Filibuster

Barack Obama Has Left the Building, Or At Least the Brady Room
Obama's hope fades a bit: 'I think we’re going to be OK'

At his final news conference as president, Obama wished the press, and the country, luck. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In his final press conference as president, Barack Obama warned that economic and other forces could further divide Americans, and sent messages anew to Donald Trump, particularly that he could re-enter the political arena if “our core values may be at stake.”

Less than 48 hours before he will cede all powers of the presidency to Trump, the 55-year-old Obama, with more salt than pepper atop his head, showed flashes of the optimistic candidate who toppled both Hillary Clinton and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., during the 2008 presidential campaign. But by the end of the session, his concerns about the next four years appear to show through.

The Convoluted Process for Dismantling Obamacare
Budget reconciliaton, explained

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo )

In the early hours of Jan. 12, the Senate took the first step in the convoluted process of dismantling and replacing the 2010 health care law. To overcome the potential filibuster power of Senate Democrats, GOP lawmakers are relying on budget reconciliation, the same procedural mechanism their counterparts across the aisle used seven years ago to implement parts of the health care overhaul.

The budget reconciliation process is filled with procedural complications — and in this case, political uncertainty — as GOP leaders and President-elect Donald Trump have signaled various ideas about the timing of changes.

House Leaders Emphasize Executive Branch's Power Over Obamacare

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., holds his weekly press conference in the Capitol on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans on Thursday emphasized that their efforts to repeal and replace the health care law will rely heavily on revised interpretations of the law that they can make administratively, a sign of the challenges in writing replacement legislation that can overcome the Senate’s 60-vote threshold.

“Let’s not forget, we now have an HHS, an administration, that is ready to work with us to fix this problem,” House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., said at his weekly press conference. “What I think people are beginning to appreciate is we have lots of tools in front of us. It’s not just a one-and-done bill kind of a thing. That is what we’ve been walking our members through — all the options available to us to get this done.”

Senate Adopts Budget Opening Door for Obamacare Repeal
Democrats take unusual step of standing and announcing why they voted no

Senators voted 51-48 early Thursday to adopt the budget resolution. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

BY JENNIFER SHUTT AND RYAN McCRIMMON/CQ ROLL CALL

The Senate early Thursday took a first step toward repeal of the health care law by adopting a fiscal 2017 budget resolution following a seven-hour voting session.

Senators Gear Up for Confirmation Battles
9 of Trump’s Cabinet picks face Senate committees this week

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is calling for hearings to be delayed if nominees have not filed all their paperwork with the Office of Government Ethics. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll)

Updated 1/9/2017 at 4:50 p.m.

The Senate is moving full steam ahead on President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees, and Democrats are clamoring for a fight. 

There’s Danger for Democrats, Too, in Obamacare Repeal
Blame for not replacing health care law may end up on everyone’s hands

Vice President-elect Mike Pence, center, and Reince Priebus, incoming White House chief of staff, leave a news conference with Republican senators after the Senate luncheons in the Capitol on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“So the dog finally caught the car.” That seemed to be the consensus in Washington Wednesday after Vice President-elect Mike Pence and congressional Republicans declared with confidence that they will begin to repeal Obamacare immediately, but struggled to say what Americans could expect as a replacement for the president’s signature health care law, or when.

“It will literally begin on Day One,” Pence promised in a press conference about President-elect Donald Trump’s plans for dismantling Obamacare. But when asked what exactly will happen on Day One, or what the House will eventually vote on, Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan declined to go into detail.  

Obama Calls for Congressional Action on Criminal Justice Bill
Says more investment in opioid treatment will save money and lives

Sen. Michael S. Lee, R-Utah, speaks with Weldon Angelos last June. Angelos was sentenced to 55 years in jail for selling marijuana under mandatory minimum prison guidelines, but was released early. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Barack Obama said Congress could adopt measures to change sentencing laws, control guns and curb the opioid epidemic to continue an overhaul of the nation’s criminal justice system.

“There is so much work to be done,” Obama wrote in a Harvard Law Review article released Thursday by the White House. “Yet I remain hopeful that together, we are moving in the right direction.”

Schumer Prepared to Hold Supreme Court Seat Open
Minority leader says Democrats will push for ‘mainstream’ nominee

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer lamented a previous rule change by Senate Democrats which allows a president's Cabinet picks to be approved by a simple majority. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is preparing to block President-elect Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee if he or she is not in the “mainstream.”

“It’s hard for me to imagine a nominee that Donald Trump would choose that would get Republican support that we could support,” the New York Democrat told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Tuesday night.

Senate Republicans Start Obamacare Repeal Process
But GOP lawmakers still have a long way to go to dismantle and replace law

Wyoming Sen. Michael B. Enzi, center, who chairs the Budget Committee, began the process of repealing the 2010 health care law on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Republicans wasted no time Tuesday setting in motion their plan to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.

GOP senators intend to strike large portions of the law while avoiding the threat of a Democratic filibuster through a procedural gambit that expedites Senate consideration of the repeal bill.

Hard-Liners Are Confident Heading Into Immigration Battle
Sharp rightward turn could lead to increased deportations

Attorney General-designee Jeff Sessions has ties to a number of aides on Donald Trump’s transition team. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

By JONATHAN MILLER and DEAN DeCHIARO

Donald Trump’s administration will feature a host of emboldened immigration hard-liners plucked from Congress, chief among them Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the president-elect’s pick for attorney general.