Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 8, 2016

Posts in "Procedure"

January 26, 2016

Sanders Is Latest Obstacle to Obama Nominee

Bernie Sanders VA Health care deal crisis

Sanders (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Food and Drug Administration is facing friendly fire, with Democratic presidential candidate Bernard Sanders and Massachusetts Democrat Edward J. Markey both placing a hold on the nomination.

Sanders said Tuesday that Robert Califf, currently serving as deputy commissioner at the FDA, is too closely tied to the pharmaceutical industry. Califf ran a research operation while at Duke University that received funding from that industry. Full story

January 13, 2016

GOP Ponders Senate Rules Changes

Alexander has been leading the working group. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Alexander has been leading the working group. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Facing dismally low approval ratings and accusations that Congress is dysfunctional, some senators are looking at changing the rule book so they can get more things done.

Senate Republicans huddled Wednesday to discuss changing Senate rules to make the institution function more effectively, but they are far from coalescing around a single proposal. Emerging from a room off the Senate floor, lawmakers cautioned there were a number of options, but the senator leading the effort is hoping Republicans and Democrats can reach a consensus on any changes in the next two to three months. Full story

January 11, 2016

Senate Conservatives Float Alternative Plan for Spending Battles

An effort by Senate Republicans to modify the rules to make it easier to take up appropriation bills may already be doomed, given concerns among some conservative senators that the approach would not stop Democrats from blocking legislation.

A new six-page memo from the conservative Senate Steering Committee outlines an alternative approach focused not on changing rules, but on enforcing an existing, but rarely observed provision that limits senators to giving two speeches on a topic. The goal would be to reach a simple-majority vote on a motion to proceed to a spending bill without any deal-making along the way.

Full story

December 17, 2015

Senator Envisions Chamber’s Role Under a President Trump

Sasse spoke Thursday about a potential Trump White House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sasse spoke Thursday about a potential Trump White House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Move aside Plato’s cave, the Senate floor now has the allegory of President Donald Trump.

“Today I’d like to propose a thought experiment. Imagine President Trump has been propelled into the White House with 300 electoral votes,” Sen. Ben Sasse said on the Senate floor. “The first hundred days are huge. He signs an order that turns the Peace Corps into stone masons to build the southern wall, he shutters the Department of Education, and by executive order he turns the Department of Interior into the classiest oil company the world has ever known.”

Full story

Senate Clinches Deal to Finish Omnibus on Friday

GOP Presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has the lowest vote participation rate of any senator in 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rubio had hinted at a slow down of the omnibus, but it won’t take place. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

No level of consternation about the big omnibus spending and budget deal will interfere with this year’s Christmas getaway.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced an agreement that will allow the Senate to quickly call up and pass the combined measure after the House finishes work Friday — without a weekend session.

Full story

December 15, 2015

Corker’s Lowball Financial Disclosure — a Symptom of a Bigger Problem?

(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Corker retained a CPA to review his financial disclosures. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Reading through the addendum to Sen. Bob Corker’s financial disclosure, you might think the Tennessee Republican had been seriously misreporting assets and income.

But the reality might more underscore the shortfalls of the system.

Full story

November 30, 2015

Senate GOP Not Deterred on Planned Parenthood, Obamacare

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, runs to the Senate floor to vote. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Lee said he was encouraged by the emerging reconciliation measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s all systems go for the Senate GOP’s effort to defund Planned Parenthood and upend the Affordable Care Act.

Republican senators emerged from a conference meeting Monday evening generally enthused by the effort to gut as much of the health care law as is feasible under the chamber’s budget reconciliation rules.

And last Friday’s shooting at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado did not change plans to also use the reconciliation bill to halt Medicaid funding for organizations that provide abortion services. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid reiterated that Democrats would stand against such a course of action. Full story

November 19, 2015

Paul Holding Up Spending Bill Over Refugee Welfare

rand paul

(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul says he won’t allow a transportation and housing spending bill through quickly without a vote about Syrian refugees, likely halting final passage until after Thanksgiving.

In a statement, Paul called it “an outrage” that Senate leadership filed cloture on the bill without his amendment regarding welfare for new refugees, and he promised he “will not back down.” Full story

November 16, 2015

Senate Bides Time as Highway Bill Negotiations Continue

highway bill

Collins departs from the weekly Senate Republicans luncheon on Nov. 10. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

It might feel like Groundhog Day with another deadline arriving to fund highway programs, but negotiators hope this one will be the last.

They have until the end of the week to produce and advance a conference agreement on transportation programs, absent another extension. It’s also the vehicle for reviving the Export-Import Bank.

Full story

November 11, 2015

Senate Seeks Bipartisanship in Rules Overhaul

Sen. Patty Murray, from left, Schumer and Reid after the Democratic policy luncheon. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Patty Murray, from left, Schumer and Reid after the Democratic policy luncheon. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Charles E. Schumer is upbeat that the Senate’s rules will be tweaked by the time he’s expected to become Democratic leader in 2017 — regardless of which leadership job that becomes.

But for any rules change plan to advance, the New York Democrat says it will have to be bipartisan and need a two-thirds vote. Both sides agree the “nuclear option” won’t be used to implement adjustments in how the Senate takes up legislation.

Full story

November 3, 2015

The Last Freshman: Sasse Evokes Senate Titans in Opening Speech

Sasse arrives for the Senate Republicans' policy lunch Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sasse arrives for the Senate Republicans’ policy lunch Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Leave it to a historian with a Yale doctorate to respect a Senate tradition from a bygone era.

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., delivered his first speech on the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon, waiting until a year after he won his Senate seat to speak from his chamber desk — the final member of the freshman class to do so. His remarks highlighted a trio of the chamber’s legendary figures: Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, Margaret Chase Smith of Maine and Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York.

Full story

Senate to Join House in Prolonged August Recess

UNITED STATES - MARCH 3: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., center, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, right, lead the procession of Senators to the House floor for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech on Tuesday, March 3, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senators will return Jan. 11. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senators are expected to have an extended August recess in 2016, just like their House counterparts.

That’s according to a calendar obtained by CQ Roll Call. The schedule calls for the Senate to be out of session from July 18 through Sept. 5, which is Labor Day. As with the House schedule posted earlier Tuesday, the extended state work period aligns with the Republican and Democratic National Conventions in late July.

Full story

November 2, 2015

Rand Paul Goes Viral, Thanks to Mike Lee

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rand Paul’s late-night budget deal filibuster bid picked up an unexpected boost from fellow Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah.

Lee posted to his Facebook page a clip of the Kentucky presidential hopeful expressing on the Senate floor his opposition to the budget deal, which also suspended the debt limit beyond the 2016 elections.

Full story

October 14, 2015

Explaining the Cracks in Ted Cruz’s State Department Blockade

(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cruz’s State Department holds do not apply to career ambassadors. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“I intend to block all nominees for the Department of State and hold any legislation that reauthorizes funds for the Department of State.”

That quote, from a July 16 letter from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to President Barack Obama sounded pretty straightforward. But, it turns out that career ambassadors are not State Department nominees, at least according to the 2016 Republican presidential hopeful.

Full story

September 8, 2015

Senate Democrats Can Block Iran Deal Disapproval (Updated)

joe manchin

Despite Manchin, Iran deal disapproval faces a likely Senate blockade. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6:23 p.m. | The path to block disapproval of the Iran deal from ever getting out of the Senate appeared to be at hand Tuesday, just after Minority Leader Harry Reid made the case for why doing that should be perfectly acceptable.

But there’s an element of kabuki in all of this, because the votes are already there to sustain a veto by President Barack Obama. Full story

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