Joni Ernst

Photos of the Week: Sally Yates, Town Halls and the Post-Comey Chaos
The week of May 8 as seen by Roll Call's photographers

A Senate staffer attempts to deliver a poster to the hearing room where former acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper were set to testify during a hearing on “Russian Interference in the 2016 United States Election” on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Takes Baby Steps on Health Care Overhaul
Meetings have focused on ‘brainstorming’ and sharing ideas

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is giving his caucus a wide berth in discussing health insurance legislation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

By JOE WILLIAMS and ERIN MERSHON, CQ Roll Call

Senate Republicans remain in the very early stages of revamping a House bill to repeal the 2010 health care law: the ideas stage, as one of them puts it.

Photo of the Day: Seen on the Hill
Two senators chat before an Armed Services hearing Tuesday

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans Joni Ernst of Iowa, left, and Deb Fischer of Nebraska talk before the start of a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

The hearing in the Dirksen Building featured testimony from Adm. Michael S. Rogers, director of the National Security Agency.

Schumer Joins Calls for President to Release Tax Returns
Minority Leader: Failure to disclose makes passing tax reform ‘much harder’

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says President Trump could wreck a major campaign pledge, a package of tax code changes and rate cuts, if he keeps his own returns secret. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The top Senate Democrat on Tuesday joined calls for President Donald Trump to release his tax returns, warning that a failure to do so could sink what was a major campaign promise.

Should the president opt to continue keeping his full personal financial picture secret, it would make any package of tax code changes and rate cuts “much harder to pass,” said Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y.

Feinstein Issues Warning After Abused Gymnasts Tell Their Stories
‘It’s a new day,’ says California Democrat after Senate Judiciary hearing

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., shakes hands with Dominique Moceanu,1996 Olympic gymnastics gold medalist, before the start of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Protecting Young Athletes From Sexual Abuse" on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein displayed some anger on Tuesday when she warned the U.S. Olympic Committee, “You’re going to hear from us,” about allegations of abuse of its gymnastics team members.

The California Democrat introduced a bill that would require amateur athletics governing bodies to immediately report sexual abuse allegations to law enforcement. The bill would also make failure to do so a crime.

Anti-Abortion Marchers Describe New Optimism in Era of Trump
Pence, Conway, tell March for Life crowd that Trump will support their cause

Participants raise their hands in prayer near the Washington Monument during the speaking program of the annual March for Life on Friday, January 27, 2017. Attendees marched from the monument to Capitol Hill to oppose abortion. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

For most of her life, Gina Garvey has trekked to the Washington mall to join abortion opponents in the annual March for Life.

On Friday, the crowd was similar to so many others she had seen: people hoisting signs that denounced Planned Parenthood and declared that life is beautiful; nuns and priests in habits; school groups in colorful knit hats; so many people that at times it was difficult to move.

Word on the Hill: March for Life Planning
School Choice Week rally

Last year’s March for Life went ahead as planned despite blizzard warnings issued for the D.C. area. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The annual anti-abortion rally in Washington, the March for Life, is this Friday.

While everyone was preparing for President Donald Trump’s inauguration, march organizers released its list of speakers, which includes counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, the highest-ranking White House official to ever address the event in person. Also scheduled to speak are Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, and Rep. Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J.

House Republican Women See a Boost in Authority
3 committees, other powerful posts newly under control of 21-person caucus

Texas Rep. Kay Granger is the new chairwoman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, which drives the allocation of more than half a trillion dollars annually to the military. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For the past four years, Republicans endured pointed barbs about how the only woman with a House committee gavel was presiding over the fittingly sexist-sounding “housekeeping committee,” the Hill’s nickname for the panel overseeing the Capitol’s internal operations.

That’s not a fair jape anymore. Exactly a century after the arrival of the first female elected to Congress, Jeannette Rankin of Montana, her GOP successors will be wielding more titular power in the Republican-run House than ever. Women will soon be presiding over three standing committees, a record for the party, while a fourth has taken over what’s arguably the chamber’s single most consequential subcommittee, because it takes the lead in apportioning more than half of all discretionary federal spending.

Mikulski Hosts Her Last Post-Election Senate Women Gathering
One last hurrah for the retiring Maryland Democrat

From left to right: New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, California Sen-elect Kamala Harris, Nevada Sen.-elect Catherine Cortez Masto, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, New Hampshire Sen.-elect Maggie Hassan and Maryland Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski. (Alex Gangitano/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski typically hosts a get-together for new women elected to the Senate, but this year is special to her. Not only because is it her last, but the female freshmen are all Democrats.

Mikulski, the dean of the Senate women, teamed up with Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins to host the traditional bipartisan women’s coffee on Tuesday in her hideaway on the third floor of the Capitol.

Meet the Senate Freshman Class of 2016
Some firsts for women in the Senate, a son of a foreign service worker, and a former governor among this class

Seven new members will join the Senate in 2017. CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two white men and four women walk into a room. That’s it — no joke, that’s just what the Senate freshman class looks like, so far.

The Louisiana Senate race to replace retiring Sen. David Vitter, to be decided in a Dec. 10 runoff, will determine the seventh freshman.