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April 19, 2015

Posts in "Procedure"

April 17, 2015

For Lynch, Next Week Just Might Be the Week

Lynch appears to have a narrow majority backing her nomination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lynch appears to have a narrow majority backing her nomination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

At the end of a week that saw bipartisanship break out all around the Senate, Loretta Lynch remained in limbo.

The Thursday afternoon announcement there would be no further Senate votes for the week guaranteed that the Brooklyn-based U.S. attorney, President Barack Obama’s nominee to be attorney general, would enter another week awaiting Senate confirmation. The contrast was on the president’s mind Friday.

“And I have to say that there are times where the dysfunction in the Senate just goes too far. This is an example of it. It’s gone too far. Enough,” Obama said at a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. “Call Loretta Lynch for a vote. Get her confirmed. Put her in place. Let her do her job. This is embarrassing, a process like this.”

Full story

April 14, 2015

Senate’s To-Do List Keeps Getting Longer (Video)

McConnell outlined an extremely busy legislative calendar. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McConnell outlined an extremely busy legislative calendar. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A debate over Iran may highlight the Senate’s agenda, but it already seems like there might be too much to do.

Sen. Bob Corker’s efforts to get broad support for bipartisan legislation to provide a role for Congress in reviewing a final international agreement with Iran about nuclear weapons appears to have paid dividends. And the Corker legislation seems to be on an expedited path to the floor after a markup set for Tuesday afternoon. Full story

March 26, 2015

Vote-a-Rama Minute-by-Minute

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The moment you’ve been waiting for — the (sort of) annual Senate vote-a-rama — is here. A whole host of CQ Roll Call reporters and editors are tweeting out details during the marathon voting session, which you can read below. Scores of amendments are expected to get votes, with final adoption of the Senate GOP’s budget expected early Friday morning.

Hundreds of amendments have been filed, and the only limit to the voting time is exhaustion, aided by the powerful jet fumes of a pending recess.

Voting Marathon: More Test Marketing Than Attack Ads

Vote-a-Rama Presents Political Peril for Vulnerable Incumbents

Start Preparing Now for the Budget Vote-A-Rama

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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March 23, 2015

Democrats Outline Floor Strategy for Budget Battle

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sanders, foreground, and Schumer briefed reporters on their response to the GOP budget last week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate and House Democrats face different challenges in responding to the budget blueprints on the floors of their respective chambers, but they’re operating from much the same playbook.

The budget resolutions, which both moved through the House and Senate budget committees last week with customary party-line support, are indisputably political documents, which will give each side fodder leading in to the two-week recess at the beginning of April.

In the Senate, Democrats intend to focus particular attention on “meat and potato” policy issues in this year’s budget vote-a-rama. That’s how Senate Democratic messaging guru Charles E. Schumer described the Democratic plan last week.

Full story

March 10, 2015

Senate Faces Trust Breakdown Over Abortion (Updated) (Video)

Updated 6:12 p.m. | Abortion politics — and an emerging trust gap between Democrats and Republicans — threatened to derail the ostensibly noncontroversial human trafficking bill on the Senate floor Tuesday.

Democrats said they were effectively hoodwinked by Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas and other Republican senators with the inclusion of an expansion of the scope of the prohibition of federal funding on abortion known as the Hyde amendment.

A Cornyn aide alleged that the staff of Judiciary ranking member Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., was aware of the abortion language before the bill even came up for a vote in committee, but Democratic aides said that simply was not true.

Full story

February 13, 2015

GOP Senators Also Pushing to Nuke Filibusters, Says House Lawmaker

Mo Brooks, R-Ala., speaks during a news conference with House and Senate members on immigration on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Brooks said GOP senators are also asking McConnell to change the filibuster rules. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House conservatives are increasingly pushing the Senate to “go nuclear” and change filibuster rules so that a Department of Homeland Security funding bill blocking the president’s executive action on immigration can move forward. But according to one GOP lawmaker member, it’s not just the House pushing for that change.

Alabama Republican Mo Brooks told CQ Roll Call Friday that he had spoken to senators supportive of changing the filibuster rules. Full story

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

January 12, 2015

Ted Cruz: Preserve Filibuster, Even For Obamacare Repeal

Cruz wants to keep the filibuster, even though it makes it harder to repeal Obamacare. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Cruz wants to keep the filibuster, even though it makes it harder to repeal Obamacare. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

There’s a limit to what Sen. Ted Cruz would do to repeal Obamacare.

