Status of cabinet picks and other appointments: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/us/politics/donald-trump-administration.html. Hearings are happening this week. New confirmations since last week are Betsy DeVos (Education), Jeff Sessions (Attorney General), Tom Price (HHS).
- Court blocks travel ban, airlines allowing visa holders to fly again (source.
- Trust documents show DJT still in charge of his business empire (source)
- WH shelving EO on re-opening CIA "black sites" (source).
Let me take a brief interlude to sum up our legislative process, since lots of outlets are reporting that last item as if it was actually enacted. First a bill is introduced, usually in the House, but they can start in the Senate as well - lots and lots of bills are introduced, at the moment there are 1,450 bills, with another handful being added everyday. Those bills are assigned to one or more committees which decide whether the bill is worth being considered by the House or Senate as a whole. The vast majority of bills never make it past the committee stage (80-90% of bills die in committee), and this is why I usually don't consider bills being introduced as newsworthy, because being introduced doesn't mean it's going anywhere. If the committee decides to approve it, then it might have legs - in goes on to a full vote in the House or Senate. Once approved in one chamber the bill has to go through the whole process in the other chamber. If approved in the other chamber, and the versions are identical, then it goes to the president. If the versions are not identical the differences need to be hashed out and a revised bill needs to go through the process again. It is not a quick process, so far the current Congress has not gotten anything major all the way to the president. The House has passed a bunch of worrying legislation, but most of it hasn't been considered by the Senate yet. If you want to see where a given bill is in the process, I highly recommend govtrack.us, for example the above item on the EAC is at https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr634 and has gotten to step two of the whole process.
- GOP votes to silence Sen. Warren for reading Coretta Scott King letter (source).
- Appeals court rules travel ban unconstitutional - it'll go on to the Supreme Court (source).
- Fact checking on crime rates.
- Wanting to get in on the insulting other countries, Congressman Rohrabacher says Macedonia is not a country, Macedonia understandably a bit upset by this (source)
- Confirmation that National Security Advisor Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador before being appointed (source).
- DJT backs down on China (source)
- GOP plans for stripping Consumer Financial Protection Bureau of power (source).
- Actual Washington Post headline "Sean Spicer went full Melissa McCarthy today."
- Republican "town halls" getting nasty, even deep in GOP territory (source).
Map of the week:
- Visa's affected by the travel ban: