James Lankford

10 images that define the week in Washington
The week of May 6 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Rep. Billy Long, R-Mo., shows off his $45 Trump bills after participating in a press conference on national security outside of the Capitol on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Another week in Washington has come to close. Lawmakers spent the first week of May holding hearings on the fallout of the Mueller report and honoring fallen law enforcement officers. 

At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, President Donald Trump’s my-way-or-the-highway negotiating style was on full display this week, John T. Bennett writes. But the president is set to end the week with little gained on some big campaign promises.

Klobuchar finds Attorney General Barr unaware of major election security legislation
Minnesota Democrat presses for Justice Department support for bipartisan plan that's stalled

Attorney General William Barr takes his seat before the start of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the “Department of Justice’s Investigation of Russian Interference with the 2016 Presidential Election.“(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Attorney General William Barr said Wednesday that he was not familiar with the Senate’s bipartisan effort to enhance the security of election systems ahead of 2020.

Barr had not yet returned to the Department of Justice when, last year, the Senate Rules and Administration Committee abruptly cancelled a markup of a bipartisan bill known as the Secure Elections Act.

Schumer uses Kushner’s downplaying of Russian election interference to pitch sanctions
Democratic leader outlines bipartisan proposals he wants the Senate to consider ahead of 2020

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer wants more sanctions targeting Russia. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Jared Kushner’s attempt to downplay Russian election interference has given Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer another reason to push for more sanctions against the country ahead of 2020.

In a new letter to members of the Senate Democratic caucus, the New York Democrat cited Kushner’s comments last week at the inaugural Time 100 Summit. 

In prelude to nuclear option, Senate rejects speeding up confirmation of nominees
McConnell now expected to move forward with only Republican support

President Donald Trump alongside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., left, and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., last week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate inched closer Tuesday to Republicans using the “nuclear option” to slash the time for debate on the vast majority of judicial and executive nominations.

Senators blocked, 51-48, an effort by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring up a resolution that would have set a new standing order. The support of 60 senators would have been needed to advance the debate.

McConnell moves toward ‘nuclear option’ for confirmation of Trump nominees
The move allows the Senate to approve Trump’s nominees more quickly

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, left, has moved to get a rules change proposal on the floor to aid confirmation of President Donald Trump’s nominees. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has set up debate next week to make it easier for Republicans to confirm President Donald Trump’s nominees.

The Kentucky Republican came to the floor Thursday afternoon to complain about the difficulty Republicans have faced confirming a variety of Trump nominees and announced that, “the Senate is going to do something about it.”

Road Ahead: Michael Cohen returns amid disapproval, gun votes
Senate will also continue work on key presidential nominations, as House takes up gun legislation

Michael Cohen, former attorney for President Donald Trump, leaves the Monocle restaurant on Capitol Hill on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Three days of congressional testimony by President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney round out what could be a crazy week on Capitol Hill — even by recent standards.

Lawmakers in both the House and Senate will have their chance to grill Michael Cohen this week. The former Trump fixer is scheduled to talk to the Senate Intelligence panel Tuesday behind closed doors for a deposition-style interview, ahead of long-awaited public testimony Wednesday before the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

Senate panel spars over judges, advances GOP effort to cut nomination debate time
Party-line vote in committee could set up a contentious floor debate

Senate Rules Chairman Roy Blunt, R-Mo., led the advancement of the proposal to effectively change the rules for debating presidential nominees. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Rules and Administration Committee took a predictably partisan turn Wednesday when the panel voted along party lines to advance a resolution that would slash debate time for most presidential nominees.

Ranking member Amy Klobuchar led the opposition to the proposal, arguing that two hours for post-cloture debate was not enough, especially for lifetime appointments to the federal bench.

Senate Rules panel could advance plan to cut debate time on Trump nominees next week
Republican Sens. Roy Blunt and James Lankford introduced the newest version on Wednesday

Senate Rules and Administration Chairman Roy Blunt is expected to bring up the rules change plan next week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Republicans are moving ahead with an effort to effectively change the rules, reducing the amount of debate time allowed on many lower-level nominations by President Donald Trump.

The resolution, which has been championed by Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., was being reintroduced Wednesday. It’s expected to be marked up by the Senate Rules and Administration Committee next week, according to a person familiar with the scheduling.

Lawmakers want to boost Pentagon input on tariffs
A proposal gives the Pentagon a lead role on deciding whether tariffs are needed to protect national security

Vice chair Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., left, and chairman Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., talk before the start of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee hearing on "Worldwide Threats" on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As the trade war with China drags on, a bipartisan group of lawmakers in both chambers is pushing to give the Defense Department the lead role in analyzing whether tariffs are needed to protect national security.

The draft legislation, released Wednesday in both the House and Senate, marks a significant revision of Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, which gave the Commerce Department the authority to analyze the tariffs and ultimately make a recommendation to the president on whether to invoke national security.

Could Democratic presidential hopefuls help lessen the Senate logjam?
Republicans hope rules change push appeals to folks who would need cooperative chamber

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., is leading the effort to change the Senate's rules for debate time on many presidential nominations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With the shutdown over, Senate Republicans may restart efforts to change rules and reduce the time it takes to confirm President Donald Trump’s nominees — and they’re hoping Democratic presidential hopefuls will help them make it happen. 

When the Senate GOP huddled for its annual issues conference this month at Nationals Park, the nomination backlog was on the agenda. Sen. James Lankford — the leading advocate for restoring an agreement in place during the 113th Congress that reduced debate time after a filibuster was broken for many lower-level nominees — briefed his colleagues on the status of his discussions.