Susan Collins

Senators Look to Move Past Nuclear Option
Bipartisanship touted when they return from recess

Maine Sen. Susan Collins said lawmakers should move on to an issue with bipartisan support, such as improving infrastructure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senators are getting some time away from the nation’s capital for the next week and half, following a tense battle over the Supreme Court. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell invoked the so-called nuclear option last Thursday to effectively change the Senate rules and lower the threshold for ending debate on high court nominees. While the move raised questions about whether the chamber had reached a partisan point of no return, senators were hopeful they could still come together on other issues.

Maine’s Susan Collins Weighing 2018 Gubernatorial Bid
The four-term senator is considering where she can do ‘the most good’

Maine Sen. Susan Collins may run for governor in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File photo)

There’s been no shortage of speculation that Maine Sen. Susan Collins would run for governor in 2018. But she addressed the subject head-on in an interview with WGAN radio Tuesday morning. 

“Let me say that I am looking at where I can do the most good for the people of Maine,” said Collins, according to a report in the Portland Press Herald. “In the Senate I now have significant seniority and that allows me to do a lot,” she said. 

Nuclear Option Deployed in Quiet Senate Chamber
Gravity of situation tempers reactions amid historic moment

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gives a thumbs-up on Thursday after the Senate invoked the "nuclear option" to allow for a simple majority vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Thursday was a day for the Senate history books, but the ultimate change of the chamber’s rules for ending debate on Supreme Court justices was met with a quiet resignation.

Just after 12:30 p.m., the Senate clerk read the tally: 52 in the negative, 48 in the affirmative, overruling the presiding officer’s ruling that cloture, or ending debate, on Supreme Court justices required 60 votes.

Senate GOP Deploys ‘Nuclear Option’ for Supreme Court
Move allows Judge Neil Gorsuch to be confirmed by simple majority

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gives a thumbs up after the Senate invoked the "nuclear option" which will allow for a simple majority vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate took another step Thursday toward doing away with centuries-old traditions that have distinguished it from virtually every other legislative body in the world. 

Senate Republicans moved forward with invoking the “nuclear option” Thursday to make it so a simple majority of senators can confirm any future Supreme Court justice.

Wynonna Judd Rips Her Backup Singers During Grammys on the Hill
But Trump was ripped the most over proposed art funding cuts

Wynonna Judd was joined on stage by members of Congress. (Alex Gangitano/ CQ Roll Call)

Just when you thought the American public was the hardest on politicians, country singer Wynonna Judd took the cake.

“Loosen up your ties,” the singer said. “Come on, big babies.”

Why McConnell Vowed to Preserve Minority’s Big Remaining Power
After going ‘nuclear’ for Gorsuch, legislative filibuster not endangered

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has accrued and sustained power in Washington for longer than three decades in part by being a man of his word, Hawkings writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Thursday’s showdown at the Capitol has been heralded by such melodramatic rhetoric — a miasma of transparent flip-flopping and brazen hypocrisy sullying virtually every senior senator, from both parties — that two genuinely meaningful consequences of the moment may be hard to appreciate.

The first is more obvious: The views of the political minority will never again matter when filling the confirmation-required government job with by far the biggest and longest-lasting impact on the lives of Americans.

Moderates Could Get More Attention in Post-Nuclear Senate
Need to get just a simple majority for SCOTUS nominees will create new dynamic

Moderates like Maine’s Susan Collins could occupy a more prominent role in a post-nuclear option Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As the Senate moves toward getting rid of the ability of 41 senators to block Supreme Court nominees, moderates could see their profiles rise in any post “nuclear option” reality with a renewed emphasis on party unity. 

Conventional wisdom is that presidents would be able to pick more stridently partisan nominees for the high court if the risk of a super majority filibuster is eliminated. But such a procedural change would also put a bigger target on moderate members of the majority.

Word on the Hill: Grammys on the Hill
Members performing with the pros tonight

Country music artist Keith Urban performs on Sunday during the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The annual Grammys on the Hill Awards will honor country music singer Keith Urban this evening.

Urban is the recipient of the Recording Artists’ Coalition Award for his music and work on music education programs. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Tom Udall, D-N.M., will also be honored for their support of music programs and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Word on the Hill: What to Do This Weekend
A birthday wish from the floor

Cherry blossoms on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Happy Friday! 

There are a few ways this weekend to celebrate the new month and the beginning of spring, and the end of what felt like a very long winter.

Pence, Isakson Key to Measure Allowing States to Restrict Family Planning Funds
Votes on resolution overturning Obama-era rule need VP’s help

Vice President Mike Pence cast two tiebreaking Senate votes Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Republican majority is razor-thin enough on social policy that Vice President Mike Pence needed to break two ties Thursday to let states block family planning money from health care providers, most prominently Planned Parenthood.

Sen. Johnny Isakson didn’t expect to return to the Capitol after back surgery to be casting such consequential votes.