Bridget Bowman

Reid: 'Donald Trump is a Racist'
Senate minority leader has frequently railed against the GOP nominee.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Monday that Donald Trump is a racist, and lambasted the media for not labeling the Republican presidential nominee as such.

"There's always one word that many in the press conspicuously avoid: racist. … But he is a racist. Donald Trump is a racist," Reid said on the Senate floor. "'Racist' is a term I don't throw around lightly."

Opioid Epidemic Enters Funding Debate
Some Democrats said the GOP proposal was "smoke and mirrors"

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's proposal to keep the government funded included one below-the-radar addition: funding to combat the opioid epidemic. While senators in both parties support addressing the issue, the move had some Democrats crying foul.

The Kentucky Republican unveiled last week a draft continuing resolution to fund the government through Dec. 9, after spending talks stalled between Senate leaders. His proposal included $37 million in annual funds for implementing the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, or CARA, which became law in July.

Cruz Backs Trump for President
Cruz had previously refused to endorse Trump, urging voters to "vote your conscience"

In a departure from prior statements, Sen. Ted Cruz announced Friday that he would vote for GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.

"Our country is in crisis. Hillary Clinton is manifestly unfit to be president, and her policies would harm millions of Americans," the Texas Republican wrote in a Facebook post. "And Donald Trump is the only thing standing in her way."

GOP Senators Launch Poverty Focus Group
Republicans say their goal is to listen, then legislate

A small group of Republican senators launched an effort Wednesday to address poverty and expand economic opportunities, as some GOP leaders seek to make inequality an issue for their party.

"Often we rush to talk, but we decided that we would listen,” said Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. He described how he and the four other members of the new Senate Opportunity Coalition visited distressed communities in their states over the summer recess to listen to their needs and start talking about solutions.

Pay Woes Persist for Some Senate Food Workers
Vendor owed $1 million following labor law violations

Some food workers claim they are not getting the money they're due after a Labor Department investigation found the company that operates cafeterias for the Senate owed more than $1 million in back pay.

The Labor Department announced in July that for the past six years, Restaurant Associates had failed to pay proper wages. Nearly 700 workers were affected.

Man Arrested for Threatening to Kill Hawaii Lawmakers
Capitol Police and FBI agents arrested the man Friday.

Capitol Police and FBI agents arrested a Tennessee man Friday for threatening to kill Sen. Mazie K. Hirono and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, both Hawaii Democrats.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for Middle District of Tennessee announced that Keahiokahouna Stewart, 36, of Murfreesboro, was taken into custody and charged with "threatening to murder a United States official and transmitting in interstate commerce, a communication containing a threat."

It's On Between Harry Reid and Donald Trump
Senate minority leader calls GOP presidential candidate a 'con artist'

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has not been quiet about his criticism of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, and Trump's response elicited another fiery statement from Reid Friday morning.

Trump said the Nevada Democrat should "go back and start working out again with his rubber workout pieces," in an interview with The Washington Post on Thursday. The statement is a likely reference to injuries Reid sustained last year, when an exercise band broke during a workout at home, causing him to fall. The senator broke bones in his ribs and face, and is still blind in one eye.

Presidential Politics Hit Senate Floor
Lawmakers try to pass legislation relating to the presidential candidates

Senators faced off Thursday over legislation relating to their opposing party's presidential nominees on the Senate floor.

Some Senate Democrats made a last-ditch effort Thursday to pass a law requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns. As a response, Republicans tried to pass a bill relating to handling classified information.

McCaul Says he 'Misspoke' About RNC Hack
A committee spokesman refuted chairman's claim

House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said he "misspoke" when he stated on CNN that Russian hackers had penetrated the systems at the Republican National Committee. 

"What I had intended to say was that, in addition to the Democratic National Committee, Republican political operatives have also been hacked,"  McCaul said in a statement

First African-American, Female Librarian of Congress Sworn In
Carla Hayden is also the first librarian with a limited term.

Carla Hayden officially made history at midday on Wednesday, becoming the first woman and first African-American librarian of Congress.

