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Senate votes to start debating Russia sanctions measure, but may lack votes to finish it
Joint resolution seeks to block sanctions relief for three Russian companies

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer has led the joint resolution. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Eleven Senate Republicans split from the Trump administration Tuesday afternoon, backing an effort by Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer to force a floor debate on sanctions on Russian firms.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had appeared at Tuesday’s Senate GOP lunch to make the case for letting sanctions relief for three sanctioned Russian companies to go forward.

Day 25 of the shutdown and the impasse held fast

Freshman members including Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., leave the Capitol office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., after visiting to call on the Senate to act on reopening the government on Tuesday, January 15, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

On the 25th day of the longest government shutdown in modern history, the House failed to advance a spending measure, the president was half-stood up for lunch, and freshman House Democrats marched on the Senate. 

In an already busy day on Capitol Hill, the House failed to advance a stopgap measure to fund shuttered federal agencies through Feb. 1, as Democrats sought to pressure Republicans to end the longest government shutdown in modern history.

Freshman Democrats march to McConnell’s office to urge him to reopen government
McConnell should stop taking cues from Trump, bring up House bills, new members say

From left, freshman members Reps. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., Susie Lee, D-Nev., and Katie Hill, D-Calif., make their way into the Capitol office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to call on the Senate to act on reopening the government on Tuesday, January 15, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A group of roughly a dozen freshman House Democrats on Tuesday marched to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office in the Capitol to ask that he take up House bills to open up government. 

The Kentucky Republican was on the Senate floor when the freshmen stopped by his office, but his staff welcomed them inside. The staff chatted briefly with the new House Democrats and told them they’d set up a meeting with the majority leader.

Acting AG Matt Whitaker agrees to testify before House on Feb. 8
Testimony will be Whitaker’s first since he took over for Jeff Sessions in October

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Feb. 8, 2019. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler and acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker have agreed for Whitaker to testify before the committee in early February, partial government shutdown or no.

The appearance is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 8, at 9:30 a.m.

Barr and Mueller are friends? Hearing unlikely to derail attorney general confirmation
 

Attorney general nominee William Barr (who previously served in the position under President George H.W. Bush) faced questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday about Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The nominee's position on the investigation is a top priority for several senators. Despite Barr's past criticism of the investigation, the former attorney general called Mueller a good friend who would not engage in a “witch hunt.” 

Roll Call’s senior Senate reporter Niels Lesniewski takes a look at how Barr’s performance at the hearing suggests his nomination will likely proceed unimpeded.

Steven Mnuchin makes case to GOP to allow easing of sanctions on Russian companies
Visited Senate Republican lunch ahead of votes on Schumer resolution

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urged the Senate to ease relief on Russian companies. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is making the case to Senate Republicans that they should stop an effort to block sanctions relief against three Russian companies.

But as he left Tuesday’s Senate Republican lunch, Mnuchin did not seem certain about the vote count ahead of an expected Tuesday afternoon vote on a motion to proceed to a resolution disapproving of the sanctions relief proposed for En+ Group plc, UC Rusal plc and JSC EuroSibEnergo.

Lacking Republican support, House Democrats’ bill to open government through Feb. 1 fails
Measure needed two-thirds support because it was brought to the floor under suspension of the rules

On the 25th day of the partial government shutdown, the House failed to pass a stopgap to reopen the government through Feb. 1. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats’ attempt to sway enough Republicans to help them pass a stopgap funding bill to open up the government through Feb. 1 failed Tuesday. 

The continuing resolution to extend fiscal 2018 funding for shuttered agencies for two-and-a-half weeks failed, 237-187.

Disapproval resolution on Steve King passes, but will not likely be the last word
Iowa Republican disputes racist remarks, but urges chamber to disavow them anyway

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, looks for his ride after the final votes of the week on Friday, Sept. 28, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Steve King voted “yes” on a resolution meant to rebuke him for making racist comments, a strange turn of events as the House voted, 424-1 to disapprove of the Iowa Republican.

“I’m putting up a ‘yes’ on the board here because what you say is true, is right and is just,” King said on the House floor before the vote.

Overheard: At least one Capitol Police officer is no fan of Cheney
Members of the force also weighed in on Trump’s Big Mac feast

— A Capitol Police officer, shortly after the No. 3 House Republican called on Rep. Steve King to resign, exposing a rift among GOP leaders