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- Trump Abruptly Cancels Black Clergy Event
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Republican lawmakers who see the year-end omnibus spending bill as a vehicle to slow the flow of Syrian refugees to the United States might need to get creative. Why? The certification process for refugees critics are concerned about is funded by fees, not appropriated by Congress.
In the week following the terrorist attacks in Paris, Republicans called for a pause in the program that allows Syrians to flee their civil war and see refuge in the United States, arguing there are gaps in the process used to verify and certify refugees. Full story
A group of House Republicans wants uniformed military leaders to consult with attorneys before carrying out executive orders from President Barack Obama related to closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
“The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) contemplates that with respect to enlisted personnel and officers in the United States armed forces, when an order given by one’s superiors comes into conflict with the laws of this nation, the latter prevail. We believe that in our democracy — in which governance is undertaken, in the words of Founding Father John Adams, by ‘…a government of laws, and not of men…’ – that understanding necessarily applies equally to orders given by the Commander-in-Chief,” writes the group of 16 House members who are all military veterans.
Two men who sued Speaker Paul D. Ryan — and then agreed to drop the case in March — have refiled their lawsuit over a car crash on I-395 involving Ryan’s then-D.C. chief of staff.
This time, however, Santos Perez and Adan Cajas declined to list Ryan and his staffer, Kevin Seifert, as defendants in the case. Full story
Updated 4:30 p.m. | Former staffer Bradley F. Podliska filed a lawsuit on Monday against the House Select Committee on Benghazi for unlawful termination and against its chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., for defamation.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, argues that Podliska was unlawfully fired by the committee in June 2015 following months of hostility against him because he took leave from his job to fulfill his obligations as an intelligence officer in the Air Force Reserve. It asks that Podliska be reinstated “into a position at the level of seniority, status, and pay that he would have enjoyed had the Benghazi Committee neither discriminated nor retaliated against him” and that he be compensated for lost pay and benefits in addition to damages. Full story
The House debate on refugees and national security this week took a turn for the personal and for good reason: Several members are refugees or the children of refugees, have family ties to the Middle East or were imprisoned in U.S. internment camps on the basis of their ethnicity.
After the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, House Republicans drafted legislation requiring the FBI to certify background checks for U.S.-bound Syrian and Iraqi refugees and U.S. national security agencies to vouch that they are not security threats. The final vote in the House on Thursday was 289-137, a veto-proof margin. Full story
A House staffer took the witness stand in District of Columbia court Thursday, in a case that has raised questions about Capitol Police policy toward protesters.
Outgoing House Oversight and Government Reform staff director Sean McLaughlin testified that he acted in his professional capacity when telling protesters they would be asked to leave if they were disruptive, in a case stemming from an April arrest of D.C. activist Adam Eidinger during a committee markup.
“Generally I’m the person who is in control of the committee room,” McLaughlin, who has worked as staff director for about one year, told the court. Full story
House Democratic leadership braced Thursday for at least 60 defections on the Republican bill to strengthen the vetting of Syrian refugees seeking resettlement in the United States.
It wasn’t quite that high, but 47 Democrats crossed the aisle to vote with nearly every Republican for Congress’ first legislative response to the terrorist attacks in Paris — despite a veto threat from President Barack Obama. The coalition of Democrats supporting the measure, which passed 289-137, wasn’t atypical of previous votes for which leadership could not justify opposition. Full story
Updated 5:43 p.m. | The House Ethics Committee voted Wednesday to establish an investigative subcommittee to look into allegations that Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., “received compensation for his involvement with a fiduciary business, a real estate investment firm known as Pittenger Land Investments, Inc.” But, at the request of the Justice Department, the committee has recommended the subcommittee defer its investigation. Full story
In 24 hours, House Democrats have gone from opposing the GOP proposal to tighten the United States’ screening of Iraqi and Syrian refugees to supporting the bill in large numbers.
The shift is due to a number of factors, including pressure from constituents to take action this week — as well as frustration with the White House’s inability to offer a compelling reason to wait. Full story
House Republicans passed changes to overhaul the Steering Committee by voice vote Thursday.
It’s the first of what could be several changes to how the conference operates, and a sign that new Speaker Paul D. Ryan was serious when he promised to take members’ complaints seriously. Full story
The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security holds a hearing on the Syrian refugee crisis and the U.S. admission program for refugees. Officials from the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security are expected to testify.
Coverage begins at 9 a.m.
The sexual harassment case against Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, halted Wednesday because an agreement was reached by the two parties.
The details of the resolution that led to the parties’ suggestion the case be dismissed, which was first reported by the National Law Journal, are unclear. The lawyer for Lauren Greene, the former staffer who alleged harassment and discrimination, and Farenthold’s office, did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday night. Full story
The House paused Wednesday night to pay tribute to the lives lost at the hands of the Islamic State terror group in Beirut, Lebanon.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., stood with members of the US-Lebanese Friendship Caucus, which he chairs, in the Well of the House to lead lawmakers in a moment of silence to honor the 43 victims who were killed when two suicide bombers attacked Beirut on Nov. 12. Full story
Paul D. Ryan was pushed to run for speaker because members believed he could unite House Republicans, but he will share some of that responsibility with some select colleagues.
The Wisconsin Republican has tapped eight members to serve on an “advisory group” that will meet regularly to discuss House matters and serve as Ryan’s sounding board for leadership ideas. The group, according to names obtained by CQ Roll Call, includes two members from each of the three main Republican voting blocs — as well as two of Ryan’s closest allies. Full story
Updated 6:15 p.m. | House Democrats will use procedural gambits to get a vote on their proposal aimed at easing concerns about Syrian refugees coming to the United States but without completely blocking their resettlement.
The partisan maneuvering has the potential to weaken support for a Republican-backed bill set to come to the floor Thursday. President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the measure, but the bill is expected to pass with GOP votes and some from fiscally conservative Democrats.