Stories by David Hawkings:
May 10, 2015
Tom Cotton marks two milestones this week. As of Monday, more than half of his senatorial career will have elapsed (63 days!) since his pugilistic letter warning Iran against cutting a nuclear deal with the Obama administration. And Wednesday is the Arkansas Republican’s 38th birthday, another reminder he’s the youngest senator in two decades.
May 6, 2015
Ahead of a Wednesday Senate Judiciary hearing on nominees to fill federal court vacancies, Minority Leader Harry Reid slammed the “unconscionable” backlog, calling it an “injustice to the American people.”
“As of today, there are 55 federal court vacancies, 24 of which are classified as emergencies,” Reid said. “At the beginning of the year, there were only 12 judicial emergencies … It’s no wonder Republicans are scrambling for cover on judicial nominations. They are scrambling because they have been ignoring their constitutional duty.”
Reid also highlighted the delay on L. Felipe Restrepo’s nomination, who was chosen by President Barack Obama six months ago for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
“There’s no reason that he’s held up for six months, other than the Republicans just simply want to do everything they can to create problems for President Obama,” he said.
May 6, 2015
Jim Wright, the 56th speaker of the House and the only one ever forced out of office by scandal, died Wednesday. He was 92 and died in his native Fort Worth, Texas, which he represented for more than 34 years until his resignation in 1989.
May 5, 2015
In the long-running judicial wars between the Senate and the White House, the first skirmish of the year is flaring into the open this week.
April 30, 2015
Updated 11:05 a.m. | When Bernard Sanders declared his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination, he joined a lengthening roster of gadflies who have run in order to push the party to the left.
April 29, 2015
Though only a few lawmakers participated in the rallies during Tuesday’s oral arguments, more than half the members of Congress had already formalized their views on the same-sex marriage cases before the Supreme Court.
April 28, 2015
The nation officially has its 83rd attorney general with Loretta Lynch having taken the oath of office Monday morning. But before her five-month nomination odyssey fades into the rearview mirror, it’s worth noting the pivotal part played by an election 19 months down the road.
April 26, 2015
If there was ever a sound reason for a congressional leader from one party to plant a kiss on the cheek of a leader from the other side, it was in the Rose Garden last week.
April 23, 2015
The newest Roll Call Clout Index reveals that, even more than before, the largest potential for influence belongs to the states with the most people and therefore the biggest delegations. So it’s worth paying special attention to the smaller places with lawmaker contingents positioned to punch highest above their weight.
April 22, 2015
Four years after lawmakers gave up earmarking, the last of the billions once dedicated to pet projects has effectively been spent, and one result is a changed roster of states laying claim to the most clout in Congress.
April 20, 2015
Eight years ago, the last time sitting senators launched competing quests for a presidential nomination, each touted their congressional records as evidence they were more the true agent of change than the other one.
April 15, 2015
The GOP presidential field is now, officially, thicker with senators than at any time in the past two decades. All three with declared candidacies have viable paths to the nomination — underscoring the bewilderment about why a fourth Senate Republican, who would be among the longest of long shots, is considering joining the hunt.
April 13, 2015
It’s the first federal bribery indictment of a sitting senator in almost a quarter century, and the defendant is among the most combative and combustible Democrats in the Capitol. So why have Republicans spent the better part of the past two weeks with their hands over their mouths?
April 1, 2015
It’s not only the season’s most consequential political event, but also a rare local election with a big rooting interest on the Hill. Voters in the nation’s third-biggest city are deciding next week if they still want to be led by a onetime member of congressional leadership.
March 26, 2015
Senators readying their patience, their reading material and even their bladders for the annual ritual known as the “vote-a-rama” may rightfully be getting ready to ask, “Will it be worth it?”
March 25, 2015
The odds have crested the 50-50 threshold for what would surely become one of the year’s biggest legislative achievements — an overhaul of how doctors and other Medicare providers get paid. And the usual encrusted ideological positioning, at both ends of the political spectrum, is no longer the biggest obstacle.
March 24, 2015
The death last week of Robert W. Kastenmeier, who evolved in the House from a prominent peace crusader into a premier intellectual property protector, is the freshest reminder of an odd truth about the modern Congress.
March 23, 2015
If budget resolutions are aspirational, sketching the big picture Congress envisions for government, then spending bills are the polar opposite: Blueprints that lawmakers micromanage down to the smallest line item.
March 18, 2015
The annual budget resolution has several purposes. In theory, it’s a mission statement on the proper role of government and a mirror on priorities for the coming decade. At a more practical level, it decides the limit on lawmaker-driven spending for the coming year and smoothes the path toward ambitious changes in federal policy.
March 16, 2015
Given that old adage, “You can’t tell where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been,” casting a close eye over last year’s congressional voting patterns is in order.
March 12, 2015
The most amazing thing about the Loretta Lynch story is that the congressional community no longer views it as amazing.
March 10, 2015
Republicans may not realistically smell another Senate seat about to become available, but they’re moving quickly on the very real scent of political blood. And their nose for scandal has them salivating at more than the fate of Sen. Robert Menendez, who may be only weeks from facing federal corruption charges.
March 5, 2015
One of these House members is not like the others. One of these members doesn’t hope to belong — in the Senate.
March 4, 2015
It’s arguably the most important single hour of federal policymaking this year, and it’s happening Wednesday morning inside a government building on Capitol Hill. But except for clusters of reporters and attorneys, joined by a few dozen citizens who’ve waited hours in a long queue for a glimpse, the event will remain invisible forever.
March 3, 2015
The most obvious distinction Barbara A. Mikulski will take into retirement is that she’s spent more time in Congress than any other woman, and that’s a record worthy of significant recognition. But, especially at a Capitol so deeply mired in dysfunction and partisanship, the meaning of her service is deeper than mere longevity.