Alaska

You’d Think Samuel Beckett Was In Charge of Our Health Care
Finding a path forward for the Affordable Care Act has been like waiting for Godot

Estragon and Vladimir — above as portrayed in a 1978 French production of Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” — were stuck in limbo. After waiting on Congress to act on health care, we all know how they feel, Hoagland writes. (Fernand Michaud/Gallica Digital Library)

OPINION — Finding bipartisan agreement in Congress on a path forward for the Affordable Care Act has been like waiting for Godot. Polls tracking Americans’ views have consistently shown an evenly divided public. No single public policy issue captures the country’s polarization better than the debate that has surrounded this law.

That doesn’t mean we have to settle for “nothing to be done.” Improving health insurance markets is a goal worth pursuing, and Republicans and Democrats at the state level are already showing us the way.

Senate Dems Want Republicans to Take a Position on ‘Junk’
Baldwin hopes to force a vote to overturn Trump administration rule on short-term health care plans

Sen. Tammy Baldwin is leading the charge to reverse the Trump administration’s rule on short-term health insurance plans — or at least to get Republicans on the record. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Democrats are planning to force a vote this week on a resolution that would overturn the Trump administration’s expansion of short-term health insurance plans.

Critics call them “junk” plans, since they’re not required to comply with all the regulations of the 2010 health care law.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski Could Face Reprisal from Alaska GOP
Alaska Republican was only member of her party to vote against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, talks with the media in the Capitol after voting “no” on a cloture vote that advanced the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to a final vote on October 5, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Lisa Murkowski could face severe consequences from her state party for her decision to reject new associate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh at his confirmation vote over the weekend.

The Alaska Republican was the only GOP senator to oppose Kavanaugh’s confirmation, which passed 50-48 mostly along party lines. (Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., voted with Republicans.)

Photos of the Week: Kavanaugh Protests and Tension on High as Senators Cast Historic Vote
The week of Oct. 1 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Ben Bergquam, left, who supports Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, argues on Thursday with protesters opposed to the nomination. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

All eyes were on the Senate last week. Results of the FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations made against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh were considered late Wednesday and Thursday by senators. And by Friday, a majority of them were ready to vote

Protests against the nominee erupted across the Capitol throughout the week as activists made their opinions known, both for and against.

Ditch Columbus Day? Some Places Already Have
Sen. Mike Rounds’ state celebrates indigenous people instead, and has since 1990

The statue of Christopher Columbus is framed by wreaths left over from the Columbus Day celebration in front of Union Station in Washington in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s still a federal holiday. But more and more places are moving to replace Columbus Day.

South Dakota did it first, in the 1990s. “It’s about reconciliation. It’s about trying to bring people from different cultures, different backgrounds, different races together,” said Republican Sen. Mike Rounds.

Final Kavanaugh Vote Comes With a Whimper, Not a Bang
Somber mood pervades Senate as Supreme Court nominee is confirmed

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., holds a press conference in the Capitol after the vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the end, for as long, drawn out and acrid as the fight over Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination was, the actual confirmation vote itself was brief, to the point and relatively somber.

Senators, seated to take their votes in the chamber during the rare Saturday session, rose at the calls of their names, saying “yes” and “no.” When Vice President Mike Pence announced the 50-48 vote and that Kavanaugh had been confirmed, he did so flatly, with none of the flourish or emotion that usually comes with such hard-fought victories. 

Kavanaugh Confirmation Solidifies Supreme Court Tilt to the Right
Bitterly divided chamber votes in rare Saturday session to end long fight

The Senate confirmed Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on a rare Saturday session and amid a Capitol awash in protests. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Saturday might close one of the Senate’s most bitter and divisive chapters, but the resulting discord is bound to reverberate for years at the high court, in the halls of Congress and at the ballot box.

The 50-48 vote gives President Donald Trump his second Supreme Court appointment in as many years and solidifies the court’s conservative tilt for decades. The confirmation battle at first raged over the court’s ideological balance, then turned to questions of temperament, truthfulness and how the Senate handled allegations of sexual misconduct in the “Me Too” era.

Brett Kavanaugh to Be Rare Beneficiary of Senate Paired Voting
Votes of Republicans Lisa Murkowski and Steve Daines will be offset

Sens. Steve Daines, R-Mont., and  Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, center, will pair their votes on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Saturday, enabling Daines to attend his daughter’s wedding and Murkowski to voice her position. Also pictured above, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When the Senate votes to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Saturday, two senators will engage in a practice that’s all but died out.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the only member of the Republican Conference opposed to elevating the current D.C. Circuit Court judge to the high court, announced Friday that ordinarily she would vote “no.”

From Adams to Pence: Long History of Memorable VP Tie-Breakers
If Kavanaugh vote is deadlocked, vice president would put him on Supreme Court

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh (left) walks up the Capitol's Senate steps with Vice President Mike Pence for a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on July 10. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump face a high-stakes Saturday showdown with a handful of key senators that will decide whether the Supreme Court tilts to the right — perhaps for decades to come. But it might fall to Vice President Mike Pence to put him on the highest bench in the land.

After the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh — who has faced multiple sexual assault allegations and criticism for his angry rebuttal that included sharp criticism of Senate Democrats — cleared a procedural hurdle Friday morning, McConnell and Trump needed to secure 50 GOP votes.

Will Any Senator Have a McCain ‘Maverick’ Moment, Turn on Kavanaugh?
Democrats hope someone changes tack on final vote on SCOTUS confirmation

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., votes ‘no’ on the bill to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law. (Screenshot CQ Roll Call video)

As the final vote on the Senate floor on whether to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh looms, Democrats’ odds of recruiting two more lawmakers to their side to foil the confirmation have dwindled.

Only one Republican broke from her party on the vote to cut off debate Friday.