West Virginia

Celebrating the Inauguration
Many began planning before November, while for others, it was more recent

Singer Katy Perry at President Barack Obama's second inauguration in 2013. What celebrities will be in D.C. this year? (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Long before the election results were in, state societies and organizations in Washington were planning their ways to celebrate the inauguration.

And with inauguration 2017 drawing people from around the country — and the world — groups are putting on events that bring them all together.

Perry, Mnuchin Round Out Senate Hearings Before Inauguration
Democrats will try to keep the focus on health care

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of Energy. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Donald Trump’s nominees to run the Energy and Treasury departments are the last to face Senate committees before the incoming president is sworn in on Friday. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is acknowledging the Senate may only confirm a few nominees right away. 

The Senate is on track to confirm just three of Trump’s Cabinet nominees on Jan. 20, McConnell told USA Today on Wednesday. He blamed Democrats for slowing down the process, though Democrats say they need more time to properly vet Trump’s nominees.

Inauguration Superlatives: The High Highs and Low Lows
Rhetoric, flubs, health and even conspirators can steal the spotlight

President Barack Obama’s first inaugural address was marred by a flub over the oath and a health scare at the lunch afterward. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Under the best circumstances, a presidential inauguration can inspire a nation. Under the worst, it can lead to a do-over. And sometimes, not to be melodramatic, but dark forces conspire around it.

“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations,” Abraham Lincoln said at his second inauguration, delivered to a country ripped apart by the Civil War. 

Confirmation Hearings Bring Out the Senate Angst
McConnell said to expect votes on Cabinet nominations Friday

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate will return on Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

By BRIDGET BOWMAN and JASON DICKCQ Roll Call

The Senate eased into inauguration week with a pair of confirmation hearings, with committees taking up the cases for, or against, Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke to be Interior secretary and Betsy DeVos to be Education secretary.

Schumer Says He’ll Oppose Sessions’ Nomination
Democrats unlikely to be able to block nomination, however

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said he couldn't support Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general because “I am not confident in Senator Sessions’ ability to be a defender of the rights of all Americans, or to serve as an independent check on the incoming administration.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced Thursday that he will oppose Sen. Jeff Sessions' nomination to be the next attorney general.

“After reviewing his record and giving careful consideration to his answers during the hearing, I am not confident in Senator Sessions’ ability to be a defender of the rights of all Americans, or to serve as an independent check on the incoming administration,” the New York Democrat said in a statement.

Fish on a Treadmill and Other Waste, According to Jeff Flake
Arizona Republican plans another push for a permanent earmark ban

The cover of Sen. Jeff Flake’s latest Wastebook. (Courtesy Sen. Flake’s office)

Sen. Jeff Flake highlights 50 examples of questionable, even frivolous federal spending in the latest edition of his government wastebook.

Flake calls the latest volume “Wastebook: PORKémon Go.” All told, the Arizona Republican’s office says it details more than $5 billion in inappropriate spending by federal departments and agencies.

There’s Danger for Democrats, Too, in Obamacare Repeal
Blame for not replacing health care law may end up on everyone’s hands

Vice President-elect Mike Pence, center, and Reince Priebus, incoming White House chief of staff, leave a news conference with Republican senators after the Senate luncheons in the Capitol on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“So the dog finally caught the car.” That seemed to be the consensus in Washington Wednesday after Vice President-elect Mike Pence and congressional Republicans declared with confidence that they will begin to repeal Obamacare immediately, but struggled to say what Americans could expect as a replacement for the president’s signature health care law, or when.

“It will literally begin on Day One,” Pence promised in a press conference about President-elect Donald Trump’s plans for dismantling Obamacare. But when asked what exactly will happen on Day One, or what the House will eventually vote on, Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan declined to go into detail.  

Joe Manchin: Trump Whisperer?
Democratic senator met Wednesday with Pence

West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III met Wednesday with Vice President-elect Mike Pence. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After picking the Senate over a possible job in Donald Trump’s Cabinet, West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III is trying to play the bridge-builder role between the Senate Democratic caucus and the incoming administration.

Manchin told reporters that he spoke with Vice President-elect Mike Pence after Wednesday’s party caucus lunches about Republican designs to repeal the 2010 health care law. Pence attended the Republican conference’s lunch meeting, as he plans to do regularly when he is in town while vice president.

Heitkamp Says She's 'Likely' to Stay in Senate
The North Dakota Democrat has been floated as a potential Trump Cabinet pick

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., spoke Thursday about her future. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp said she will likely remain in the Senate, despite being floated as a one of President-elect Donald Trump’s potential Cabinet picks.

“The job that I have right now is incredibly challenging. I love it,” the North Dakota Democrat told her brother Joel Heitkamp’s KFGO radio program on Thursday morning. “These are ongoing discussions but also I will tell you that my first love is serving the people of North Dakota.“ 

McConnell Wants ‘Permanent Fix’ to Miner Health Care Program
Standoff over coal miner benefits complicated year-end spending talks

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he had supported a year-long extension of the retired coal miner benefits but faced opposition from House Republicans. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday he will seek a “permanent fix” to fortify a depleted health care program for retired coal miners that complicated negotiations earlier this month to keep the government funded.

“We’re going to try to go for a permanent fix because these folks deserve to be protected,” McConnell said in an interview on Kentucky public television Monday night.