Patrick J Leahy

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.

Can Presidents Obstruct Justice? Republicans and Democrats Say Yes
Durbin: ‘Desperate statement’ suggests ‘they expect to lose on the merits’

Vermont Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, left, and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham confer before a hearing in 2015. Both senior Judiciary Committee members say there is ample precedent showing a president can obstruct justice, despite a claim to the contrary by President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican and Democratic lawmakers say an assertion by Donald Trump’s personal lawyer that a sitting president cannot obstruct justice is dubious, warning the White House there is ample precedent to the contrary.

The members were reacting to Trump lawyer John Dowd’s legal argument in a recent interview with Axios that “the president cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [Article II of the Constitution] and has every right to express his view of any case.”

Schumer Told Franken Wednesday Morning That He Needed to Go
Calls by Senate Democrats for Franken to resign came after new allegations

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer told Minnesota Sen. Al Franken on Wednesday morning that he needed to resign. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer knew it was time for Minnesota Democrat Al Franken to leave the Senate even before the public calls for his resignation Wednesday.

The New York Democrat told Franken in a phone call that he needed to resign after Wednesday morning’s publication of further allegations of sexual misconduct by the senator, according to a person familiar with the conversation.

Trump’s Jerusalem Decision Called ‘Provocative,’ Counterproductive
‘He’s undercutting his own efforts at peacemaking,’ Rep. Welch says

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a joint statement in May with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. On Wednesday, Trump announced he is moving the American embassy to Jerusalem despite Muslim allies urging him against it. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump says his decision to buck the advice of America’s closest Muslim allies and recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is part of a broader strategy shift needed to produce a Middle East peace pact. But some lawmakers and experts argue the president has unnecessarily undercut himself.

Trump on Wednesday formally announced he will abide by a 1995 U.S. law and move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and recognize that city as the country’s official capital. He noted that for the last 22 years, his predecessors have — despite some campaign-trail pledges to the contrary — exercised a waiver in that law to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv.

Senators Unclear on Plan to Fund Government Days Before Funding Expires
Republican senators say second continuing resolution into January possible

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., would need to be consulted to secure needed Democratic votes for a continuing resolution. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Some in Congress Still Have a Taste for Pork
For a Republican majority searching for wins, there may be no better time to bring back earmarks

Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole says “there is plenty of sentiment” in the House for reviving earmarks. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the year since Speaker Paul D. Ryan blocked his party’s effort to revive earmarks, a lot hasn’t happened.

There’s been no repeal of Obamacare and no border wall approval. Plans to fund the government are struggling to lift off.

Photos of the Week: Tax Bill and Sexual Harassment Allegations Dominate on the Hill
The week of Nov. 27 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

The Capitol dome is seen in a reflection on a television news camera outside the Capitol on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing Around the Capitol
Meghan McCain’s wedding scramble, flower giveaway, and holiday parties kick off

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., takes a picture of the media set up for the arrival of President Donald Trump to the Republican Senate policy luncheon in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. And some of the best ones are those that we come across while reporting the big ones.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

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.

New $44 Billion Disaster Aid Request Paltry, Lawmakers Say
Extensive offsets could also prove controversial

Rep. John Culberson of Texas said the White House’s most recent aid request “would sabotage what has been an incredible response by President Trump to Hurricane Harvey up to this point.” (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In its third emergency aid request since August, the White House on Friday asked Congress to approve $44 billion for ongoing hurricane recovery efforts, a figure seen as insufficient on both sides of the aisle. 

At the same time, the White House asked lawmakers to consider a lengthy list of offsets, noting in a letter that the administration “believes it is prudent to offset new spending.”