Mississippi

Trump Poised to Set Record for Appeals Court Judges
Three more nominees set to be confirmed this week

Appellate nominee Steve Grasz, who is set to be confirmed by the Senate this week, was , nominee to be U.S. circuit judge for the Eighth Circuit, testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee nomination hearing in Dirksen Building on November 1, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans are set to confirm three more of President Donald Trump’s appeals court picks this week, a push that will help set a record for the most such appointments in a president’s first year in office.

The Senate is expected to confirm Steve Grasz for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, and James Ho and Don Willett for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, over the objections of Democrats who question whether they can be unbiased.

Ratings Change: Franken Steps Down Amid Allegations, Seat Starts Likely Democratic
Minnesota Senator resigns after colleagues call for his exit

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and his wife Franni, leave the Capitol on Thursday, after Franken announced on the Senate floor that he will resign his seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Al Franken’s resignation puts another Democratic seat into the 2018 mix, but it’s still unclear whether his departure provides Republicans with a legitimate takeover opportunity.

To handicap a race, it’s helpful to know where the contest will take place and who is running. In this case, we know the place is Minnesota, where, despite Donald Trump’s surge in the Midwest, Hillary Clinton narrowly prevailed in 2016, 46-45 percent, and where Republicans haven’t won a Senate race since Norm Coleman’s 2-point victory in 2002.

Proposed Measure Would Prevent Harassment Settlements Using Office Funds
Conyers revelations came from documents suggesting he paid a settlement with Hill account

Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Legislation introduced Friday would prevent sexual harassment and misconduct settlements from being paid out of members’ office budgets.

The measure introduced by GOP Rep. Jackie Walorski of Indiana comes after sexual misconduct allegations against Rep. John Conyers were first brought to light through documents related to a wrongful dismissal complaint he settled with a former employee who had claimed she was fired for rejecting Conyer’s sexual advances. The employee, Marion Brown, was paid $27,000 in wages from Conyer’s office budget after being fired.

Who Is Running the Mysterious PAC Supporting Roy Moore?
Treasurer Brooke Pendley is a hard person to find

Former judge Roy Moore is the Republican nominee in next week’s special election for the Alabama Senate seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Brooke Pendley is a self-described “fire-breathing young female conservative patriot” out “to save Judge Roy Moore” with a newly formed political action committee, but good luck trying to find her beyond the fundraising emails.

On Oct. 17, Pendley filed a statement of organization for Club for Conservatives PAC with the Federal Election Commission, listing herself as the treasurer. Over the course of less than three weeks, Pendley has sent out at least 10 fundraising emails.

Office of Compliance Releases Settlement Money Details

Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., head the House Administration Committee, which released information about its settlement payouts on Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Office of Compliance’s Awards and Settlement Fund has paid out $359,450 since fiscal 2013 to address six claims made against House-member led offices, $84,000 of which was for a sexual harassment claim, according to data released Friday by the House Administration Committee.

The OOC did not name any parties in the settlements, but Politico reported the $84,000 sexual harassment settlement was for a claim against Texas GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold.

Following Senate, House Mandates Sexual Harassment Training
Bipartisan measure comes after allegations against Conyers, Franken

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., and Vice Chairwoman Linda T. Sanchez, D-Calif., conduct a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center after a conference meeting Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House on Wednesday adopted by voice vote a resolution that would require all House employees — including all members — to be trained annually on workplace harassment and discrimination.

The bipartisan measure comes on the heels of allegations against Democratic Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, the longest serving member in Congress, and Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota. As those cases work through the congressional ethics process, there’s a renewed focus on how sexual harassment can be reported on Capitol Hill.

Sexual Harassment Reckoning Roils Capitol
As Conyers flies home, leaders face uncomfortable questions

Rep. John Conyers Jr. is facing calls for his resignation amid sexual misconduct allegations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The nationwide reckoning over sexual harassment claims continues to reverberate in the Capitol, as congressional leaders field uncomfortable questions about everyone from the Dean of the House to the president of the United States.

“Right now, we’re working on making sure this place works right,” Speaker Paul D. Ryan said at a Wednesday morning press conference when asked if members should be more vocal about sexual harassment claims made against President Donald Trump. 

Senate Republicans Move on Trump’s Appeals Court Picks
Chamber confirms Gregory Katsas to D.C. Circuit in 50-48 vote

Gregory Katsas was confirmed Tuesday to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Republicans are pressing forward this week on putting President Donald Trump’s appeals court picks on the bench, with a floor vote Tuesday for the pivotal circuit court in Washington and an upcoming confirmation hearing for a judge that Minnesota Democrat Al Franken has tried to block.

The Senate voted, 50-48, to confirm Gregory Katsas to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which often has the last word on appeals of presidential actions and issues decisions that have a national impact on environmental, energy and regulatory policies.

Senate’s Defense Spending Bill Shows Need for Budget Deal
Defense appropriators would bust budget caps

Senate Appropriations ranking member Patrick J. Leahy is highlighting the urgency of a bipartisan budget agreement. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Appropriations Committee’s decision to release the four remaining fiscal 2018 spending bills last week — including a cap-busting defense measure — underscores the urgency to get a deal on the bigger picture.

If the Senate defense bill became law, arbitrary automatic cuts would take place in the middle of January, as Democratic Sens. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois pointed out in a Nov. 21 statement.

Grassley Prepares to Bypass Franken to Move Trump Appeals Court Nominee
Rejects policy of allowing blue slip to be used as a veto

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is announcing his interpretation of the “blue slip” policy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley is ready to move forward with President Donald Trump’s appellate judicial nominees, even when home-state senators have formal objections.

Grassley is going to move ahead with confirmation hearings for Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras to be a judge on the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Politico reported ahead of a formal announcement by the chairman.