Hayden was sworn in as the 14th head of the 216-year-old institution at a time when the library is transitioning into the digital age. In recent years, its technology and modernization efforts have come under criticism from Congress and the Government Accountability Office. 

Why Ted Cruz Might Influence a Government Funding Battle
Other GOP senators also want delay in internet governance transition

Sen. Ted Cruz has found a signature issue for this year's government funding debate — but this year the Texas Republican may be in tactical agreement with more mainstream GOP colleagues.

"The Obama administration’s proposal to give away the internet is an extraordinary threat to our freedom and it’s one most Americans don’t know anything about," Cruz wrote in a fundraising message to supporters Tuesday.

Flint Aid Could Pass Senate, but Faces Uncertain Future
Michigan senators have worked for months to secure aid for stricken city

The Senate could move forward Monday on a measure that includes aid for Flint, Michigan, nearly one year after a doctor sounded the alarm about high levels of lead in local children's blood.

Senators will take a procedural vote on a water resources bill that would authorize water infrastructure projects. The measure includes more than $200 million in funds directed at places like Flint. The city's residents have been coping with lead poisoning in their water, a result of corroded pipes after the city switched water supplies in April 2014.

Tim Kaine Returns to the Senate
The vice presidential nominee swung by the Democratic lunch

Sen. Tim Kaine, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, made an emotional return to the Capitol Wednesday, joining his caucus mates for lunch while honoring the seniority system and sitting at a back table reserved for freshmen.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton named the Virginian  her running mate in July, shortly before the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Wednesday's meeting marked the Democratic senators first policy lunch after the August recess.

Reid Readies for the Home Stretch
In last months, Senate minority leader aims to link GOP colleagues to Trump

September marks the beginning of the end of Harry Reid's tenure in Congress. The Senate minority leader has four months left in office, and he's not likely to go quietly. 

“As he told me a while ago, this is going to be his last rodeo," said Reid's former spokesman Jim Manley. "I think he’s going to take it for all it’s worth.”

Fall Forecast: The Senate Returns

With Zika emergency funding, a Supreme Court nomination and the federal budget all up in the air, Senate reporters Bridget Bowman and Niels Lesniewski preview what lies ahead for the Senate in September....
Grassley Opens Door to Lame Duck Action on SCOTUS Nominee
Senate Republicans have so far blocked a hearing or vote on Merrick Garland

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley signaled that he is open to possibly acting on President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee after the November elections.

Republican leaders have pledged not to take up the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, though a few senators have raised the possibility of a hearing or confirmation vote during a lame duck session between Election Day and when the new Congress is seated in January.

Senators Return to D.C. for Brief Sessions
Brief pro forma sessions block prospect of Obama recess appointments.

On Tuesday morning, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito opened a Senate session that lasted just 30 seconds.

The West Virginia Republican is one of several GOP senators who have returned to the nation's capital during the summer to gavel the chamber in and out — essentially a procedural gambit to block President Barack Obama from making any appointments while the Senate is out of town.

Portman Hits Strickland on Coal in New TV Ad
Senate incumbent has used coal mining as an issue in previous ads

Sen. Rob Portman is appealing to Ohio coal miners in a new ad released Tuesday.

The minute-long television ad will go on the air in southeast Ohio from now until Election Day, according to Portman's campaign. The ad is part of a $14 million statewide ad reservation that the Ohio Republican's campaign announced in May.

Louisiana Lawmakers to Determine Flooding Response
Garret Graves hopes floods spark broader discussion over disaster response

Flood waters were rising, so Rep. Garret Graves threw his kayak and paddle board on his truck, just in case.

As floods tore into the Louisiana Republican's Baton Rouge-area district on Aug. 13, he joined what he called the "Cajun Navy," hopping in his kayak to pull people from their homes. Residents in their own boats helped rescue neighbors as their houses flooded. Graves said that without these residents taking the initiative, the death toll would probably have been higher.

Graham Calls for Special Prosecutor for Clinton Emails
South Carolina senator echoes Trump's call for an independent review

Sen. Lindsey Graham has called for a special prosecutor to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time as secretary of State.

The South Carolina Republican, a vocal critic of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, agreed with Trump's call earlier this week for an independent investigation.