Richard J Durbin

Congress Doesn’t Report Diversity Because It Doesn’t Have to
While federal agencies must report the diversity of their employees, there is no such requirement of Congress

Kemba Hendrix, director of the House Democrats’ Diversity Initiative, took on her role in November. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 10:30 a.m. with figures for House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer’s staff | If you ask a House or Senate office to break down the diversity of its staff, chances are it won’t. Because it doesn’t have to.

While the executive branch has to provide data on the racial and ethnic makeup of its staff for the public record, there is no rule mandating that congressional offices do the same.

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.

Senate Panel Sends Message By Advancing Mueller Bill
A warning to Trump even if special counsel protections don’t become law

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill to provide job protection for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, but it faces major obstacles. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill Thursday to give protections to Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III, which senators said sent a message to President Donald Trump even if it has major hurdles to ever becoming law.

Although the 14-7 vote on the measure split Republicans, the message from the committee to Trump was clear.

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.”

Bank Group Plans Midterm Ads, Starting With Tester, Budd
Six-figure ad buys on the way in Montana and North Carolina

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., will get a helping hand from the American Bankers Association in his re-election bid. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The American Bankers Association said Wednesday it would weigh into midterm congressional campaigns for the first time with independent expenditure TV ads, beginning with “six-figure” buys in Montana and North Carolina.

“These ads are a concrete example of our stepped-up political engagement efforts,” American Bankers Association President Rob Nichols told hundreds of bankers at the association’s government relations conference in Washington Wednesday.

Pet Birds, Group Houses and Babies: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of April 16, 2018

Senate Changes Rules to Allow Babies on the Floor
Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth made Senate history when she gave birth last week

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., made Senate history last week when she gave birth to a daughter. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate took a leap forward into modernity Wednesday, changing the rules to allow mothers to bring their infants onto the Senate floor.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, the ranking Democrat on the Rules and Administration Committee, was among the lawmakers hailing the change, which was adopted by unanimous consent.

Senate Might Vote on Duckworth Resolution to Allow Infants on the Floor
Rules change pushed by Illinois senator following birth of her second child

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., submitted a resolution that would permit infants on the Senate floor. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate is known for resisting change, but senators might quickly and quietly update one of the most entrenched rules of who can be on the chamber floor.

Illinois Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth became the first sitting senator to give birth and submitted a resolution last week that would allow senators to bring a child under 1 year old onto the Senate floor during votes.

Congressional Gridlock Plays Central Role in Internet Tax Case
Supreme Court could reshape online commerce nationwide this term

Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., introduced a bill on the online sales taxation issue last year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Tuesday in a major internet sales tax case, and it won’t be the first or last time the justices will try to figure out whether gridlock in Congress plays a role in their decision.

But usually the gridlock is not quite on this scale. The Supreme Court could reshape online commerce nationwide when it decides this term whether to overturn its 1992 ruling that bars states from collecting sales tax from out-of-state vendors.