Maine

Republican Senators Mostly Silent After Trump’s North Korea Threat
President would hit regime, military targets - not civilians, White House says

Republican Sens. Bob Corker (center), Marco Rubio (seated right) and Jim Risch (standing right) all declined to comment on GOP President Donald Trump's threat to "totally destroy" North Korea if it attacks the United States. Also pictured are GOP Sens. Cory Gardner (standing left) and Ron Johnson (seated left). (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker hurried into an elevator. Sen. Marco Rubio quickly ducked into the Capitol Visitor Center television studio. And Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain shut down reporters’ repetitive questions.

No Republican senator could be found Tuesday who was willing to question President Donald Trump’s threat before the United Nations General Assembly to “totally destroy” North Korea unless it gives up its nuclear arms and long-range missile programs, which he views as a direct threat to the sovereignty and security of the United States and its allies.

Bipartisan Health Care Talks Shut Down Amid Rush to Repeal
Talks by Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray sidelined

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., has halted a bipartisan effort to stabilize the health insurance market as Senate Republicans aggressively seek to repeal the 2010 health care law. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A bipartisan effort to stabilize the health insurance markets suffered a potentially fatal blow Tuesday as Senate Republicans kicked into high gear their attempt to repeal the 2010 health care law.

Facing a Sept. 30 deadline to utilize the 2017 budget reconciliation process that would allow passage of the health care legislation without having to worry about the filibuster, GOP leaders and Vice President Mike Pence lobbied their rank and file to pass legislation spearheaded by Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. It would repeal the 2010 law’s mandates for coverage, curtail the Medicaid program and block-grant money to the states to construct their own health care programs. 

Alexander Juggles Bipartisan Health Care Deal With GOP Repeal Effort
His decision could undermine a reputation the Tennessee Republican has spent years cultivating

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., has been trying to assemble support for a measure to stabilize the health insurance industry, but could run into interference because of GOP efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act . (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

For Sen. Lamar Alexander, two roads are diverging in a yellow wood.

The Tennessee Republican, who chairs the Senate, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, is facing a difficult quandary on health care that Democrats say could undermine a bipartisan reputation he has spent years cultivating and simultaneously determine the fate of the nation’s insurance system.

Lawmakers Sing a Bipartisan Tune as a Bitter Fall Looms
Trump’s recent deal-making elicits confusion and hope

President Donald Trump's recent outreach to Democrats has elicited mixed reaction from both Republicans and Democrats. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Bipartisanship is the song of September.

Word on the Hill: Kaine and Alexander’s Bipartisan Jam
Free fries, and kickball for Harvey recovery

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, left, and Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander have a concert on Friday. (Courtesy bristolrhythm.com)

Music lovers can catch Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., on the harmonica and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., on the piano this Friday night.

Their band The Amateurs are performing at the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, a music festival this weekend in Bristol, a community that straddles the Virginia-Tennessee state line. The dynamic duo goes on stage at 5 p.m.

Trump’s Voter Fraud Panel Remains Lightning Rod
Some see commission as Washington’s most dangerous advisory board

President Donald Trump, flanked by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Vice President Mike Pence speaks during the first meeting of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity in Washington in July. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images File Photo)

If anyone in Washington was wondering just how seriously Democrats were taking a presidential advisory commission tasked with finding voter fraud, the answer came in late August, when Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer compared the commission with the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who clashed with counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier in the month.

“If the president wants to truly show that he rejects the discrimination agenda of the white supremacist movement, he will rescind the Executive Order that created this commission,” the New York Democrat wrote in a post on Medium.com. He added that the commission was “a ruse,” whose “only intention is to disenfranchise voters.”

Closed-Door Process Might Threaten Tax Timeline in Senate
Lack of consensus on budget could push back tax overhaul deadline

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson is among the Republicans calling for more information about the tax overhaul effort. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The closed-door process under which Republican congressional leaders and the Trump administration are crafting an overhaul of the United States tax code could impede the Senate’s timeline for the effort.

Lawmakers say they have yet to receive key details, making it difficult to craft a fiscal 2018 budget resolution that will ultimately serve as the vehicle to advance the tax bill.

Senate Pins Health Care Hopes On Bipartisan Bill
Repeal efforts on 2010 law ebb as other measures pop up

Senate HELP Chairman Lamar Alexanderwants to move quickly on legislation to stabilize the health insurance markets, but other attempts to address health care might get in the way. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A last-ditch attempt by Senate Republicans to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law appears unlikely to get off the ground, as lawmakers from both parties pin all their hopes for a health care fix on a long-shot bipartisan bill to stabilize the insurance markets.

While there’s an effort underway within the GOP conference to try to hold another vote on a bill to overhaul former President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement, optimism is low among several Republican lawmakers and aides that it will be successful.

White House Adds Sweeping Immigration Bill to Lawmakers’ Agenda
Spox: After ‘three-week vacation,’ Congress should be ‘rested and ready’

Immigration rights demonstrators prepare to march from the White House to the Trump Hotel and the Justice Department to oppose President Trump's decision to end the DACA program for “dreamers” on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The White House doesn’t just want Congress to send President Donald Trump legislation addressing undocumented individuals that will lose federal protections due to his decision to end the Obama-era DACA program. Rather, the president wants them to craft a comprehensive immigration bill.

The president’s top spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, on Tuesday jabbed Congress for taking a “three-week vacation.” Their annual August break now complete, she said lawmakers should be “rested and ready to take on some big challenges,” including an immigration overhaul bill.

Who Won Recess?
Lawmakers make the scene back home

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., appeared on Bill Maher’s show in August to promote his new book, “A Giant in the Senate,” after canceling an earlier scheduled spot in protest. (Courtesy Janet VanHam/HBO).

One lawmaker played teacher but ended up learning from kids. Another gave hugs to those who care for the youngest opioid addicts. Many donned their eclipse glasses and looked skyward.

And one became the Python Hunter of the Everglades.