Susan Collins

Despite Email Flap, Scott Pruitt Confirmed to Head EPA
Court order unsealing records prompted calls to postpone vote

Scott Pruitt was confirmed Friday as the new administrator of the EPA. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate continued powering through its march on Cabinet confirmations, approving on Friday the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA, despite questions surrounding the appropriateness of his contacts with the fossil fuel industry.

Senators voted 52-46 to confirm Pruitt.

Puzder Is First Trump Nominee Spiked by GOP
Votes just weren’t there for fast-food tycoon

Andrew Puzder, left was the first of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees to not get enough Republican votes for confirmation. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The withdrawal of Andrew Puzder’s nomination to be Labor secretary represents a milestone in the nascent Trump administration: the first time congressional Republicans played a significant part in spiking a Donald Trump Cabinet pick. 

The nomination of the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which runs the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s chains, had been plagued by scandal, including revelations he had employed an undocumented immigrant as a housekeeper and failed to pay taxes on her, as well as the fallout from a 1987 divorce that brought up allegations of domestic violence against him.

At DGA, Pearson Quietly Pulling Democrats Back to Prominence
Executive Director is a leading strategist in party’s redistricting effort

Elisabeth Pearson, Executive Director, Democratic Governors Association (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic lawmakers probably wouldn’t recognize Elisabeth Pearson if she walked into their Capitol Hill office, but they might be owing her their jobs before too long. 

As executive director of the Democratic Governors Association and a leading strategist in the party’s redistricting efforts, Pearson’s success will determine how long members stay in Washington.

Pence Casts Historic Tiebreaking Vote to Confirm DeVos
DeVos was on the brink of being blocked in the Senate

Betsy DeVos was confirmed to be the next Education secretary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For the first time ever, the vice president was called to Capitol Hill to break a tie on a vote to confirm a member of the Cabinet.

Vice President Mike Pence presided over the Senate for the first time since being sworn in just more than two weeks ago, and cast the tiebreaking vote, 51-50, to confirm Betsy DeVos as the next Education secretary. A vice president had never done so before, according to the Senate Historical Office.

Democrats Make All Night Push, But Won’t Derail DeVos’ Nomination
The president's nominee for Education secretary will get a vote midday Tuesday

Betsy DeVos. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Betsy DeVos is expected to be narrowly confirmed as Education secretary on Tuesday after a contentious process in which Democrats sought the one more vote they need to sink her nomination. A final vote is expected at midday.

While DeVos was expected to squeak by in the Senate, Democrats continued their last-minute push to find a Republican who would join Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska in breaking ranks with their party to vote against the confirmation.

GOP Leaders Move to Shore Up Shaky DeVos Nomination
Education nominee moves up in the floor queue

Betsy DeVos’ nomination for Education secretary lost key support Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

States Could Keep Obamacare Under Cassidy-Collins Replacement

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) speaks with a reporters as she leaves the Senate Republicans' policy luncheon on Tuesday, June 28, 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Two key Senate Republicans introduced a proposal Monday that would let states choose whether to keep their existing health insurance marketplaces or forge ahead with a new, more conservative plan.

The proposal, from Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Susan Collins of Maine, is the first Senate replacement plan proposed this year and takes a more moderate approach to repealing and replacing the 2010 health care law.

Senators to Watch as Trump Era Begins
Rank-and-file senators likely to be key players in 115th Congress

Georgia Sen. David Perdue, left, and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III are both senators to watch. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans may have full control in Washington, but the Senate remains the Senate, which means it’s the place where rank-and-file Democrats and Republicans retain the most clout and potential for influence. Here are the key senators from outside of the top echelons of the leadership structures to watch as the 115th Congress gets underway.

The moderate from Maine will be the first person to watch on any contentious votes, particularly on budget reconciliation votes that aim to repeal parts of the 2010 health care law. She has, for instance, been among the small number of Republicans opposing efforts to tie the GOP health care plans to stopping federal funding of Planned Parenthood.

Word on the Hill: Inauguration Planning
Wi-Fi and portable potties

Spectators on the National Mall watch an address by President Barack Obama during his second inauguration in 2013. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

What’s your plan for the inauguration? There are plenty of galas and balls to try and get into mainly on Thursday and Friday.

Thanks to Comcast, you can look up something to do at the last minute or contact your friends easily. Through Jan. 26, the internet provider has more than 6,800 Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots outdoors around Washington for the public to connect for free.

Word on the Hill: One Week Out
Women’s March adds new partners

Dr. Ben Carson arrives in the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee offices before his confirmation hearing to be secretary of Housing and Urban Development on Thursday. Confirmation hearings continue into next week (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration is only a week away.

Watch for our list of balls, counter-parties and other things to do around the District that day. And feel free to pass along any events you want to share with our readers — email AlexGangitano@cqrollcall.com