D.C. briefly

At the Interior Department’s headquarters, Secretary Ryan Zinke has revived an arcane military ritual that no one can remember ever happening in the federal government. A security staffer takes the elevator to the seventh floor, climbs the stairs to the roof and hoists a special secretarial flag whenever Zinke enters the building. When the secretary goes home for the day or travels, the flag comes down.

Nothing seems to push lawmakers to get their jobs done more than the threat of having to be in Washington over the holidays. Knowing this, Speaker Paul Ryan made it clear that Congress staying in session over Christmas is an option if members have not advanced a tax overhaul bill by then. “We have to get this done,” the speaker said.

California joined five states in filing a court action seeking to block the Trump administration’s new restrictions on travelers from a handful of countries, arguing it is unconstitutionally motivated by anti-Muslim animus. State Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the new restrictions contain the same flaws as those previously challenged by states.

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