Iowa

Supreme Court Nominee Gorsuch’s Hearings to Begin March 20
The judge will face lawmakers on March 21

Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch looks on as Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, speaks to reporters following their meeting in the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley announced Thursday that the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch will begin March 20.

Grassley's office indicated in a statement that the opening statements will take place on Monday, March 20, and Gorsuch will face the committee the following day. The hearings are expected to last three to four days and include testimony from outside experts.

Congress Split on How to Proceed on Flynn
House, Senate lawmakers differ on probe of former national security adviser

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., center, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., conduct a news conference Wednesday in the Capitol on investigating former national security adviser Michael Flynn. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers who oversee intelligence are struggling with how to investigate reports that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had inappropriate contact with Russian officials and later misled the White House about it.

The top Republican and Democrat on the House Select Intelligence Committee offered dueling perspectives on a path forward on their panel’s probe; Senate Democrats coalesced around a plan with the Intelligence Committee taking the lead, something their GOP colleagues support; Senate Democrats also said the Judiciary Committee could play an investigatory role, and some lawmakers are still sending signals they want an independent commission in on the action.

It’s not ‘Astroturf’ if the Anger is real
Politicians should pay attention to protesters

Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz says he “absolutely” believes that disruptions at a recent town hall meeting in his district were orchestrated by paid protesters. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

To town hall or not to town hall? That is the question Republicans are struggling with this week as they’re putting their recess schedules together. 

If they hold town hall meetings, they could risk a “Chaffetz,” like the moment last week when an angry crowd shouted Rep. Jason Chaffetz down in his Utah district with news cameras on hand. But refusing to hold town hall meetings could make a member look out of touch or scared to meet with their own voters. A “tele-town hall” feels like a happy medium, right? Members can say they’ve met with constituents, without actually having to meet with constituents.

‘Gang of Eight’ Revival Unlikely on Immigration Overhaul

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., talks with reporters before the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol, January 31, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

BY DEAN DeCHIARO AND BRIDGET BOWMAN, CQ ROLL CALL

President Donald Trump may want senators to re-form a “Gang of Eight”-style group focused on passing comprehensive immigration legislation. But a hyper-partisan atmosphere in Congress combined with the bitter legacy of the last failed overhaul means Trump’s wish will likely go unfulfilled.

Trump Open to 'Gang of 8' Immigration Bill, Sort Of
The bill included a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants

Trump apparently told senators he is open to the bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

By DEAN DeCHIARO and BRIDGET BOWMAN, CQ ROLL CALL

President Donald Trump might be open to comprehensive immigration legislation — or maybe not.

Democrats in a Dilemma Over Trump's Court Nominee
Senate Democrats will get a lot of advice about how to handle President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court — and it appears they need it.

Judge Neil Gorsuch, Supreme Court Justice nominee, meets with North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in her Hart building office on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

There’s pressure from liberal advocacy groups and the party’s energized base for Democrats to pull out all the stops in an attempt to block Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court confirmation. Not only do those interests have concerns about his approach to abortion rights and environmental law, but they thirst for revenge for Republicans’ obstruction of former President Barack Obama’s nominee for the same seat.

Some moderate legal and political commentators, meanwhile, have urged Democrats to wait for another potential Supreme Court nominee to launch an all-out confirmation war — a possibility during the Trump administration since two justices are in their 80s. Gorsuch would replace the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, so his elevation from a federal appeals court in Denver wouldn’t shift the ideological balance of the high court anyway.

NRCC Goes After Blue-Collar Districts in 2018
GOP campaign arm releases list of 36 initial targets

Rep. Tim Walz speaks with guests during a campaign event in Duluth for fellow Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolan last fall. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee’s initial list of offensive targets for 2018 includes 36 Democrat-held districts, many in blue-collar areas of the country.

If Democrats are targeting the well-educated suburbs (see New Jersey’s 11th District, for example), where Donald Trump either barely won or underperformed, Republicans are going after many rural districts where Hillary Clinton underperformed the congressional ticket. 

CMS Chief Nomination Is Advancing in Vetting Process, HHS Says
Ethics Office expected to announce agreement with Seema Verma

Seema Verma, seen here arriving at Trump Tower in New York last November, was nominated by President Donald Trump to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images file photo)

The Office of Government Ethics may “very soon” publicly post an agreement with Seema Verma, the Trump administration’s choice to run the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Health and Human Services Department told CQ Roll Call. The deal would bring her nomination closer to Senate consideration. 

The agreement would address “all potential conflict issues,” HHS spokesman Matt Lloyd said.

Word on the Hill: Week Three of Trump
House Democrats go on retreat this week

Showing this week: a film that looks back on Barack Obama’s presidency. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

We’ve entered into the third week of Donald Trump’s presidency.

This week on Capitol Hill might be a little lighter than last.

Grassley Pitches Trump on Whistleblowers
Iowan says president should want to know about waste, abuse

Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley has a long-held interest in whistleblower protections. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“Assuming Trump reads your stories, or somebody there reads your stories, tell them that they’ve got to deal with Chuck Grassley if they don’t treat whistleblowers right.” 

That’s the message Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley wants the White House to hear. And given how important the Iowa Republican is to advancing the agenda of President Donald Trump, his words carry weight.