Brian Schatz

Hatch Has High Hopes for Medical Marijuana Bill
83-year-old Mormon Republican emerges as unlikely champion

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, a Utah Republican, has emerged as an unlikely champion of medical marijuana. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch is an unlikely advocate for a medical marijuana bill.

An 83-year-old Utah Republican and member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Hatch says he is staunchly against recreational drug use. But as the opioid epidemic continues to ravage states across the country, the Senate’s president pro tempore sees an opportunity in advancing the use of cannabis for pain management.

McConnell Avoided Making a Promise He Couldn’t Keep
McCain’s health care announcement showed value of majority leader’s caution

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had intended to turn back to health care this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell never quite guaranteed a floor vote on the latest Republican effort to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law as the clock ticked toward an end-of-September deadline.

The Kentucky Republican’s office was measured last week when asked about the prospects for floor action, with the majority leader saying through multiple spokespersons that it was “the Leader’s intention to consider” the legislation drafted by Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.

Single Payer Democrats: Save Obamacare Now, Single Payer Later
Comes as Cassidy-Graham revives Republican hopes of repeal

Democratic senators who threw their support behind single-payer health care last week are prioritizing the 2010 health care law as Republicans take one more crack at repealing it.

At an event with Democratic senators and liberal activists, independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, who sponsored the single-payer bill, criticized Republicans for trying to ram through a health care proposal from Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Dean Heller of Nevada and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

Moore Campaign Removes Endorsement From Deceased Conservative Leader
Phyllis Schlafly died a year ago

Phyllis Schlafly greets supporters at last year’s Republican convention in Cleveland. The conservative activist died later in the year. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images File Photo)

Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore is racking up endorsements from inside the state and around the country for his challenge to Republican Sen. Luther Strange, but one in particular stood out: renowned — and deceased — conservative leader Phyllis Schlafly.

Schlafly died on Sept. 5, 2016, at the age of 92, two months before Donald Trump won the presidential election and four months before Republican Jeff Sessions left his Senate seat in order to become attorney general, yet she was included on the endorsements page of Moore’s campaign website. 

Lawmakers Push Broad Review of Equifax Security
Democrats cite precedence of reaction to OPM data breach

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown wants Equifax to offer 10 years of free credit monitoring to those affected by the breach. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers are responding to credit-reporting company Equifax’s loss of data on up to 143 million customers with a flurry of proposed legislation, demands for explanations, hearings and calls for regulators to investigate.

Democrats are leading the charge on legislation and investigations while Republicans join in with demands for an explanation from the company and with plans to hold hearings. Members of both parties are seeking details of Equifax’s work for government agencies. Democrats are also trying to pressure Republicans to be at least as tough on Equifax as they were with a government agency that suffered its own breach.

Word on the Hill: POW/MIA Recognition Day
Bottomless rosé wines, and the future of health care

Arizona Sen. John McCain was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for five and a half years. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Today is National POW/MIA Recognition Day, which honors missing service members and their families.

Currently in Congress, there are two lawmakers who endured time as prisoners of war during the Vietnam War: Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas.

After Storms’ Devastation, No Change in Hill Climate Debate
“I don’t think there is going to be some big ‘come to Jesus’ moment”

Inhofe said attempts to connect recent extreme events to climate change are a ploy to drum up support for the climate change movement. (Tom Williams, CQ Roll Call)

Florida, parts of Texas and the U.S. Virgin Island are facing months or years of recovery after hurricanes Irma and Harvey pummeled communities, turned streets into rivers and upended lives, but it does not appear that the catastrophic storms have changed the conversation about climate change in Washington.

GOP lawmakers skeptical of climate science didn’t announce new views or a sense of urgency in addressing the global warming that scientists say exacerbated the impact of the storms.

Hanabusa Planning Primary Challenge to Hawaii Governor
Democrat giving up safe seat for second time to seek higher office

Hawaii Rep. Colleen Hanabusa is planning to file papers to run for governor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hawaii Democrat Colleen Hanabusa hasn’t been back in Congress for long  — and now she’s planning to leave to once again to run for higher office.

The congresswoman on Friday announced her plans to launch a primary challenge to incumbent Democratic Gov. Dave Ige. Her decision to not run for re-election in the 1st District will open up a safe Democratic seat that Hillary Clinton carried by more than 30 points last fall. 

Democrats Tell Trump to Withdraw Clovis Nomination for USDA
Schumer, Schatz cite nominee’s “extremist views” on race, homosexuality

Sam Clovis Jr. is President Donald Trump’s nominee for undersecretary for research, education and economics at the Agriculture Department. (Courtesy Alex Hanson/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0)

Senate Democrats said Wednesday they would “vehemently oppose” the appointment of Sam Clovis Jr., President Donald Trump’s nominee for a top scientific post at the Department of Agriculture, potentially dovetailing with unrelated reservations already expressed by a key Senate Republican.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York and Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii cited Clovis’ rejection of climate science and his “extremist views” on race and homosexuality in a press release. They called for the immediate withdrawal of his nomination as USDA undersecretary for research, education and economics.

Trump Threatens Shutdown, Attacks GOP Senators During Angry Rally
President on Sen. Flake: ‘Nobody knows who the hell he is’

Protesters chant and wave signs across the street from the Phoenix Convention Center as President Donald Trump holds a rally inside on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated at 9:40 a.m. An angry and defiant President Donald Trump used a Tuesday campaign rally to threaten a government shutdown, slam two Republican senators in their home state, and pour rhetorical gasoline on racial tensions he has twice stoked since the deadly Charlottesville, Virginia, white supremacist protests.

Trump stuck to his staff’s script at the start of a rally in Phoenix, reading prepared remarks from a teleprompter just as he did during a stoic speech the night before to announce his Afghanistan policy. But it didn’t last, with the president appearing to put even more distance between himself and mainstream Republicans and even some members of his own Cabinet.