Susan Collins

Nominations Fill Legislative Void in Senate
Work stalled in the chamber amid partisan health care and tax effort

Callista Gingrich, nominated to be Vatican ambassador, is one of many nominees awaiting a vote from the Senate. She’ll get hers on Monday afternoon. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Republicans have repeatedly accused the Democratic minority of slow-rolling the process of confirming President Donald Trump’s nominees for hundreds of vacant federal and judicial positions. But after engaging in a partisan agenda for most of this year, the GOP may need those confirmation votes just to fill up floor time in the chamber.

The major tenets of the Republican agenda are largely stalled, with the legislative health care effort in tatters and an overhaul of the U.S. tax code still in development.

Senators Launch Podcasts to Connect With Constituents
Sherrod Brown and Heidi Heitkamp touch on hot topics

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, left, interviews workers from his home state at a Whirlpool plant in Clyde for his podcast. (Courtesy Brown’s office)

Tech-savvy senators are trying out a new platform to connect with voters: podcasts. Democrats Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota are embracing the opportunity to record and share.

Brown’s podcast, “Canarycast,” launched Oct. 3, focuses on the value of hard work and gets its name from a pin the senator wears every day.

Susan Collins Passes on Gubernatorial Bid
Maine Republican senator announces she’ll stay in the Senate instead

Sen. Susan Collins talks with reporters in the basement of the Capitol before the Senate Policy luncheons last week. (Tom Williams/Roll Call)

Maine Sen. Susan Collins announced Friday morning that she will not run for governor and will instead remain in the Senate.

“I am a congenital optimist, and I continue to believe that Congress can — and will — be more productive,” Collins said at a Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce breakfast in Rockport.

Democratic Poll: Poliquin Narrowly Leads Potential Self-Funder in Maine
Lucas St. Clair leads Democratic primary field by double digits

At least six Democrats are seeking their party’s nomination to challenge Rep. Bruce Poliquin in Maine’s 2nd District. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

At least six Democrats are running to challenge Maine Republican Bruce Poliquin in a district President Donald Trump carried by 10 points last fall. 

A new poll from the Democratic pollster Global Strategy Group gives Lucas St. Clair a double-digit lead over the rest of the Democratic primary field. The poll was paid for by “an independent organization with an interest” in the 2nd District, according to a Democratic activist in the state. 

Even Senators Hate Robocalls
Aging Committee hearing focuses on scam calls to seniors

Maine Sen. Susan Collins said she has disconnected her home landline because of robocalls. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Even senators are plagued by their home phones ringing off the hook with inappropriate and even illegal robocalls.

“My husband and I received so many on our landline in Bangor that we discontinued the landline,” Maine Republican Susan Collins said Wednesday.

Potential Self-Funder Enters Race Against Maine’s Poliquin
Lucas St. Clair fought for controversial national monument in North Woods

Six Democrats are running to take on Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic field for Maine’s 2nd District got more crowded Monday with the entrance of a potential self-funder.

Lucas St. Clair announced his candidacy Monday morning with supporters at the Appalachian Trail Cafe in Millinocket and formally kicked off the campaign at the Bangor Public Library later in the day.

Trump Insists Senate Has Health Care Votes, But Not by Deadline
Tweets come one day after GOP leaders pull the plug on latest version of health care overhaul

Sen. Lindsey Graham, flanked by members of GOP leadership, speaks to reporters about his health care bill following the Senate Republicans' policy lunch on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump declared Wednesday that the Senate has enough votes to pass a bill aimed at repealing and replacing the 2010 health care law — but not in time for the Sept. 30 deadline.

But the president’s vote count also came with confusion — and no details of just what version of a bill he believes could pass the Senate one day after GOP leadership pulled a measure sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy that would have overhauled the U.S. health care system.

Are Trump, GOP on Same Page on Bipartisan Outreach?
Tax overhaul, debt ceiling could test overtures

President Donald Trump met with Republican and Democratic members of the House Ways and Means Committee in the White House on Tuesday. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump is reaching out to Democrats as his party struggles to deliver on key legislation, but rather than embrace that strategy, congressional Republicans keep returning to the same playbook that has failed to give their team a win.

Fresh off another Senate failure to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, Republicans are moving from one partisan plan to the next. On Wednesday, Trump and GOP congressional leaders will unveil a framework for overhauling the tax code, a measure they plan to advance using the budget reconciliation process.

Word on the Hill: Gifts for McCain
Partnership for Public Service awards, and staffer shuffle

A banner for Sen. John McCain flew over the University of Phoenix stadium. (Courtesy UltraViolet)

You would think it was Sen. John McCain’s birthday again. Since the Arizona Republican announced his opposition to the Graham-Cassidy health care bill, liberal groups have given him a cake, sent him cupcakes and flown a banner over the site of an NFL game.

UltraViolet delivered a cake to McCain’s Phoenix office Tuesday, and the women’s advocacy group also delivered one to the Portland office of Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. The group chartered a plane to fly over the University of Phoenix Stadium before Monday’s Cardinals vs. Cowboys NFL game, thanking McCain for his opposition to the bill. Tailgaters and those preparing for the game were able to spot it, including reporter Ryan Haarer.

Pence Didn't Push on Health Care Vote
Veep did not seek to force Senate hand on latest bill

Vice President Mike Pence joined Senate Republicans at their weekly lunch, but did not opt to force the issue of taking a vote on the health care bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Vice President Mike Pence opted not to make a last-ditch pitch to Republican senators Tuesday to vote for the GOP’s latest health care bill.

Instead, Republican senators leaving their weekly lunch at the Capitol said Pence focused on how Congress could provide disaster aid to U.S. territories devastated by a string of recent hurricanes, pivoting from one of the president’s central campaign promises. Shortly after the lunch, GOP leaders said they were shelving a vote.