Mazie K Hirono

Social Security could go broke by 2035, but lawmakers have new ideas to fix it
If policymakers wait too long, solutions to fixing the program may involve politically unpalatable options

Rep. John Larson, D-Conn., leaves the Capitol after the final votes of the week on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There’s nothing like waiting until the last minute — as long as waiting doesn’t make the problem worse.

Therein lies the conundrum facing lawmakers and 2020 presidential candidates when it comes to Social Security, which last year paid out retirement and disability benefits to some 63 million Americans.

Interior Secretary Bernhardt under investigation by inspector general
Democrats and watchdog groups have alleged ‘potential conflicts of interest and other violations’

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt was confirmed by the Senate last week by a vote of 56-41. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a former oil and gas lobbyist, is under investigation by his agency’s inspector general over “potential conflicts of interest and other violations,” an agency official said Monday.

In an April 15 letter to Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, Interior Department deputy inspector general Mary Kendall said her office opened an investigation into Bernhardt following at least seven complaints from Democratic lawmakers and independent watchdogs alleging the conflicts and other violations.

Bernie Sanders’ new Medicare for All bill would cover some long-term care

Renelsa Caudill, a nurse at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, is greeted by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., after speaking at an event to introduce the “Medicare for All Act of 2019,” in Dirksen Building on Wednesday, April 10, 2019. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., are also pictured. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Wednesday released an updated bill to implement a single-payer health insurance system, a politically divisive hallmark of his White House bid.

The unnumbered Senate bill would transition the U.S. health care system to a single-payer system over a four-year transition and eliminate nearly all premiums, co-pays and deductibles. The legislation largely mirrors Sanders’ 2017 proposal, but the new plan also would cover home and community-based long-term care services through an expanded Medicare program, according to a summary. The earlier version would have maintained those services through existing Medicaid benefits.

Senate Democrats dodge vote on Green New Deal resolution
Republicans had hoped to force 2020 presidential hopefuls into a tight spot

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., questions William P. Barr, nominee to he Attorney General of the United States, during his confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats backed away from a Green New Deal resolution offered by Republicans, even though it copied the version introduced and cheered by many Democratic lawmakers, including those running for president.

With all Republicans voting in the negative on the procedural vote, the resolution introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was thwarted, 0-57, preventing further action on the measure.

The week on Capitol Hill in 10 Photos
The week of March 4-8 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

A beam of sunlight illuminates the Portrait Monument, depicting suffragists Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Lucretia Mott, as tourists crowd the Capitol Rotunda on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The week is coming to a close on the Hill after the passage of HR1, a voting and ethics package, in the House. Don’t miss this preview of the legislative priorities that are next on House Democrats’ agendas, by reporter Lindsey McPherson. 

Also this week, Michael Cohen was once again on the Capitol campus, and the marijuana legalization push continued.

Barr nomination to get votes on the Senate floor next week
Comes after 12-10 committee vote, which reflected concerns from Democrats about how he would handle the Justice Department’s special counsel investigation

William P. Barr, left, nominee for attorney general, greets former Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, upon arriving for his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. Hatch introduced Barr to the committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 5:18 p.m. | William P. Barr is on track to be confirmed as the next attorney general next week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved to limit debate and cut off any filibuster threats against the Barr nomination Thursday, setting up votes as soon as the Senate finishes work on a bipartisan package of public lands bills.

Appeals court nominee backpedals from college writings
“I cringe at some of the language I used,” Neomi Rao tells Senate Judiciary

Neomi Rao, nominated for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, arrives for her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s pick for an influential appeals court distanced herself Tuesday from prior writings about sexual assault and other topics during a Senate Judiciary confirmation hearing.

“To be honest, looking back at some of those writings and reading them, I cringe at some of the language I used,” Neomi Rao, a nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, testified. “In the intervening two decades, I like to think that I have matured as a thinker and writer, and indeed as a person.”

Sen. Tim Scott picks ‘Movin’ On Up’ as his moving-day soundtrack
The South Carolina Republican has an almost brand-new office, plus a giant roll of bubble wrap

Sen. Tim Scott is moving into an office this week that just one other lawmaker has ever occupied. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Tim Scott is moving into an office this week that just one other lawmaker has ever occupied. That’s as close to brand-new as you can get in the Senate.

Former Sen. Orrin Hatch moved into Hart 104 when the building first opened in 1982 and vacated the space upon his retirement in December. After 36 years, the suite was packed with personal treasures, including his Book of Mormon, a rifle given to him by the NRA and a recent gift from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Barr assures senators of his independence
AG nominee says Mueller investigation isn’t a ‘witch hunt,’ Sessions ‘probably did right thing’ in recusing himself

William Barr, nominee for attorney general, testifies during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 5:59 p.m. | William Barr appeared to be on a path to confirmation as the next attorney general Tuesday, after he gave senators key assurances about the special counsel probe into the 2016 elections and distanced himself from some of President Donald Trump’s comments about the investigation.

During more than seven hours of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Barr avoided the kind of missteps that might cost him votes of Republicans, who have a 53-47 advantage in the chamber. But some Democrats say he did not do enough to reassure them that he would protect Robert S. Mueller III’s probe and make the results public.

The many ways members of Congress can make a stink
Yes, they can donate pay, but they can also get arrested or wear hoodies

Members including, from left, Reps. Luis V. Gutierrez, D-Ill., Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., John Lewis, D-Ga., Judy Chu, D-Calif., Al Green, D-Texas, Adriano Espaillat, D-N.Y., and others march to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection offices last June in protest of the Trump administration’s policy of separating parents and children at the border. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)