West Virginia

Despite Email Flap, Scott Pruitt Confirmed to Head EPA
Court order unsealing records prompted calls to postpone vote

Scott Pruitt was confirmed Friday as the new administrator of the EPA. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate continued powering through its march on Cabinet confirmations, approving on Friday the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA, despite questions surrounding the appropriateness of his contacts with the fossil fuel industry.

Senators voted 52-46 to confirm Pruitt.

Harris Was Only 2016 Senate Democratic Candidate to Get Cash From Mnuchin
And she voted against him for Treasury secretary

California Sen. Kamala Harris received a $2,000 campaign contribution from Steven Mnuchin last year, but voted against confirming him as Treasury secretary on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the 2016 election cycle, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin donated to only one Democratic Senate candidate. 

But it wasn’t Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, the only Democrat who voted to confirm him for the position Monday night and who is up for re-election next year. It was freshman Sen. Kamala Harris of California, who has her own history with the new Cabinet official and voted against Mnuchin’s nomination.

Year-End Coffers Pad the Two-Year Fundraising Sprint
Some senators started 2018 cycle with millions; others with much less

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown’s campaign committee ended 2016 with $3.2 million in cash on hand, ahead of what is likely to be very competitive re-election for the two-term senator next year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With the 2018 election cycle underway, incumbents gearing up for re-election will begin fundraising in full force this spring.

It helps to have a stockpile of cash already in the bank, but not everyone starts with an equally comfortable cushion. 

‘Gang of Eight’ Revival Unlikely on Immigration Overhaul

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., talks with reporters before the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol, January 31, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

BY DEAN DeCHIARO AND BRIDGET BOWMAN, CQ ROLL CALL

President Donald Trump may want senators to re-form a “Gang of Eight”-style group focused on passing comprehensive immigration legislation. But a hyper-partisan atmosphere in Congress combined with the bitter legacy of the last failed overhaul means Trump’s wish will likely go unfulfilled.

A Case of the Mondays: Recent Senate Session Third-Longest Since 1915
Chamber didn't adjourn from noon Monday until Wednesday at 9:07 p.m.

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If this week felt a little long, that’s because it was. When the Senate gaveled out at 9:07 p.m. on Wednesday, it adjourned a session that began Monday at noon. That made it the third-longest legislative session in Senate history since 1915. In the world of arcane Senate procedure, that means the chamber never moved off the legislative business day of Monday, leaving Capitol Hill watchers with that tired, cranky feeling they never could quite shake.

The Senate debated for those 57 hours and 7 minutes several of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees, including the senators’ colleague Jeff Sessions of Alabama for attorney general, and the contentious Education secretary pick, Betsy DeVos, which ended with a history-making tiebreaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence.

Alan Simpson Is No Longer the Tallest Senator, and He’s OK With That
Newest senator, Alabama’s ‘Big Luther’ Strange, is 6 feet 9 inches tall

Former Sen. Alan Simpson, seen above speaking to Washington Sen. Patty Murray in 2011, has lost his record as tallest U.S. senator to Alabama’s Luther Strange. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Sen. Alan Simpson was surprised to hear that he’d lost his title as the tallest senator in modern history. 

“What son of a bitch did that?” he asked when reached by phone Thursday afternoon.

Jeff Sessions Caps Off 31-Year Comeback
Once rejected for a judgeship, the Alabamian is now nation's top cop

President Donald Trump introduces former Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as his new attorney general on Thursday. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

More than 30 years ago, Jeff Sessions probably couldn’t have imagined what just happened. Sworn in as attorney general Thursday after being confirmed Wednesday by the same body that once rejected his bid to be a federal judge, the Alabama Republican now faces the monumental task of enforcing the nation’s laws when its lawmakers are at each others’ throats.

In 1986, the Republican-controlled Judiciary Committee rejected Sessions’ nomination to be a federal district judge in Alabama. Sessions, who was then a U.S. attorney, dusted himself off and began a long political assent that culminated in Wednesday’s 52-47 vote. The same issues that bedeviled Sessions in the 1980s, questions about whether he sought to suppress black voter turnout and whether his views on race made him fit for public service, defined the nasty confirmation fight he faced.

Hawkish Trump on Iran: ‘Nothing’s Off the Table’
White House looks for ‘Trump-state Democrats’ to back SCOTUS pick

President Donald Trump watches as Vice President Mike Pence swears in Rex Tillerson as secretary of State. Holding the Bible is Tillerson’s wife, Renda St. Clair. (John T. Bennett/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump continued touting his hard-nosed foreign policy on Thursday, “formally” telling Iran it is on notice before signaling he might consider military force against the country. 

The new commander in chief, twice in just seven hours, sent a message to Tehran just a day after his national security adviser put Iran “on notice.” Trump was asked by a reporter when a press pool was allowed into a meeting with Harley-Davidson executives if he has ruled out military force against Iran.

New CBA President: ‘Pressure Is On for Diversity’
Lewis Myers also looking to double CBA membership in 2017

Lewis Myers, the newly sworn-in president of the Congressional Black Associates, is Rep. Marcia L. Fudge’s scheduler and office manager. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The newly sworn-in president of the Congressional Black Associates says he will “fight tooth and nail” for more minority staffers on Capitol Hill.

“We want to keep adding pressure,” said Lewis Myers, 31. “This is a subject matter that has been discussed and debated for years — I would almost argue decades. And what are the results?”

Senate Confirms Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State
The chamber voted 56-43 in favor

Secretary of State nominee Rex Wayne Tillerson testifies during his Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate confirmed Wednesday secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson.

The chamber voted 56-43 in favor of making the former Exxon Mobil CEO the next secretary.