Joe Donnelly

Senate’s Radical Reasonable Caucus Finds Its Moment
Will a group of 20 senators be able to gain influence?

A bipartisan group of Senators hold a new conference in the Capitol on Monday after they voted to end debate on a continuing resolution to reopen the government. From left, Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, Tim Kaine, Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Donnelly, Joe Manchin III, Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, Lisa Murkowski, Amy Klobuchar and Maggie Hassan. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In a Senate environment where party discipline has been the norm, a group of senators that lobbied leadership to accept a resolution to end the government shutdown Monday now has leverage, if they decide to use it.

“One of the good outcomes is that we had a group of 20 … that built a lot of trust with each other. So it could create an environment, at least over the next month or so, where some really positive things happen,” Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, a GOP participant, said Monday. “On the Democratic side, it was necessary to have a large group of Republicans [who] were committed to try and resolve these issues.”

Liberal Groups Urge Democrats ‘Stand Strong’ on Shutdown
Ahead of vote to reopen the government, Democrats take heat from base

Supporters of the so-called DREAM Act protest outside the Capitol on Sunday evening as the Senate was working to find a way to end the government shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A coalition of liberal groups urged Democrats to reject a proposal to reopen the government Monday, calling on them to “stand strong” and insist that a spending deal include an array of demands, rather than a promise to address issues like immigration at a later date.

Senators are scheduled to vote at noon Monday on a three-week continuing resolution that includes a six-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, but not protections for undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made a commitment Sunday night that he would take up immigration legislation if there is no action by the end of those three weeks on Feb. 8.

House GOP Has Message for Senate on Shutdown: Nuke the Filibuster
McCarthy, other lawmakers joins Trump in reiterating call for changes

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy renewed his call for the Senate to change its rules. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated Sunday, 1:18 p.m. | House Republicans say Senate Democrats are holding government funding “hostage” to their demands on immigration. And they’ve got an idea for ending the crisis: Throw away the filibuster.

The legislative tool of the minority is one of the few remaining things that distinguish the Senate from the House. The Senate GOP is coming under pressure from House Republicans and President Donald Trump to pursue the so-called nuclear option — change chamber rules and end the legislative filibuster, at least on spending bills.

Analysis: It’s a Blue House Wave, but Not Yet a Senate One
Rural, Trump-friendly states make for a formidable map for Democrats

Sens. Jon Tester of Montana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota are among the Democrats’ many vulnerable incumbents this cycle, which complicates the party’s efforts to retake the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo.)

“The odds are greater than half we will take back the Senate.” — Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” on Monday night 

Democrats ought to temper their optimism about the fight for the Senate this year.

Report: Rokita Received More than $160,000 from Casino Group as He Pushed Bill
Contributors would stand to benefit from the bill

Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., has received more than $160,000 from tribal gambling groups and Native American tribes after sponsoring legislation that would benefit them. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Senate candidate and Indiana Rep. Todd Rokita is facing criticism for having received money from a casino interest group that would benefit from legislation he is pushing.

The Associated Press reported that Rokita, who is running to challenge Democratic incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly, received more than $160,000 from Native American gambling interest groups.

Doug Jones Now Faces the Red-State Democrat’s Dilemma
He joins a small cadre of Senate Democrats representing GOP states

Sen.-elect Doug Jones of Alabama, center, is set be sworn in Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Doug Jones will enter the Senate on Wednesday as the Democrat who did the impossible — he won his seat in Republican-dominated Alabama. He will now join a small cadre of red-state Democrats who have to navigate an increasingly divisive political environment.

Jones said he was elected because he emphasized finding common ground and working across the aisle. He will now have to prove it — especially if he has any hope of keeping his seat in 2020.

Cascade of Senate Democrats Call on Franken to Resign
Messages for Franken’s departure appear coordinated

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.,is facing new calls for his resignation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Nearly simultaneously, a series of Senate Democratic women issued calls for Democratic Sen. Al Franken to resign Wednesday morning including Patty Murray, a trusted lieutenant to Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and rising star Kamala Harris.

They were followed quickly by several Senate Democratic men and the head of the national Democratic Party.

Why Did an Indiana Super PAC Endorse Alabama’s Roy Moore?
Locally, Indiana First PAC endorsed Jim Banks, plans to play in open 4th and 6th Districts

Indiana First PAC has endorsed Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, above, but has no plans to play in Indiana’s Senate primary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Indiana First PAC earned attention this week for endorsing Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore.

But what is an Indiana-based super PAC — which has yet to file with the Federal Election Commission — doing in another state’s Senate race when it doesn’t even plan to play in its own?

Trump Tax Taunts Don’t Trouble Red-State Democrats
McCaskill outspoken in criticism of Senate GOP measure

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill speaks Tuesday during the Senate Democrats news conference on taxes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Moderate Senate Democrats — many of them on the ballot in 2018 — came together with a unified message Tuesday morning, just before President Donald Trump arrived at the Capitol to meet with the Republican Conference.

Sen. Tim Kaine was perhaps the most direct. The Virginia Democrat said at the news conference that the GOP should make a run at a bipartisan product before bringing to the floor a tax reconciliation bill that would only require a simple majority to pass.

Congress’ Gun Massacre Caucus
Dealing with mass shootings is becoming all too familiar for many members

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, center left, with Rep. Mark Sanford to his right and then-Gov. Nikki Haley, second from right, attend a memorial service commemorating the anniversary of the 2015 mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images file photo)

On Dec. 14, 2012, Elizabeth Esty was attending a social media workshop for new members of Congress at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. She had been elected to represent Connecticut’s 5th District a month earlier.

“I raised my hand and I said, ‘Here’s an example right now — I’m getting texts and alerts that there’s been a shooting and we don’t know what happened,’” she said.