senate

At the Races: Walking and chewing

By Bridget Bowman, Simone Pathé and Stephanie Akin

Michigan Democratic Rep. Haley Stevens reminded a group of reporters yesterday, “It’s sort of the metaphor of walking and chewing gum at the same time that everybody likes to use around here.”

Official: White House not worried Senate’s lack of input might sink USMCA
Trade pact biggest ‘casualty of Speaker Pelosi’s impeachment obsession,’ McConnell says

House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., conducts a news conference Tuesday on a deal reached with the White House on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The White House has no concerns that Republican senators might jump ship on President Donald Trump’s sweeping USMCA trade pact after they were told Thursday a deal with House Democrats will leave them unable to press for further changes.

“We haven’t heard any Senate Republicans come out and say they’re opposing the deal on substance,” a White House official said Thursday, granted anonymity to be candid. “I have no concerns.”

J. Brett Blanton on track to become next architect of the Capitol
Nominee was most recently deputy vice president for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

J. Brett Blanton, nominee to be architect of the Capitol, right, introduces his family to Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy Blunt, R-Mo., before the start of his confirmation hearing on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Most of J. Brett Blanton’s nomination hearing before the Senate Rules Committee to be the next architect of the Capitol on Thursday was essentially a one-on-one public interview between him and Chairman Roy Blunt, as the remaining 18 members of the committee were absent for the majority of the hearing.

No opposition to Blanton, a Virginia resident, is evident, making him likely to be confirmed as the 12th architect of the Capitol. If confirmed, Blanton said he expects to start leading the agency by mid-January.

Nadler pushes votes on impeachment articles to Friday morning
Expected approval amid partisan fighting will line up a contentious House floor vote next week

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., left, and ranking member Doug Collins. R-Ga., speak with their aides before the start of the House Judiciary Committee markup of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, in the Longworth Building on Thursday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The House will come one step closer to impeaching President Donald Trump Friday when the Judiciary Committee is expected to approve charges of obstruction of Congress and abuse of power.

The panel abruptly recessed after 11 p.m. Thursday night after more than 14 hours of debate just before they were expected to take final votes on the articles, extending the impeachment markup into a third day.

James Lankford to chair Senate Ethics Committee
Oklahoma Republican will take over for Johnny Isakson, who is resigning at the end of the year

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., will lead the ethics panel. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. James Lankford will take over as chairman of the Ethics Committee, succeeding Georgia Republican Johnny Isakson, who will retire at the end of the year, according to a senior Republican aide.

The Oklahoma Republican will lead a six-member, bipartisan committee charged with investigating violations of Senate rules. The committee’s most recent actions were in April 2018, when it published a public letter of admonition to Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J.

Amid impeachment saga, a kitchen sink of legislative dealing
Sen. Alexander: ‘There’s more to life than judges and impeachment’

Sen. Lamar Alexander says, “There’s more to life than judges and impeachment.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The holiday rush on Capitol Hill is in full swing, and the bipartisan legislative lethargy is showing signs of easing even as the House debates articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

Senate and House negotiators are still trying to reach an agreement on a bundle of spending bills, but there has been a relative abundance of other bipartisan deal-making and even actual legislation passing in the Senate.

In scrutinizing IG report on FBI, senators differ on what’s important
GOP focus on mistakes obtaining Carter Page warrant; Democrats highlight no FBI bias

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz testifies Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and his review of the FBI’s investigation into Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Horowitz also testified that neither Attorney General William Barr nor U.S. Attorney John Durham who is pursuing a criminal investigation of the origins of the FBI probe offered any new information that would alter the conclusions of the inspector general’s findings.

Both Barr and Durham have said they disagreed with the inspector general’s report, but Horowitz told Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, that the only disagreement he and Durham had was on the question of whether the FBI should have launched a preliminary investigation or a full probe. 

Lowey: Spending deal looking more likely this week
More than 100 differences on full-year appropriations bills still need to be resolved before current funding runs out on Dec. 20

Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., leaves a meeting of the House Democratic Caucus in the Capitol on Dec. 4, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congress and the Trump administration could reach agreement on full-year spending bills as soon as Thursday, according to House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey.

“If all goes well, we could have a deal by the end of the day tomorrow,” Lowey said Wednesday evening after reviewing an offer Republicans sent over midday. “I think their offer was real and we’re discussing it and we can find some agreement.”

Passion play: Trump drags FBI ‘lovers’ Strzok and Page into 2020 race
Lindsey Graham joins president in making former feds ‘central figures’

Lisa Page, former legal counsel to former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, arrives on Capitol Hill on July 16, 2018, to testify before House members. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

This time, Donald Trump was less animated while dramatizing the pillow talk. But the president still went there Tuesday night, eager to turn two former FBI employees into characters in the 2020 campaign narrative he’s building. And some of his congressional GOP allies are happy to help.

“I love you so much, Lisa. Please, Lisa! Lisa, I’ve never loved anyone like you. We won’t allow this to happen to our Lisa,” Trump told an arena full of supporters in Hershey, Pennsylvania. “Please tell me you love me, Lisa! I love you, Peter. I love you! I love you like I’ve never loved anyone!”

Impeachment news roundup: Dec. 11
Judiciary Committee to take up articles tonight, vote expected Thursday

Speaker Nancy Pelosi makes her way to a news conference in the Capitol on Tuesday to announce articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump with committee chairs who helped draft them. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House Judiciary Committee began marking up articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Wednesday evening and is expected to vote on them Thursday.

In his opening statement, Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler addressed why impeaching Trump was warranted when a presidential election is less than a year away.