Oklahoma

Flashback Friday: A Page Right Out of History
The Senate page program was started as a way to keep local kids out of trouble

A Senate page with Sen. Charles Sumner from Edmund Alton’s 1886 book “Among the Law-Makers.”

Here’s a congressional throwback — a phrase or part of Capitol Hill culture that a younger generation of Hill staffers may not know or appreciate.

Senate pages are high school juniors, at least 16 years old, who help deliver correspondence, transport bills and prepare the chamber, all while attending the U.S. Senate Page School.

Appropriations Vs. Judges: Battle for Senate Floor Time Nears
White House, senators apply pressure on summer recess

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has been upfront about his wish to approve nominations and consider appropriations bills on the floor this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Nominations and spending bills — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s twin top priorities this summer — are on a collision course given the scarcity of floor time.

The Kentucky Republican has made confirming conservative judges a core mission this year. He’s also told appropriators he wants the Senate to move back toward real floor debate on spending bills, including amendments, while avoiding another massive year-end pileup with another 12-bill omnibus President Donald Trump said he won’t sign.

Republicans Warming to $15 Billion Cuts Package
Dispute remains over whether proposal is protected from filibuster

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not rule out his chamber considering a proposal to cut spending already authorized, as long as it passes the House. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans appear ready to advance the White House’s $15.4 billion rescissions request through both chambers of Congress, after the administration dropped the idea — for now — of canceling funds provided in the fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill enacted in March.

“If the House is able to pass the rescissions package, we’ll take a look at it,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday, noting that the so-called special message “does not breach the bipartisan agreement we reached in the caps deal.”

With Debbie Lesko Sworn In, The House is Still Short Members
Chamber still has six vacancies, with some more on the way

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis.,left, holds a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony for Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz., right, as her husband Joe holds the Bible on Monday, May 7, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Even with Republican Debbie Lesko of Arizona being sworn in after her special election victory last month, the whole number of the House is 429, still short of capacity.

Lesko of took her oath of office as a member of the House at 6:59 p.m. on Monday, as well as the traditional ceremonial swearing in with Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis. 

Partisan Fight Over $15 Billion Rescissions Package Developing
Democrats not ready to play ball, Pelosi suggests

President Donald Trump begrudgingly signed the omnibus spending bill in March. Now his administration is making a $15 billion rescissions request. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

The Trump administration on Monday outlined a roughly $15 billion “rescissions” request it plans to send to Congress on Tuesday, targeting unspent health care and green energy funds for the largest share of the cuts.

The bulk of that request proposes eliminating $7 billion in budget authority from the Children’s Health Insurance Program — $5 billion from fiscal 2017, for which there is no authority to spend the money, and $2 billion from a contingency fund for states that the White House doesn’t expect any states to draw from, a senior administration official said.

At the Races: Is Lesko’s Win in the Desert a Mirage?
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

AT-THE-RACES-LOGO-01

Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter by subscribing here. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman

Special, Special, Special Elections
Gearing up for the midterms amid one special election after another

.

The spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our newsletter here.

 

A Plea for the Old School Senate: Senators Really, Really Want to Move Spending Bills This Time
Meeting on nomination rules changes gives way to talk of spending bills, comity

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., brought a chart of the Senate floor to the Rules Committee. (Rules and Administration Committee screenshot)

What could have been a contentious meeting about shortening Senate debate time for nominations turned into more of a bipartisan conversation among some of the most senior senators at taking another shot at moving regular spending bills.

“Let’s pick an appropriation bill, put some training wheels on it and head it to the floor. Let’s see how this works,” Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin said. “We’ve got to educate ourselves.”

Senate GOP Set to Revive Time Limits on Debating Nominees
Rules panel expected to advance changes along party lines

Senate Rules and Administration Chairman Roy Blunt, R-Mo., speaks to reporters Tuesday about the proposed rules changes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican senators will take a small step Wednesday toward speeding up the pace of confirming President Donald Trump’s nominees even as controversy swirls around his pick to head the Veterans Affairs Department. 

The proposal by Sen. James Lankford is not exactly new. In fact, it isn’t new at all.

Why the Hill’s Quitters Caucus Keeps Growing
Republicans, especially, are leaving Congress midterm to get a money-making head start

Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., is leaving the House to get a head start on his new career as a cable TV news analyst. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

There are really just three ways to give up a seat in Congress on your own timetable: retire, resign or quit. And the method with the least attractive connotations has become particularly popular in the last decade, especially among Republicans.

Those who use the term “retirement” properly are lawmakers who decline to run for re-election but complete the term for which the voters chose them before returning to civilian life, whether as money-makers or golf club denizens. Departures are best labeled “resignations” when senators or House members are forced to up and leave by particularly good, or ruinously bad, professional circumstances — elevated to higher positions in public service, most often, or politically poisoned by moral exposures or criminal failings.