Tim Kaine on the Constitution’s ‘230-Year Checkup’
Virginia senator says Trump presidency is ‘living experiment’ on overreach

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine said last Friday that the Constitution is being tested under Donald Trump’s presidency. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

FAIRFAX, Va. — Sen. Tim Kaine says that with President Donald Trump in office, Americans are in a “living experiment” to see whether or not the Constitution still works to check executive power. 

Given the roles that sons of the commonwealth played in crafting the Constitution, perhaps it is no surprise that a Virginia senator would make the case that the relevancy of the document itself will be tested by the 45th president.

Democrats in a Dilemma Over Trump's Court Nominee
Senate Democrats will get a lot of advice about how to handle President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court — and it appears they need it.

Judge Neil Gorsuch, Supreme Court Justice nominee, meets with North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in her Hart building office on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

There’s pressure from liberal advocacy groups and the party’s energized base for Democrats to pull out all the stops in an attempt to block Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court confirmation. Not only do those interests have concerns about his approach to abortion rights and environmental law, but they thirst for revenge for Republicans’ obstruction of former President Barack Obama’s nominee for the same seat.

Some moderate legal and political commentators, meanwhile, have urged Democrats to wait for another potential Supreme Court nominee to launch an all-out confirmation war — a possibility during the Trump administration since two justices are in their 80s. Gorsuch would replace the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, so his elevation from a federal appeals court in Denver wouldn’t shift the ideological balance of the high court anyway.

A Big League Border Overhaul?
Trump will work with Congress on immigration overhaul, spokesman avers

The Trump administration says it is ready to work with lawmakers on a sweeping immigration overhaul. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A White House that swept to power with hardline immigration rhetoric and kind words for Russia, on Wednesday expressed a willingness to work with lawmakers on an immigration overhaul, and said some existing sanctions on Russia should remain in place.

President Donald Trump has issued executive actions aimed at jump-starting a massive wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, stripping federal funding for so-called sanctuary cities, and banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Celebrating Black History Month With Added Resonance
Obama retirement, record number of black lawmakers mark 2017

Former President Barack Obama's departure from the East Front of the Capitol on Jan. 20 was a bittersweet moment for African-American members of Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Black History Month this year has taken on an added resonance, reflected in the record number of African-Americans in Congress.

In the Senate, it has been a long buildup to the current high-water mark of three members: Republican Tim Scott of South Carolina and Democrats Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California. 

White House Pumps Brakes on Obamacare Replacement
Ryan looks to reframe pace set by Trump

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, left, seen here with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, hopes to have replacement legislation for the health care law done by the end of the year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The White House appears to be changing its diagnosis for President Donald Trump signing into law a measure that would replace the 2010 health care law with a Republican-crafted plan.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday would not guarantee that Trump would sign legislation putting in place a GOP-crafted alternative to the health care law this year, saying instead that the president is “optimistic” that will happen.

The Quieter Assault Against Obamacare
Democrats fault GOP tactic for problems

Some supporters of former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law blame a Republican tactic as partly responsible for many of the failures in the law that the GOP says it must fix. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

The Republican drive to deliver a death blow to President Barack Obama’s health care law has overshadowed a quieter assault using annual government funding bills that’s gone on for years. 

It’s not as glamorous or high-decibel as the news conferences and floor debates surrounding the repeal of the law, but it certainly has proved controversial. What’s more, the law’s supporters see this GOP tactic as partly responsible for many of the failures in the law that Republicans now say they must fix.

With Tweets, Trump Escalates Saber Rattling Toward Iran
New president to Tehran: You have been ‘formally PUT ON NOTICE’

President Donald Trump delivers remarks in the Oval Office Wednesday night, just hours after his national security adviser put Iran “on notice.” Also pictured, from left, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, his wife Renda St. Clair and Vice President Mike Pence. (John T. Bennett/CQ Roll Call)

The Trump administration escalated its sudden saber rattling toward Iran when President Donald Trump directly criticized Tehran in a series of tweets Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

Hours after his top national security adviser put Iran “on notice” and other senior administration officials refused to rule out U.S. military action against the Islamic Republic, Trump himself appeared to threaten the Middle Eastern power in a series of tweets — and the words of U.S. presidents carry far more weight than career bureaucrats briefing behind the veil of anonymity.

Black History Month Lessons for ‘Trump World’
Fight for equality continues to be a few steps forward followed by pushback

Despite the success of “Hidden Figures,” we are still far from a time when people of color and women play more than token roles in the telling of the nation’s history, Curtis writes. (Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox)

Every year, when February rolls around, you hear the same questions: Why do we need a Black History Month? When is White History Month? (The answer to that second question is January through December, by the way.)

For the answer to the first, look no further than the movie that just picked up the top award from the Screen Actors Guild. “Hidden Figures” is about the African-American female mathematicians who helped propel the U.S. space program, and who were mostly left out of the history books and previous film accounts of NASA and the talents who made it soar. (John Glenn wouldn’t leave home without their trajectory equations.)

Trump White House Puts Senate Dems, Iran ‘On Notice’
President on filibuster: ‘If you can, Mitch, go nuclear’

Judge Neil Gorsuch, center, came calling on Capitol Hill with Vice President Mike Pence, right, seen here shaking hands with McConnell. (Al Drago/Pool/New York Times)

The White House, perhaps feeling momentum from its Supreme Court nominee roll out, putting all kinds of foes “on notice” Wednesday.

First up: Senate Democrats, some of whom are vowing to block President Donald Trump’s high court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.

In Gorsuch, Trump Saw Plenty of Scalia-Like Qualities
President hopes ‘Democrats and Republicans can come together’ around nominee

President Donald Trump (R) shakes hands with Judge Neil Gorsuch after nominating him to the Supreme Court during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on Tuesday evening. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s own description of what he wanted in a Supreme Court nominee sounded a lot like the late Justice Antonin Scalia. And though he opted for reality show-like drama, Trump made it clear he believes his pick, Neil Gorsuch, would follow Scalia’s example.

Trump, the former “Apprentice” host and executive producer, used some reality television-like flair to announce his pick, keeping Gorsuch and his wife, Louise, sequestered just outside the White House’s East Room. He came out alone, and minutes later, summoned them from behind an ornate brown door.