Jim Risch

Lawmakers cheer NATO chief despite Trump criticisms of alliance
Jens Stoltenberg draws standing ovation

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi escorts NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg through Statuary Hall to his address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The head of NATO Wednesday gave a historic speech to Congress that was as much about celebrating the military bloc as it was about U.S. lawmakers signaling their continued commitment to the alliance amid a period of turbulent trans-Atlantic relations.

“Together, we represent 1 billion people,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said of the 29 nations that make up the Western military alliance. “We are half of the world’s economic might and half of the world’s military might. When we stand together, we are stronger than any potential challenger economically, politically, and militarily.”

Road ahead: HR 1 vote, Cohen returns, senators seek info on Khashoggi, North Korea
House Democrats to vote on top priority, while Senate Republicans continue to confirm judges

Travelers exit Union Station as the Capitol Dome reflects in the glass door on Friday, March 1, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House this week will vote on its marquee bill, HR 1, and haul Michael Cohen back in for more questioning, while senators seek information on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the latest North Korea summit.

HR 1, formally titled the For the People Act after Democrats’ 2018 campaign slogan, is a government overhaul package featuring changes to voting, campaign finance and ethics laws

Meet the new Senate Foreign Relations boss, not the same as the old boss
Jim Risch says he speaks regularly with the president, but does not air laundry

Sen.  Jim Risch, R-Idaho, left, is the new chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, working with ranking member Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Contrary to past practice, when the new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has a disagreement with President Donald Trump, the public might not hear about it.

But Sen. Jim Risch says that the president himself certainly does — often from the chairman himself.

Senators want ban on Chinese Huawei tech in energy infrastructure
Letter to Cabinet comes from key members of the Senate Intelligence Committee

Sen. John Cornyn is leading senators calling for a ban of Huawei products from U.S. energy infrastructure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bipartisan group of senators, led by members of the Intelligence Committee, want the Trump administration to prohibit electrical equipment made by Huawei from being used in the U.S. energy infrastructure.

The call for a ban on the components from the Chinese technology giant came in a letter dated Monday to Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, led by Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn.

Photos of the week: Shutdown averted, national emergency declared
The week of Feb. 11 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., walks across the Capitol from the House side Monday for a meeting with other appropriators to try to revive spending talks and avert a second government shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It appears Congress and the president have averted another partial government shutdown. On Thursday, both chambers adopted a conference report on a seven-bill spending package to fund the remainder of the government for the rest of fiscal 2019.

On Friday, President Donald Trump addressed the nation to declare a national emergency aimed at securing additional funding for a wall on the southern border. 

Foreign Relations chairman says Trump has met reporting burden on Khashoggi murder; other senators disagree
‘The administration has been very forthcoming, the State Department has been very forthcoming,’ says Jim Risch

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Jim Risch said the Trump administration has met its reporting requirements. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee insists that the Trump administration has been responsive to congressional requests for information about the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, despite claims to the contrary from several colleagues. 

“We received a response to the inquiry that we made last fall,” Sen. Jim Risch said. “I’ve said we have been briefed on this matter numerous times, met with not all of the 17 intelligence agencies, but a good number of the intelligence agencies.”

Senate set to assert itself on Syria sanctions, Middle East policy early in 2019
New Syria sanctions appear to be among the top legislative priorities

Sens. Marco Rubio and Jim Risch are leading the first bill introduced in the Senate in the new Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate is moving quickly to assert its point-of-view on U.S. policy regarding Syria and in the broader Middle East, and it could serve as a rebuttal to the decision by President Donald Trump to pull back U.S. forces from Syria.

Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio introduced the first piece of legislation on the first day of the new Congress (designated as S 1), and it could lay a marker  on the situation in Syria and the Middle East. The backers include the new chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Here Are the Senators Attending John McCain’s Funeral
List includes 14 Republicans and 10 Democrats

At least 24 senators will attend the funeral service Thursday of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in Phoenix. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

At least 24 current U.S. senators will attend Sen. John McCain’s memorial service Thursday in Phoenix, his office said.

The service, which will begin at approximately 10 a.m. local time, follows a procession from the Arizona state Capitol, where visitors on Wednesday could observe McCain’s casket draped in the American flag.

Road Ahead: Senate Returning to DC for the Ides of August
Floor agenda will look familiar: judicial nominations and appropriation bills

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.,left, jokes with Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, as he walks down the Senate steps on Aug. 1 after the chamber’s last vote of the week. Risch was posing for photos with interns on the steps. Senators return Wednesday from their truncated district work period. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Thank goodness the Senate has “manufactured weather.”

That’s what Carrier called the system that was first installed to cool the chamber in the early 20th century. The modern air conditioning will be in full use this week as the Senate returns for a rare mid-August session.

Photos of the Week: Senate Summer Session Commences, and Breaks
The week of July 30 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., jokes with Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, as he walks down the Senate steps after the last vote of the week in the Senate on Wednesday. Risch was posing for a photo with interns on the steps. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate was at work this week passing a four-bill spending package, which completes the chamber’s 12 appropriations bills for the year. The House got its first week of summer recess under its belt, and by the end of the week, the Senate joined them. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is allowing for a truncated recess, with senators in their home states next week but expected back on the Hill on Wednesday, Aug. 15.