Todd Young

US could be at war by the time Congress returns from recess, Udall says
Democrats force votes on approving war with Iran, but come up short in the Senate

Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., is worried that the United States may be at war with Iran by the time Congress returns from recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats on both sides of Capitol Hill have been forcing votes on President Donald Trump’s military powers this week amid the ratcheting up of tensions with Iran, getting predictably disparate results.

In the latest test, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday turned back a Democrat-led effort to move legislation designed to thwart preemptive military action against Iran.

Mike Pence and Mitch McConnell eulogize Richard Lugar with Capital Challenge memories
Vice president and Senate majority leader were among dignitaries in Indianapolis for Lugar’s funeral on Wednesday

The late Sen. Richard G. Lugar, R-Ind., was a regular participant in the ACLI Capital Challenge (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo).

It was fitting that Sen. Richard G. Lugar’s funeral service would take place the same day as the ACLI Capital Challenge race, and both Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took full advantage of the fortuitous timing.

Pence, the former Indiana governor and congressman, and McConnell, from neighboring Kentucky, were among the dignitaries who made the trip to Indianapolis for the Wednesday afternoon funeral. The group traveling aboard Air Force Two included other lawmakers, as well as Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

Trump drags feet on climate treaty, and Republicans aren’t happy
As Kigali Amendment languishes, Sens. Kennedy, Carper point fingers at the administration

Hydrofluorocarbons — found in air conditioners — are worse for the climate than carbon dioxide. A plan to limit them has bipartisan support, but the Trump administration is standing in the way, Republican senators say. (iStock/Composite by Jason Mann)

It has the support of industry heavy-hitters, environmental advocates and a bipartisan cushion of votes in the Senate.

But the Kigali Amendment, a global treaty to limit hydrofluorocarbons — highly potent greenhouse gases found in air conditioners, refrigerators, insulation and foam — is stuck.

Sen. Mike Enzi announces he will retire rather than seek a fifth term
Wyoming Republican has served in the Senate for more that two decades

Sen. Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., announced Saturday that he will not run for re-election in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Wyoming Republican Michael B. Enzi announced Saturday that he will not run for re-election in 2020 after more than two decades in the Senate.

Enzi’s decision — which he announced at a press conference in Wyoming, according to the Casper Star-Tribune — opens up a seat in the strongly Republican state.

House Democrats launch push on VAWA expansion
The effort does more than extend the law — it adds a contentious gun control provision

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., pictured talking to Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., at a rally April 2, wants to pass an expanded version of the Violence Against Women Act rather than extend current law. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats take their first step this week to expand the Violence Against Women Act in an effort to prompt the Senate to do more than simply extend the lapsed domestic violence law — and they've included a contentious gun control provision.

The House is expected to pass the bill to reauthorize the 1994 law and add language to expand housing protections for victims, give more help to Native American women and enhance law enforcement tools through grants.

Mueller report isn’t changing 2020 campaign dynamics — yet
Conclusions have emboldened some Republicans, but Democrats still aren’t talking about Russia

While some Republicans like South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham used the Mueller report to double down on defending Trump, Democrats signaled they’d continue their 2018 focus on economic issues  — and not the Russia investigation — heading into 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As news of the just-completed Russia investigation engulfs Washington, not much has changed on the campaign trail — for either party.

The full report by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has yet to see the light of day. And with the 2020 elections more than a year and a half away, plenty could change between now and then. But so far, the calculation on both sides isn’t too different from the past two years.

Former Indiana Democratic Sen. Birch Bayh dies at 91
Bayh was considered the father of Title IX

Former Indiana Sen. Birch Bayh and actress Holly Hunter listen to actress Geena Davis during a February 2003 news conference on protections of athletic opportunities for women. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Indiana Sen. Birch Bayh, the man behind the landmark Title IX legislation, died Thursday morning from pneumonia at the age of 91.

Besides serving in the Senate for three terms, the liberal Democrat was also the father of former Indiana Gov. and Sen. Evan Bayh, who lost a comeback Senate bid in 2016. 

Tim Kaine and the war on zombie wars
Virginia Democrat says he is slowly gaining support for a more robust congressional role in military adventures

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., is continuing his fight against “zombie” wars. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Little by little, Sen. Tim Kaine thinks fellow members of Congress are coming around to his point of view that the legislative branch should be more assertive when it comes to war powers.

The Democrat from Virginia has been among the most persistent advocates for the Senate debating and voting on authorizations for using military force when needed, and pulling them back when it’s past due. His latest push is against what he calls “zombie authorizations.”

Congress has had it up to here with agencies not taking its spending advice
Departments have not implemented proposals that could save $87 billion, and now they will have to explain why

Aerial view of the Pentagon building photographed Sept. 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress is increasingly trying to force federal departments, especially the Pentagon, to quit disregarding audit recommendations on how to get more bang for billions of dollars in taxpayer bucks.

Starting next year, in fact, federal agencies will have to explain to Congress why they are letting thousands of good ideas gather dust.

Daines, Lankford to serve on both Appropriations and Finance
Last senator to serve on both panels was Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. in 1944

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., will serve on both the Appropriations and Finance committees in the 116th Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sens. Steve Daines of Montana and James Lankford of Oklahoma will become the first senators since Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. in 1944 to serve simultaneously on the Appropriations and Finance committees, according to panel historical records reviewed by Roll Call.

The two Republicans received waivers from Senate GOP conference rules that limit senators to service on just one of the four so-called Super A committees — Appropriations, Finance, Armed Services and Foreign Relations.