Richard J Durbin

Analysis: Senators Writing Placeholder Defense Money Bill
Figure will be lower than House, in prelude to likely deal

Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran predicts Congress and the administration will eventually make a deal on raising the budget caps on defense accounts. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate appropriators’ forthcoming Pentagon spending bill for fiscal 2018, which will contain tens of billions of dollars less than the House’s measure, should be taken seriously, but not literally.

The Senate spending panel’s defense funding proposal is likely to grow, assuming — as is likely — that an agreement to slightly raise the budget caps is reached, as it has been for every year since the caps called for by the sequester were enacted in 2011.

Durbin and Graham Are Still DREAMing
Lawmakers unveil updated legislation to grant legal status to certain immigrants

Sens. Lindsey Graham and Richard J. Durbin held a news conference to discuss the bipartisan “Dream Act of 2017" in the Capitol on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Lindsey Graham thinks that despite all the campaign rhetoric, President Donald Trump might be the one to build consensus among Republicans on immigration.

Graham said that unlike either Barack Obama or George W. Bush, Trump might be able to reach elements who are the most fearful of immigrants.

New FBI Director Expected to Be Confirmed Before August Recess
Approved by Judiciary Committee on Thursday

Christopher Wray, nominee for FBI Director, is expected to win confirmation before August recess. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senators want the new FBI director on the job as soon as possible, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell intends to see Christopher Wray confirmed before August recess. That looks increasingly likely, as the Judiciary Committee unanimously approved his nomination, teeing it up for floor consideration as soon as McConnell moves ahead.

But the year’s nomination process has been so fraught that McConnell’s staff sent a statement out announcing the Kentucky Republican’s intentions complete with a warning shot to Democrats. 

Talk of Bipartisan Health Care Bill Emerges Amid Floundering GOP Effort
Consensus with Republicans, Democrats remains a monumental task

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and the Senate Democratic Caucus have unified against the current GOP health care plan. A bipartisan measure could be next if the GOP plan fails. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Republican effort to overhaul the U.S. health insurance system appears to be floundering, as GOP senators await additional details on a new draft of the legislation.

While the initiative remains in limbo, more lawmakers are openly exploring the possibility of a bipartisan health care bill. Discussions have been very preliminary, lawmakers say, and such a measure will not be easy to advance, as Democrats and Republicans are miles away on some policy ideas.

Ticks, Floods, and a Dash of Health Care
Recess talks vary widely across Senate leadership

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been speaking on a variety of topics around his state over the recess, not just health care. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Finding the votes for the Republican effort to roll back the 2010 health care overhaul may be the most pressing matter at the Capitol, but it hasn’t been the only topic of conversation for senators back home over the July Fourth recess.

Take the example of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. During a speech to Republicans in Hardin County, Kentucky, on Friday, McConnell likened the health care negotiations to a “Rubik’s Cube.”

Democrats Propose Topics for Trump-Putin Meeting
Don’t let Putin make 2018 campaign his playground, senators say

Sens. Mark Warner, Charles E. Schumer and Benjamin L. Cardin were among the signatories on a new letter to President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Democrats have some friendly suggestions for topics that President Donald Trump should discuss with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting in Germany, scheduled for Friday.

In a letter sent to Trump just as he landed in Hamburg, Germany, on Thursday, five senior Democrats make the case that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election should be at the top of the agenda.

One Dollar, One Name to Recognize Gun Violence Victims
Robin Kelly wants a vote on gun control legislation

Illinois Rep. Robin Kelly says pressure from the National Rifle Association is keeping House Republican leadership from allowing votes on gun violence. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When Rep. Robin Kelly rose to speak on the House floor Thursday morning, she carried a list of 50 names — all victims of gun violence.

“I’ve begged — I’ve pleaded — I’ve screamed — I’ve cried and I even ground the people’s House to a halt with last year’s historic sit-in,” the Illinois Democrat said.

Six Who Could Succeed Pelosi — Someday
Ouster talk fades, but speculation continues about the next generation of House Democratic leaders

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says she’s “very confident” she retains the support of most members of her Democratic Caucus. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

One week after House Democrats finished 0-for-4 in this special election season, their burst of frustration and pique vented toward Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi appears to have fizzled.

The vexation is not going to fade away altogether, however, and neither will the lawmakers’ whispered talk in the cloakrooms or after their nightly fundraisers about which of them has a plausible shot at someday becoming Pelosi’s successor.

Lawmakers Want Trump’s Tax Returns, but Won’t Release Their Own
Only a handful willing to release documents to Roll Call

New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján has called on President Donald Trump to release his tax returns. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Ben Ray Luján — like many in Congress — wants President Donald Trump to release his tax returns.

Transparency, the New Mexico Democrat said recently in a Facebook post, “is a cornerstone of democracy.”