Nancy Reagan

Senators Confirm Slew of Trump Nominees in Final Hours of 115th Congress
List does not include lifetime judicial appointments; next business will be in the new Congress

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell got a deal to confirm more of President Donald Trump’s nominees. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As a practical matter, the 115th Congress is finally history.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the announcement that the Senate will convene for a pro forma session at 11:50 a.m. Thursday, but there will be no real business until after noon arrives, when the new Congress begins, as outlined in the Constitution. 

My Dream 2020 Candidate — Someone to Heal America‘s Wounds

Who will be there for the balloon drop at the 2020 Democratic National Convention? Regardless, Walter Shapiro writes that the ideal 2020 presidential candidate will be someone who can heal America's wounds and is competent when it comes to governing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — As an alumnus of Newsweek and Time in their glory days, I sometimes can’t resist thinking like a news-magazine editor. Any news event — the government shutdown, the withdrawal from Syria, the Brexit mess — can be summarized by that all-purpose cover line, “NOW FOR THE HARD PART.”

Similarly, the obvious cover for next Monday would be a race track starting gate with more than a dozen familiar Democrats (“There’s Bernie, there’s Beto, there’s Biden, there’s Booker...“) leaning forward in their saddles as the cliché-ridden headline proclaims, “AND THEY’RE OFF.”

The Criminal Justice Bill Shows Where the GOP Is on Race
It wasn’t always this way for the party of Lincoln

Sen. Tim Scott, the only African-American Republican in the Senate, may have gotten his party’s backing for the criminal justice bill, Curtis writes. But where were his GOP colleagues when he tried to block the confirmation of Thomas Farr? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Sen. Tim Scott, Republican from South Carolina, was optimistic after the Senate passed an amended bill this week that makes bipartisan progress on an issue — criminal justice reform — that has divided lawmakers for years.

Scott, an original co-sponsor of the bill, said in a statement: “By cutting recidivism, encouraging job training, education and mental health and substance abuse treatments for incarcerated individuals, and making our criminal justice system both smarter and tougher, we have taken a positive step forward.”

In Oversight Role, House Democrats Aim for Both Check and Balance
Investigating the president carries risks for incoming House majority

Incoming House Oversight ranking member Elijah E. Cummings envisions a two-pronged approach to investigating President Donald Trump — focusing on his personal business dealings, including whether they implicate the president’s campaign in colluding with Russia, and probing the “harm” he says Trump has inflicted on the foundations of American democracy. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings has seen the headlines. The 12-term Maryland Democrat, who in January will take control of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, knows he has the power to become President Donald Trump’s worst nightmare. For now, he’s taking a more measured approach.

“A nightmare has to be in the eyes of the beholder,” Cummings said in a recent interview. “If a nightmare comes with me doing my job that I’m sworn to do, so be it.”

Politically Wounded Trump Complicates Border Talks With Pelosi, Schumer
‘When he feels challenged … he pulls back to his base’

President Donald Trump arrives back at the White House on Friday evening without taking reporters' questions. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

Another wild weekend — with federal prosecutors appearing to implicate Donald Trump in a pair of federal crimes and his second chief of staff leaving soon — has only complicated the president’s coming talks with Democratic leaders to avert a partial government shutdown over the holidays.

Trump is scheduled to meet in the Oval Office on Tuesday morning with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer less than two weeks before a deadline to pass legislation to keep the Department of Homeland Security and several other agencies funded and open beyond 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 21.

With Orrin Hatch Retiring, Supreme Court Loses an Active ’Friend’
Utah Republican is one of the more frequent authors of amicus briefs

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who is retiring, has been a frequent author of friend of the court briefs. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

One of this year’s highest-profile Supreme Court cases gave retiring Sen. Orrin G. Hatch a final chance to broadcast his views beyond the Capitol building to the nine justices across the street.

In a criminal law case set for oral arguments Thursday, the Utah Republican filed a brief known as an amicus curiae — or a “friend of the court” who is not a party in a case. He gave them what he called “an experienced legislator’s perspective on the constitutional and practical issues at play.”

A Contrast in Styles as Trump, Country Bid Farewell to George H.W. Bush
41st president’s 1992 defeat could offer lessons for 45’s expected re-election bid

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump pay their respect at former President George H.W. Bush's casket in the Capitol Rotunda on Monday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The late President George H.W. Bush will leave the Capitol for the final time Wednesday morning and make one last pass by the White House before his flag-draped casket is placed at the front of the National Cathedral for his state funeral farewell. Seated a few feet away will be a very different president, Donald Trump.

The late Republican president’s four years in office and 1992 defeat to an upstart Democratic governor from Arkansas, Bill Clinton, offer contrast to the incumbent’s raucous two years and lessons for his expected re-election bid. The two presidents’ work with Congress and legislative histories differ sharply, as do how they comported themselves — from Bush’s thoughtful letter-writing to Trump’s off-the-cuff tweeting.

George H.W. Bush Receives Flood of Tributes From Congress
Among the most notable remembrances are from Texas and Maine

President George H.W. Bush died Friday night. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

As tributes poured in overnight from Capitol Hill as word spread of the death of President George H.W. Bush, there were perhaps none more fitting than those from the states he came to call home.

Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins said a Navy anchor that rests in Kennebunkport, where the Bush family would spend many summers is among the most fitting tributes from a community to a neighbor.

George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the United States, Dies at 94
Last World War II veteran to serve as POTUS dies seven months after wife Barbara Bush

Barbara Bush and George H.W. Bush at the 1992 Republican National Convention.  (Laura Patterson/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former President George H.W. Bush, the 41st president and self-effacing patriarch of one of America’s premier political families, which has included two occupants of the White House, a senator and a governor, died Friday, at age 94.

As president, Bush led an international coalition to victory in the first Persian Gulf war in 1990-91, only to lose his bid for re-election the following year to Democrat Bill Clinton primarily because of a prolonged recession and Bush’s perceived inability to cure it.

So You Think You Want to Run for President …
A handy checklist for the 2020 Democratic hopefuls

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., are said to be contemplating presidential runs in 2020. If they do, Shapiro writes, they’d better be ready to answer a simple question: “Why do you want to be president?” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — In most over-stuffed and over-sweet-potatoed families during Thanksgiving week, dinner table conversation revolves around new jobs, new children and grandchildren and vacation plans. But this holiday season in maybe two-dozen homes across America, the new-job talk is about someone in the family running for Democratic nomination for president.

Not every would-be presidential candidate is as methodical as Mitt Romneywho presided over a family roll-call vote in December 2010 about the merits of a 2012 presidential campaign. (The verdict was overwhelmingly “no,” but Ann Romney cast the decisive “yes” vote.) But just about everyone contemplating a White House run traditionally spends the weeks after the midterm elections debating the pros and cons with family and longtime friends.