senate

Energy, Interior Nominees Caught in Budget Crossfire
Energy and Natural Resources hearing becomes forum on Trump budget cuts

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., expressed home that one Energy Department nominee would be "a voice of reason and experience." (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senators on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee used a Thursday confirmation hearing for a deputy Energy secretary and two other regulators to question elements of the Trump administration’s fiscal 2018 budget proposal.

The confirmation hearing for Dan Brouillette to be Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s deputy included questions from senators seeking clarity from the nominee about his views of some of the more controversial proposals in the Trump budget, including the plan to draw down by half the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Senators Make Another Bid to Authorize War Against ISIS
Flake and Kaine have tried before

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake is introducing another proposal for authorizing the use of military force against ISIS. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“When I voted in 2001 to authorize military force against the perpetrators of the September 11th attacks, I had no idea I would be authorizing armed conflict for more than fifteen years, and counting.”

That’s what Sen. Jeff Flake said Thursday. The Arizona Republican was announcing yet another effort with Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat, to get Congress to go on record to authorize the use of military force against the Islamic State and other terror groups.

White House Middle East Victory Lap Draws Skepticism
Aides pushing a win, but headaches await return from region

President Donald Trump delivers a statement with Israeli President Reuven Rivlinon on Monday in Jerusalem. The White House says its first Middle East visit was a big success, but some Democrats are skeptical. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

The White House is describing President Donald Trump’s first dose of Middle East diplomacy as a “historic” success, but some lawmakers are skeptical that the optimistic rhetoric will become policy, and at least one is looking to block a major announcement from the trip. 

Trump spent all or parts of four days huddling with Muslim and Israeli leaders before heading to Europe on Tuesday afternoon. So confident was the White House that the first leg of Trump’s overseas diplomatic debut had gone well that they did not wait to land in Italy to declare victory.

Opinion: Democrats May Be Too Optimistic About 2018 Gains
Ghosts of racial discord still haunt the South

Congressional districts in North Carolina were too racially driven even for a Supreme Court dominated by conservatives, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Republican-drawn congressional districts in North Carolina turned out to be too racially driven for a Supreme Court dominated by conservatives — with Justice Clarence Thomas siding with the majority.

Who’d have thought it?

Annual Capitol Insiders Survey: The Trump Effect
Tensions on the Hill from last year have carried over into 2017

Republicans staffers on Capitol Hill are still not comfortable with President Donald Trump, the latest Capitol Insiders Survey finds. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Last year’s election was humbling for pollsters, and the Capitol Insiders Survey was no exception. The vast majority of congressional staffers surveyed by CQ Roll Call in the days before the election — 91 percent — predicted a Hillary Clinton win. Only 6 percent thought Donald Trump could pull it off.

Still, the results reflect how Trump’s win blindsided the Washington establishment. The majority of Republican aides said consistently during the campaign that they wouldn’t vote for Trump.

Word on the Hill: National Wine Day
Dusty Baker on the Hill and Dana Rohrabacher in a sling

Celebrate National Wine Day before the weekend. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

You may be pleasantly surprised to hear about a very special, perhaps unknown, holiday. Today is National Wine Day.

It’s nearly Friday, which means it’s almost recess, so pick up a bottle of wine on your way home from work to celebrate.

CBO Estimate of Revised House Health Care Bill Changes Little
Senate GOP leaders say the votes still are not there for passage

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Wednesday said there were not 50 votes in the Senate for a health care bill. And that was before the CBO score came in. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

BY KERRY YOUNG AND SANDHYA RAMAN

A House-passed health care bill would reduce federal spending by $119 billion over a decade, compared to a previous estimate of $150 billion over a decade. And it would cause the number of Americans lacking medical insurance to rise by 23 million by 2026, which is 1 million less than under previous iterations of the measure, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.

Republican Senator Seeks to Save Obamacare Before Dismantling It
Lamar Alexander advocating for two-step approach to repealing law

Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander is advocating short-term market stabilization measures for the 2010 health care law. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Lamar Alexander has found himself in an uncommon position for most Republicans this year: Trying to save the shaky insurance markets created by the 2010 health care law before attending to a major overhaul of the law.

The opinions of the Tennessee’s senior senator carry significant weight among his colleagues. He is a close confidant of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and also chairs the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Word on the Hill: Embassy Chef Competition
Wreath-laying for women in the military

Belgium is one of the countries represented in the Embassy Chef Challenge this evening. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Decide for yourself which embassy has the best cuisine.

Thirty-nine chefs from countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas are competing in Events DC’s Embassy Chef Challenge at 6 p.m. today. Last year’s winner was the chef from the Embassy of the Philippines, and in 2015, the Embassy of Barbados took home the trophy.

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