Debbie Stabenow

Democrats ‘went low’ on Twitter leading up to 2018
An analysis of tweets from candidates running for Senate leading up to Election Day

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., arrives for the confirmation hearing for Neomi Rao, nominee to be U.S. circuit judge for the District of Columbia Circuit, in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Feb. 5. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS — Voters in 2016 repeatedly heard Democrats cry out against negative Republican rhetoric, especially from the party’s presidential nominee Donald Trump.

“When they go low … ?” came the call at rally podiums. “We go high!” constituents would shout.

Trump won Michigan in 2016. Does that matter for Gary Peters in 2020?
Peters is one of just two Democratic senators facing re-election in a Trump state

Michigan Sen. Gary Peters is one of two Democratic senators up for re-election in a state President Donald Trump carried in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Michigan’s Gary Peters doesn’t typically attract a lot of attention. 

But as one of only two Democratic senators up for re-election in states that President Donald Trump carried in 2016, the mild-mannered Peters might find himself in the spotlight next year.

Top Democrats wary of attaching debt limit to wrap-up spending measure

From left, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., prepare for a news conference after the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol on Tuesday, January 29, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Top Democrats said Tuesday they don’t support attaching a debt limit suspension to a fiscal 2019 appropriations package lawmakers want to wrap up by Feb. 15.

“No more hostages,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters. “No, I think that’s not a good idea. We ought to be negotiating to get an agreement, not add added elements into it.”

Democrats propose legal status for undocumented immigrant farmworkers
Legislation would protect workers from deportation, ease labor shortages, proponents say

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., says the legislation “would ensure that hardworking immigrants don’t live in fear and that California’s agriculture industry has the workforce it needs to succeed.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two California Democrats filed legislation Thursday that would give undocumented immigrant farmworkers and their families a path to legal resident status and possibly U.S. citizenship.

The legislation by Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Zoe Lofgren is designed to ease agricultural worker shortages and protect undocumented workers already in the United States from deportation. The bills come as the nation grapples with an extended partial government shutdown fueled by an impasse between President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats over funding for a border wall and broader differences over immigration policies.

Even at Farm Bill Signing, For Trump It’s All About the Wall
President signs five-year reauthorization at White House, but talks about border standoff

Michigan Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee, helped shepherd the farm bill to passage. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump signed the 2018 farm bill after entering the ceremony to the theme from the “Green Acres” sitcom of the 1960s about a city slicker and his society wife who move to the country to become hobby farmers. But before praising farmers, Trump renewed his demand for $5 billion in border wall funding, making much of the ceremony about the ongoing fight over the border wall and an ensuing government shutdown. 

Trump called securing the U.S.-Mexico border an “absolute duty,” saying “any measure that funds the government has to include border security — has to.”

Trump Set to Sign Farm Bill, Minus the Food Stamp Changes He Wanted
Planned signing comes a day before current stopgap government funding expires

Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Pat Roberts expect to attend the farm bill signing later this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers expect President Donald Trump to sign the farm bill legislation Thursday even though it excludes Republican priorities Trump supported such as changes to food stamps.

Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas and ranking member Debbie Stabenow of Michigan plan to be at the White House, though the former said Tuesday that he doesn’t have a time or any details.

House, Senate Democrats Identify Slate of Committee Leaders for New Congress
House Dem Caucus must still ratify, Senate is ready to go

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., has his roster of ranking members for committees ready. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional Democrats have identified their incoming committee leadership for the 116th Congress, although the full caucus must still weigh in and a few key chairs will have to wait until the House speakership contest is settled. In the Senate meanwhile, the roster is finished, with some notable movement in the smaller Democratic minority. 

The House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee made its recommendations for most committee chairmanships in the new Congress on Tuesday evening, with a few others designated Monday. The full caucus must still approve the choices.

Mitch McConnell Touting Victory With Hemp Legalization on Farm Bill
Issue is becoming an early plank of the Kentucky Republican’s 2020 re-election bid

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been promoting industrial hemp language in the farm bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to put himself on the farm bill conference committee was insurance that one of his policy priorities — and a key issue for his 2020 re-election campaign — would make it to President Donald Trump’s desk this year.

“At a time when farm income is down and growers are struggling, industrial hemp is a bright spot of agriculture’s future,” McConnell said Tuesday morning. “My provision in the farm bill will not only legalize domestic hemp, but it will also allow state departments of agriculture to be responsible for its oversight.”

On Chaotic Wednesday, Senators Hunt for an Endgame
Yemen resolution, contentious nominees complicate escape plans

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., arrives Wednesday for a briefing for all senators with Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Wednesday was not a typical day in the Senate.

On an average Senate day, the visceral, negative response from senators to a closed briefing on U.S. policy on Saudi Arabia might have dominated headlines.

Forest Fires Add Snag to Getting Farm Bill Passed
House-passed version would change forest management policies that opponents say would ease oversight

A Cal Fire firefighter monitors a burning home as the Camp Fire moves through earlier this month in Magalia, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

Forestry provisions have emerged as the latest snag in farm bill negotiations, sending the issue to congressional leaders for talks to break the impasse.

The forestry provisions in the House-passed version of the farm bill say the proposed changes to federal forest management policies would prevent forest fires — an issue that is now at the forefront after the deadly California fires. Opponents say the proposed changes would ease federal oversight and safeguards needed to limit logging on public lands that could destroy forests habitats and reduce protections for endangered wildlife.