south carolina

Chuck Grassley Opts for Finance Chairmanship
Move kicks off a round of musical chairs in the Senate, opening up a slot for a new Judiciary panel chairman

Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, right, will succeed Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, as gavel-holder on the Senate Finance panel. That means Judiciary will be looking for a new leader too. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley announced he would take over the gavel of the tax-writing Finance Committee in the 116th Congress, a position he held in the early part of 2001 and again from 2003 through 2006.

Grassley’s move also opens up a slot for a new Judiciary panel chairman, likely South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham

Black Caucus at Crossroads as Marcia Fudge Mulls Speaker Bid
Several CBC members still supporting Pelosi but Chairman Cedric Richmond predicts flips if Fudge runs

Reps. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, left, pictured at the 2016 Democratic National Convention with James Clyburn, D-S.C., is thinking about running for speaker. Clyburn said he’s not discouraged Fudge from running but that he’s still supporting Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The possibility that Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge might challenge Nancy Pelosi for speaker seems to have some of her colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus torn, despite many saying Thursday they still plan to support Pelosi.

But one notable member of the CBC would not make such a pledge, Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond.

Senate Appropriators Cast Doubt on Mueller Protections Making It Into Spending Deal
Chairman wants to keep December spending deal as clean as possible, despite interests of Pelosi, House Democrats

Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., does not favor attaching protections for Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III to a December spending package. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby thinks trying to attach language designed to shield Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III to a big December spending package would be ill-advised.

Asked ahead of a meeting at the White House with President Donald Trump about the interest of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to use the must-pass spending measure as the vehicle for such a bill, Shelby said, “She’s not talking about putting it in an appropriations bill?”

Kevin McCarthy Elected House Minority Leader Over Jim Jordan
Promotion to top GOP spot improves his chances of one day being speaker

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is the new House Republican leader. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans on Wednesday elected Rep. Kevin McCarthy as their minority leader over Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, a decision that improves the likelihood that one day the California Republican might be speaker. 

McCarthy has vowed to lead Republicans back into the majority over the next two years. If he succeeds, the chances of him being elected speaker would be significantly higher than had Republicans held the majority this year. 

Possible Trump-Macron Split Fuels European Power Vacuum
Bromance burned bright at first, but presidents spent weekend trading barbs

President Donald Trump, right, and French President Emmanuel Macron in April at the White House, when the two had a closer relationship than was in evidence in recent days. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Donald Trump is pushing away one of his few close allies, French President Emmanuel Macron, as experts warn of an emerging European power vacuum and some GOP lawmakers defend the U.S. president’s latest brash move.

The two presidents have little in common but quickly became unlikely allies. Trump is a businessman and former reality television star. Macron was a philosophy major who became a finance and economic wonk. A bromance developed, and Trump feted Macron during an official visit that included a private dinner at George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate and an elegant state dinner at the White House.

Maybe Stu Rothenberg Isn’t So Bad at This After All
2016 was a disaster, 2018 not so much

From left, Sen.-elect Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen.-elect Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., talk during a photo-op in Schumer’s office in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Boy, I stunk up the joint in 2016. I was sure that Donald Trump wouldn’t — couldn’t — win the presidency, and I said so without any “ifs” or “buts.” I didn’t pay enough attention to the possibility that Trump could lose the popular vote badly but still win an Electoral College majority. I tried to explain my mistakes as completely as I could in an end-of-the-year Washington Post column.

But this year, watching the midterms from 10,000 feet instead of being in the weeds, I feel pretty good about my analysis throughout the cycle. Maybe it was dumb luck. Maybe it was years of watching campaigns and candidates. Maybe it was some of each.

With an Ambitious Policy Agenda, Pelosi is Poised to Lead the House Again
Calls increased from Democratic incumbents and candidates asking for new generation of leaders

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi holds a news conference in the Capitol on Nov. 7, the day after Democrats had retaken control of the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Basking in House Democrats’ midterm election wins, Nancy Pelosi is focused on the planks of the Democratic campaign platform that will become the new majority’s agenda: health care, infrastructure and cleaning up corruption in Washington.

But the California Democrat cannot escape questions about another theme that emerged on the campaign trail — opposition to her leadership.

Lindsey Graham Wants Rick Scott in Senate GOP Meetings Ahead of Recount Deadlines
S.C. senator thinks Scott will win, and should take part in leadership elections

Sen. Lindsey Graham, right, campaigned with Florida Gov. Rick Scott in Orlando ahead of Election Day. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Lindsey Graham said that Florida Gov. Rick Scott should make plans to come up to D.C. to participate in next week’s Senate Republican Conference meetings.

That includes the leadership elections for the 116th Congress, which are scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Political Drama Converges at Supreme Court Ceremony
Kavanaugh investiture event features Trump, acting AG, Ken Starr and more

President Donald Trump and Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh at a courtesy visit in the Justices’ Conference Room prior to the investiture ceremony. (Fred Schilling, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States)

A Supreme Court sitting Thursday for the ceremonial investiture of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh took only 10 minutes, but it concentrated Washington's political and legal drama in one room.

Matthew Whitaker made his first public appearance as acting attorney general, reading a presidential commission from the courtroom podium less than 24 hours after President Donald Trump forced the resignation of Jeff Sessions as the nation’s top law enforcement officer.

The Replacements: Trump Has No Shortage of Candidates to Follow Sessions
A Mueller probe skeptic and several GOP senators all make the list

Then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., endorses Donald Trump to be the Republican nominee for president during a campaign rally at Madison City Schools Stadium in Madison, Ala., on Feb. 28. 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

There is no shortage of candidates to replace Jeff Sessions as attorney general, and President Donald Trump could even again turn to the Senate.

Sessions and Trump clashed almost from the start, with the president even admitting he gave the former Alabama lawmaker the job out of a sense of loyalty. Sessions was the first GOP senator to endorse Trump’s 2016 White House candidacy. As Democrats warn of a constitutional crisis, the president will get to pick a nominee this time for other reasons.