The Texas Republican said Monday that Republicans should do “everything humanly possible to repeal Obamacare” during a speech at Heritage Action’s annual policy summit. It’s a line he’s used before. But he later added a caveat.

When asked if Republicans should use the “nuclear option” to ditch the filibuster on legislation and get more bills to President Obama’s desk, including a bill repealing Obamacare, Cruz told reporters, “no, we should not.”

“We should preserve the procedural protections in the Senate for the rights of the minority,” he said. Full story

Cornyn: ‘We Learned the Hard Way’

"We have the responsibility to govern," Cornyn said. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“We have the responsibility to govern,” Cornyn said. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

At the start of the last Congress, John Cornyn wrote an editorial titled “Partial Government Shutdown May Be Needed to Restore Fiscal Sanity.” He’s singing a different tune today.

“I’ve evolved,” the Texas Republican and newly minted Senate majority whip said in an interview last week with CQ Roll Call.

For starters, the memory of the 2013 shutdown over Obamacare instigated by his fellow Texas senator, Ted Cruz, remains fresh. Full story

December 29, 2014

A Look Back at 2014 in the WGDB

The Senate leaders appeared together at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in June on the subject of campaign finance. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate leaders appeared together at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in June on the subject of campaign finance. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As we close the books on the 113th Congress, and the first full calendar year for this blog, it’s our turn to again thank you, the readers, for joining us throughout the year as we’ve followed the ebbs and flows of the Senate.

We’ve covered issues with national and international implications — including debates over the debt limit and federal spending, nuclear talks with Iran and the threat posed by the terror group ISIS. But we’ve also spent time closer to home,  documenting staff changes and life operating under the Dome.

Full story

December 19, 2014

Martin Paone New Senate Liaison

Paone, seen here packing his belongings in his Senate office on Jan. 30, 2008 as he prepared to depart from 32 years on Capitol Hill. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Paone, seen here packing his belongings in his Senate office on Jan. 30, 2008 as he prepared to depart from 32 years on Capitol Hill. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The White House’s new Senate liaison is an old familiar face around the chamber, and someone who really knows how the trains run.

Martin P. Paone will join the Obama administration as deputy assistant to the president for legislative affairs, a White House official confirmed Friday afternoon.

Paone ran the Senate’s floor operations for the Democrats as their party secretary from 1995-2008, and in a 32-year tenure on Capitol Hill, spent 29 of them on the floor. That meant he was involved in many of the chamber’s most memorable moments, including the 1988 incident when Majority Leader Robert C. Byrd, D-Wva., went through the procedural maneuvers to compel attendance that led to the arrest of Oregon Republican Bob Packwood.

Full story

How the Nuclear Option Changed the Judiciary

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(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 12, 2014

Coburn Reprises 2011 Senate Rules Debate

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Tom Coburn’s last stand includes a reprise of a 2011 floor debate that helped lay the groundwork for last year’s “nuclear option” fight.

The Oklahoma Republican, who is retiring early having been battling cancer, wants to try to reverse a precedent set just over three years ago. Until that point, rules and precedents had allowed senators to offer unrelated amendments even after the chamber had voted to limit debate — but a simple majority of Democrats effectively voted to change the rules and bar those unrelated amendments.

Coburn secured an agreement to allow him to offer a motion to overturn that precedent as part of floor consideration of the annual defense authorization bill, one of the last must-pass bills of the 113th Congress. The defense bill is expected to easily clear for President Barack Obama’s signature in a Friday afternoon vote. Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 3:22 p.m.
Procedure

December 10, 2014

Senate GOP Wrestles With Whether to Undo the Nuclear Option

Graham wants Republicans to defuse the nuclear option. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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 8, 2014

McConnell to Nominate Julie Adams as Secretary of the Senate

Updated 6:08 p.m. | Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that longtime aide Julie Adams would become secretary of the Senate when he becomes majority leader next year.

“I’m confident that she will continue serving this institution and our colleagues with the skill and professionalism she’s demonstrated throughout her career in both the Senate and White House,” said McConnell, the Kentucky Republican who will become majority leader in 2015.

Adams, who has been McConnell’s director of administration, will succeed Nancy Erickson, who has held the post since 2007. Adams will formally be nominated for the position at the start of the new Congress.  Full story

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