Lisa Murkowski

‘Grab your popcorn if you’re watching C-SPAN’: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of May 20, 2019

Speaker Nancy Pelosi leaves the Capitol for a meeting at the White House with President Donald Trump. It didn’t go well. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“Buckle your seat belts, grab your popcorn if you’re out there watching C-SPAN,” Rep. Hank Johnson said during a rollercoaster week on the Hill.

Senate passes long-stalled disaster aid bill with Trump support
Negotiators agreed to revisit stripped border-related funding after the Memorial Day recess

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and chef Jose Andres talk after running into each other in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Thursday, May 23, 2019. Andres was on Capitol Hill for a briefing held by the Power 4 Puerto Rico Coalition, calling on Congress to help Puerto Rico achieve future growth and prosperity after the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. On Thursday the Senate approved a $19.1 billion disaster aid deal which included $600 million in nutrition assistance to Puerto Rico to help restore funding that ran dry in March. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After months of negotiations, Congress and the White House on Thursday reached agreement on a $19.1 billion disaster aid bill that will help communities recover from a series of deadly storms and wildfires. 

The draft bill does not include the border-related funding for migrants at the southern border sought by the Trump administration, the last hurdle that had been preventing a deal on the package.

Shanahan’s confirmation as Defense secretary seems likely, if bumpy
Nominee’s ties to Boeing have come under scrutiny

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan may face some pointed questions from senators during his confirmation hearing to lead the department full-time. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate appears likely to confirm Patrick Shanahan as secretary of Defense, barring an unforeseen and damaging disclosure — but not before senators pose some pointed questions of the nominee.

The White House announced on Thursday evening that President Donald Trump intends to nominate Shanahan to run the Pentagon. Shanahan has served as acting secretary since Jan. 1, when James Mattis, the Defense Department’s former boss, quit.

Stop grading 2020 candidate recruitment, particularly this far from Election Day
Victories by past recruitment ‘failures’ should make parties and press more cautious

The decision by former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams not to run for Senate was branded a Democratic recruitment failure by Republicans, but the state remains competitive, Gonzales writes. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images file photo)

Gloating about and reporting on candidate recruitment has become commonplace in the election process. But too often, the grading and grandstanding is premature — and even completely wrong.

This cycle, Republicans are crowing after former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams declined to run for the Senate and freshman Rep. Cindy Axne decided to forgo a Senate run in Iowa. But their decisions don’t change the national dynamic (the GOP majority is still at risk) or the local dynamic (both of those races are still competitive). History tells us we have a long way to go before November 2020.

3 reasons why Trump dumped Herman Cain for Fed seat
‘I’m doing deals and I’m not being accommodated by the Fed,’ POTUS said last year

A man walks by the Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve Board Building in Washington, D.C.. Herman Cain will not get a Fed seat after all, President Trump announced Monday. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In the end, not even Donald Trump and his sky-high popularity with the conservative wing of the Republican Party could give Herman Cain a new political life.

The president announced in a midday tweet that the former 2012 GOP presidential candidate would not get a nomination for a seat on the Federal Reserve.

A GOP sea change on climate? Not quite
 

The GOP has long been known as the party of climate change denial, but some Republican lawmakers have been coming around to the idea that climate change is caused by human activity.

“I don’t think it’s a sign of weakness to evaluate new science, new information and new tech, and come to different conclusions,” said Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, one of a handful of Republican lawmakers hoping to push their party in the direction of addressing climate change.

White House gives Herman Cain an out on Fed amid GOP opposition
Kudlow: ‘It would probably be up to Herman Cain if he wants to stay in’

Presidential candidate Herman Cain speaks at the Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit in Washington on Oct. 7, 2011. The White House is giving him an out on a Federal Reserve seat amid mounting GOP concerns. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House appears to be giving Herman Cain, who was forced from the 2012 presidential race amid sexual misconduct allegations, an out in his candidacy for a seat on the Federal Reserve board of governors amid Republican senators’ mounting opposition.

President Donald Trump said earlier this month he is considering Cain for the central bank’s leadership. The president has voiced his anger with the Fed’s decisions on key interest rates, claiming it has slowed economic growth that will be key to his 2020 reelection fight. Cain is a former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, but exited the race amid a slew of sexual harassment charges.

Herman Cain picks up more GOP opposition to his being on the Fed
Kevin Cramer joins three other Republicans in announcing plans to vote against him

Herman Cain's possible nomination to the Federal Reserve Board has picked up the early opposition of at least four Republican senators, likely dooming his prospects at confirmation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Kevin Cramer said Thursday he would vote against giving Herman Cain a seat on the Federal Reserve Board, likely dooming the nomination before the president officially makes it.

“If I had to vote right now, there’s no way I could vote for him,” Cramer told CQ Roll Call. “I know more things about him that’d keep him out than would qualify him.”

Democrats and Republicans embrace MLK’s once-controversial diatribe against ‘moderation’
Doug Jones leads bipartisan group in reading ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’

Alabama Democratic Sen. Doug Jones  arrives in the Capitol for a vote on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A bipartisan group of senators led by Alabama Democrat Doug Jones on Tuesday took to the Senate floor to read Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” commemorating the anniversary of the slain civil rights legend’s famous jeremiad, and showing just how far public opinion has shifted on the once-controversial civil rights icon.

King’s letter, written in April 1963 from his jail cell, is not a tirade against the guardians of segregation.

Newly disclosed meetings with industry create ethics questions for Interior secretary
Lawmakers interested interior secretary’s calendars because of former career as energy lobbyist

Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s daily schedules have some interesting entries. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Recently posted versions of acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s daily schedules contain at least 260 differences from his original schedules, with the newest records showing meetings previously described as “external” or “internal” were actually with representatives of fossil fuel, timber, mining and other industries, according to a review by CQ Roll Call.

Events left out of the original calendars but now disclosed or detailed further include a keynote address at the Trump International Hotel in Washington for the industry group Domestic Energy Producers Alliance, encounters with executives at Chevron Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell, and a meeting with the chairman of a conservative group Bernhardt previously represented in litigation that environmentalists believe was geared toward weakening the Endangered Species Act.