Richard J Durbin

Eager for Lame Duck Win, Trump Backs Prison Reform Bill
Members of both parties, Jared Kushner negotiated plan for months

President Donald Trump has thrown his weight behind a measure to reform the prison system that has bipartisan support. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Eager for a legislative win in the lame duck session, President Donald Trump on Wednesday endorsed legislation that would alter prison and sentencing policies as he tries to show he can push bipartisan bills through Congress.

Trump had been reluctant for months about whether to endorse the bill, which would include criminal justice changes backed by members of both parties in the House and Senate. His son-in-law and White House adviser, Jared Kushner, has been working with members of both parties to craft the measure and scored a big win with the presidential endorsement.

Here’s the List of Senate Republican and Democratic Leaders
Status quo reigns (mostly)

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., prepares to address the media after the Senate Policy lunches in the Capitol on March 20. Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., center, and Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., also appear. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

From Speaker on Down, Here’s Who’s in the Hill Leadership Hunt
House and Senate Republican conferences set to vote this week

The race to lead the House Republicans next Congress comes down to California’s Kevin McCarthy, center, and Ohio’s Jim Jordan, right, who face off in a Wednesday GOP caucus vote. Also pictured above, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated Tuesday, 3:44 p.m. | With the midterms — mostly — behind us, attention has shifted to the intraparty leadership elections on Capitol Hill for the House and Senate. 

Here’s a look at the various positions that members of both parties and chambers will be voting on in the coming weeks. 

It’s Not Too Early to Start Looking at the 2020 Senate Map
The fight for the Senate should once again be a prime battle.

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., is up for re-election in 2020 in a state carried by both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The votes haven’t all been counted in the 2018 Senate elections, but we know the size of the incoming majority will be critical, because the 2020 Senate map offers limited initial takeover opportunities for both parties.

Of course, it’s too early to tell what the presidential race will look like, how voters will feel about the economy and direction of the country, and whether they’ll believe more Democrats are needed in Washington.

Lindsey Graham Seconds Trump Proposal to End Birthright Citizenship
South Carolina Republican has long been active in bipartisan immigration debate

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., supports an end to birthright citizenship, a plan forwarded by President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/POOL)

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a previous advocate of bipartisan immigration overhaul and who could be the chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the next Congress, is praising President Donald Trump’s effort to roll back birthright citizenship by executive fiat.

The South Carolina Republican, who previously partnered with colleagues such as the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Democratic Sens. Charles E. Schumer of New York and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois on wide-ranging immigration overhauls, on Tuesday called the longstanding process of granting citizenship status an “absurd policy.”

Republicans Restart Push for Lower Court Judges
Democrats object to the process

Eric E. Murphy, nominee to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit, introduces his wife, Michelle, and daughters Isabelle, 7, right, and Grace, 9, during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on judicial nominations in Dirksen Building on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

With the fight over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh behind them, Republicans on Wednesday restarted the Senate Judiciary Committee’s push to confirm lower court judges with a hearing on a pair of nominees that Democrats staunchly oppose for their legal work on health care, LGBT rights and other issues.

The hearing featured almost everything Democrats have complained about the confirmation process during President Donald Trump’s administration — including scheduling more than one circuit court nominee in a single hearing and doing so over the objections of a home state senator.

Mitch McConnell Sees Electoral Gains From Fight Over Brett Kavanaugh
Interview with Roll Call came ahead of confirmation vote

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell makes his way through the Capitol for a TV interview before the vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Saturday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As Brett Kavanaugh was on the verge of confirmation Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was sounding sure the Supreme Court battle will prove a benefit to Senate Republicans at the polls in November.

In an interview with Roll Call a month ahead of Election Day, the Kentucky Republican said the debate was really driving up base enthusiasm for the 2018 mid-terms.

From Soft Certainty to Roaring Indignation, Kavanaugh Hearing Was Study in Contrasts
“This is not a good process, but it’s all we got,” Sen. Jeff Flake says

Rachel Mitchell, counsel for Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans, questions Christine Blasey Ford on Thursday as, from left, Sens. Michael D. Crapo, R-Idaho, Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Ben Sasse, R-Neb., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Mike Lee, R-Utah., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, listen during the hearing on sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/POOL)

Senators got two irreconcilable accounts Thursday about whether Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually attacked a girl when he was in high school, setting up a pitched partisan showdown about whether that allegation and others that have surfaced this week are enough to derail his confirmation.

First, Christine Blasey Ford, in a soft but certain tone, told the Senate Judiciary Committee she is “100 percent” certain it was Kavanaugh who pinned her to a bed and covered her mouth as he sexually attacked her at a high school gathering decades ago.

6 Takeaways from Kavanaugh’s Combative Testimony
‘I liked beer. I still like beer,’ defiant nominee tells Judiciary Committee

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. He often jousted with Democratic members. (POOL PHOTO/SAUL LOEB/AFP)

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was backed into a corner by the Thursday testimony of one of his accusers, Christine Blasey Ford. He sat in the same chair about an hour after she vacated it with one mission: To fight back, just like the man who nominated him, President Donald Trump.

Kavanaugh wasted no time in an opening statement he said he wrote himself on Wednesday, ripping into Democratic Senate Judiciary Committee members in a way perhaps no high court nominee ever has. His gloves-off approach could change the judicial confirmation process forever.

After Angry Beginning for Kavanaugh, Senators Duke It Out Over Process
Emotional Supreme Court nominee alleges conspiracy, Democrats circle back to Ford testimony

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the US Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, September 27, 2018. (POOL PHOTO/SAUL LOEB/AFP)

An emotional Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, after berating the Senate Judiciary Committee for “destroying” his name, said he would support a FBI investigation into the charges about alleged sexual misconduct.

“Senator, I’ll do whatever the committee wants. I wanted a hearing the next day,” he said of claims made by the first accuser, Christine Blasey Ford. “Instead, 10 days passed.”