Tammy Baldwin

Five Cabinet Secretaries Face Senate Barrage
Questions range from infrastructure to nuclear waste to the Census

Senate Commerce Chairman John Thune's panel hosted five Cabinet secretaries on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s not every day — or even every decade — that five cabinet secretaries walk in to testify at the same Senate hearing.

And while Wednesday’s Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing generally focused on President Donald Trump’s proposal to rebuild American infrastructure (and doubts about how to pay for it), senators took full advantage of having so many heavy hitters in one room.

GOP Candidate’s Brother Also Donated to Democratic Sen. Baldwin
Kevin Nicholson comes from a Democratic family

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., is one of the more vulnerable incumbents running for re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

GOP candidate Kevin Nicholson’s brother has donated to his Democratic opponent, Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin, campaign finance documents show. Nicholson’s parents also donated to Baldwin. 

Nicholson, a former Democrat, has acknowledged that he has a “different worldview” than his parents. 

Challenger Nicholson’s Parents Max Out Contributions to Baldwin
Nicholson was once head of the College Democrats of America

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., received maximum donations from Republican challenger Kevin Nicholson’s parents. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Kevin Nicholson’s parents aren’t being very encouraging when it comes to his bid to beat Sen. Tammy Baldwin — both donated the maximum allowed to the Wisconsin Democratic incumbent.

Federal Election Commission documents showed each of Nicholson’s parents donated $2,700 to Baldwin’s campaign.

Some Answers, More Questions for Mysterious Club for Conservatives PAC
Background, finances a tangled web

Club for Conservatives PAC has given to the Senate campaigns of Pennsylvania Rep. Lou Barletta and Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photos)

Inflammatory, hyperpartisan fundraising emails are a standard part of the election process, but who’s behind them can sometimes be a mystery. Take the case of a political action committee set up last fall that raised over $160,000 by sending out roughly a dozen emails.

Since its inception in October, the Club for Conservatives PAC has been a confusing web of details. The group’s year-end report with the Federal Election Commission provided more information about its fundraising and spending, but also raised new questions about its operations.

Republicans Prepare for Upcoming Abortion Vote
Votes not likely there in Senate, but measure could be a midterm issue

Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford is among the proponents of the legislation to ban late-term abortions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans are readying for a vote next week on a late-term abortion bill. And while it’s unlikely they will have the votes to pass it, abortion opponents say the measure could play a role in the 2018 midterm elections.

The bill would ban abortions after the 20-week mark, while providing exceptions for rape, incest or the endangerment of a woman. It passed the House along party lines last year and has been waiting on a Senate vote.

Grassley Moves on Judicial Nominee Over Baldwin’s Objections
Lack of state commission recommendation, as well as blue slip process, being disregarded

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., objected to an appeals court nominee from her state, but Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, is disregarding her opposition, part of an erosion of Senate influence over the federal judiciary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a confirmation hearing Wednesday for an appeals court nominee from Wisconsin over the objections of Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a move that could portend a weakened influence of senators over federal judicial picks from their states.

By scheduling the hearing, Chairman Charles E. Grassley of Iowa sided with the Trump administration and the executive branch instead of his Senate colleague when it comes to the sway a senator has in recommending who should sit on the federal bench.

Wisconsin Republicans Look to Head Off Divisive Senate Primary
GOP wants candidates to make “unity pledge” to participate in endorsement process

Wisconsin Republicans Kevin Nicholson and Leah Vukmir have both said they will sign the unity pledge. (Courtesy Kevin Nicholson for Senate, Leah Vukmir for Senate)

Wisconsin Republicans are launching a new “unity pledge,” calling for Senate candidates to promise to support the eventual nominee — an attempt to unify after a potentially divisive GOP primary.

The state party announced Wednesday that candidates looking to earn the endorsement of grass-roots conservatives at the state convention will have to sign the pledge. Signees will also agree to conduct their campaigns “in a manner that is respectful of my fellow Republican candidates,” according to a copy of the agreement.

How Moore Would Change the Senate From Day One
From collegial courtesy to the page program, Hill culture would be rattled

Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore and his wife Kayla leave Moore's "Drain the Swamp" rally in Midland City, Ala., on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The nature of the Senate would be challenged right away, and in several tangible ways, with the election of Roy Moore.

Even though Congress is now defined by its tribal partisanship, which long ago gave the lie to whatever senatorial claim remained to being “the world’s greatest deliberative body,” Tuesday’s special election in Alabama threatens to make life in the northern half of Capitol Hill an even more unpleasant experience. Traditions and courtesies that have applied a bit of congenial gloss to the coarseness of the place would soon enough become endangered by Moore’s very presence.

HHS Pick Grilled on Drug Prices
Azar pledges to lower cost of prescriptions, but Paul has “doubts”

Alex Azar, nominee to be Health and Human Services secretary, takes a seat for his hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The nominee to lead the Health and Human Services Department, Alex M. Azar, told a Senate panel that his top priority would be addressing the high price of prescription drugs. But there was skepticism from both sides of the dais at Wednesday’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing that Azar, a former pharmaceutical company executive, would live up to that promise.

While it was mostly Democrats who took aim at Azar’s tenure working for and running the U.S. affiliate of Eli Lilly & Co., Sen. Rand Paul said he would also need to be convinced. The Kentucky Republican pressed Azar on whether he would work on a system to safely import lower-cost prescription drugs from places with comparable systems, like Canada and Europe.

Trump Tax Taunts Don’t Trouble Red-State Democrats
McCaskill outspoken in criticism of Senate GOP measure

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill speaks Tuesday during the Senate Democrats news conference on taxes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Moderate Senate Democrats — many of them on the ballot in 2018 — came together with a unified message Tuesday morning, just before President Donald Trump arrived at the Capitol to meet with the Republican Conference.

Sen. Tim Kaine was perhaps the most direct. The Virginia Democrat said at the news conference that the GOP should make a run at a bipartisan product before bringing to the floor a tax reconciliation bill that would only require a simple majority to pass.