News Digest – July 25, 2017

In the news this week: the GOP’s zombie ACA repeal bill continues to terrorize America, Trump-Russia investigation expands, and Democrats release there new agenda “A Better Deal”.

Health care


  • In perhaps another sign that the Russia investigation is heating up, the Washington Post is reporting that some of President Trump’s lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation.
  • Earlier this week, President Trump told the New York Times that he would not have appointed Jeff Sessions as attorney general if he knew that Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation.
  • Also this week, the Trump administration confirmed that the president spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a second, previously undisclosed meeting at the G20 summit.
  • Senator Cardin told NPR that it was “remarkable” that the president “does not realize that the attorney general is the attorney general for the people of this country” and does not act in “a personal position for the president.”  Cardin described the previously undisclosed meeting between Trump and Putin as “troubling.”
  • Meanwhile, legislation to impose sanctions on Russia is still evolving, with American oil and natural gas companies warning Congress that the new regulations would harm them, too.  Senator Cardin, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said that the Senate bill is flexible enough to deal with industry concerns.
  • Congressman Cummings demands details on how Secret Service vetted Russians at Trump Tower meeting

The Democratic agenda

  • Senator Van Hollen has reportedly been working with Democratic congressional leaders to hash out the party’s legislative policy agenda, to be revealed on Monday.
  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Representative Sarbanes (MD-3) told reporters during a Tuesday news conference that their party was developing a series of legislative proposals they dubbed the “By the People Project” that would include updates to the nation’s ethics and elections systems.

Cardin 2018

Senator Cardin raised nearly $1 million in the second quarter of 2017, fueling speculation that he’ll seek reelection in 2018.  Cardin, 73, has not yet said definitively whether he will run for reelection and a third term.

Federal Funding

    • Congressman Ruppersburger continues to fight for funding for FBI Headquarters project.
    • Ruppersburger works to restore $60 million in federal funds for the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort.


  • Ruppersburger objects to House Panel  signing of on $1.8B for DHS Cyber Office, taking $100M from cybersecurity and research and development work in order to build the border wall


  • Cummings reacts to House GOP proposal to cut federal employees’ retirement

Voter Fraud

  • Kris Kobach, Kansas secretary of state and operational leader of the Commission on Election Integrity, defended the commission’s request for voter information from every state, citing his state’s 128 cases of alleged voter fraud as a major concern; Cummings and other reps penned a letter Tuesday to Vice President Mike Pence, requesting for Kobach to resign and called the commission’s actions a voter suppression technique; more here and here.

Ethics generally

  • Outgoing ethics chief looks forward to meeting with Representative Cummings (MD-7).

Local News

  • Representative Cummings (MD-7) raises questions about Transportation Department’s closing of civil rights complaint on Red Line cancellation.
  • Maya Rockeymoore, wife of Rep. Elijah Cummings, weighs run for Md. governor
  • Baltimore
  • Baltimore – more specifically, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s connection to Baltimore – apparently irritated the president, who remarked in the same New York Times interview about the Russia investigation that the city has “very few Republicans,” “if any.”
  • After hospitalization, Cummings plans to return to work during the August recess; more here.


  • Representative Sarbanes (MD-3) among House members demanding apology from Turkish president after violent clash between Turkish President’s bodyguards and protesters; more here.


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