Mitch McConnell

Trump Signs CR Into Law, Avoiding Government Shutdown
Measure had easily cleared Senate and House

President Donald Trump on Friday signed the stopgap spending measure, which gives Congress an additional week to complete work on the fiscal 2017 omnibus spending bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 8:45 p.m. | President Donald Trump on Friday evening signed into law a one-week continuing resolution that gives Congress more time to work through disagreements in a massive fiscal 2017 wrapup.

The Senate earlier in the day had cleared the CR that will keep the government from a shutdown for another week.

Photos of the Week: Science and Pot Protests, a Senate Bus Ride and Kids on the Hill
The week of April 24 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

Archer Somodevilla, son of Getty Images photojournalist Chip Somodevilla, takes photos during Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan's weekly news conference in the Capitol on Thursday. Thursday was "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day." (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Opinion: The Obama Effect — Pros and Cons for Republicans and Democrats
Former president could unite a party in distress

Former President Barack Obama’s influence could unite a Democratic Party that showed togetherness after President Donald Trump’s win but is already breaking apart on issues such as abortion rights, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Barack Obama, the charismatic former president, can cause a scene just by walking into a coffee shop, as the rapturous crowds in usually blase New York City demonstrated at one of his cameos. So as he gently re-entered the public and policy eye this week, it’s no surprise that he could throw both Democrats and Republicans off balance — though of course for very different reasons.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave President Donald Trump possibly his most important first-100-day achievement by spearheading the maneuver to transform Obama’s Supreme Court pick to replace Antonin Scalia into the conservative Neil Gorsuch, whose first significant vote allowed an Arkansas execution to proceed. McConnell’s obstruction and subsequent “nuclear option” may have played a part in breaking the democratic process, but isn’t that a small price to pay for a win —  at least I’m sure the president feels that way.

With Trump’s Wall Off the Table, Obamacare Takes Center Stage in Shutdown Showdown
Funding for subsidies leads remaining issues

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, right, Vermont Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, center, and Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin leave the Democratic Senate policy luncheon in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It appears President Donald Trump will settle for enhanced funding for border security instead of his signature wall.

Talks about averting a government shutdown progressed Tuesday after funding for building the wall between the U.S. and Mexico fell off the negotiating table, but lawmakers still had to work through a thicket of issues — including health care funding and family planning. They have until midnight Friday to reach a deal before government funding runs out.

Schumer Hopeful That Trump Has Caved on the Wall
Calls Trump’s comments to conservative journalists ‘really good news’

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is warning against "poison pills." (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Even after President Donald Trump tweeted, “Don't let the fake media tell you that I have changed my position on the WALL,” the Senate's top Democrat is sounding optimistic that the commander-in-chief has caved.

“I want to say that it’s really good news that the president seems to be taking the wall off the table in the negotiations we’re having on an appropriations bill this week,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said. “It would remove the prospect of a needless fight over a poison pill proposal that members of both parties don’t support.”

Syria, Trump and Congress’ Ever-Eroding War Powers
Lawmakers lukewarm to a force-authorization measure for U.S. missile strike

President Donald Trump and his national security team receive a briefing on April 6 about an air strike he ordered on a Syrian air base. (White House photo)

President Donald Trump has gone to great lengths to break from the policies and approaches of his predecessor. Yet, when it came to justifying a round of U.S. military missile strikes in Syria, the new commander in chief dusted off a legal rationale crafted by Barack Obama’s administration.

Like the 44th president, Trump contended that the Constitution vests in the office of the presidency enough war powers to carry out some isolated military operations without lawmakers’ approval.

Shutdown Under GOP Control Could Be Historic
Federal funding gaps rare under unified government

Not since President Jimmy Carter’s administration have funding gaps occurred when Congress and the executive branch were unified under one party. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If the Republican majorities in the House and Senate are unable to get legislation to President Donald Trump’s desk to keep the government running beyond an April 28 deadline, it could be a fairly historic political moment.

Not since President Jimmy Carter’s administration have a Congress and an executive branch unified under one party seen government funding gaps occur, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Funding Deadline Tests GOP Strategy
Republicans hoped for more under Trump, but still need Democrats’ help

From left, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan meet for a working lunch at the White House on March 1. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

When Republicans kicked the fiscal 2017 spending deadline into April last December, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said they’d rather negotiate with incoming GOP President Donald Trump than the outgoing Democratic one.

But now, congressional Republicans are talking about largely ignoring requests from the White House as they negotiate with Democrats over a spending bill to take the government off autopilot for the remaining five months of the fiscal year.

Senators Look to Move Past Nuclear Option
Bipartisanship touted when they return from recess

Maine Sen. Susan Collins said lawmakers should move on to an issue with bipartisan support, such as improving infrastructure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senators are getting some time away from the nation’s capital for the next week and half, following a tense battle over the Supreme Court. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell invoked the so-called nuclear option last Thursday to effectively change the Senate rules and lower the threshold for ending debate on high court nominees. While the move raised questions about whether the chamber had reached a partisan point of no return, senators were hopeful they could still come together on other issues.

Trump’s Chance to Fill Lower Court Vacancies Rest on Bipartisanship
Grassley is eager to begin processing judicial nominations

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley is waiting for President Donald Trump to nominate more judges for lower court posts. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With Justice Neil Gorsuch safely ensconced on the Supreme Court, the Trump administration now needs to focus on more than a hundred open federal court seats. 

Of those, 48 vacancies are considered judicial emergencies. But according to statistics maintained by the administrative office of the federal courts, only one nominee has been put forward by the White House so far.