Monday, Oct. 23

Š      Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made a secret, two-hour visit to the main American air base in Afghanistan on Monday, to meet top Afghan officials.

Š      The Education Department said its rollback, last week, of 72 special education policy guidance documents will not affect services provided to students with disabilities, whose advocates had expressed alarm at the changes.

Š      Three weeks after the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, efforts to pass even scaled-down gun-control legislation, to ban the manufacturing and sale of bump stocks have effectively stalled on Capitol Hill.

Tuesday, Oct. 24

Š      House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, both Republicans, said they will jointly investigate the Justice Department’s handling of its 2016 Hillary Clinton investigation. They’re also seeking more information about the agency’s ongoing investigation into campaign associates of President Donald Trump.

Š      Congress gave final approval for $36.5 billion in emergency spending, including $18,7 billion for FEMA, to pay for ongoing relief from recent natural disasters, including California’s fires.

Š      The Senate passed a resolution (S.J. Res. 47) to repeal a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rule. The repeal would eliminate consumers’ rights to file class action lawsuits and to not have to sign binding arbitration agreements.

Š      The Trump administration will temporarily delay processing of most refugees from 11 countries identified as high-risk, while resuming refugee admissions for other countries, government officials said. The changes come at the close of a 120-day ban on most refugees ordered by Trump to allow a review of vetting processes.

Wednesday, Oct. 25

Š      A 17-year-old, pregnant, undocumented immigrant, identified as Jane Doe in court papers, was allowed to leave a federally funded Texas shelter and terminate her pregnancy, which had been her desire. The government had blocked the abortion until ordered to allow it by an appeals court.

Š      A bipartisan bill to stabilize Obamacare, the Alexander – Murray proposal, would cut the federal deficit by $3.8 billion but wouldn’t do much to change health insurance premiums for 2018, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office. It would not substantially change the number of people who are covered.

Thursday, Oct. 26

Š      House Republicans passed a budget bill with no Democrats voting for it, narrowly overcoming internal GOP dissension to clear a major obstacle in the party’s quest to overhaul the federal tax code. The Senate passed its budget resolution last week. Passage of the budget was necessary to pass the tax code changes with a simple majority in the Senate.

Š      Trump formally declared the opioid crisis a health emergency, but failed to call it a “national emergency”, which would have prompted the allocation of federal funding to address the issue. Trump did not otherwise request any funding to address the crisis.

Š      The State Department said it is set to begin implementing new Russia sanctions after lawmakers in both parties raised questions about the weeks-long delay, according to a statement today from Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker. At issue is an Oct. 1 deadline to identify entities in the Russian defense and intelligence sectors that would come under new sanctions passed in a bipartisan bill that Trump signed in August.

Friday, Oct. 27

Š      Politico reported on its investigation of SEC data that shows that corporate civil penalties are way down under the Trump administration. From February through September, the SEC, headed by Wall Street lawyer Jay Clayton, collected $127 million in corporate civil penalties in 15 cases, compared to $702 million in 43 cases from February through September 2016.

Š      A federal grand jury in Washington approved the first indictments in the investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The charges are still sealed under orders from a federal judge.

Š      Vice reported that U.S. troop presence in Africa has increased to 3,500 exercises, programs, and engagements per year, an average of nearly 10 missions per day, on the African continent.

Saturday, Oct. 28

Š      U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the threat of nuclear missile attack by North Korea is accelerating.

Sunday, Oct. 29

Š      Rep. Adam Schiff told This Week’s George Stephanopoulos that the President’s power to pardon people is not unlimited. “The president cannot pardon people if it’s an effort to obstruct justice, if it’s an effort to prevent Bob Mueller and others from learning about the president’s own conduct. So, there are limitations. If it were truly unlimited, it would have the effect of nullifying vast portions of the constitution. The president could tell Justice Department officials and other law enforcement to violate the law and that if they did, and it was ever brought up, they were brought up on charges, he would pardon them,” Schiff said.