Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 23, 2014

Posts in "Nominations"

December 19, 2014

How the Nuclear Option Changed the Judiciary

reid004 052014 445x302 How the Nuclear Option Changed the Judiciary

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For Sen. Harry Reid, going “nuclear” set the groundwork for his last great act of the 113th Congress.

A little more than a year after Senate Democrats deployed the “nuclear option” to effectively change the Senate rules on nominations with a simple majority, Democrats up and down Pennsylvania Avenue generally seem happy with the changes, even as the Senate shifts to Republican control for 2015.

White House Counsel Neil Eggleston on Wednesday highlighted the 134 judges confirmed in the 113th Congress alone, saying that was 44 percent of the total confirmed during President Barack Obama’s tenure. That number included 132 federal district and circuit judges, according to Senate Democrats.

Full story

December 15, 2014

Kirk Backs Murthy, Defies NRA

kirk 121 111314 445x294 Kirk Backs Murthy, Defies NRA

Kirk defied the NRA to help confirm a surgeon general. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Mark S. Kirk, R-Ill., defied the National Rifle Association to confirm Vivek Murthy as surgeon general.

The Murthy confirmation was delayed for months due to opposition by the NRA and most Republicans, primarily over his support for gun control measures. But Kirk’s vote helped put him over the top with a 51 to 43 vote Monday.

Full story

From New Committee Seat, David Vitter Seeks to Stop AG Nomination

vitter 070 0601114 445x273 From New Committee Seat, David Vitter Seeks to Stop AG Nomination

Vitter is seeking to stop Obama’s attorney general nomination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

One of the new Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee says next year’s Senate should block President Barack Obama’s attorney general nominee.

Louisiana Sen. David Vitter is trying to stop the nomination of Loretta Lynch, the current U.S. Attorney based in Brooklyn, over Obama’s recent executive action on immigration. Full story

December 13, 2014

Senate Avoids Shutdown, Passes Cromnibus in Bipartisan Vote

gold medal 003 121014 445x296 Senate Avoids Shutdown, Passes Cromnibus in Bipartisan Vote

Reid, left, and Mitch McConnell, are tested as the government gets closer to shutting down. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 11:26 p.m. | The Senate has avoided a government shutdown, easily clearing the $1.1 trillion “cromnibus” funding the government through September.

The government was scheduled to shut down at midnight Saturday, but the Senate first cleared a four-day stopgap measure by voice vote and later reached a deal to clear the cromnibus after lawmakers in both parties sparred over who was to blame for the impending shutdown theatrics.

The final vote was 56-40 in an extremely bipartisan vote, with 21 Democrats, 18 Republicans and independent Bernard Sanders of Vermont voting no.

Republican no votes: Bob Corker of Tennessee; Michael D. Crapo of Idaho; Ted Cruz of Texas; Jeff Flake of Arizona; Charles E. Grassley of Iowa; Dean Heller of Nevada, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah; John McCain of Arizona; Jerry Moran of Kansas; Rand Paul of Kentucky; Rob Portman of Ohio; Jim Risch of Idaho; Marco Rubio of Florida; Tim Scott of South Carolina; Jeff Sessions of Alabama; Richard C. Shelby of Alabama; and David Vitter of Louisiana.

Democratic no votes: Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut; Cory Booker of New Jersey; Barbara Boxer of California; Sherrod Brown of Ohio; Maria Cantwell of Washington; Al Franken of Minnesota; Kirsten Gillibrand of New York; Tom Harkin of Iowa; Mazie K. Hirono of Hawaii; Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; Carl Levin of Michigan; Joe Manchin III of West Virginia; Ed Markey of Massachusetts; Claire McCaskill of Missouri; Robert Menendez of New Jersey; Jeff Merkley of Oregon; Jack Reed of Rhode Island; Tester of Montana; Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Ron Wyden of Oregon.

In the key vote earlier Saturday night, the Senate easily cleared the 60-vote threshold to stop a filibuster attempt, 77-19. Thirteen Republicans, five Democrats and Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., voted to filibuster the bill.

The Senate then thumped an effort by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to raise a point of order over the issue of the President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration. Cruz’s effort failed on a similarly lopsided 22-74 vote. 

The Senate had been stuck in the midst of numerous procedural votes on nominations — with a weekend session forced by conservatives against the wishes of many in their own party. Full story

December 10, 2014

Senate GOP Wrestles With Whether to Undo the Nuclear Option

senate vote008 010714 445x301 Senate GOP Wrestles With Whether to Undo the Nuclear Option

Graham wants Republicans to defuse the nuclear option and return the 60-vote threshold on nominations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After crying foul when Democrats used the nuclear option to essentially eliminate the filibuster for most nominations, Senate Republicans are wrestling with whether to change it back.

Republicans, who will take over the majority next Congress, met Tuesday evening to discuss the matter, but reached no decision on a course of action. Full story

December 9, 2014

Reid Outlines Endgame, Again Warns of Weekend Work (Video)

reid023 120914 445x296 Reid Outlines Endgame, Again Warns of Weekend Work (Video)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As final preparations seemed to be underway to pass the “cromnibus” funding most of the government for the rest of the fiscal year — and avoid a shutdown — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made one more warning about the session extending past Thursday.

