congressional-affairs

Kid Rock’s Stage and Screen Path to Political Spotlight Well-Worn
Reagan was the prototype, but many have tried to follow his lead

President Ronald Reagan set the bar for entertainers who aspire to political office. He is shown here at his inauguration in 1981. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Ronald Reagan was perhaps the highest-profile entertainer who decided to give politics a try.

Do Republicans Have Votes on Budget? ‘Who Knows?’ Trump Says
Measure is key to opening path for GOP-crafted tax overhaul bill

On Monday, President Donald Trump said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (right) would deliver him a tax bill. On Thursday morning, the president was unsure his party could pass a budget resolution that is key to the follow-on tax measure. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Do Senate Republican leaders and the White House have the 50 GOP votes to pass a fiscal 2018 budget resolution that is linked to possible tax cuts? “Who knows?” says President Donald Trump, the leader of the party.

The Senate is poised to begin a marathon series of votes Thursday that will culminate with a final vote on a GOP-crafted fiscal 2018 budget resolution. Republicans who helped derail recent major legislation, like Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, this week have expressed confidence that ample votes will be there.

When the Budget Resolution Isn’t About the Budget
Senators acknowledge budget is all about taxes

Georgia GOP Sen. David Perdue is teaming up with a Democratic colleague, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, on amendments to the budget resolution that declare the process is basically absurd. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

When Sen. John McCain removed the suspense by announcing he would vote for the budget resolution moving through the Senate, the Arizona Republican made clear the ridiculousness of the exercise.

“At the end of the day, we all know that the Senate budget resolution will not impact final appropriations,” he said in a statement. “To do that, Congress and the White House must negotiate a budget agreement that will lift the caps on defense spending and enable us to adequately fund the military.”

Democrats Drop Congeniality as They Fire Away at Sessions
‘Give me a break,’ attorney general implores at one point

From left, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Delaware Sen. Chris Coons and Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal talk Wednesday as Sessions arrives for the Senate Judiciary oversight hearing on the Justice Department. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions took an unusual path to the witness table before Wednesday’s Justice Department oversight hearing. He looped behind the dais to smile and shake the hands of his former Senate Judiciary Committee colleagues and pat them on the shoulder.

But the next four hours made it clear that congeniality has faded for the former Alabama Republican senator. Democrats lectured him on immigration policy, questioned his truthfulness in previous testimony about Russia and criticized his implementation of the Trump administration’s conservative policies.

Opinion: Working Around Trump on Issues That Matter
Reaching for compromise, change seekers are tuning out the president

Sens. Charles E. Grassley and Richard J. Durbin sponsored a bipartisan bill that would reduce mandatory sentences for low-level drug offenders. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

The kiss-and-make-up press conference with President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was one of the most awkward dates in the history of, well, dates, as my Roll Call colleague Walter Shapiro pointed out. They need each other, sure, but will tax cuts be the glue to hold intermittent and shaky truces together for any length of time?

Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Rand Paul of Kentucky looked to stay on Trump’s good side over genial rounds of golf, but they’d better not relax. All it takes is a bit of criticism, and the president shows that the loyalty he demands goes only one way. They need not reach all the way back to the personal insults of last year’s GOP primary race for proof.

Congressional Democrats Call for More Gun Violence Research
Report, House bill draw attention to lack of federal funding

Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy sponsored a bill that could lead to more federal funding for gun violence research. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Congressional Democrats have launched renewed calls for federal research into gun violence prevention in the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting.

Senate Democrats on Wednesday presented a report from the Government Accountability Office highlighting the limitations lawmakers have imposed on researchers attempting to understand gun violence, which they called a “public health crisis.”

Bipartisan Tax Bill More Durable, GOP Says After White House Meeting
Toomey sees overlap, but Democrats show little enthusiasm

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, seated left, South Dakota Sen. John Thune, seated center, and Pennsylvania Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, standing center, were among the Finance Committee members who met with President Donald Trump on Wednesday about a tax overhaul bill. Also pictured, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, standing right. (Chris Maddaloni/Roll Call File Photo)

After huddling Wednesday with President Donald Trump and a handful of Democrats, Senate Republican tax writers said an overhaul bill that secures bipartisan support would be more “durable” than a GOP-only path. 

Senate Republicans are moving ahead with plans to ensure a tax bill could pass with as few as 50 GOP votes, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote. But after a White House meeting with Trump and five Senate Finance Committee Democrats, three GOP members on that panel said they agree with the president that a bipartisan bill is preferable.

Hatch Deals Blow to Bipartisan Health Care Bill
Prospects dim after opposition from Senate Finance chairman

Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch is opposed to an emerging bipartisan measure to stabilize the health insurance markets. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Utah Republican Sen. Orrin G. Hatch has dealt an emerging bipartisan health care bill a body blow.

President Donald Trump has sent mixed messages on his stance on the legislation from Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and ranking Democrat Patty Murray of Washington, saying he opposed it Wednesday after saying he supported it Tuesday

How Congress Deals With Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
The Office of Compliance has different rules from other federal agencies

Complaining about sexual harassment is less straightforward on Capitol Hill than in other federal offices. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

In February, Roll Call reported that Congress had done very little to tighten its controls over workplace sexual harassment. In light of the allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, and a social media campaign by actress Alyssa Milano called #metoo to raise awareness of sexual harassment and sexual assault, here’s a look at the process for filing complaints if you work at a federal office or on Capitol Hill. 

Trump Claims Proof Rep. Wilson Fabricated Words to Military Widow
President’s warning harkens back to initial Comey tapes claim

Rep. Frederica S. Wilson says President Trump told a military widow her killed-in-action husband “knew what he signed up for.” Trump calls Wilson’s story “totally fabricated.” (Tom Williams/Roll Call)

A Democratic Florida congresswoman became the latest target of a morning presidential twitter attack, with Donald Trump alleging Rep. Frederica S. Wilson “totally fabricated” details of his call to the widow of a U.S. soldier killed in Niger.

Trump called the widow of Sgt. La David T. Johnson on Tuesday afternoon, shortly before his body was returned to the United States during a ceremony at Miami International Airport. Wilson told several media outlets she was traveling with his widow, Myeshia Johnson, who took the call on her car’s sound system, allowing all passengers to overhear it.