Richard J Durbin

Durbin Blasts Removal of Myanmar Sanctions From Defense Bill
Signs point to McConnell not allowing language targeting country also known as Burma

Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor of Myanmar, has been a guest at the Capitol, including in Sept. 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A legislative effort to punish officials responsible for atrocities committed against the Rohingya minority in Myanmar appears to have stalled thanks to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin gave a speech ahead of floor consideration of the fiscal 2019 defense authorization conference report in which he decried, “the irresponsible removal of provisions related to Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.”

Senate Democrats Slam Trump Officials Over Family Separations
Durbin called on the Homeland Security secretary to resign

Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., cites a tweet by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Hart Building on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats on Tuesday criticized the Trump administration’s efforts to reunify hundreds of undocumented migrant children who remain separated from their parents as a result of the president’s zero-tolerance border security policy — including many whose parents have already been deported.

Officials from the departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services told the Senate Judiciary Committee that their court-ordered work to reunify separated families is unfinished. 

Watch: Senate Democrats Demand Kavanaugh Documents
 

Durbin Back on the Warpath Against E-Cigarette ‘Candy-Flavored Poisons’
Introducing new legislation to make e-cig manufacturers show benefits

Sen. Richard J. Durbin has new legislation designed to curtail flavored e-cigs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin has launched a new offensive against a familiar foe: electronic cigarettes.

For years, the Illinois Democrat has been alarmed by the use of e-cigs by young adults — and flavorings that seem designed to appeal to kids, like gummy bear.

Lawmakers Renew Efforts to Pass Family Separation Bill
But with House already out for recess, no legislative solution possible until September

A girl participates in a rally at Freedom Plaza in downtown Washington on June 27 to to protest the Trump administration policy that separated migrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers say they are renewing efforts to find what has been elusive legislation to keep families together at the U.S.-Mexico border, as the Trump administration announced it would meet the latest court deadline for reuniting more than 1,400 children it had separated from their immigrant parents.

Department of Homeland Security officials said they expected to complete all “eligible” reunifications by midnight Thursday, Pacific time. Beyond those, 711 children remain in custody because they’re not “eligible” for reunification, according to the department. Of those, 431 have a parent who was deported from the U.S. without them, officials said.

One Foot in Congress, the Other in Grad School
Staffers starting your higher education, you’re in good company

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., received his law degree from Georgetown University. Here he is addressing the law center in 2012. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As orientation kicks off for graduate school programs, staffers who are going part time and keeping their Capitol Hill jobs begin the balancing act.

Those higher knowledge-seekers are not alone. It’s common for staffers to get degrees on top of work.

Supreme Court Nominee Kavanaugh’s Responses Reveal Views
Questionnaire part of confirmation process

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, right, and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, conduct a photo-op in Russell Building before a meeting on July 17. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh described his volunteer work, his most important decisions and how President Donald Trump picked him in paperwork submitted as part of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation process.

The questionnaire is a standard part of the confirmation process, and nominees can use it to bolster their case. For instance, Kavanaugh, when asked to list his 10 most important decisions, listed nine cases in which the Supreme Court later agreed with the positions he took as a federal appeals court judge.

Senate Confirms Trump DOJ Nominee Who Represented Russian Bank in 2017
Republicans stick together as Dem Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia breaks ranks to confirm Benczkowski by 51-48 vote

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., broke ranks with Democrats to move forward with the confirmation of Brian Benczkowski to lead the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the frenzy surrounding President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh kicks into high gear this week, the Senate is voted Wednesday to confirm a divisive new director for the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice.

In late winter 2017, Brian Benczkowski, who now awaits Trump's signature to become the newest assistant attorney general at the DOJ, briefly represented Alfa Bank, a Russian bank with close ties to Russian government officials that media outlets previously reported was a subject of the FBI’s probe of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.

Democratic Senators Once Accused Potential Trump SCOTUS Pick of Offering Misleading Testimony
Durbin, Leahy had concerns Brett Kavanaugh wasn’t truthful during 2006 confirmation hearing

Democrats questioned the truthfulness of Brett Kavanaugh, who is now on the shortlist for a Supreme Court nomination, after his last Senate confirmation hearing in May 2006. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If President Donald Trump picks Brett Kavanaugh to be the next Supreme Court justice, senators might find themselves debating whether the judge gave false testimony about detainee policy the last time he had a confirmation hearing.

That is in part because the two senators who suggested Kavanaugh may have misled them still serve on the Judiciary Committee.

Senators Press Chief Justice Roberts for Faster Release of Supreme Court Audio
Letter comes as Roberts renews opposition to cameras in the Court

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., is facing a new call from key senators for faster release of Supreme Court audio. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The current chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and one of his predecessors have teamed up to press Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., to release audio of all arguments on the same day that they take place.

Iowa Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley and Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick J. Leahy made the request of the Supreme Court in a June 29 letter to Roberts that was publicly circulated on Monday.