James Lankford

Women Who Run the Show
Monica Popp and Alexis Covey-Brandt are chiefs of staff in leadership offices

Monica Popp has been Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn’s chief for almost three years. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans haven’t exactly followed the advice of conservative icon Margaret Thatcher, who liked to say, “If you want anything done, ask a woman.”

The GOP has five female senators, and none in leadership. It can seem like a man’s caucus, at least from the outside looking in.

Members Caught Off Guard on News of DACA Fix On Omnibus

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., was among the members who thought the ball was in the administration's court adding a DACA fix to the omnibus. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The White House has held some discussions with Congress about addressing immigration in the pending fiscal year 2018 spending bill, according to GOP senators and aides, but members are skeptical that such a provision will be included in the omnibus package.

Lawmakers in both parties have sought a solution to the situation surrounding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — which covers undocumented immigrants who come to the country as children. President Donald Trump targeted it for expiration on March 5, which has been halted by court actions. The chamber voted on a series of different DACA proposals in February, but none garnered the necessary 60 votes to advance.

Congress Warns North Korea — and Trump — on Nuke Talks
Messer says Trump deserves a Nobel Prize

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said President Donald Trump's position on North Korea gave an opportunity for diplomacy with North Korea. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Members of Congress were cautious in response to the news that President Donald Trump will meet with Kim Jong Un to discuss North Korea’s nuclear program.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a hawkish Republican who went from being a major Trump critic to ally, said Trump’s “strong stand” against the regime gives the United States the best opportunity for peace.

Not Even Richard Burr’s Son Could Avoid Security Clearance Review Backlog
Intelligence chairman made point during oversight hearing on clearance process

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard M. Burr said his own son faced security clearance review delays. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Intelligence Chairman Richard M. Burr told a story at Wednesday’s hearing about the security clearance process of a 22 year-old seeking employment with the Department of Defense roughly a decade ago.

It took that young man almost a year to get through the clearance hurdles. He was the North Carolina Republican’s son.

Federal Employees Hit Hard by Trump’s Budget, Key GOP Senator Says
Pay freeze and other cost-cutters ‘hurts’ appeal of working for government, Lankford says

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., questioned a number of key measures in President Donald Trump's 2019 budget proposal that would affect federal employment. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A key GOP senator appears poised to scrap President Donald Trump’s request to freeze federal employees’ pay in fiscal year 2019, one of many cost-cutting measures for federal agencies the president presented in his budget proposal that lawmakers have pushed back on.

“I don’t think that gains us anything,” Sen. James Lankford said of Trump’s pay freeze proposal, Government Executive reported. “I think it hurts us in recruitment.”

Senators Prepare for Messaging and Uncertainty From Immigration Debate
‘You know it’s an election year?’

Demonstrators supporting the so-called DREAM Act will likely be back on the Capitol grounds this week, like this group from Jan. 16 in the Hart Building. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators say they are ready for what Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to give them this week: a return to regular order.

But that does not mean it will be easy.

Weekly Bipartisan Prayer Paying Dividends in Senate Negotiations
Lankford, Coons host the breakfast each Wednesday

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., spearheads a weekly prayer breakfast for senators. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate has adopted a more bipartisan tone of late as lawmakers from both parties link up to reach compromises on sweeping spending and immigration packages.

One reason for the detente, at least two senators have said: prayer.

Eagles Super Bowl Parade Boots Heritage Retreat From Philadelphia
Dozens of conservative lawmakers attend the annual Heritage Foundation retreat

A man climbs a traffic pole as Philadelphia Eagles fans celebrate victory in Super Bowl LII against the New England Patriots on Sunday in Philadelphia. The large crowd expected for a victory party this week caused the Heritage Foundation to move its retreat from Philadelphia to Washington. (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)

The annual Heritage Foundation retreat for conservative lawmakers this week has been moved from Philadelphia as the city expects millions of people to flood the streets Thursday for a parade to celebrate the Eagles’ 41-33 Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots.

Heritage officials have relocated the retreat to Washington, D.C.

Republican Retreat Heavy on Boasting, Short on Strategy
Divisions within ranks threaten progress on immigration, government spending

Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and South Dakota Sen. John Thune conduct a news conference at the media center during the House and Senate Republican retreat at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Republicans leave the Greenbrier resort on Friday buoyed by their reflections of the accomplishments of the past year. But they also depart with little consensus on how to address the long to-do list awaiting them in Washington, D.C.

Much of the public portion of the GOP retreat was spent touting the recent tax overhaul, cuts to federal regulations, a record number of judicial appointments and an optimistic economic forecast. But the silence on contentious lingering issues such as health care, government spending and immigration was deafening.

Republicans Divided on Minimum Needed for Immigration Deal
White House, conservatives pushing four pillars while others open to just two

Senate Republican Conference Chairman. John Thune, R-S.D., talks with reporters on Wednesday during the House and Senate Republican retreat at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Immigration negotiations are moving so slowly that congressional leaders haven’t even agreed on which policy areas must be addressed as part of a deal — a fissure that exists even within the Republican Party.

The White House and many House Republicans say that at a bare minimum, four pillars need to be addressed in any bill: border security, protections for “Dreamers” who will lose their legal status with the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, family-sponsored visas and the Diversity Visa lottery program.