Dianne Feinstein

GOP Seeks Changes to Immigration Deal They Crafted
Compromise would help Dreamers, fund border wall, curb family-based visa programs

People protest outside the Capitol on Jan. 21 to call for the passage of the so-called DREAM Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A compromise immigration deal brokered by House Republicans this week would offer so-called Dreamers a path to citizenship, provide nearly $25 billion for President Donald Trump’s border wall and end family-based visa programs for certain relatives of U.S. citizens, according to a discussion draft of legislation circulated among lawmakers Thursday.

The discussion draft, provided to Roll Call by a staffer with knowledge of the negotiations, would create a new merit-based visa that Dreamers and other young immigrants could obtain starting six years after the bill is enacted. The visa would be available to Dreamers enrolled in the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, as well as those who are eligible but never signed up.

Advocates: More Women Judges Would Curb Harassment in Judiciary
‘If 85 percent of the nominees are white men, it’s not going to create a lot of positive change’

Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, says she asks specific questions about sexual harassment while nominees are under oath, to make sure they’re on record regarding the subject. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators can help address sexual harassment in the judicial branch by paying attention to the lack of women that President Donald Trump has appointed to be federal judges, two witnesses told the Judiciary Committee at a hearing Wednesday.

Jamie Santos, a former federal law clerk now in private practice who has compiled stories about the prevalence of harassment such as getting sexual questions at job interviews or being groped or kissed, made the comment in response to a question from Sen. John Kennedy, R-La.

‘Beast’ Mode: Democrats Worry Kim Is Playing Trump
GOP is willing to give him time, but Dems see ‘unprepared’ president

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un participate in a signing ceremony during a Tuesday meeting on Sentosa Island in Singapore. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Kim Jong Un peered inside as a Secret Service agent held open a door of “The Beast,” President Donald Trump’s heavily armored limousine. The surreal moment left some lawmakers speechless, with Democrats saying it showed Trump was too conciliatory toward the North Korean leader during their historic summit.

Trump and Kim wrapped their Singapore summit by signing a preliminary nuclear agreement Tuesday that is as sweeping as it is vague. It expresses the United States is “committed” to providing unspecified security assurances to the North and that Kim “reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Senator Makes Progress in Crusade Against In-Flight Phone Calls
Alexander touts language in transportation spending bill

Sen. Lamar Alexander continues to work to block phone calls on commercial flights. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Lamar Alexander is making progress in his campaign against cell phone calls on commercial airline flights.

The Tennessee Republican has been touting the inclusion of language in the Senate version of legislation to fund the Department of Transportation that would direct Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao to finalize a ban on voice calls during flights, as regulations and technology change regarding cell phone use.

At the Races: Primary Hangovers Are Real
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

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Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter by subscribing here. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. —Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman

Democrats Irked by Latest Judicial Confirmation Hearing
Senate committee moves forward without a blue slip from Pennsylvania Democrat Bob Casey

Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. Bob Casey was not on board with a federal appeals court pick from his state, but the Judiciary Committee moved forward anyway. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a confirmation hearing Wednesday for a fourth federal appeals court pick who didn’t get approval from one of his home-state senators, causing more consternation from Democrats that the White House was cutting them out of the nomination process.

This time, Sen. Bob Casey did not give his approval for the confirmation hearing. The Pennsylvania Democrat opposes the nomination of David Porter for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit based in Philadelphia.

Feinstein to Face Democratic Challenger in California Senate Race
State Sen. Kevin de León advanced to November

State Sen. Kevin de Leon will challenge Democratic Sen. DIanne Feinstein in November. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 11:49 a.m. | Sen. Dianne Feinstein will face fellow Democrat, state Sen. Kevin de León, in her bid for a fifth Senate term. The intra-party fight could turn the California Senate race into a contest over the direction of the Democratic Party. 

Feinstein was projected to finish first in the crowded primary Tuesday night, although her challenger was initially unclear. Republicans and Democrats compete on the same ballot and the top two vote-getters advance to the general election. Thirty-two candidates qualified for the ballot, and the second-place finisher remained undetermined as of Wednesday morning.

GOP Slips Past Another Senate Custom, and Democrats Turn Blue
Home-state senators’ sway over judicial nominees is quickly disappearing

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have decided that the use of a “blue slip” when considering judicial nominees is a practice that needs to fade away, Hawkings writes. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The latest threat to what’s made the Senate the Senate for generations can be illustrated with a sheet of paper the color of cornflowers.

First to go was the reverence for compromise. It went out the window a decade or so ago, the start of the current era when the most conservative Democrat is reliably positioned to the left of the most liberal Republican. Then the veneration of minority-party rights got obliterated, five years ago, with a blast of “nuclear” limits on filibuster powers.

Senators Ponder: How Forthcoming Should Judicial Candidates Be?
Republicans push back on Democratic concerns over responses to school desegregation question

Democrats say U.S. District Court nominee Wendy Vitter did not clearly endorse the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, but Republicans pushed back on that characterization. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced two judicial nominees Thursday amid an ongoing debate over how forthcoming candidates should be about their views on established Supreme Court decisions, particularly the landmark school desegregation ruling from 64 years ago.

All Democrats on the committee voted against Andrew Oldham to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit based in New Orleans, and Wendy Vitter to be a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Among their objections: They say the nominees did not clearly endorse the high court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education during their confirmation hearings.

Senate Energy-Water Bill Advanced Amid Nuclear Weapons Debate
Concerns raised about funding low-yield nuclear weapon

Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was the lone vote opposing a $43.8 billion draft Energy-Water fiscal 2019 spending measure that the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced Thursday.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Appropriations Committee advanced 30-1 Thursday a $43.8 billion draft Energy-Water fiscal 2019 spending measure before entering into a lengthy consideration of how to dispose of 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium and the development of new low-yield nuclear weapons.

The bill would boost spending for the Energy Department, Army Corps of Engineers and related programs by $566 million compared to fiscal 2018 enacted appropriations and is $7.2 billion more than the Trump administration requested. The House version would fund the same agencies at $44.7 billion.