Maine

Democratic Lawmakers Feel Boost from Women’s March
Minority party hopes movement will help Congress rein in Trump

Protesters march down Independence Avenue in Washington, holding signs during the women’s march on Saturday, the day after the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Capitol Dome was more than just a symbolic backdrop for Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington. It was the intended target of hundreds of thousands of voices of frustration with President Donald Trump. 

For all of the anti-Trump placards — both crude and shrewd — many marchers descended on the nation’s capital to send a message to the branch of government that, they hope, will be a check on the new president.

Maine Gov. LePage Ups Ante About Lewis
Refuses to back down from earlier remarks about Lewis, says NAACP should apologize to white people

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., was criticized by Maine Gov. Paul LePage for not attending President Elect Donald Trump's inauguration. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Maine Gov. Paul LePage is not backing down from comments he made about Rep. John Lewis boycotting incoming President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

On a radio interview last weekend, LePage said Lewis should remember that Republicans were the advocates for civil rights, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Perry, Mnuchin Round Out Senate Hearings Before Inauguration
Democrats will try to keep the focus on health care

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of Energy. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Donald Trump’s nominees to run the Energy and Treasury departments are the last to face Senate committees before the incoming president is sworn in on Friday. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is acknowledging the Senate may only confirm a few nominees right away. 

The Senate is on track to confirm just three of Trump’s Cabinet nominees on Jan. 20, McConnell told USA Today on Wednesday. He blamed Democrats for slowing down the process, though Democrats say they need more time to properly vet Trump’s nominees.

Senators to Watch as Trump Era Begins
Rank-and-file senators likely to be key players in 115th Congress

Georgia Sen. David Perdue, left, and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III are both senators to watch. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans may have full control in Washington, but the Senate remains the Senate, which means it’s the place where rank-and-file Democrats and Republicans retain the most clout and potential for influence. Here are the key senators from outside of the top echelons of the leadership structures to watch as the 115th Congress gets underway.

The moderate from Maine will be the first person to watch on any contentious votes, particularly on budget reconciliation votes that aim to repeal parts of the 2010 health care law. She has, for instance, been among the small number of Republicans opposing efforts to tie the GOP health care plans to stopping federal funding of Planned Parenthood.

Maine Democrat to Trump: L.L. Bean Doesn't Need Your Help
Chellie Pingree sees no reason for liberals to boycott the retailer

Maine Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree thinks there's "absolutely" no reason for liberals to boycott L.L. Bean because one of its board members donated to a PAC supporting Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Liberals should not be boycotting L.L. Bean just because a board member supported Donald Trump, Maine’s sole Democrat in Congress, Rep. Chellie Pingree of North Haven, said Friday.

“It’s a great company and those are American-made boots,” said Pingree, who can often be spotted strolling through the House with one of the Maine-based company’s canvas totes slung over her shoulder.

Word on the Hill: One Week Out
Women’s March adds new partners

Dr. Ben Carson arrives in the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee offices before his confirmation hearing to be secretary of Housing and Urban Development on Thursday. Confirmation hearings continue into next week (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration is only a week away.

Watch for our list of balls, counter-parties and other things to do around the District that day. And feel free to pass along any events you want to share with our readers — email AlexGangitano@cqrollcall.com

Republicans Not So Sure About Trump's Call for Drug “Bidding”

Rep. Charlie Dent , R-Pa., leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Wednesday morning, Sept. 7, 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional Republicans are downplaying or dismissing President-elect Donald Trump’s call Wednesday for the government to start “bidding” for prescription drugs.

Addressing the high price of prescription drugs is a popular bipartisan issue, but Republicans tend to favor an approach that would stimulate competition that could help bring prices down. Under the Medicare drug program, price negotiation does occur between drug companies and the insurers who administer the coverage, but the federal government is forbidden from leveraging the bargaining power of Medicare as a whole.

Vote-A-Rama: Democrats State Their Case, But Resolution Passes
Feinstein missing from votes; Sessions arrives at last minute

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, at top, rises to explain why he was voting against the budget resolution early Thursday morning. (C-SPAN)

At 1:05 a.m., Republicans began the final vote of a seven-hour Vote-A-Rama — the budget resolution that would begin the process to repeal the Affordable Care Act, then departed the chamber as Democrats remained silently in their chairs.

But Senate Democrats didn't go quietly into the night. At 1:11 a.m., Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer stood up and stated his opposition to adopting the resolution. Other Democrats followed in what appeared to be an unprecedented move of rising to explain their opposition before casting their votes. 

AG Pick Sessions Defends Record at Contentious Hearing
Alabama Republican argues he’s strong on civil rights

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, is sworn in on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 6:42 p.m. | Sen. Jeff Sessions made his case to be attorney general Tuesday, in a confirmation hearing punctuated by racially charged protesters and warnings from Democrats that minorities fear he wouldn’t protect their rights as the Justice Department leader.

The Alabama Republican decried accusations of racial insensitivity that sunk his 1986 nomination to be a federal judge as “damnably false,” and appealed to his colleagues on the Judiciary Committee to study his record of 20 years working beside them in the Senate.

Booker Breaks Precedent by Testifying Against Sessions
Says AG designee’s record is ’concerning in a number of ways’

Booker will testify against his colleague. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Cory Booker will on Wednesday take the apparently unprecedented step of testifying against the confirmation of fellow Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama to be attorney general, a move that could firm up Booker’s progressive bona fides ahead of a possible 2020 presidential bid.

“I do not take lightly the decision to testify against a Senate colleague,” Booker, a New Jersey Democrat, said in a statement. “But the immense powers of the attorney general, combined with the deeply troubling views of this nominee is a call to conscience.”