Sanders Is Latest Obstacle to Obama Nominee

Sanders (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama's nominee to head the Food and Drug Administration is facing friendly fire, with Democratic presidential candidate Bernard Sanders and Massachusetts Democrat Edward J. Markey both placing a hold on the nomination.  

Sanders said Tuesday that Robert Califf, currently serving as deputy commissioner at the FDA, is too closely tied to the pharmaceutical industry. Califf ran a research operation while at Duke University that received funding from that industry. "At a time when millions of Americans cannot afford to purchase the prescription drugs they require, we need a leader at the FDA who is prepared to stand up to the drug companies," Sanders, an independent from Vermont who caucuses with the Senate Democrats, said in a statement. "We need someone who will work to substantially lower drug prices, implement rules to safely import brand-name drugs from Canada and hold companies accountable who defraud our government."  

35 Years Later, Former Hostages, Lawmakers Cheer Restitution

Isakson led a bipartisan group of lawmakers working to secure restitution for former Iranian hostages. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In 1979, Johnny Isakson was just one of many Americans tuning in to Ted Koppel's late night reports on the status of Americans taken hostage in Iran — what became the 444 day saga.  

"I was one of the people that was alive when 'Nightline' got started," the Republican senator from Georgia recalled Wednesday. "I took an interest when it happened. Never knew that I would get to the United States Senate, and when I got there on the Foreign Relations Committee, I came to appreciate the work that had been done in the past by people who tried to make compensation happen."  

The Out of This World Legacy of Supernova Mikulski

Mikulski toured the Goddard Space Flight Center before a town hall with employees. (Rebecca Roth/NASA/Goddard)

GREENBELT, Md. — Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski spent Wednesday back on the campus where she watched as astronauts repair the Hubble Space Telescope more than two decades ago.  

"I was here for that first mission," recalled the Maryland Democrat who will retire at the end of this term of  Congress. "I went on so many Rolaids that day, I knew that I would never have acid reflux for 20 years."  

Senator Envisions Chamber's Role Under a President Trump

Sasse spoke Thursday about a potential Trump White House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Move aside Plato's cave, the Senate floor now has the allegory of President Donald Trump.  

"Today I'd like to propose a thought experiment. Imagine President Trump has been propelled into the White House with 300 electoral votes," Sen. Ben Sasse said on the Senate floor. "The first hundred days are huge. He signs an order that turns the Peace Corps into stone masons to build the southern wall, he shutters the Department of Education, and by executive order he turns the Department of Interior into the classiest oil company the world has ever known."  

Corker's Lowball Financial Disclosure — a Symptom of a Bigger Problem?

Corker retained a CPA to review his financial disclosures. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Reading through the addendum to Sen. Bob Corker's financial disclosure, you might think the Tennessee Republican had been seriously misreporting assets and income.

But the reality might more underscore the shortfalls of the system.  

Senate Periodical Press Gallery Director Ed Pesce to Retire

(Courtesy of Ed Pesce)

After 25 years — including 11 sergeants-at-arms, two President Bushes, a 50-50 Senate membership split and too many vote-a-ramas to count — the director of the Senate Periodical Press Gallery is packing it up.  

Ed Pesce will retire from his post in mid-February, the Capitol Hill veteran told Roll Call Friday.  

Rand Paul Goes Viral, Thanks to Mike Lee

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rand Paul's late-night budget deal filibuster bid picked up an unexpected boost from fellow Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah.  

Lee posted to his Facebook page a clip of the Kentucky presidential hopeful expressing on the Senate floor his opposition to the budget deal, which also suspended the debt limit beyond the 2016 elections.  

Reid Unloads on Fantasy Sports, Washington Football

Columnist George Will, from left, Reid and Harper before a Nationals game. (Bill Clark, CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid says Congress should act to stop weekly fantasy sports contests that he defines as unregulated gambling.  

"I think we should do something here legislatively, but you know, I don't get much done around here with my Republican colleagues," Reid said Wednesday. "If not, state attorney generals and other state entities should take a look at this because it's really unfair."  

Leahy Joins 15,000-Vote Club (Video)

Leahy -- shown here with subway operator Teresa Simms -- cast his 15,000 vote on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy cast his 15,000th vote Tuesday, joining an exclusive club in Senate history.  

The Vermont Democrat's first vote came in 1975 on a resolution to establish the Church Committee. His 15,000th vote was on an amendment to cybersecurity legislation, and vote No. 15,001 came on his own amendment. In a statement, Leahy offered a long list of his most memorable votes, but it was two war votes that stood out — and provided context for the length of his tenure: "Opposing the war in Iraq, a venture that cost so many lives, and trillions of taxpayer dollars. And I was proud to be the first Vermonter to cast a vote, in the Armed Services Committee, to end the War in Vietnam."  

Reid Backs Gaming Regulations for Fantasy Sports Sites

Reid is backing gaming regulators in Nevada on fantasy sports. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Nevada Gaming Control Board's effort to require fantasy sports sites to have gambling licenses has won the backing of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.  

“I fully support the Nevada Gaming Commission's determination‎ that daily fantasy sports is gambling. We have seen reports of insider betting and of young people gambling thousands of dollars a day with these unregulated companies. Until now, the websites offering daily fantasy sports have been operating in what is at best a legal gray area," the Nevada Democrat said in a statement. "Yesterday, the Nevada Gaming Commission, which has more experience regulating gaming than any other entity in the country, made it clear that these daily fantasy gambling companies must be regulated and held to the same high standards as other gaming operators in the state."