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Democrats Notching Key Legislative Victories Ahead of Elections
Members hope achievements can drive support among voters in rural states

Montana Sen. Jon Tester, is one of several moderate Democrats in the chamber who have notched key legislative victories under President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Moderate Senate Democrats on the ballot in 2018 are racking up a number of key legislative victories in advance of what is expected to be a bitter midterm election cycle.

The successes, on bills ranging from veterans’ issues to bank regulation and tax credits for so-called clean coal technology, are the kind that can drive support among voters in the rural states that many of these members call home.

Photos of the Week: Waiting for Spring in Washington
The week of March 12 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

Evelyn Black, two-and-a half, of Capitol Hill, walks through about 7,000 pairs of shoes displayed on the East Lawn of the Capitol on Tuesday to represent the approximately 7,000 children who were killed by guns since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Whitehouse Preps 200th Climate Speech, Hoping Senate Will Stir
“It is an indicator of the extent [to] which the fossil fuel industry owns the joint”

Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse speaks with Roll Call in his office on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Every week of every Senate session for the last six years, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse has taken to the floor to urge his colleagues to “wake up” to the dire consequences of their inaction on climate change.

But the slumbering chamber keeps hitting the snooze button.

With Expectations Low, Select Budget Panel Prepares to Meet
Committee has broad mission, but few hard deadlines

Rep. Steve Womack, the new House Budget Committee chairman, is head of the select budget panel. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The select committee tasked with overhauling the budget and appropriations process is mandated by law to meet for the first time this week. But what they plan to talk about remains a mystery.

The law establishing the committee instructs the 16 members to provide “recommendations and legislative language that will significantly reform the budget and appropriations process” before Nov. 30, with an initial meeting to be held by March 11.

Cyber Command Nominee Deflects Questions on Russia
Nominee defers to current commander who warned Russia is virtually unchecked

Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone, nominee to be NSA director and commander of U.S. Cyber Command, testifies during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday, March 1, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The nominee to lead U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency told lawmakers Thursday he would offer options to the president and Defense secretary to respond to Russian hacking of U.S. elections “if directed” to do so.

Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone, the current head of the Army’s Cyber Command, said the decision whether or not to retaliate for Russian disinformation efforts during the 2016 presidential election or to preempt future attempts at election interference is a policy matter for civilian leadership in the executive and legislative branches.

Senators Target Physicians, Drugmakers in Opioid Bill
Bipartisan group hopes to make headway on drug crisis

Sens. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., right, and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., were among the senators introducing legislation to address the opioid crisis. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bipartisan group of senators on Tuesday introduced legislation that would waive limits on physicians treating addiction patients and place restrictions on how long a provider could initially prescribe opioids to patients.

The bill, known as CARA 2.0, would address the opioid epidemic from several angles, including both health care providers and drugmakers. It aims to build on earlier opioid legislation, which cleared in 2016 as part of a broader health care measure that included mental health changes and aimed to spur new medical treatments.

No White House Order to Combat Russia, Cybercom Chief Says
Third administration official says Trump has given no guidance on countering interference

Adm. Michael S. Rogers, head of U.S. Cyber Command and the NSA, says he has received no directive from the president to counter Russian efforts to interfere in U.S. elections. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Russia hasn’t been sufficiently penalized for its meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections, and that has emboldened Moscow to continue interfering in American elections, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

“They haven’t paid a price sufficient to change their behavior,” Rogers said under questioning by Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.

Senate Democrats Picked for Select Budget, Pension Committees

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer picked his choices for the bipartisan committees looking for solutions to budget and pension issues. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on Monday named eight senators to the select committees tasked with overhauling the budget and appropriations process as well as providing recommendations for restoring the solvency of multiemployer pension plans.

The New York Democrat selected Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Michael Bennet of Colorado, and Brian Schatz and Mazie K. Hirono, both of Hawaii, for the budget panel.

Senators Warn Union Case Risks Supreme Court’s Reputation
Conservative high court majority appears likely to rule against unions

Indiana Rep. Luke Messer speaks at a rally outside the Supreme Court on Jan. 11, 2015, as the court heard arguments in a case involving 10 California teachers who said they had a First Amendment right not to pay fees to a union. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court appears set to overturn a decades-old precedent and deal a financial blow to Democratic-aligned unions that represent teachers and other public-sector employees in a major case with blatant political overtones.

Ahead of oral arguments Monday, two Democratic senators sent the justices this message: The Supreme Court’s reputation is at stake, and overturning the 1977 ruling will further erode the public’s confidence that the federal courts are neutral and above politics.

Democratic Leaders Request FBI Funding to Stop Russian Influence in Midterms
Also call for release of public report

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, right, and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer make their way to the Senate floor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Key Democratic lawmakers urged Republican leadership Wednesday to include additional FBI funding in the fiscal 2018 spending bill to combat possible Russian interference in the upcoming midterm elections.

The request comes after the Justice Department charged 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies Friday over alleged attempts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.