Susan Collins

Senate effort to block Russia sanctions relief comes up short
Clear majority of senators supported attempt to maintain sanctions on three Russian firms, but not 60 of them

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., fell short of 60 votes on his Russia sanctions measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer came up just short in his effort to get legislation through the chamber blocking the Treasury Department from easing sanctions on a trio of Russian companies.

Less than 24 hours after securing 57 votes to support a motion to proceed to the joint resolution disapproving of Treasury’s move to lift sanctions on three Russian firms that have been controlled by sanctioned oligarch Oleg Deripaska, the same number of senators voted to limit debate — but that was three short of the 60 needed to cut off debate and get the measure to a final passage vote.

Steven Mnuchin makes case to GOP to allow easing of sanctions on Russian companies
Visited Senate Republican lunch ahead of votes on Schumer resolution

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urged the Senate to ease relief on Russian companies. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is making the case to Senate Republicans that they should stop an effort to block sanctions relief against three Russian companies.

But as he left Tuesday’s Senate Republican lunch, Mnuchin did not seem certain about the vote count ahead of an expected Tuesday afternoon vote on a motion to proceed to a resolution disapproving of the sanctions relief proposed for En+ Group plc, UC Rusal plc and JSC EuroSibEnergo.

Susan Collins has a 2020 problem
The Kavanaugh saga damaged her brand — but by how much?

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, has a durable political brand centered on moderation and serious deliberation as a lawmaker. But 2020 poses a potentially perilous political contest for her if she seeks re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If Sen. Susan Collins runs for a fifth term, she ought to expect a very different race than in the past. Forget coasting to victory, no matter the opponent or even the nature of the election cycle.

Collins will start off as vulnerable — a top Democratic target in a state carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Burned in the past, Democrats reluctant to give ground in wall fight
Democrats and allies concerned conceding would set a precedent for more rounds of brinksmanship

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-California, said she “absolutely” expects President Donald Trump would trigger additional shutdowns as a bargaining chip if Democrats make a deal with him on wall funding now. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The partial government shutdown, now in its record-setting 24th day, is about more than just a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Democrats and their allies are concerned that if party leaders cut a deal with President Donald Trump on wall funding, it would set a precedent for more rounds of dangerous brinksmanship in the months and years to come.

Lindsey Graham throws in towel on talks to end government shutdown
Lapse in appropriations has entered its 20th day

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he is done trying to find a path to ending the shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

One of the Republican senators who had been trying to find a compromise to end the partial government shutdown is now calling on the president invoke executive powers to try to build the wall at the border with Mexico.

“Speaker Pelosi’s refusal to negotiate on funding for a border wall/barrier -- even if the government were to be reopened -- virtually ends the congressional path to funding for a border wall/barrier,” Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham said in a statement. “It is time for President Trump to use emergency powers to fund the construction of a border wall/barrier. I hope it works.”

Senate Republicans Huddle to Break Shutdown Impasse

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has been among the Republicans huddling over a solution to the partial government shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group of Senate Republicans camped out in Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office Thursday morning seeking to come up with a solution to the ongoing partial government shutdown that threatens paychecks for 800,000 federal workers starting Friday.

The group includes senators who have sought to broker an immigration compromise that would provide additional funds for border barriers that President Donald Trump wants, while allowing certain categories of undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. That includes some 700,000 “Dreamers” brought here illegally as children, and possibly a broader discussion about overhauling the nation’s immigration laws.

Trump urges Senate Republicans to ‘just hang together’ on border battle
President meets with GOP caucus after several allies urged him to compromise on shutdown standoff

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence arrive to the Capitol to attend the Senate Republican policy luncheon on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump urged Senate Republicans to hold the line on a partial government shutdown in its 19th day after saying he would do “whatever it takes” — including a national emergency declaration — to get billions for his southern border wall.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence met with Senate Republicans during their weekly luncheon after a handful of them said publicly that the president should compromise with congressional Democrats rather than hold firm to his demand for $5.7 billion for his proposed U.S.-Mexico border barrier.

White House wants $7 billion more for DHS to fund wall
More than half of the request is for a ‘steel barrier’ along the southwest border

Illinois Democratic Sen. Richard J. Durbin couldn’t give a timetable on when the government would open back up: “I can’t say that we’re close because the president’s made it clear he doesn’t care.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House formally asked lawmakers Sunday to provide an additional $7 billion beyond what Senate appropriators proposed in their bipartisan Homeland Security spending bill last year, with more than half earmarked for a “steel barrier” along the southwest border.

The request, outlined in a letter from Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought, doesn’t seem likely to lead to an immediate breakthrough in reopening large portions of the federal government that have been closed since Dec. 22.

Reversed Course: Coast Guard Will Now Get Final 2018 Paychecks
Complications arose because service funded through Homeland Security, but pay schedule is military

Coast Guard personnel will likely miss getting partial paychecks because of a quirk in the military pay schedule and the service’s funding, all caused by the partial government shutdown. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Active-duty members of the Coast Guard will receive their Dec. 31 paychecks after the administration reversed course on Friday evening, according to a post on the agency’s blog.

“Generally, the Coast Guard lacks the authority to pay its members during a lapse in appropriations,” the post read. “The circumstances of this lapse are unique because of the timeline of the lapse in relation to the military pay process. Ultimately, extensive research and legal analysis between the Coast Guard, [Department of Homeland Security], and [Office of Management and Budget] determined the Coast Guard has the authority to execute the remainder of pay and allowances for December.”

The Train Is Leaving the Station for the Last Rational Republicans
If they want to save themselves and repudiate Trump, they better do it fast

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, waits for the Senate subway in the Hart Building in September. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — In a classic demonstration of Southern populist oratory at the 1956 Democratic convention, Tennessee Gov. Frank Clement excoriated the misdeeds of the Republican Party by dramatically asking, again and again, “How long, O how long America, shall these things endure?”

As the nation reels towards the end of the second year of Donald Trump’s cataclysmic presidency, Frank Clement’s long-ago question takes on a new urgency. How long, O how long America, will the once-proud Republican Party serve as Trump’s willing enabler?