All Policymaking stories

First person: Inside Kabul, then and now

The traveling party for Secretary of State John Kerry - led by future U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan John Bass - is seen landing near the U.S. Embassy in Kabul in 2013. Photo: Glen Johnson/State Department-Public Domain

From shuttle flights aboard armed helicopters to finding a Kevlar helmet and flak vest in a bedroom closet, my five visits to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul showed me time and again the value of the only safe haven inside that danger zone.

Why it matters: Diplomats who fled the high-walled garrison already worked in difficult conditions. Huddled at Afghanistan’s last free airport, they're even less capable of saving the nationals who helped them — or the women and businesspeople who flourished with their aid over the past 20 years.

DHS warns of heightened threats ahead of 9/11 anniversary

9/11 Tribute in Light seen from Jersey City of New Jersey on the night of the 19th anniversary. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security issued a warning Friday regarding the heightened threat environment leading up to the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Driving the news: DHS said that the anniversary of the attacks could serve as a motivator for foreign terror groups while terrorism still poses a high threat in the United States.

New York Assembly speaker: Cuomo impeachment probe to be suspended

Photoo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced Friday the chamber will suspend its impeachment investigation of Gov. Andrew Cuomo following his decision to resign effective Aug. 25.

Why it matters: Cuomo decided to step down after the state attorney general released an independent report that found the governor had sexually harassed at least 11 women.

Updated Aug 13, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Federal judge keeps eviction moratorium alive, but signals it's illegal

A sign calling for fighting evictions is set on the ground the night Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) slept outside the U.S. Capitol to call for for an extension of the federal eviction moratorium. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

A federal judge denied landlords' request to pause the Biden administration's new federal eviction moratorium, saying she doesn't have the authority to do so despite her belief that the policy is illegal, according to a court document filed Friday.

Driving the news: U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich determined that the new moratorium is "virtually identical" to a previous ban that she deemed illegal in May, and should therefore be considered an "extension."

Nine House Democrats say they won't vote on budget unless infrastructure bill passes

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) speaks during her weekly press briefing on August 6, 2021. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Nine House Democrats on Thursday sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) warning that they would not vote on a budget resolution until the $1 trillion infrastructure package passes the House and is signed into law, Punchbowl News reported.

Why it matters: The pledge threatens Democrats' plan to pass both a multitrillion-dollar spending package and the bipartisan infrastructure package, which Pelosi has pledged to take up at the same time. With only a slim majority in the House, Pelosi can only lose three Democratic votes.

House raises max salary for staff to nearly $200,000

Nancy Pelosi walking to the House Floor. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The House of Representatives is raising its maximum annual salary for staff to $199,300, up from $173,900, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Thursday.

Why it matters: The move is intended to help "recruit and retain the outstanding and diverse talent," Pelosi wrote in a letter to colleagues. It's also aimed at ensuring pay parity between House staff and other federal government employees, she added.

Private sector expresses cautious optimism on bipartisan infrastructure bill

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Congress is still working through its infrastructure bill, with the ball now in the House's court after the Senate passed its own on Tuesday.

The big picture: Depending on how individual programs are ultimately set up, it could open opportunities for startups.

Schumer: Progressives, centrists "need each other" for two-track balancing act

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told Politico that the progressive and moderate wings of the Democratic Party "need each other" in order to have any hopes of passing their spending priorities with the narrowest possible majority.

Why it matters: Democrats have cleared the first hurdle in Schumer's risky "two-track" legislative strategy to enact President Biden's agenda, but just a single objection could derail the entire gambit.

McConnell praises Biden's role in Senate passing infrastructure bill

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) makes his way to the Senate chamber during the Senate vote-a-rama. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) credited President Biden on Tuesday for his role in getting the Senate to pass the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Why it matters: It's a rare flash of praise from the Republican leader, who has previously said that 100% of his focus is on "stopping" the Biden administration's agenda.

Ted Cruz blocks 4 a.m. attempt to pass Democrats' voting rights package

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) blocked Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's (D-N.Y.) attempt to pass Democrats' signature voting rights package — a revised version of the "For the People Act" — in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Why it matters: The sweeping federal elections overhaul is intended to combat a wave of new voting restrictions in Republican-led states, but has no chance of winning the 60 votes needed to overcome the filibuster.