James M Inhofe

Cloud of Scandals Follow Trump Overseas
Lawmakers warn of stalled domestic agenda

President Donald Trump exits Air Force One on Feb. 6 at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. On Friday, he leaves on a five-country swing amid several domestic scandals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ned T. Johnston via Wikimedia Commons)

A cloud of scandal and uncertainty will follow Donald Trump to five countries on his first overseas trip as president beginning this weekend. And it could only grow more ominous by the time he returns.

When Trump boards Air Force One on Friday, he will leave behind a growing pile of smoldering scandals, mostly of his own creation.

Congressional Review Act Gets a Workout
Window for expedited nixing of regulations closes, maybe

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson is among lawmakers who would be interested in expanding the scope of the Congressional Review Act beyond its generally understood reach. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

On May 11, Republicans in Congress had a little celebration for the end of more than a dozen Obama-era regulations, with member after member coming to the Senate floor heaping praise on a once-obscure law known as the Congressional Review Act.

Sen. James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma could barely contain himself: “I’m almost speechless when I think about the success. You know, we went 20 years taking up one CRA and then we end up passing 14 of them — all but one. It’s a huge success record.”

Maverick McCain Re-Emerges on Methane Vote
Surprise vote sinks resolution

Arizona Sen. John McCain, center, and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, left, talk with reporters in the Capitol on May 10, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

By JEREMY DILLON, ANDY VAN WYE, and ELVINA NAWAGUNA, CQ Roll Call

Sen. John McCain was thought to be a yes. But he says he was always a no. In the end, the Arizona Republican helped sink a resolution to upend an Obama administration climate change policy.

Rising Waters at Home Cause Republicans to Buck Party in D.C.
Moderate Republicans are out front on climate change threat

New York Rep. John J. Faso is one of several GOP freshmen concerned about climate change. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Whipping out his iPhone, New York Rep. John J. Faso scrolled through text messages from his wife until he found the photo he sought. 

“There’s my wife’s car in the driveway,” he said, pointing to a lump covered in snow. “So there was no climate change that we were worried about in the last couple of days.”

Congress on Edge Awaiting Unpredictable Trump
Trump addresses joint session of Congress for first time

President Donald Trump’s address to Congress on Tuesday promises to be dramatic theater for all involved. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

For most congressional Republicans, Donald Trump has, until now, been a faraway force. His rapid and unprecedented political ascent played out mostly on cable news — and Twitter — far away from the Capitol.

Very few members of the 115th Congress’ Republican caucus were asked to costar or even play bit roles in the reality show that was The Donald’s road to the White House. Though GOP leaders and backbenchers alike condemned some of his campaign-trail antics, they ultimately celebrated his victory and inauguration.

Kamala Harris Aims for Influence as a Check on Trump
Even as a freshman, Calif. Democrat has started Senate career with a bang

California Sen. Kamala Harris has been sharply critical of President Donald Trump’s recent actions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Donald Trump received less than a third of the votes cast for president by California voters, and that’s something the state’s new senator, Kamala Harris, is well aware of.

Harris, the former state attorney general, had already spoken up on the Senate floor against the nominations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos by the time she gave her more traditional “maiden speech” Thursday. The freshman Democrat started by recounting how her mother, an Indian immigrant, chose to marry her Jamaican father in the U.S. instead of returning to India for an arranged marriage.

Trump Hill Backers Provide Cover After Flynn Departure
Republicans say there's no reason to question president's judgement

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., is interviewed by a television crew in the Cannon rotunda. He defended President Trump on Tuesday after his national security adviser resigned. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Some of President Donald Trump’s earliest and most vocal congressional supporters offered him political cover Tuesday, chalking up the first-month dismissal of his national security adviser as merely an inevitable early stumble.

GOP Rep. Chris Collins of New York, an early Trump supporter who was his transition team’s congressional liaison, was quick to protect the president’s flank after Michael Flynn resigned on Monday night. But few other Republican members flocked to television cameras on Trump’s behalf.

GOP Doesn’t Cry Foul on Trump’s Executive Orders
Republicans who criticized Obama don’t see a problem — yet

President Donald Trump with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence at the GOP retreat in Philadelphia last month. Congressional Republicans are letting slide a slew of Trump’s executive orders, a courtesy not afforded former President Barack Obama. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The day after former President Barack Obamadelivered his 2016 State of the Union address, Rep. Jason Chaffetz penned a letter chastising the commander in chief’s use of executive orders without working with Congress.

“It is unilateral, overreaching and unconstitutional,” the Utah Republican wrote. “Left unchecked, it is behavior that undermines, and will ultimately erode, the foundation of our democracy and our freedom.”

Attempts to Find Bipartisan Mood Challenged at Start
Despite hope among both parties, partisanship rears ugly head

President Donald J. Trump addresses the crowd after being sworn in as the 45th President of the United States on the West Front of the Capitol, January 20, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s inauguration ushered in hopes from both sides of the aisle for some bipartisan comity. But shortly after Trump departed the Capitol Friday, those feelings ran headfirst into the partisan scars of the previous Congress.

Some Democrats see the GOP reaping the rewards of what they call a strategy of obstruction in the last Congress, and it might be difficult for them to heed calls for bipartisanship, even if it’s something they might believe needs to happen. 

Patience and Perspective: Inauguration Memories and Advice
This inauguration will be the first for nearly one quarter of Congress.

Vermont Sen Patrick J. Leahy, right, takes photos of the media camped out in the Rotunda for President Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony in 2013. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The inauguration festivities that will take over the Capitol on Friday will be a new experience for nearly a quarter of Congress.

Roughly a dozen senators and nearly 120 House members will be attending their first presidential inauguration as a member of Congress when President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in. But luckily, they can defer to more senior members for advice on how to navigate the chaotic day.