Dianne Feinstein

Confirmation Hearings Bring Out the Senate Angst
McConnell said to expect votes on Cabinet nominations Friday

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate will return on Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)


The Senate eased into inauguration week with a pair of confirmation hearings, with committees taking up the cases for, or against, Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke to be Interior secretary and Betsy DeVos to be Education secretary.

Word on the Hill: One Week Out
Women’s March adds new partners

Dr. Ben Carson arrives in the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee offices before his confirmation hearing to be secretary of Housing and Urban Development on Thursday. Confirmation hearings continue into next week (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration is only a week away.

Watch for our list of balls, counter-parties and other things to do around the District that day. And feel free to pass along any events you want to share with our readers — email AlexGangitano@cqrollcall.com

Inauguration Master of Ceremonies Is Sweating the Details
Security is Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt’s obsession

Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, held a news conference in the Capitol on Jan. 5 to unveil the official ticket for the inauguration and to deliver an update. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The senator who presides over the presidential inauguration as the chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies wins some appreciation from colleagues on Capitol Hill. But the job’s risks are greater than any public accolades it brings.

If Sen. Roy Blunt does his job  well, the new president, Donald Trump, will shine. Only if something goes wrong on Jan. 20 will the Missouri Republican get any attention off the Hill.

Vote-A-Rama: Democrats State Their Case, But Resolution Passes
Feinstein missing from votes; Sessions arrives at last minute

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, at top, rises to explain why he was voting against the budget resolution early Thursday morning. (C-SPAN)

At 1:05 a.m., Republicans began the final vote of a seven-hour Vote-A-Rama — the budget resolution that would begin the process to repeal the Affordable Care Act, then departed the chamber as Democrats remained silently in their chairs.

But Senate Democrats didn't go quietly into the night. At 1:11 a.m., Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer stood up and stated his opposition to adopting the resolution. Other Democrats followed in what appeared to be an unprecedented move of rising to explain their opposition before casting their votes. 

Feinstein Recovering After Pacemaker Surgery
She’ll miss Day 2 of Sessions’ confirmation hearing, Whitehouse serves as Judiciary ranking member

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., arrives to take on the ranking member duties during the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for attorney general nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein had a pacemaker installed at George Washington University Hospital on Tuesday evening and is resting at home on Wednesday.

The senator is absent from Sen. Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing for attorney general but plans on working from home all day. She questioned Sessions on the first day of the hearing on Tuesday.

Sessions Will Follow the Law, But He Won’t Lead on It
Job requires someone who is aware of oppression and discrimination

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions’s answers on the first day of his attorney general confirmation hearing on Tuesday were “deeply unsatisfying and basically meaningless,” Allen writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It sounds so good that Jeff Sessions said it over and over again when Democratic senators pressed him on how he would approach the job of attorney general: I will follow the law.

It’s what he said when Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin asked what he would do with “Dreamers,” undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. Ditto when Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked him about gay rights and abortion rights. 

AG Pick Sessions Defends Record at Contentious Hearing
Alabama Republican argues he’s strong on civil rights

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, is sworn in on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 6:42 p.m. | Sen. Jeff Sessions made his case to be attorney general Tuesday, in a confirmation hearing punctuated by racially charged protesters and warnings from Democrats that minorities fear he wouldn’t protect their rights as the Justice Department leader.

The Alabama Republican decried accusations of racial insensitivity that sunk his 1986 nomination to be a federal judge as “damnably false,” and appealed to his colleagues on the Judiciary Committee to study his record of 20 years working beside them in the Senate.

Atomic Arsenal Costs Ballooning by Billions of Dollars

California’s Dianne Feinstein, ranking Senate Democrat on the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, talks with a reporter in Senate subway before the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol, September 13, 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

America’s nuclear arsenal is getting billions of dollars more expensive with each passing year, the Obama administration said in a recent report to Congress obtained by CQ.

The report shows how nuclear weapons costs are beginning to crest as the Pentagon and the Energy Department move into a $1 trillion modernization effort over the next three decades. It is the biggest looming issue in the defense budget.

Bipartisan Mood as Congress Sworn in
Hugs, greetings across the aisle as contentious issues loom

Rep.-elect Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., waves to the gallery as she arrives on the House floor to take the oath of office on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

For many, their first day of work in Washington was dreary and puddle-filled, but in the Senate, there were no political parties for a brief moment.

During a full day of rain in the nation’s capital, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. returned to the Senate perhaps for the last time to swear in the 27 re-elected senators and seven newly elected ones.

Top Senate Democrats List Requirements for Trump Nominees
The ranking members of each Senate committee signed onto a joint statement

Wyden is the ranking member on the Finance Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The ranking Democrats on each Senate committee are drawing battle lines for President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees, listing a series of requirements for confirmations to proceed.

The senators are responding to a New York Times report that stated the vetting of financial disclosure statements for Trump’s nominees has been “unusually slow,” causing concern that the Republicans in charge of the chamber could allow confirmation hearings to move forward without the complete vetting by the Office of Government Ethics.