Vermont

Senate Democrats Likely to Oppose Push to Block Health Insurance Mandate
Desire to keep contentious amendments off spending bills might prevail

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., chairs the Appropriations subcommittee where any amendment on the D.C. health insurance mandate might come up first in the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A Republican amendment to a House-passed spending package that would ban the District of Columbia from implementing an individual health insurance coverage requirement is unlikely to gain steam as the Senate prepares to take up a similar measure.

It’s not clear yet if any Senate Republicans will introduce a similar amendment when the Financial Services and Interior-Environment package reaches the Senate floor, but it would likely face fierce minority opposition in the chamber, where Democrats are defending the 2010 health care law at every opportunity.

Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez Bring Democratic Socialist Message to Kansas
Vermont, New York politicians will headline two rallies for Democrats in deep-red state

Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., above, and congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., will headline two rallies in Kansas this weekend. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Two of the most prominent Democratic socialists in the country see an opportunity to exert their influence in an unlikely place: deep-red Kansas.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, the 76-year-old senator from Vermont, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old Democratic candidate from the Bronx who knocked off longtime Rep. Joe Crowley in their New York primary last month, are headed to the western Kansas City suburbs Friday to rally Democrats ahead of the state's August 7 primaries.

Brett Kavanaugh Must Make His Case, Senate Democrats Say
Minority cites standards GOP used for previous nominees like Elena Kagan

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, center, walks up the Capitol's Senate steps with Vice President Mike Pence for a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on July 10, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh made his first appearances Tuesday on Capitol Hill, several Senate Democrats said the judge had to make his case for their support.

For instance, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont is a senior member of the Judiciary Committee that will oversee Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing. He pressed Republicans to use their own standard for Elena Kagan, now a Supreme Court Justice nominated by former President Barack Obama.

Warren Warns Nominee: ‘We Will Fight for the Soul of This Nation’
Protesters chant ‘Hell no, Kavanaugh’ late into the night outside Supreme Court

Anti-abortion protesters gather in front of the Supreme Court on Monday night as President Donald Trump announces his Supreme Court pick, Brett Kavanaugh. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Chants of “Hell no, Kavanaugh” clashed with “Roe has got to go” outside the Supreme Court on Monday night, moments after President Donald Trump announced Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his pick.

As hundreds of protesters waving signs and megaphones gathered in front of the court, Sen. Elizabeth Warren struggled to be heard over the shouts.

Hospital Drug Discount Program Under Lawmakers’ Microscope
House panel to examine legislation Wednesday

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar was to address a conference of hospitals participating in a drug discount program facing Congressional scrutiny. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A House panel that has been scrutinizing hospitals’ use of a drug discount program will examine on Wednesday pieces of legislation that stem from members’ concerns over the discounts.

The Energy and Commerce Committee’s oversight panel has had two hearings in the past year on the program, known as 340B. The committee has requested information from hospitals that participate and in January published a report outlining ways the drug discount program could be better run.

Senators Press Chief Justice Roberts for Faster Release of Supreme Court Audio
Letter comes as Roberts renews opposition to cameras in the Court

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., is facing a new call from key senators for faster release of Supreme Court audio. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The current chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and one of his predecessors have teamed up to press Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., to release audio of all arguments on the same day that they take place.

Iowa Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley and Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick J. Leahy made the request of the Supreme Court in a June 29 letter to Roberts that was publicly circulated on Monday.

Washington Misses Out on Chance for Queens vs. Queens
Joe Crowley’s loss means no New York state of mind for Pennsylvania Avenue

Back in the day: Rep. Gary L. Ackerman, D-N.Y., right, joins Joseph Crowley in 1986 at Crowley’s victory party for winning a seat in the New York State Assembly. (Courtesy Rep. Joseph Crowley’s office/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our newsletter here.

Ah, what could have been: Two boisterous guys from Queens hurling insults at one another. 

VA Nominee: Shorter Wait Time, Easier Access
But overhaul could take years, Wilkie says

Veterans Affairs secretary nominee Robert Wilkie prepares to testify in front of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building Wednesday June 27, 2018. (Photo By Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

A Senate panel on Wednesday questioned President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Veterans Affairs Department on how he plans to shorten lengthy appointment wait times and make health care access easier at VA hospitals.

Robert Wilkie, tapped by Trump this summer to lead the troubled agency, said that reducing wait times for veterans, which often extend beyond 30 days, would be among his top priorities. But he said it could be several years before the department’s appointment system can be overhauled.

Kennedy Role on Court Meant Big Imprint on Nation
From gay rights to abortion, he was often the deciding vote on the most contentious issues

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, center, talks with Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., right, and ranking member Arlen Specter, R-Pa., after a hearing on judicial security and independence in February 2007. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, 81, became known as the swing vote during the final decade of his 30 years on the Supreme Court — a description he professed to dislike.

It’s not that his ideology or positions on legal issues moved back and forth. But he would frequently cast the deciding vote on the most contentious cases.

Justice Kennedy’s D.C. Life in Photos
The longstanding swing vote on the Supreme Court said Wednesday he’ll resign in July

2007: Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, talks with Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy, D-Vt., right, and ranking member Arlen Specter, R-Pa., after a hearing on judicial security and independence. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Change is afoot in the ranks of the nation’s highest court. The longest serving justice, Anthony Kennedy, said Wednesday at the term’s conclusion that he would retire on July 31.

 Kennedy has been a swing vote in many of the Supreme Court’s landmark cases since joining in 1988 at the nomination of President Ronald Reagan.