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Jamie Dupree's Washington Insider

10 tidbits from inside the massive Omnibus funding bill in Congress

  • 4:00 am Thursday, March 22nd, 2018 by Jamie Dupree

Ending weeks of negotiations between Congress and the White House, GOP leaders on Wednesday night released a $1.3 trillion funding plan for the federal government, an agreement that will result in over $100 billion in new spending in 2018, causing heartburn – and opposition – among more conservative Republicans in the House.

Almost six months behind schedule on their budget work, lawmakers produced a mammoth funding bill, which weighs in at 2,232 pages, the product of extended talks that almost went awry at the last minute.

The bill was highlighted by the inclusion of a number of non-spending provisions, [More]

GOP leaders unveil giant federal government spending plan

  • 8:23 pm Wednesday, March 21st, 2018 by Jamie Dupree

After weeks of negotiations, Congress unveiled a $1.3 trillion funding measure for the federal government on Wednesday night, adding billions in new spending for both the Pentagon and domestic spending programs, along with a pair of bills dealing with school safety and gun violence, but including no deals on some politically difficult issues like the future of illegal immigrant “Dreamers.”

One of the many provisions in the bill included a $174,000 payment to the estate of the late Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), who died earlier this week.

Those type of payments are typical when a lawmaker dies while in office.

GOP leaders hope [More]

21 states targeted by Russia in 2016 election still a mystery

  • 12:01 pm Wednesday, March 21st, 2018 by Jamie Dupree

Reviewing the reaction of the Obama Administration to signs that Russia was trying to interfere in the 2016 election campaign, Senators on Wednesday expressed frustration at the refusal of the Obama and Trump Administrations to publicly reveal the names of at least 21 states targeted by Russian cyber attackers in 2016, arguing there is no reason to keep that information from the American people.

“America has to know what’s wrong,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). “And if there are states that have been attacked, America should know that.”

In a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen [More]

Winter storm threat shuts down federal government, cancels White House events

  • 8:04 am Wednesday, March 21st, 2018 by Jamie Dupree

While the calendar may say it is spring, another winter storm threatened the East Coast on Wednesday, prompting the federal government to close down offices in the Washington, D.C. area, and canceling public events for President Donald Trump at the White House.

While there was little snow on the ground as the sun came up on Wednesday, forecasters were warning of big snow totals from the nation’s capital, up the I-95 corridor through Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

But as the morning commute continued, there was little evidence in some spots of that storm.

“Total accumulation so far 1” of Salt,” tweeted Rep. Billy [More]

In Russia probe, Senate panel urges stronger election security

  • 1:22 pm Tuesday, March 20th, 2018 by Jamie Dupree

Issuing the first report in the review of Russian interference in the 2016 elections, members of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Tuesday that a range of stepped up election security measures must be taken by local, state, and federal officials to address a series of gaps, which lawmakers in both parties say Moscow was obviously trying to exploit.

“It is clear the Russian government was looking for the vulnerabilities in our election system,” said Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), the chairman of the Intelligence panel, which has been working for over a year to uncoil what cyber attacks Moscow was engaging in [More]

Red Ink Rising – National debt goes over $21 trillion

  • 12:44 am Tuesday, March 20th, 2018 by Jamie Dupree

A week after the feds announced the largest budget deficit in February in six years, the national debt edged over $21 trillion for the first time ever on Monday, as budget experts argue the U.S. is on a track that will likely again feature yearly deficits of $1 trillion, a level reached only during the Obama Administration.

“This is unsustainable,” said Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI).

The $21 trillion debt milestone was hit as lawmakers in Congress were trying to place the finishing touches on a giant Omnibus funding bill which will increase deficits by well over $100 billion in 2018, because of [More]

Trump goes after Mueller – a new strategy on the Russia probe?

  • 10:49 pm Sunday, March 18th, 2018 by Jamie Dupree

As President Donald Trump this weekend repeated some of his complaints about the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and whether it involved anyone on his campaign, Mr. Trump did something unusual – sending out a pair of his tweets which included the name of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading that investigation.

It was the first time on Twitter that the President had more directly taken aim at Mueller, a former FBI Director who was named by the Trump Justice Department in 2017 to investigate the charge of Russian meddling in last year’s elections.

Were the weekend mentions [More]

Trump lashes out at Mueller, Comey, McCabe, over Russia probe

  • 8:44 am Sunday, March 18th, 2018 by Jamie Dupree

Continuing to attack the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, and any links to his campaign, President Donald Trump on Sunday went on Twitter to directly question the veracity of former top officials of the FBI, accusing them of lying, and making up information to use against him in the Special Counsel’s Russia investigation.

As he attacked former FBI Director James Comey, and recently fired top FBI official Andrew McCabe, Mr. Trump appeared to be watching television on Sunday morning, citing one of his favorite Fox News programs, Fox and Friends.

“Wow, watch Comey lie under oath,” the President tweeted [More]

With retirement of acting chief, NASA finds itself in leadership limbo

  • 5:00 am Saturday, March 17th, 2018 by Jamie Dupree

After operating for more than a year with a temporary chief, NASA faces an unprecedented leadership bind as its acting Administrator announced this week that he would retire at the end of April, with no hint that the Senate will vote by then on President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the space agency.

“It has been a long process but we are optimistic that the vote will come soon,” said Sheryl Kaufman, the Communications Director for Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK).

“We hope that happens soon,” said Rep. Bruce Babin (R-TX), as House Republicans and Vice President Mike Pence pressed the Senate for [More]

No direct answer from White House on future of VA chief

  • 8:08 pm Thursday, March 15th, 2018 by Jamie Dupree

The White House on Thursday refused to directly say if Veterans Secretary David Shulkin will stay in his post, as the VA chief tried to reassure lawmakers that he remains the right person to carry out Trump Administration plans to improve the quality of care at the VA.

“I’ve pubilcly acknowledged that the distraction that has happened is something I deeply regret,” Shulkin told a House panel on Thursday, as the first question at a budget hearing was about persistent news reports of palace intrigue at the VA.

“I do feel that I have to acknowledge the proverbial elephant in the room,” [More]