“The federal government’s going to run out of money in two days. There’s no reason the government should shut down, and we’re ready to pass a yearlong spending bill to take care of this,” the Nevada Democrat said. “There’s still factions within the Republican party who want extreme measures. You’ve all heard them, just like I have.”

“For the extremists within the Republican Party … there’s always a reason to take a poke at the president. If it’s not one thing, it’s some other thing. The American people certainly shouldn’t be facing another government shutdown, but I guess that’s what we’re facing,” Reid said, noting that almost 100 riders had been at play in the process of crafting the catch-all spending bill. Full story

November 21, 2014

Politically Connected Ambassador Nominees to Get Floor Votes

When the Senate returns from Thanksgiving, the first pressing business will be confirming a pair of President Barack Obama’s nominees who might not stand a chance in a Republican-led Senate.

The Senate is set to vote on Dec. 1 to limit debate on the nominees to be ambassadors to Argentina and Hungary, both of whom were criticized early this year for not knowing much about the countries in question. Neither nominee is a career diplomat. They’re both major Obama campaign contributors.

Full story

November 18, 2014

Loretta Lynch Nomination Will Wait as Reid Seeks Broader Deal (Video)

reid 209 111814 445x296 Loretta Lynch Nomination Will Wait as Reid Seeks Broader Deal (Video)

Lynch’s nomination as attorney general will wait until Republicans control the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is hoping Republicans will play ball on confirming a number of President Barack Obama’s nominations before they take over the majority in the next Congress, but that list won’t include the next attorney general.

The Nevada Democrat said the White House wasn’t pushing for confirmation of Loretta Lynch, the Brooklyn-based U.S. Attorney tapped by Obama to become the next attorney general, before Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., becomes the man in charge of the Senate floor schedule.

“My personal feeling is that the White House has, through intermediaries with me, have said don’t be pushing that, we can do it after the first of the year,” Reid said.

The 114th Congress technically won’t start until a few days into the new year, but as a practical matter, Reid’s comments suggest Lynch will face a GOP-led Judiciary Committee after Obama’s expected executive action on immigration. And that could threaten her confirmation.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who will be majority whip in the new Congress, suggested that the immigration announcement could impede movement on an assortment of Senate business, including nominees like Lynch.

“As some have said before me it’s going to poison the well,” said Cornyn, himself a member of the Judiciary Committee. “This place is built on some modicum of cooperation, but if the president is not going to cooperate with us it’s going to make it much harder for us to persuade members of Congress to cooperate with him on everything from nominations to legislation.” Full story

November 14, 2014

A Lame-Duck Fight Over Yucca Mountain

dem meeting023 111314 445x295 A Lame Duck Fight Over Yucca Mountain

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Harry Reid’s longtime opposition to the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository appears set to have one of the last quacks in the lame duck, and Republicans are crying foul.

Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, slammed President’s Obama’s nomination of Jeffery M. Baran to a full five-year term on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and pointed to the Democratic leader’s longtime efforts on Yucca.

The Nevada Democrat “strongly supports Baran, likely due to the role he is expected to play in continuing to undermine the Yucca Mountain project, a nuclear repository in a secluded region of Nevada,” Vitter said in a press release.

“Baran’s nomination increases the likelihood that Stephen Burns…could be nominated to be the new NRC Chairman,” he said.

The president designates the chairman of the five-person commission. Vitter’s comments come after current chairwoman Allison M. Macfarlane announced in October that she would resign.

Burns was previously the chief counsel to former NRC Chairman Gregory B. Jaczko “who was forced out of office due to his failed leadership,” Vitter said.

Jaczko is a former Reid staffer and staunch Yucca opponent whom Reid helped install at the NRC. Reid used every tool in the box, including a blanket hold on President George W. Bush’s nominees, to get Jaczko on the NRC.

Jaczko resigned from the agency in 2012 after months in which he battled accusations by the four other commissioners of the bipartisan agency of having a heavy-handed management style. That style, his detractors contend, disrupted the NRC’s ability to complete its nuclear safety mission.

Both Baran, a former aide to liberal stalwart Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Burns were confirmed in September, but Baran’s nomination was to fill a term expiring June 30. Burns’ was a full term that lasts through June 30, 2019.

Vitter, who opposed Baran’s initial confirmation in September, reiterated his concerns that he is unqualified.

“The President’s nominee to ensure the safety and success of our nuclear future visited a nuclear facility for the first time in his life this summer,” Vitter said. “It is vital to the security and reliability of our nation’s energy needs for the members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to be independent, thoughtful, and highly qualified. Baran clearly lacks that experience, and we need to hold a full EPW committee hearing.”

Baran’s confirmation would be much harder next year after Republicans take control of the Senate. His earlier nomination was confirmed 56-44 in September, before Republicans won control of the chamber in the midterm elections.

Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

November 13, 2014

Reid to Obama: Wait on Immigration Move (Updated)

reid 259 091814 445x317 Reid to Obama: Wait on Immigration Move (Updated)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated Nov. 12 4:21 p.m. |Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday he would like President Barack Obama to wait for Congress to pass legislation funding the government before he takes executive action giving deportation relief to undocumented immigrants.

“The president said he is going to do the executive action,” the Nevada Democrat said heading in to a Democratic lunch. “The question is when. It’s up to him. I’d like to get the finances of this country out of the way before he does it. But it’s up to him.”

Reid said the president was aware of his preference.

Republicans have warned the president not to take unilateral executive action and have raised the possibility that such a move could threaten work on an omnibus spending bill currently being developed by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. Full story

November 12, 2014

Schumer Expects Loretta Lynch Confirmation Will Be Delayed

schumer 093 1119131 445x274 Schumer Expects Loretta Lynch Confirmation Will Be Delayed

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Democrats won’t likely step on the gas to ensure the confirmation of Loretta Lynch as President Barack Obama’s attorney general pick, according to No. 3 Democrat Charles E. Schumer.

“I think the likelihood is that [the Lynch nomination] will not be in the lame duck,” the New York Democrat told reporters Wednesday morning. “I think our Republican colleagues don’t want it during the lame duck and I think we are going to accede to that request.”

If Democrats don’t confirm her nomination before Republicans take over the chamber on Jan. 3, her nomination will rest in GOP hands. President Barack Obama’s plans for expansive immigration action before the end of the year could endanger Lynch’s confirmation under that scenario.

But Schumer, who is leading the charge for Lynch, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said he’s willing to delay the pick because he is confident she will be confirmed.

“Because I think she’s going to get support,” he said when asked about the delay. “[If] we know she is going to get support, why poison the well? I have such confidence in her I think when they get to know her and see her they will support her.”

Related:

10 Questions for Eric Holder’s Replacement as Attorney General

Immigration Threatens Loretta Lynch’s Confirmation

Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

October 21, 2014

10 Questions for Eric Holder’s Replacement as Attorney General

sessions006 062013 445x302 10 Questions for Eric Holders Replacement as Attorney General

Cruz, left, and Sessions both sit on the Judiciary Committee and will have a change to grill the nominee for attorney general. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Eric H. Holder Jr.’s replacement as attorney general will face a grilling from the Senate Judiciary Committee after the elections, with the position key to enabling President Barack Obama’s pen-and-phone executive agenda and with numerous hot-button issues under the purview of the Justice Department.

The nominee to replace Deputy Attorney General James Cole, who is also leaving, will also face much the same treatment.

Here are 10 questions the nominees will likely hear:

1. What is the limit of the president’s executive authority on immigration? Full story

September 29, 2014

Cornyn Warns Against Confirming Holder Successor in Lame Duck (Video)

cornyn 091 100813 445x323 Cornyn Warns Against Confirming Holder Successor in Lame Duck (Video)

Cornyn (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn said Monday the debate over replacing Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. will “take a lot of oxygen out of the air” for the post-election lame-duck session.

“There’s so much ill will already, this would just poison the well even further,” the Texas Republican said in an interview with the editorial board of The Dallas Morning News.

“Right now I think [Democrats] are probably making a calculation because there’s some things I think they would like to do no matter what happens. We’ve got some of these tax extender provisions that expired a year ago that are sort of sitting there waiting … that have bipartisan support,” Cornyn said. “There’s a lot of nominations, judicial and others, that I think they would like to move through in the lame duck, especially if Republicans win the majority, as I hope we do.”

Full story

September 15, 2014

Debo Adegbile Nomination Withdrawn, Returns to Private Practice (Updated)

Adegbile Debo hi 1 268x335 Debo Adegbile Nomination Withdrawn, Returns to Private Practice (Updated)

Adegbile. (Courtesy WilmerHale)

Updated 12:14 p.m. | Having seen his Senate confirmation blocked by members of President Barack Obama’s own party, Debo P. Adegbile has withdrawn from consideration to be an assistant attorney general.

“Debo Adegbile has withdrawn himself from consideration for a position at the Department of Justice, and we are actively working toward announcing a new nominee for the post,” a White House spokesperson told CQ Roll Call.

Formal word of the withdrawal comes after the law firm WilmerHale announced Adegbile’s move back to private practice Monday morning. Adegbile has joined as a partner.

Full story

August 4, 2014

Congress Takes August Recess, Avoids Recess Appointments

recess 018 080114 445x301 Congress Takes August Recess, Avoids Recess Appointments

This recess is for real. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: 3 p.m. | Congress will officially be on recess starting Tuesday — but President Barack Obama won’t use the opportunity to make recess appointments.

After the House adopted an adjournment resolution that runs through Sept. 8, a senior Senate GOP aide said an agreement had been reached with the White House that there will be no recess appointments during the recess period. That means Republicans won’t force pro forma sessions. Full story

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...