Jim Risch

Senate set to assert itself on Syria sanctions, Middle East policy early in 2019
New Syria sanctions appear to be among the top legislative priorities

Sens. Marco Rubio and Jim Risch are leading the first bill introduced in the Senate in the new Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate is moving quickly to assert its point-of-view on U.S. policy regarding Syria and in the broader Middle East, and it could serve as a rebuttal to the decision by President Donald Trump to pull back U.S. forces from Syria.

Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio introduced the first piece of legislation on the first day of the new Congress (designated as S 1), and it could lay a marker  on the situation in Syria and the Middle East. The backers include the new chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Here Are the Senators Attending John McCain’s Funeral
List includes 14 Republicans and 10 Democrats

At least 24 senators will attend the funeral service Thursday of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in Phoenix. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

At least 24 current U.S. senators will attend Sen. John McCain’s memorial service Thursday in Phoenix, his office said.

The service, which will begin at approximately 10 a.m. local time, follows a procession from the Arizona state Capitol, where visitors on Wednesday could observe McCain’s casket draped in the American flag.

Road Ahead: Senate Returning to DC for the Ides of August
Floor agenda will look familiar: judicial nominations and appropriation bills

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.,left, jokes with Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, as he walks down the Senate steps on Aug. 1 after the chamber’s last vote of the week. Risch was posing for photos with interns on the steps. Senators return Wednesday from their truncated district work period. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Thank goodness the Senate has “manufactured weather.”

That’s what Carrier called the system that was first installed to cool the chamber in the early 20th century. The modern air conditioning will be in full use this week as the Senate returns for a rare mid-August session.

Photos of the Week: Senate Summer Session Commences, and Breaks
The week of July 30 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., jokes with Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, as he walks down the Senate steps after the last vote of the week in the Senate on Wednesday. Risch was posing for a photo with interns on the steps. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate was at work this week passing a four-bill spending package, which completes the chamber’s 12 appropriations bills for the year. The House got its first week of summer recess under its belt, and by the end of the week, the Senate joined them. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is allowing for a truncated recess, with senators in their home states next week but expected back on the Hill on Wednesday, Aug. 15. 

Republicans Back From Russia Have Advice for Trump Before Putin Summit
President needs to be prepared and perhaps not alone

Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., led a congressional delegation to Russia recently, and he and his colleagues have some serious concerns about how the Russians will approach the upcoming summit with Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican senators who recently returned from Moscow have some advice for President Donald Trump ahead of his meeting Monday in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin: Be prepared, be careful and try not to be alone.

“He better know the right Russian psyche,” said Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby. “All he’s got to do is start with Stalin and come on up and see what’s changed.”

White House Would Seek Congressional Approval Of N. Korea Deal
Trump has been preparing for ‘months and months,’ Pompeo says

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has “personally” assured him he intends to give up his nuclear weapons. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Trump administration officials intend to ask Congress to approve any nuclear deal President Donald Trump might strike with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says has vowed to give up his nuclear arsenal.

Pompeo told reporters at the White House Thursday the administration would submit a “document” to Congress for their review and possible approval. The idea is to give Kim confidence that a possible nuclear accord would be honored when the next U.S. administration takes over in 2021 or 2025.

Who Is Cecil Andrus?
How the late Idaho governor almost derailed the omnibus

Former Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus speaks during the National Audubon Society Gala Dinner at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on March 31, 2015. (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for The National Audubon Society)

Cecil who?

The spirit of the late Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus graced the political stage this week when a provision in the omnibus spending package naming the Gem State’s White Clouds Wilderness after the Democrat snarled progress on the legislation, which was needed to fund the government past Friday.

Senate Sends 2,232-Page Omnibus Spending Bill to Trump
Passage follows House action Thursday, the day after text was unveiled

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul delayed votes on the omnibus to take time to review the legislation, but the Senate finally cleared the spending bill early Wednesday morning. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate cleared the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending package early Friday, less than 24 hours ahead of what would have been a government shutdown.

Following the 65-32 vote, north of the 60 votes needed for passage, the bill now heads to President Donald Trump for his expected signature.

White House: ‘No’ Chance Ivanka Trump Meets With North Korean Officials
President’s daughter is leading U.S. delegation to Winter Olympics closing ceremony

Ivanka Trump at a State Department ceremony last June. She is leading the official U.S. delegation to the Pyeongchang Games’ closing ceremony. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Ivanka Trump is not expected to meet with any North Korean officials later this week when she leads the White House’s official delegation to the closing ceremony for the Winter Olympic Games.

Asked if the president’s daughter and senior adviser could meet with North Korean officials while in Pyeongchang, South Korea, a senior official replied, “No.”

Republicans Weigh Ways to Block Trump on Trade Actions
Despite concerns about pocketbook effects, president imposes tariffs, bad-mouths trade pacts

President Donald Trump is pursuing his America First approach to trade, even as it makes some Republicans nervous. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Even as members of his own party weigh whether Congress has the authority to push back on his trade actions, President Donald Trump on Tuesday slapped new tariffs on solar panels and washing machines.

“It will provide a strong incentive for LG and Samsung to follow through on their recent promises to build major manufacturing plants for washing machines right here in the United States,” Trump said during an Oval Office signing event, adding the actions “uphold a principle of fair trade and demonstrate to the world that the United States will not be taken advantage of anymore.” That echoes a major theme of his 2016 campaign and the first year of his presidency.