Immigration

Word on the Hill: The Day Before
Details about getting around D.C.

Workers put the finishing touches on the platform at the Capitol on Tuesday for Donald Trump's inauguration. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Tomorrow is Donald Trump’s big day and the bulk of state society parties take place tonight.

Check out our list of this evening’s balls and galas and tips for making the most of the next couple of days.

Senators to Watch as Trump Era Begins
Rank-and-file senators likely to be key players in 115th Congress

Georgia Sen. David Perdue, left, and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III are both senators to watch. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans may have full control in Washington, but the Senate remains the Senate, which means it’s the place where rank-and-file Democrats and Republicans retain the most clout and potential for influence. Here are the key senators from outside of the top echelons of the leadership structures to watch as the 115th Congress gets underway.

The moderate from Maine will be the first person to watch on any contentious votes, particularly on budget reconciliation votes that aim to repeal parts of the 2010 health care law. She has, for instance, been among the small number of Republicans opposing efforts to tie the GOP health care plans to stopping federal funding of Planned Parenthood.

House Freshmen to Watch
115th Congress provides a platform for ambitious new members

Kihuen, left, comes to Congress with a record of success in Nevada, and the blessing of former Sen. Harry Reid. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Not all freshmen are created equal.

While there is always a learning curve for new members of the House, some of the newly elected come to the institution with an enhanced profile. This could be because they are former statewide officeholders, or perhaps scored a big one for the team by knocking off a longtime incumbent. Maybe they are natural leaders or their ambitions are such that they are already looking at other federal offices. 

Porn, Weed and Other Takeaways From Sessions Hearing
AG hopeful could flip DOJ positions on obscenity and online gambling.

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on his nomination for attorney general on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Jeff Sessions revealed several policy changes he might bring to the Justice Department during his confirmation hearing this week to be attorney general in the Trump administration.

The main focus was the Alabama Republican defending his record from criticism by Democratic lawmakers and civil rights groups, who question his independence and whether he will enforce voting rights and other laws important to minorities and women. But moments that didn’t grab headlines give new insight into Sessions’ legal thinking on some issues and what he’ll do if he is confirmed.

Cummings Staffer in Critical Condition After Fire That Killed 6 Children
‘They didn’t have a shot,’ Cummings tells reporters about the victims

Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cumming said he spoke with staffer Katie Malone’s husband on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings’ district staffer Katie Malone is in critical condition after a fire at her Baltimore home that killed six of her nine children. 

“It’s hard for me to imagine losing one child. But to lose six in an instant is very, very, very difficult," Cummings said at a news conference Thursday.

Schumer Says He’ll Oppose Sessions’ Nomination
Democrats unlikely to be able to block nomination, however

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said he couldn't support Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general because “I am not confident in Senator Sessions’ ability to be a defender of the rights of all Americans, or to serve as an independent check on the incoming administration.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced Thursday that he will oppose Sen. Jeff Sessions' nomination to be the next attorney general.

“After reviewing his record and giving careful consideration to his answers during the hearing, I am not confident in Senator Sessions’ ability to be a defender of the rights of all Americans, or to serve as an independent check on the incoming administration,” the New York Democrat said in a statement.

Contrast Shows With Trump in Obama’s Farewell Address
Outgoing president calls for unity; Trump calls critics ‘stupid people’

President-elect Donald Trump talks after a meeting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office on Nov. 10. Obama's Tuesday evening farewell address showed their widely contrasting styles. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The friendly crowd in Chicago booed when President Barack Obama mentioned his fast-approaching return to private life when he will hand power to his successor, Donald Trump.

“No, no, no, no, no,” Obama stopped them, saying next Friday’s “peaceful transfer of power from one freely elected president to the next” a “hallmark of our democracy.”

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.

Is Jeff Flake the GOP Senator Most Vulnerable in a Primary?
Republicans are worried the Arizona senator’s penchant for criticizing Trump has landed him in trouble with GOP voters

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., speaks with reporters about immigration. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Jeff Flake has vocally criticized his party’s freshly elected president, raised little money, and backed a moderate approach to an immigration overhaul. 

In other words, the first-term senator from Arizona has all but begged a Donald Trump-like Republican to run against him. Now, his friends and allies fear that’s exactly what will happen — with no guarantee that the incumbent lawmaker will win.