GAVEL DOWN: Closing out the Week in Congress

Puerto Rico defaulted on largest debt payment so far, as lawmakers work on new legislative solution to the island’s debt crisis. Several much anticipated rules (proposed and final) were released this week. Treasury Department announced efforts to stem tax fraud, largely in response to Panama Papers. House and Senate were on recess, working back home; both […]

Gavel Down: Closing out the Week in Congress

Relations with Iran warmed but "thaw" was not a word anyone was using in snowy Washington. The Senate was in but both major votes this week did not advance — an attempt to override the President's veto of a "disapproval" resolution on expanded water rules and the House-passed bill to tighten security procedures for refugees […]

Gavel Down: Dec. 7 – Dec. 11

It was a “to be continued” sort of week in Congress. Negotiations continue on an end-of-year Omnibus spending bill and tax extenders, while a short-term extension passed to give the “glacial” process more time. A trade enforcement bill passed the House, marking the third conference report in ten days, and several Members introduced bills to […]

Should Congress authorize the use of force against ISIS?

  February 2015: President Obama requested authorization from Congress (Read the President’s letter to Congress.) By April, House GOP leaders said that there was “no path to 218 votes” on the President’s plan. In May, then-Speaker John Boehner criticized the President’s approach: “The president’s request for an authorization of the use of military force calls […]

Issue Spotlight: Refugee Policies and U.S. Strategy for Combatting ISIS/ISIL/D’aesh

The horrific attacks in Paris have intensified ongoing discussions about the American strategy for combatting ISIS — or “ISIL” or “D’aesh. (See: Why John Kerry and the French president are calling ISIS “Daesh.”) It has also brought some to express concerns about refugee resettlement policies for those fleeing ISIS, ongoing human rights violations in Syria, and […]

The Week Ahead in Congress: Nov. 9 – Nov. 13, 2015

This week, the House is in recess and the Senate will work on a Veterans Affairs funding bill. Before leaving town, 35 lawmakers—from across the political spectrum—sent a letter urging a vote on authorizing force against ISIS. And President Obama is urging Congress to “ban the box” to give formerly incarcerated people a fairer chance […]