Chris Coons

Podcast: Lessons for the Opioid Epidemic from the Ebola Fight
Political Theater, Episode 11

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia, and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., attend an event in the Hart Building on Feb. 26, 2015 when Sirleaf offered thanks to Congress for authorizing funds to help fight ebola in her country. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republican Lawmakers Missed Opportunity to Save Trump From Trump
Legislative protection for special counsel could have forced president to refocus

Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., says he’s received assurances that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s firing is “not even under consideration.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional Republicans have let slip a golden opportunity to make good on their most important and counterintuitive campaign promise of 2018 — covering for President Donald Trump at every mind-numbing opportunity.

They still have half a year to change their collective minds, but for now the GOP is essentially all in on one of the most outside-the-box political strategies of all time: Betting that safe passage for their imperiled majorities requires lashing themselves to a president mired in record low approval ratings, subsumed by self-orchestrated chaos and in the crosshairs of a special counsel.

Spending Bill Unlikely to Include DACA Fix
White House, Democrats talking past one another

Marc Short, White House legislative affairs director, says Democrats rejected the latest White House offer. Democrats counter the White House already missed its chance on a DACA fix. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Prospects are dim that a short-term patch that would extend a program protecting about 690,000 “Dreamers” from deportation will be included in the upcoming fiscal 2018 spending bill.

Conversations remain ongoing between Congress and the White House on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, with some aides insisting a last-minute deal is a possibility. President Donald Trump wants to end the Obama administration program, but federal judges have blocked him and Dreamers brought to the United States illegally as children are in limbo.

Senate Passes Bank Deregulation Bill, House May Seek Additions
More than a dozen Democratic senators joined all Republicans

Senate Banking Chairman Michael D. Crapo sponsored the measure that would ease regulations on all but the biggest banks. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate voted Wednesday to pass a bill that would be the biggest bank deregulation since 1999 and would roll back parts of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul.

More than a dozen Democrats joined the Republicans to pass the bill, sending it to the House, where conservative Republicans may seek to attach further provisions to roll back the 2010 law. Republicans will be trying to straddle the line between the extensive reversal of bank regulation that they seek and keeping on board the Senate Democrats who will be needed to clear the measure.

Tillerson Termination Adds New Priorities to Senate Calendar
Weeks in April and May could be consumed by State, CIA nominations

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will need to clear some floor time for the nominations of Mike Pompeo to lead the State Department and Gina Haspel to run the CIA. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Whatever the Senate might have wanted to focus on in April and May will now have to compete for time with a new priority thrust upon it by President Donald Trump.

Once senators got past the initial shock of Trump’s Twitter announcement Tuesday that he was ousting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, they quickly moved toward paving the way to debate and confirm CIA Director Mike Pompeo as Tillerson’s successor, as well as Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel to lead that agency.

Humor on a Congressional Curve
Separating the ridiculous from the non-ridiculous with Alexandra Petri

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., CNN's Deirdre Walsh and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., yuk it up. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Welcome back to Political Theater, Roll Call’s newsletter and podcast on the spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

Humor is sometimes the only way to deal with serious topics.

Podcast: Politics' Thin Line Between Laughing and Cringing
Political Theater, Episode 9

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., left, gets a hug from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., during the Washington Press Club Foundation's Congressional Dinner. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In light of the 74th Annual Congressional Dinner, Political Theater talks to Washington Post humor columnist Alexandra Petri about when satire works and when it doesn't.  Warning: we have politicians telling jokes.

Gun Debate Unfolds Outside of Senate Judiciary Panel’s Confines
Grassley uses White House meeting to brief Trump

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley used a meeting last week to explain to President Donald Trump the committee’s role in moving gun-related legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley used a White House meeting last week to explain to President Donald Trump the panel’s role in getting a consensus and moving legislation dealing with gun violence and school shootings.

But before the Iowa Republican could finish, Trump pivoted right back to negotiating provisions about age restrictions for gun purchases, a proposal championed by two senators who aren’t on the committee, Pennsylvania Republican Patrick J. Toomey and West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin III.

Border Wall Funds Elusive Without a Deal on ‘Dreamers’
Stalemate could affect negotiations over fiscal 2018 spending bill

Aurelia Lopez and her daughter Antonia look at construction of border wall prototypes in October in Tijuana, Mexico. (Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump may be headed for a Groundhog Day experience as his search for funding to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall enters its second year.

Trump is asking Congress for $1.6 billion in fiscal 2019 to construct 65 miles of new barriers in southern Texas, even though he is still without the $1.6 billion he requested for 2018. The White House also wants $18 billion over the next decade for construction.

Justices Debate Waiting for Congress in Privacy Case
Several lawmakers have filed legislation to address pending Microsoft case

Supreme Court justices mused whether they should wait for Congress to act rather than settle a case before it. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Three Supreme Court justices on Tuesday pondered waiting for Congress to pass a new privacy law to resolve a major case about whether email service providers must comply with warrants even if data is stored outside the United States.

During oral arguments that pitted tech giant Microsoft against the government, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor asked why Congress wasn’t better suited to resolving the dispute.