Vermont

Senators’ Yemen Vote Is Precursor to Debate on Saudi Relations
Corker eyes nonbinding resolution to condemn kingdom over Khashoggi murder

With the Senate expected to vote Wednesday on a resolution aimed at the Yemen war, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker wants to ensure any amendments offered are germane. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate is expected Wednesday to debate and vote on a resolution that would order an end to military involvement in the war in Yemen, one of several measures that lawmakers are considering to punish Saudi Arabia.

But Wednesday’s discussion may be shortened due to scant floor time and several competing high-priority legislative items that, unlike the Yemen resolution, could still become law before the year is over.

Mitch McConnell Touting Victory With Hemp Legalization on Farm Bill
Issue is becoming an early plank of the Kentucky Republican’s 2020 re-election bid

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been promoting industrial hemp language in the farm bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to put himself on the farm bill conference committee was insurance that one of his policy priorities — and a key issue for his 2020 re-election campaign — would make it to President Donald Trump’s desk this year.

“At a time when farm income is down and growers are struggling, industrial hemp is a bright spot of agriculture’s future,” McConnell said Tuesday morning. “My provision in the farm bill will not only legalize domestic hemp, but it will also allow state departments of agriculture to be responsible for its oversight.”

Why Trump’s Call for ‘Overwhelming Bipartisan’ Vote for Barr Seems Unlikely
Wyden: Bush 41-era AG holds ‘anti-democratic’ view that president is ‘effectively royalty’

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., flanked by other Senate Democrats, at a news conference in March. The two senators have voiced concerns about President Trump's pick, William Barr, to make his second run as attorney general. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump and acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker on Friday gave a full-throated endorsement to the president’s pick to fill the post, former Attorney General William Barr,  but Democratic senators and civil rights advocates are sounding alarms.

William Barr “deserves” from the Senate “overwhelming bipartisan support,” Trump said while addressing a law enforcement conference in Kansas City. “There’s no one more capable or qualified for this position,” he claimed.

Why the Senate Yemen Debate Might Not Include Response to Khashoggi Murder
Republicans may seek to limit amendment scope

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker wants to limit the scope of amendments to the Yemen resolution. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate is likely to proceed to a war powers resolution on U.S. involvement in Yemen next week, but the broader debate on policy toward Saudi Arabia may be short-circuited.

The Senate has not defined rules for floor debate on resolutions like the one that was recently discharged from the Foreign Relations Committee, and the chairman of that Senate panel intends to ask the chamber to set restrictive rules for amendments to war powers resolutions.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Tests 2020 White House Run in New Hampshire
Visit is Hawaii Democrat’s second to the Granite State this fall

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, is weighing a run for president in 2020. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard ditched the beaches of Hawaii for New Hampshire over the weekend as she considers whether to jump into what is expected to be a crowded race for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

It is the second time this fall Gabbard has visited the Granite State, a bellwether for presidential hopefuls since it’s the first state on the primary election calendar each cycle.

Yemen Resolution Could Prompt Unruly Foreign Policy Floor Debate
Supporters of War Powers effort say that would be just fine

Sen. Rand Paul said some of his colleagues may seek to block the Yemen resolution. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Like it or not, senators face a test vote as early as Wednesday on whether to debate a resolution to pull the U.S. out of the hostilities in Yemen.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are scheduled to be on Capitol Hill Wednesday morning for a closed, all-senators briefing on Yemen policy that is certain to get into U.S. action regarding Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Forest Fires Add Snag to Getting Farm Bill Passed
House-passed version would change forest management policies that opponents say would ease oversight

A Cal Fire firefighter monitors a burning home as the Camp Fire moves through earlier this month in Magalia, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

Forestry provisions have emerged as the latest snag in farm bill negotiations, sending the issue to congressional leaders for talks to break the impasse.

The forestry provisions in the House-passed version of the farm bill say the proposed changes to federal forest management policies would prevent forest fires — an issue that is now at the forefront after the deadly California fires. Opponents say the proposed changes would ease federal oversight and safeguards needed to limit logging on public lands that could destroy forests habitats and reduce protections for endangered wildlife.

Grassley Will Step into Tax Storm, Finance Gavel in Hand
Iowa Republican was a key player on big-ticket measures during his previous tenure as Finance chairman

Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, conducts a Senate Judiciary Committee markup in October. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Charles E. Grassley is expected to be the next chairman of the Finance Committee, putting the Iowa Republican at the center of the storm in the 116th Congress on what could be divisive debates over tax, trade and health care policy.

Grassley cited a sense of “optimism” fueled by the “pro-growth” policies of a Republican president and Congress. “Looking ahead. ... I want to continue to work to make sure that as many Americans as possible get to experience this good economy for themselves,” he said in a statement released Friday. “That means working to provide Americans with additional tax relief and tax fairness so they can spend more of their hard-earned money on what’s important to them.”

Suicide Nooses in Cells Prompt ICE Query From Elizabeth Warren, Democrats
Letters come after DHS inspector general found makeshift nooses in detention cells

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is leading a letter to the private companies that run ICE detention facilities. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group of Senate Democrats want the private prison industry to explain whether it is complying with federal standards for housing at ICE immigration detention centers.

Led by Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the senators have written to CoreCivic and GEO group about their housing practices following reports from the inspector general at the Homeland Security Department.

Democrats Start the Party as Jennifer Wexton Flips Virginia Seat
As the results rolled in, Democrats in Dulles snapped pictures of the TV screen

Jennifer Wexton delivers her victory speech on election night after defeating Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., for Virginia's 10th district seat on Tuesday, Nov. 6. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

DULLES, Va. — Hundreds of energetic Democrats spilled into the ballroom where Jennifer Wexton is holding her election night party in Virginia’s 10th District.

It turned into a victory celebration even faster than many had hoped. CNN declared it a win for Wexton well before 8 p.m., projecting she would unseat Rep. Barbara Comstock in one of the first red-to-blue flips of the night as Democrats aim to take back the House.