Joe Manchin III

Plans to Fund Miners’ Benefits Could Complicate Funding Government
Spending bill for the remainder of fiscal 2017 at risk

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., wants to draw money from an abandoned mines fund as a permanent fix to a plan that provides pensions and health insurance for retired miners and their spouses. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have plans for a 40-year-old pot of money meant to reclaim abandoned surface coal mines — and one of the plans could snag efforts to keep the government running after the current continuing resolution expires on April 28.

The Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Fund was created by the 1977 Surface Mining Control and Recreation Act to turn strip mines left behind by failed companies into sites suitable for commercial or recreational development.

D.C. Area Lawmakers to Colleagues: Leave Our Airport Alone
Warn against easing restrictions on long-haul flights into Reagan National Airport

Lawmakers from the D.C. area are concerned about sending more air traffic to Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Va. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers from in and around Washington are warning their congressional colleagues against changing local airport rules in a bid to make it easier for them to get back to their home states.

A group of 15 members of Congress, led by Democratic Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia and Benjamin L. Cardin and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, along with Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., do not want to see any easing of restrictions on long-haul flights from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport — whose Arlington, Virginia, location is significantly closer to the Capitol building than either of the other major airports in the area.

Tense Senate Confirms Gorsuch to Supreme Court
Colorado jurist will restore conservative tilt as Scalia replacement

Neil Gorsuch is the next associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 1:41 p.m. | The Senate confirmed Judge Neil Gorsuch as the next Supreme Court justice on Friday on a mostly party-line vote, 54-45. Democrats Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana joined all Republicans present in voting to confirm. Republican Johnny Isakson of Georgia did not vote.

Gorsuch was supported by the fewest number of senators since Justice Clarence Thomas was confirmed in 1991 on a 52-48 vote. 

Senate GOP Deploys ‘Nuclear Option’ for Supreme Court
Move allows Judge Neil Gorsuch to be confirmed by simple majority

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gives a thumbs up after the Senate invoked the "nuclear option" which will allow for a simple majority vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate took another step Thursday toward doing away with centuries-old traditions that have distinguished it from virtually every other legislative body in the world. 

Senate Republicans moved forward with invoking the “nuclear option” Thursday to make it so a simple majority of senators can confirm any future Supreme Court justice.

The Bipartisan Effort to Make Senate History
Lack of Senate retirements could be unprecedented

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein appears more likely to run for a fifth full term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For all of the moaning and groaning about Washington being dysfunctional, members of Congress aren’t exactly tripping over each other to get out of town.

So far, all of the Republican and Democratic senators up for re-election this cycle seem intent on seeking another term. And if that trend continues, it would be historic. 

Manchin: Pushing for a ‘Full Fix’ on Miner Benefits
December standoff brought only a stopgap deal

From left, Sens. Bob Casey and Joe Manchin III, and Reps. Matt Cartwright and Robert C. Scott conduct a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center to introduce miner’s health care legislation the "Black Lung Benefits Improvement Act of 2017" and the "Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act of 2017." (Photo by Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The debate over miner health care and pensions that brought the Senate to the precipice of a government shutdown in December might be coming back.

Coal miners from the United Mine Workers have been all over the Capitol meeting with lawmakers in recent weeks.

Senate Moves Closer to Supreme Court Showdown on Gorsuch
Graham: ‘If we have to, we will change the rule and it looks like we’re going to have to.’

Sens. John Kennedy of Louisiana, left, and Thom Tillis of North Carolina listen to Minnesota Sen. Al Franken make a statement during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting Monday on Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 6:22 p.m. | Long-held Senate rules that require consensus for Supreme Court nominees appear doomed, after enough Democrats announced they would block Judge Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation and force Republicans to alter filibuster rules if they want to put President Donald Trump’s pick on the high court.

The Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-9 along party lines Monday, as expected, to favorably advance Gorsuch’s nomination to the Senate floor, but not before key Democrats said they would oppose the 49-year-old federal appeals court judge from Colorado.

Gorsuch Floor Fight Foreshadows Change in Senate
Process likely to become longer, nastier and more political

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch testifies on the second day of his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill on March 21. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 4:35 p.m. | A committee vote Monday on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch will kick off a consequential weeklong confirmation showdown — one that is primed to reshape the Senate and fill the high court seat left vacant for more than a year.

The Senate Judiciary Committee meets to advance Gorsuch’s nomination to the Senate floor, with the panel’s 11-member GOP majority expected to deliver enough votes for a positive report.

GOP Launches Neil Gorsuch Push Ahead of Votes Next Week
A committee vote is scheduled for Monday, with final confirmation on Friday

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, walks past a group calling themselves Public Advocate of the U.S., who dressed in robes and waved flags in support of Neil Gorsuch to be confirmed to the Supreme Court. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans are heading into the final round in their effort to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

A coalition of outside groups is making their case in advertisements in key states, while other GOP supporters are appealing directly to Democratic senators to garner support for the Supreme Court nominee. The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Gorsuch’s nomination on Monday, with a final confirmation vote expected next Friday.

The Search for Intelligent Bipartisanship on Health Care
Rank-and-file lawmakers to keep pushing the issue

Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Bill Cassidy, R-La., say their bill could be a path forward on health care. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

By BRIDGET BOWMAN and NIELS LESNIEWSKI, CQ Roll Call 

With Republican leaders pausing their quest to overturn the 2010 health care law, rank-and-file lawmakers see an opportunity for outreach behind the scenes on the divisive issue.