Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
May 29, 2015

Posts by Humberto Sanchez

279 Posts

February 26, 2015

3 Republicans Defy Ted Cruz, Back Loretta Lynch (Updated)

Ted Cruz

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 1:36 p.m. | It’s starting to look like yet another loss under the Dome for Ted Cruz.

The Texas firebrand’s fellow Republicans aren’t on board with his plan to block Loretta Lynch’s nomination to be attorney general.

The Senate Judiciary Committee backed the Lynch nomination, 12-8, Thursday with the help of three Republicans — Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona. Full story

McConnell’s Move to Avert Shutdown Cheers Vulnerable Senators Up in 2016

McConnell wants to end the DHS funding fight ASAP. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McConnell wants to end the DHS funding fight ASAP. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is always looking ahead to the next election.

And as much as the Kentucky Republican’s move to go ahead with a clean bill funding the Department of Homeland Security drew the ire of the conservative base, others including those on the ballot and vulnerable in 2016 said it was important to resolve the issue and get on with the GOP agenda.

Republican Sen. Mark S. Kirk, who is running for re-election in the generally blue state of Illinois, said Tuesday that GOP senators should tell the House Republicans who are against advancing the appropriations bill without riders in opposition to President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration that “this is the way the Senate demands this go.”

Full story

February 13, 2015

Reid Allies See Immigration Fight Helping Re-Election (Updated)

Reid meets with Astrid Silva of Las Vegas, a "DREAMer," in his Capitol office before a vote on the Senate's immigration bill in 2013. Silva's parents brought her to the United States illegally from Mexico when she was 4. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Reid meets with Astrid Silva of Las Vegas, a “DREAMer,” in his Capitol office before a vote on the Senate’s immigration bill in 2013. Silva’s parents brought her to the United States illegally from Mexico when she was 4. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated Feb. 17, 2:35 p.m. | The Senate showdown over immigration could help Minority Leader Harry Reid energize Latino voters in what is expected to be a tough re-election fight — giving him little incentive to cut a deal.

“There is no political downside for Sen. Reid here,” said Jose Parra, a former staffer for the Nevada Democrat and now head of ProsperoLatino, a Latino-focused public relations firm.

Senate Democrats, led by Reid, have already voted three times to block a House-passed bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security, thanks to provisions that would gut President Barack Obama’s executive actions shielding millions of immigrants from deportation. Full story

By Humberto Sanchez Posted at 11:56 a.m.
2016, Harry Reid

February 12, 2015

Kathie Alvarez Hears Her Name on Senate Floor, for Once

A familiar voice is leaving the Senate.

Senators paid tribute Thursday to Kathie Alvarez, the chamber’s first female legislative clerk, who is retiring after 30 years of service. Full story

By Humberto Sanchez Posted at 5:53 p.m.
Procedure

February 11, 2015

GOP Senator Wants to Wave the White Flag on DHS Funding

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Facing a potentially tough re-election battle, Illinois Republican Mark S. Kirk has had enough of the standoff over funding the Department of Homeland Security and wants the Senate to pass a clean bill.

“Yeah, I think in the end,” Kirk said when asked if Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should have the Senate pass a DHS spending bill without language designed to block President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. Full story

February 10, 2015

Packwood Returns to Talk Taxes, Not Scandal (Updated)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 3:17 p.m. | The Finance Committee was in a mood to reminisce Tuesday morning about the good old days, when Sen. Bob Packwood played a key role in negotiating a bipartisan overhaul of the tax code.

The Oregon Republican was back Tuesday at the committee he once chaired to testify about that bipartisan success, where lawmakers in both parties worked with President Ronald Reagan on the 1986 tax deal. Packwood’s successor, Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden, was on the dais as the ranking member of the Finance panel, having held the gavel last Congress with Democrats in charge.

Full story

February 9, 2015

Republicans Want to Send Message to SCOTUS on Obamacare

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Barrasso is leading the Senate GOP effort. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Republicans want to send a message to the Supreme Court that it’s OK to undermine Obamacare.

They keep asking the Obama administration what it plans to do if the Supreme Court upends health insurance subsidies in the King v. Burwell case. It’s a hypothetical question the administration has been reluctant to entertain, leading the GOP to undertake an effort to craft a resolution.

Part of the reason is that Republicans want to try to signal to potentially wavering justices that there would be a path to minimal disruption should the court invalidate tax credits for millions of people in states that didn’t create their own health insurance exchanges.

South Dakota Republican John Thune, who is chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, said there is a lot of discussion along those lines.

Full story

February 6, 2015

ISIS AUMF Debate a 2016 Foreign Policy Test

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cruz, left, and Graham are two senators seen as potential Republican candidates for the White House in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Congress is gearing up — belatedly — for a full-throated war debate that will serve as a proving ground for potential presidential candidates heading into 2016.

