Filibuster

A conversation with the Senate historian: Duels, bathtubs and other mysteries
Political Theater, Episode 89

The Russell Senate Office Building Rotunda is among the many places where the chamber’s unique history is on display. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Politicians and pundits are fond of saying that Washington has never been more polarized and that the Senate, in particular, may never recover from contemporary hyper-partisanship and rule-bending.

But it is assistant Senate historian Daniel S. Holt’s job to remind us all that disputes in the chamber used to result in pistols at dawn instead of dueling tweets.

Montana’s Steve Bullock warns Democrats they’re at risk of losing to Trump
Two-term governor is the only presidential candidate who’s won statewide in a Trump state

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is warning Democrats that the policy positions of some of his fellow 2020 hopefuls would will throw the election to President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock delivered a stern warning Wednesday that his fellow Democratic presidential candidates are putting the party at risk of losing to President Donald Trump in 2020.

“We are well on our way to losing this election long before it ever even has really started,” he said in a speech at the National Press Club.

Gun control legislation again faces political headwinds following three deadly shootings
Trump addressed nation Monday calling for 'real bipartisan solutions' to stop the attacks

A demonstrator holds a sign on the East Front of the Capitol during the student-led March for Our Lives rally on Pennsylvania Avenue to call for action to prevent gun violence on March 24, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Once again, Congress faces the question of whether it will pass any substantive gun control measures to curb mass shootings, this time in the wake of three events in less than a week where gunmen opened fire on crowds in public settings, killing at least 34 people.

And once again, any effort to change the nation’s gun laws must shake free from years of stalled legislation, lately caused by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican lawmakers, and potentially a conservative Supreme Court that could be poised to stop such measures.

Senate Democrats push repeal of state and local tax rule
The $10,000 state tax deduction limit was a key feature of the 2017 tax code overhaul

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., answers questions following a vote on the budget agreement on Thursday, August 1, 2019. Senate Democrats will push to repeal a Treasury Department and IRS rule, which goes into effect Aug. 11. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats will push to repeal a Treasury Department and IRS rule, which goes into effect Aug. 11, that they say would “block critical state workarounds” to the $10,000 limitation on state and local tax deductions.

The $10,000 deduction limit was a key feature of the 2017 tax code overhaul, and has been the subject of hearings in the House Ways and Means Committee where Democratic members are urging a repeal of that provision.

3 ways Democrats couldn’t escape Congress in Wednesday’s debate
Seven of the 10 candidates on stage have congressional experience

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand both touted their accomplishments in the Senate during Wednesday night’s debate. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The 10 Democrats on Wednesday’s debate stage were vying for the White House, but with seven of them having congressional experience, much of the evening came back to the legislative branch.

Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Michael Bennet all currently serve in the Senate. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is a four-term member of the House, and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee previously served eight nonconsecutive terms in the House. Former Vice President Joe Biden spent 36 years in the Senate — plenty of time to accumulate a record that was the source of frequent attacks Wednesday night.

Thursday eyed for Senate budget vote, August recess start
The timing of final votes uncertain as senators look to jet out of town for August recess

Scott, a former Florida governor, says Washington spends too much. He has indicated he will vote against the debt limit deal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate appears set to spend another day in session before lawmakers can go home for August recess.

The chamber appears likely to vote Thursday on legislation that would avoid a $125 billion discretionary spending cut next year, as well as push off the threat of default on the nation’s debt until possibly late 2021.

Harry Reid still has a few punches left
Former Senate majority leader keeps working more than a year after pancreatic cancer diagnosis

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaks with CQ Roll Call about Nevada politics, the presidential horse race and how much he hates the Yankees in his office at the Bellagio in Las Vegas on July 2. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

LAS VEGAS — Former Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid retired from Congress back at the end of 2016, but the old boxer still has a few punches left for the institution he served in for 30 years, not to mention the New York Yankees. 

The 79-year-old Nevada Democrat met with CQ Roll Call in his office off the casino floor at the Bellagio on the Las Vegas Strip last week to talk his health, politics and a little baseball.

Harry Reid in winter: Still grappling, and dabbling, in politics
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 81

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaks with CQ Roll Call about Nevada politics, the presidential race and baseball in his office at the Bellagio in Las Vegas on July 2. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Harry Reid might have retired from the Senate in 2017 and started battling cancer a year later, but the former Senate Democratic leader doesn’t seem to be the retiring type, especially when it comes to Nevada politics.

“I’m a political junkie, to say the least,” he tells our own Niels Lesniewski in a wide-ranging interview in Las Vegas that we’ve excerpted for this edition of the Political Theater podcast.

Both parties scored political points in war powers debate
Senate debate was feisty, fierce and principled — and transparently tailored for partisan effect

An amendment offered by Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., spiced up debate on the annual Defense bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS — The Senate’s debate last week on presidential war powers was substantive, serious and passionate — with the added benefit of enabling each party to score some political points.

The debate pertained to whether and how to hem in President Donald Trump’s authority to attack Iran amid heightened tensions in the Middle East that spiked this month when Iran shot down a U.S. drone and Trump pulled up just short of launching a counterattack.

Climate change gets 10 minutes in Democrats’ 2-hour debate
Climate change got little debate time, but that didn’t stop some candidates from weaving climate messaging into their answers

Chuck Todd of NBC News greets Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), former housing secretary Julian Castro, former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke and other candidates after the first night of the Democratic presidential debate on June 26, 2019 in Miami, Florida. A field of 20 Democratic presidential candidates was split into two groups of 10 for the first debate of the 2020 election, taking place over two nights at Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Climate change is a priority for Democratic primary voters, but the issue got little debate time Wednesday night. But that did not stop some of the candidates.

Senate Democrat Elizabeth Warren came out of the gate calling out “giant oil companies that want to drill everywhere” while the rest of the country watches “climate change bear down on us.”