Mike Rounds

Photos of the Week: Senate Grills Sessions and Adopts Budget
The week of Oct. 16 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., takes a selfie on Tuesday outside of Dirksen Building along Constitution Avenue NE. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate was the only congressional chamber in session this week as the House recessed for members to spend time in their districts. On the list of what the Senate tackled this week — a hearing with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the adoption of a budget resolution that's another step in the path toward a tax overhaul.

Regular Order? Maybe Not For Alexander-Murray Bill
A markup could open door to partisan battle over the 2010 health law

Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., ranking member, are seen during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled "Examining How Healthy Choices Can Improve Health Outcomes and Reduce Costs," on October 19. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A committee markup of a bipartisan health bill from Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray could add another potentially fatal complication for the measure that is already under significant pressure.

Senators from both parties have for months decried the lack of regular order in the chamber as Republicans tried to jam through legislation to repeal the 2010 health law.

Senate Considers Broadening Budget Resolution
Move would allow GOP to legislate on more topics without filibuster fear

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell leaves after speaking to reporters in the Capitol following the Senate Republicans’ policy lunch Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate is considering beefing up the fiscal 2018 budget resolution to address a broader swath of issues beyond a tax overhaul, including the rollback of regulations on the financial industry, lawmakers said.

The additions might not be included in the Senate’s version before a floor vote, lawmakers said, but could be added during an expected conference with the House. The Senate Budget Committee begins its markup of the budget resolution Wednesday.  

Senate Republican Class of 2014 Looking to Shake Things Up
The group has become more vocal in their desire to change business as usual

Republican members of the Senate class of 2014 were instrumental in delaying the start of the August recess. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. David Perdue keeps a calendar in his office to remind him how many working days the Senate has left this year.

But with just 43 legislative days remaining and a packed agenda ahead, it’s not a countdown he particularly enjoys. To make matters worse, that number counts most Fridays as in-session days, though the chamber almost always wraps up its weekly work Thursday.

Pence Didn't Push on Health Care Vote
Veep did not seek to force Senate hand on latest bill

Vice President Mike Pence joined Senate Republicans at their weekly lunch, but did not opt to force the issue of taking a vote on the health care bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Vice President Mike Pence opted not to make a last-ditch pitch to Republican senators Tuesday to vote for the GOP’s latest health care bill.

Instead, Republican senators leaving their weekly lunch at the Capitol said Pence focused on how Congress could provide disaster aid to U.S. territories devastated by a string of recent hurricanes, pivoting from one of the president’s central campaign promises. Shortly after the lunch, GOP leaders said they were shelving a vote.

Senate Republicans Commence Health Care Blame Game
Unclear what is next step for outstanding health issues

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell heads to the podium to speak to reporters about the GOP health care bill following the Senate Republicans’ policy lunch Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Frustration overtook Senate Republicans on Tuesday as the reality sunk in that they had failed again in fulfilling a seven-year campaign promise to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law.

And senators were looking to cast blame wherever they could find it.

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.

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.

Senate Looks Ahead to Tax, Debt Limit Debates After Recess
McConnell predicts reconciliation process for tax overhaul

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell met Tuesday with Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on raising the debt limit. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

By NIELS LESNIEWSKI and JOE WILLIAMS

Tuesday might not be the last time the Senate leaders address reporters before departing for August recess, but their messages were already setting the stage for September.

McConnell Reveals ‘Skinny’ Bill Text as Midnight Vote Looms
At least 50 senators need to vote for repeal measure

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks back to his office Thursday night after introducing the “skinny” bill to repeal the 2010 health care law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky revealed an eight-page scaled-back repeal of the 2010 health care law Thursday night. The development came as support grew among senators for the so-called skinny repeal as a way to continue the debate on health care legislation.

The amendment to the House-passed health care bill would repeal the 2010 law’s individual mandate and its employer mandate for eight years. It would repeal the law’s medical device tax for three years and increase the amount of money an individual can contribute to a health savings account for three years. It would provide additional funding for community health centers, while defunding Planned Parenthood for one year. Additionally, it would provide states additional flexibility through waivers that would allow states to roll back certain health care law insurance regulations.