a high profile confrontation in the first set of Democratic debates in the 2020 race for the White House, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris will be paired together again on the same debate stage, as Democrats will gather in Detroit July 30-31. The makeup of the two debates were announced after a draw live on CNN, as the network randomly placed the 20 qualifying candidates for the second pair of Democratic debates. While Biden and Harris headline the second night, the debates will kick off with three of the top five Democrats on stage for the first debate:  Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
  • With GOP lawmakers in Congress publicly expressing their concerns about a campaign rally chant aimed at Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), President Donald Trump on Thursday made clear he did not endorse the 'Send her back' call, as Democratic leaders expressed fears for Omar's security. 'I wasn't happy with that message that they gave last night,' the President told reporters at the White House. Asked several times by reporters why he didn't stop the chant, Mr. Trump said it was a 'packed arena,' very specifically saying he did not endorse the message against Omar. 'I was not happy with it,' the President added. 'I didn't like that they did it.' Here was the moment the chant started during his rally, in response to his criticism of four minority women Democratic House members, including Omar: On Capitol Hill, a number of Republicans expressed their concern about the message from the Trump crowd. 'No American should ever talk to another American that way,' said Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK). 'That's a very inappropriate sentiment in this country,' Cole told reporters just off the House floor. “The tweet was wrong & the chant last night grotesque,” wrote Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Twitter. “What I’m hearing from Capitol Police is that threats are up across the board for all members,” said Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), who expressed his concern about the ‘send her back’ chant just a few hours after the rally had ended. As for Omar, she met on Thursday morning with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as reporters pressed her to respond to the chant. “We have said this President is racist,” Omar said as she walked from the Capitol back to her House office. Democrats said they were concerned about Omar’s safety and possible threats against her. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), the head of the House Democratic Caucus, encouraged lawmakers and the Capitol Police to quickly share any information about threats to police back in their home districts. “We got to make sure every single person, Democrat, Republican, progressive, conservative, the left and the right, get through it together,” Jeffries said.
  • Pressing ahead with one of their main agenda items in the 116th Congress, Democrats are poised to push a bill through the House on Thursday which would more than double the federal minimum wage over the next six years, taking it from the current level of $7.25 an hour, and pressing it up to $15. 'This is a fair and overdue adjustment,' argued Rep. Joseph Morelle (D-NY), as debate started Wednesday on the floor of the House.  'American workers haven't had the benefit of a federal minimum wage increase in over a decade, while the prices of everything have gone up,' said Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH). House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pressed Democrats to stick together on the minimum wage bill, arguing it 'lifts 1.3 million Americans out of poverty.' But for most Republicans, the idea of raising the wage would be a giant economic mistake, hurting rural areas, and younger Americans looking for work. 'When Congress should be focused on pro-growth policies, this bill would be detrimental to American families, workers, and entrepreneurs,' said Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX). Republicans have pointed repeatedly to a recent Congressional Budget Office report, which estimated that the $15 minimum wage could cause job losses of 1.3 million - with a high estimate over 3.7 million. 'That's like firing the entire population of the state of Oklahoma,' said Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), in a line that's been used by a number of GOP lawmakers in recent weeks. The original plan was to raise the minimum wage in five steps over five years - but because of resistance among some Democrats - the plan was changed to make it a six year increase. The bill would raise the wage in steps, first to $8.45 an hour, then $9.50 a year after that, followed by a jump to $10.60, then $11.70 an hour, $12.80 an hour, $13.90, and lastly to $15 an hour. After that, the minimum wage would be indexed to rise along with median wage growth in the United States. While Democrats will certainly celebrate the passage of the plan - the bill seems unlikely to get a vote in the Republican-led Senate.
  • Accusing the Trump Administration of intentionally withholding documents and information about the failed effort by President Donald Trump to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, the House on Wednesday voted along party lines to find the Attorney General and Secretary of Commerce in Contempt of Congress. 'Neither of the Departments have provided the documents we have asked for,' said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), as the House resolution targeted both Attorney General William Barr, and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. 'I even asked Secretary Ross to meet with me personally,' Cummings said on the House floor. 'He refused.' It was the second time Barr had been held in contempt by the current Congress; the first was a civil contempt citation passed by the full House for ignoring a subpoena for his testimony about the Russia investigation and the Mueller Report. Democrats said it was nothing but a cover-up by the White House. Just before the vote, Barr and Ross sent a letter to Democrats asking that the contempt vote be delayed, as Republicans argued that the Trump Administration has been cooperating with requests for documents - something Democrats say just isn't true. 'It is unfortunate that the House has scheduled a vote to hold two sitting members of the President's Cabinet in contempt of Congress given the clear record of cooperation,' Barr and Ross wrote, as they said 'any contempt vote is, at best, premature.' 'This is all about a show,' said Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), as Republicans rallied around a message that Democrats were pursuing political attacks on the President, while ignoring major issues on Capitol Hill. 'Don't play politics with contempt,' said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC). 'We're better than that.' Democrats countered that the courts have already shown that the Trump Administration didn't tell the truth about why the citizenship question was being pursued - as Democrats argued that the feds had held back information to Congress about the Census citizenship question. 'Wilbur Ross lied. William Barr lied,' said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). In a defiant statement sent out just after the vote, the White House denounced the House action. “Today’s vote by Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats to hold Attorney General Barr and Secretary Ross in contempt is ridiculous and yet another lawless attempt to harass the President and his Administration,” the statement read.
  • Next summer will mark forty years since I drew my first paycheck on Capitol Hill as a Page in the House of Representatives. Between working for the Congress, and then covering lawmakers as a reporter, I've seen lawmakers almost come to blows, watched Speakers angrily denounce their critics, seen lawmakers block the doors to the House floor to keep lawmakers from leaving, and all sorts of other legislative mischief. But I have never seen what happened on Tuesday, when Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO) did what amounted to a 'gavel drop,' as he refused to read a parliamentary ruling against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and simply walked away. 'I abandon the Chair,' Cleaver said, after getting my attention by clearly not reading the script in front of him, and speaking in the first person from the Speaker's Chair. Maybe it's happened before in the almost 230 years that the House and Senate have been at work - but what Cleaver did on Tuesday was something that left my jaw on the floor. In his off-the-cuff remarks, Cleaver seemed to indicate that he had given a pass to Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), who during debate on a resolution condemning President Trump, had denounced a group of minority women Democrats as 'anti-American.' When one Democrat rose to ask that Duffy's words be 'taken down' and scrubbed from the Record, Cleaver brushed off the complaint. And he evidently thought the same should have been done for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, when she referred to the President's 'racist tweets,' directly going against precedents of the House which clearly state that such speech is against the rules. In a statement, Cleaver said he was simply frustrated at what was going on before his eyes. 'I have spent my entire life working with people of all faiths and stripes in an effort solve real-world problems with concrete solutions, but never have we been this divided and this unwilling to listen to countering opinions or accept objective truths,' the Missouri Democrat said. 'However, a house divided against itself cannot stand, regardless of how strong the foundation,' Cleaver added. Some of my colleagues were just as surprised at the turn of events. The rules rebuke of Pelosi was historic as well - it was the first time a Speaker had words 'taken down' in 35 years, since a famous floor spat between Speaker Tip O'Neill, and future Speaker Newt Gingrich (though not many people at the time would have predicted Gingrich's ascension to that leadership post).