Susan Collins

Sen. Doug Jones Tells LGBT Staffers He’s Discouraged By Trends in Alabama
Democratic senator, who has a gay son, sees state going in ‘opposite’ direction of LGBT rights

Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., arrives for a bipartisan meeting on immigration in the Dirksen Building office of Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, in January. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Doug Jones is a political outlier, a Deep South advocate in the Senate for gay and lesbian people.

Nary a social progressive had emerged from conservative Alabama to represent the state in the U.S. Senate until Jones, a Democrat, pulled off a stunning upset in December over the GOP hard-line conservative nominee, Roy Moore.

Senate Republicans View White House Rescissions Package as Non-Starter
Senators skeptical of going back on the bipartisan spending deal

Asked Monday about a proposal to rescind omnibus funds, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham said “It’s going nowhere.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Republicans on Monday threw cold water on a forthcoming proposal from the White House that will ask Congress to cut previously enacted spending, including from the $1.3 trillion spending bill that President Donald Trump signed last month.

Republican lawmakers are concerned about how moving forward with a “rescissions” package would affect future bipartisan negotiations over spending bills.

Syria Strife May Cause a Trump Shift Lawmakers Like
‘We need to make Bashar al-Assad pay a price,’ Sen. Roger Wicker says

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., holds up the iconic photo of a young dead Syrian boy as he addresses the Syrian crisis during a news conference on Capitol Hill in December 2015. At left, Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump may be forced to change his mind — again. But this time, an about-face on Syria would likely bring accolades from many lawmakers who have been frustrated by his ever-shifting stances.

Another example of Trump going off course only to return to it days later could emerge early this week with the situation in Syria. Reports of a chemical weapons attack by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s military on the rebel-held area of Douma might prompt Trump to alter his stance of pulling U.S. forces from the war-torn country.

Ethics Office Scolds Scott Pruitt as Allegations Mount
EPA chief under scrutiny for cozy rent deal, lavish spending

Posters mocking EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s $50 per night housing on in Washington have been posted around Capitol Hill on Friday, April 6, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Office of Government Ethics has put EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on notice over continued allegations of ethical lapses, including a questionable rental agreement, exorbitant travel at taxpayer expense and questions over his demotions or reassignments of staff who did not agree with him.

The letter from OGE Acting Director and General Counsel David J. Apol, dated April 6 and made public Monday, comes as Pruitt struggles to defend himself against the ethical snags and as several lawmakers, including a few Republicans, have publicly rebuked him or called for his exit.

Analysis: Omnibus Bill Signals Policy Areas Congress Will Punt On
Immigration, health insurance and shielding the special counsel among items left out

Members of the House exit the Capitol down the House steps after passing the omnibus spending package. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congress appears ready to delay action indefinitely on a number of pressing policy issues.

The 2018 omnibus spending bill could be the last major legislative package to advance this year, a reality that spurred members in both chambers to lobby leadership to attach their pet project legislation to it.

Bipartisan Health Care Compromise Falls Apart, Obamacare Battle Continues

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., left, and Rep. Ryan Costello, R-Pa., conduct a news conference in the Capitol on legislation to lower health insurance premiums for citizens who pay out of pocket on March 21, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The politics of health care reared its ugly head yet again.

A grand, bipartisan bargain to stabilize the U.S. individual insurance market fell apart this week. And members on both sides of the aisle turned to what they know best: blaming the other party.

Senate Intel Unveils First Findings on Russia Election Meddling
Focus Tuesday was on election infrastructure security

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard M. Burr, R-N.C., left, and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., lead a news conference in the Capitol on Tuesday to preview the committee’s findings on threats to election infrastructure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s recommendations for how to secure U.S. election systems from intrusion efforts by the Russians and others aren’t exactly earth-shattering.

But that’s not to say they aren’t important.

As Omnibus Looms, Lobbying Commences
Lawmakers are lining up to get their priority bills added to what is potentially the last major legislative vehicle of the year

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will have just weeks to put together a massive fiscal yer 2018 spending package that will likely carry several unrelated policy measures. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s Christmas again in Congress.

Members in both chambers return to Capitol Hill on Monday from a ten-day recess with four weeks left to put together a massive fiscal 2018 spending bill. And the package, which Congress must pass by March 23 to avoid another government shutdown, may be the last major legislative vehicle to advance this year.

Opinion: Save the RINOs, Save Yourselves
Mitt Romney would add a voice of moderation

Mitt Romney tours Gibson’s Green Acres Dairy in Ogden, Utah, on Feb. 16. Romney hopes to succeed retiring Utah Sen. Orrin G. Hatch. (Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)

 

Mitt Romney is running for Senate. He found new political life by bashing President Donald Trump — who on Monday proceeded to endorse him anyway. (Even a candidate video that sideswiped Trump at least twice wasn’t enough to deter the president.)

White House Call on Immigration Plan Gets Personal, Testy
Bipartisan compromise ‘spectacularly poorly drafted,’ official says

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer were among those slammed by a senior White House official over a bipartisan immigration measure they both helped craft. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The White House is “alarmed” by a bipartisan immigration measure offered by nearly 20 Republican and Democratic senators, a senior administration official said during a testy midday briefing.

The measure is “totally and completely unserious,” the official said during a conference call that would only be attributed to senior officials despite their sharp critiques, by name, of sitting U.S. senators. Other terms and words this official used: “dead on arrival,” “reckless,” and “spectacularly poorly drafted.”