With a draft Authorization for Use of Military Force against the Islamic State terror group expected on Capitol Hill by the middle of the week, as lawmakers complete work before a weeklong Presidents Day recess, the debate over how much authority to give President Barack Obama will soon take center stage.

The issue will provide opportunities for jockeying among those senators seeking their party’s nomination for president, including Lindsey Graham, who recently announced his intention to explore the possibilities.

Full story

February 4, 2015

Bipartisan Lunch Gets Plaudits, but Senate Still Stuck

From left, Sens. Gary Peters, D-Mich., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Jack Reed, D-R.I., arrive for the bipartisan Senate luncheon in the Kennedy Caucus Room in the Russell Senate Office Building Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

From left, Sens. Gary Peters, D-Mich., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Jack Reed, D-R.I., arrive for the bipartisan Senate luncheon in the Kennedy Caucus Room in the Russell Senate Office Building Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Baby steps.

The first bipartisan Senate lunch brought praise from both sides of the aisle Wednesday, but anyone expecting instant results will be disappointed.

Full story

February 3, 2015

Graham Dings Cruz Effort to Block Loretta Lynch

Cruz and Graham last week. They disagree on Loretta Lynch. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Cruz and Graham last week. They disagree on Loretta Lynch. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Lindsey Graham is knocking Sen. Ted Cruz’s effort to block Loretta Lynch from becoming attorney general over immigration.

Graham said Cruz’s proposed blockade would just leave Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in charge.

“Nobody is going to say that the executive order is illegal that President Obama appoints, so the idea that we would block an attorney general nominee until you’ve gotten somebody to agree with Sen. Cruz about the executive order is probably not feasible,” he said. “It ensures that Eric Holder stays in place for two years. It’s picking a fight that we can’t win.” Full story

Democrats Unified, in Campaign Mode on Immigration Orders

Reid and Schumer talk to reporters Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Reid and Schumer talk to reporters Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The gavel had barely dropped on Senate Republicans’ failed first attempt to block President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration when the Democratic campaign arm started blasting GOP senators for their votes.

Democrats defied Republicans in hopes the GOP would splinter on the House Homeland Security funding bill, with every single Democrat voting to filibuster debating the House’s Homeland Security bill over its attempt to roll back executive actions for millions of immigrants.

“Senate Republicans should stop the political theater and listen to the national security experts in their party who have urged passage of a clean bill that would prevent a DHS shutdown,” DSCC spokeswoman Sadie Weiner said in a statement.

But just weeks from the deadline to keep the Department of Homeland Security from facing a funding lapse, the theatrics from the two parties showed no signs of waning.

Full story

Thom Tillis: Keep Government Out of the Bathroom

Tillis (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Tillis (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Freshman Sen. Thom Tillis likes to tell a story about why he doesn’t believe government should require coffee shop employees to wash their hands after using the bathroom.

“Just to give you an idea of where my bias is when it comes to regulatory reform,” the North Carolina Republican said Monday, before telling the story at a discussion at the Bipartisan Policy Center. Full story

Alaska, Hawaii Delegations Look to Build On Relations

Murkowski led the fight for the Keystone XL pipeline on the Senate floor — one area where the Alaska and Hawaii delegations parted ways. She's trying to bring the delegations together. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Murkowski led the fight for the Keystone XL pipeline on the Senate floor — one area where the Alaska and Hawaii delegations parted ways. She’s trying to bring the delegations together. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The relatively new members of the Alaska and Hawaii Senate delegations are working to build up their relationships as they seek to continue a decades-long alliance forged by the late Sens. Daniel K. Inouye and Ted Stevens.

“We don’t have that strength yet,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said. “But you’ve got to put it into context. … The Hawaii delegation is a very young delegation; actually the Alaska delegation is also a very new delegation, so we need to form those same bonds.”

At age 57, Murkowski is the dean of the two Senate delegations, having served in the chamber since 2002 — time that overlapped with Inouye, Stevens and Sen. Daniel K. Akaka of Hawaii, who all had enormous effect on their states and the chamber. Full story

January 29, 2015

Cornyn: Loretta Lynch Likely to Be Confirmed

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The No. 2 Senate Republican said Thursday Loretta Lynch will “likely” be confirmed as attorney general, although he hasn’t yet made up his mind about how he will vote.

Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, stressed that GOP concerns remain over her independence.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, also said he hasn’t decided how to vote on the nomination. But he noted there is usually a “presumption” that a president gets their nominee. Full story

Capito Fills Out Team

Capito is rounding out her team. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Capito is rounding out her team. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., has unveiled a raft of senior staff appointments, including Bipartisan Policy Center veteran Ashley Berrang as communications director.

“This extremely talented group is committed to serving West Virginians and taking on the challenges facing our state,” Capito said in a release. “The wealth of knowledge and experience each member of this team brings to the table will serve West Virginia well.” Full story

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