Sheldon Whitehouse

Senate panel advances asylum bill over Democratic objections
‘This is supposed to be the Senate Judiciary Committee — not the Donald Trump committee,’ Leahy says

Sens. Lindsey Graham and Patrick J. Leahy talk in 2015. On Thursday they clashed over Graham’s asylum bill, which aims to reduce the flow of migrants to the southern border. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved, 12-10, Sen. Lindsey Graham’s asylum overhaul bill that aims to stanch the flow of migrants to the southwest border.

But the vote came amid loud protests from Democrats that the legislation was hastily pushed through. Democrats said Graham, the committee chairman, broke from longstanding committee procedures in scheduling a markup for Thursday and not allowing any Democratic amendments.

Bipartisan bills push carbon tax, as GOP pollster offers Democrats help on climate
Frank Luntz pledged to help Democrats with their climate messaging

Republican pollster Frank Luntz, pledged to help Democrats address climate change in a nonpartisan, dispassionate way. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Climate change policy may be in for a softer, less polarized atmosphere with Republicans and Democrats teaming up on a flotilla of legislation to tax carbon emissions and decarbonize American industries, and a longtime Republican spin guru pledging to help Democrats with their climate messaging.

For instance, in the Senate, Democrats Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Cory Booker of New Jersey joined with Republicans Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Mike Braun of Indiana on Thursday to introduce a bill targeting emissions from the industrial sector.

No one told the New England delegation it was cafeteria lobster week
Mainer who brought us the lobster emoji misses out on crustacean grilled cheese

Sen. Angus King is the man who brought us the lobster emoji. But he was out of the lobster loop on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Maine independent Angus King did not try the lobster grilled cheese that was on the menu at the Dirksen Senate Office Building cafeteria this week.

“I didn’t even know about it. My staff will be severely reprimanded,” the senator told Heard on the Hill.

Senate sets new record for longest vote
Senators began voting at 5:02 a.m. Friday

Senators began voting at dawn and have made history as the longest Senate vote in modern history. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Friday’s prolonged roll call vote to limit debate on a Tom Udall amendment that would bar U.S. attacks on Iran without Congressional authorization made history as the longest Senate vote in modern history.

The vote opened at 5:02 a.m., to allow Senators with early morning flights to vote and then leave town for the Independence Day recess. It is being held open to accommodate the Democratic Senators who were in Miami this week for presidential primary debates. The vote was held  open for a total of 10 hours and 8 minutes, gaveling closed at 3:10 p.m. New Jersey’s Cory Booker was the first of the 2020 candidates to return, casting a yea vote just after 7 a.m.

Immigration talks at White House produce vague path forward
Administration officials decline to offer specifics on next steps

Families Belong Together set up artist Paola Mendoza’s life-sized cage installation on the Capitol lawn on Tuesday, May 7, 2019. The event was held to coincide with the anniversary of the Trump administration’s ‘zero-tolerance’ family separation policy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Tuesday started with talk of White House officials preparing to lay out a centrist immigration plan born from Jared Kushner’s monthslong efforts to bridge wide divides between Republicans and Democrats. But it ended with the administration tepidly pointing only to a “potential plan” with scant details.

And White House officials were unable to clearly explain just why many — if any — House and Senate Democrats would support a plan that they said was received warmly by a group of conservative GOP senators.

Lawmakers grill Barr about past testimonies on Mueller report

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., looks over papers before the start of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, May 1. Attorney General William P. Barr testified during the hearing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Longworth for sale, a pizza live hit and Cohen just wants to have fun: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of Feb. 25, 2019

While Capitol Hill was abuzz with the testimony of President Donald Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen this week, some onlookers cared more about an epic young student photobombing a reporter’s on-air analysis while chomping on some pizza.

Plus, former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart offers kind words for the Trump administration, Rep. Elijah Cummings reveals his Oversight committee BFF, Rep. Tim Ryan muses about the sale of Longworth office building and Sens. Johnny Isakson and Chuck Grassley reflect on the ever-repeating nature of the Senate.

Democrats see loss of Senate power in latest judicial vote
Both home-state senators opposed appointment of Eric D. Miller to 9th Circuit

Eric D. Miller is the first appeals court judge confirmed over the objections of both home state senators since at least 1956. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate confirmed another of President Donald Trump’s appeals court nominees Tuesday evening, in a vote that Democrats say represents further erosion of senators’ power to influence who is appointed to federal courts from their states.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the floor that Eric Miller’s law career makes him “well prepared” for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which is based in San Francisco and hears cases from nine states. Miller, confirmed 53-46, will fill a spot that has traditionally been associated with a nominee from Washington state.

Senate confirms Barr amid questions about Mueller report
The Senate voted to confirm Barr as the next attorney general, mostly along party lines

William P. Barr, left, nominee for attorney general, greets former Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, upon arriving for his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Hart Building on Tuesday, January 15, 2019. Hatch introduced Barr to the committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

William Barr takes over the Justice Department on Thursday at a pivotal moment for the nation’s legal landscape, with his tenure closely tied to how he will handle the special counsel’s Russia investigation and any political pressure from the White House.

The Senate voted 54-45 to confirm Barr as the next attorney general, mostly along party lines. Senators have strong clues that he will continue the Trump administration’s conservative policies and legal arguments on immigration, civil rights enforcement and LGBT employment discrimination.

Democrats ‘went low’ on Twitter leading up to 2018
An analysis of tweets from candidates running for Senate leading up to Election Day

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., arrives for the confirmation hearing for Neomi Rao, nominee to be U.S. circuit judge for the District of Columbia Circuit, in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Feb. 5. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS — Voters in 2016 repeatedly heard Democrats cry out against negative Republican rhetoric, especially from the party’s presidential nominee Donald Trump.

“When they go low … ?” came the call at rally podiums. “We go high!” constituents would shout.