Jim Risch

Senate Republicans Don’t Break With Tradition on Roy Moore
Embrace of candidate raises questions on how far GOP will go to back their own

Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore faces questions from reporters in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Roy Moore has called homosexuality illegal, said Muslims should not be able to serve in Congress and was removed from the state Supreme Court twice — once for defying a federal court order and the second time for violating judicial ethics. But Senate Republicans welcomed him into their weekly caucus lunch Tuesday, a sign that they are ready to coalesce around the GOP candidate in the Alabama Senate race.

It is nothing new for GOP lawmakers to back the Republican candidate in any race, whether that be local, state or national, regardless of the individual running.

What Happens When Corker Lays Down His Foreign Relations Gavel?
Tennessee Republican leaves a committee far from what it used to be

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker is the first senator to announce his retirement this Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Neither Peyton Manning nor Reese Witherspoon is going to become chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee next year. Not Charlie Daniels, Dolly Parton or Samuel L. Jackson, either.

The most clear-cut reason is that none of those celebrity Tennesseans is likely to end up running to become a senator, much to the disappointment of Beltway insiders starved for glitzy, if harmless, political distractions in the Trump era and already enthralled by Kid Rock’s flirtation with a Senate run in Michigan.

Opinion: A Fake Senate Hearing on Fake News
What if the Intelligence Committee took up the president’s request

North Carolina Sen. Richard M. Burr, right, and Virginia Sen. Mark Warner lead the Senate Intelligence Committee, which President Donald Trump called on recently to look into “Fake News Networks.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Under Donald Trump’s interpretation of the Constitution, when the president tweets, the Senate must take action immediately.

So it was with Trump’s pointed suggestion last week, filled with the kind of oddball capitalization normally found in ransom notes: “Why Isn’t the Senate Intel Committee looking into the Fake News Networks in OUR country to see why so much of our news is just made up-FAKE!”

Mike Pence Showered With Praise Despite Stalled Agenda
Members in both chambers say they’re still big fans of Veep

Vice President Mike Pence and Pennsylvania GOP Sen. Patrick J. Toomey talk in the Capitol before the Senate Policy luncheons on Sept. 19. Pence has not been able to help secure 50 Republican votes on a health care overhaul bill this year. But GOP lawmakers don’t blame him. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Vice President Mike Pence has spent countless hours behind closed doors with congressional Republicans negotiating on health care and other issues, yet the GOP legislative agenda has largely stalled. But Republican lawmakers are not blaming President Donald Trump’s Capitol Hill “insider” — quite the contrary, in fact.

Pence, once part of the House GOP leadership team, was billed as Trump’s get-things-done guy. So far, the vice president’s appreciable legislative accomplishments are scant. He broke several ties in his capacity as president of the Senate and worked with fellow Republicans on unsuccessful efforts to pass a health care overhaul measure that would get rid of Barack Obama’s 2010 law.

Trump Continues Defensive Stance on Puerto Rico Response
President tweets his team has answered governor’s every request

Hurricane survivors receive food and water being given out by volunteers and municipal police as they deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on Thursday in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Continuing his administration’s sometimes-defensive stance on its response to the Puerto Rico hurricane damage crisis, President Donald Trump on Friday contended his team has responded to the island government’s every request.

In a set of morning tweets, Trump dismissed critics — including some congressional Democrats — who allege he and his administration have been too slow in helping the U.S. territory respond to two massive hurricanes. Following the the second, Maria, the entire island lost power, cash is in short supply, and commodities like diesel fuel also are running thin.

Republican Senators Mostly Silent After Trump’s North Korea Threat
President would hit regime, military targets - not civilians, White House says

Republican Sens. Bob Corker (center), Marco Rubio (seated right) and Jim Risch (standing right) all declined to comment on GOP President Donald Trump's threat to "totally destroy" North Korea if it attacks the United States. Also pictured are GOP Sens. Cory Gardner (standing left) and Ron Johnson (seated left). (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker hurried into an elevator. Sen. Marco Rubio quickly ducked into the Capitol Visitor Center television studio. And Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain shut down reporters’ repetitive questions.

No Republican senator could be found Tuesday who was willing to question President Donald Trump’s threat before the United Nations General Assembly to “totally destroy” North Korea unless it gives up its nuclear arms and long-range missile programs, which he views as a direct threat to the sovereignty and security of the United States and its allies.

Word on the Hill: Dinosaurs at the Capitol
Kennedy on the Cajun Navy, and Shaw’s Tavern fundraiser

Dozens of dinosaurs took to the Capitol steps on Wednesday. (Service Year via Twitter)

Congress is out but there were still plenty of dinosaurs at the Capitol on Wednesday. Dozens of people dressed in orange and brown dinosaur costumes rallied to stop what they called national service extinction.

The group, Service Year Alliance, is asking Congress to vote against President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts to YouthBuild, the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps programs.

Bipartisan Ayes for Judge David Nye
Senate set to confirm former Obama nominee

Judge David Nye looks set to be confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday, having already received bipartisan support. (iStock)

The Supreme Court gets all the attention, but President Donald Trump could make lasting changes to the judicial branch in trying to fill the more than 100 U.S. District Court vacancies. The next judicial nomination up for consideration on the Senate floor would fill a spot in Idaho that has been open for some time, and the nominee has some bipartisan support as he has also been previously nominated by a Democratic president.

Before the recess, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell lined up consideration of David Nye to be U.S. district judge for the District of Idaho. This isn’t his first trip through the nomination machine, as he was put forward last year by President Barack Obama for the same position.

Congress Unnerved by Energy Grid Hack

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., has been concerned about the energy grid's vulnerabilities for some time, and has been warning the administration against budget cuts to cybersecurity agencies. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For months, Sen. Maria Cantwell has been warning in letters to the Trump administration and colleagues that Congress needs to do more to keep the nation's energy supply safe from cyberattacks. Now it appears she has a widespread attack to bolster her admonitions.

Reports from Bloomberg and The New York Times last week indicated that Russian-backed hacking groups may be responsible for recent targeted cyberattacks to nuclear power plants and grid operation system manufacturers, threatening the electric grid and the economy it supports.