Idaho

Senate rejects Paul bid to block arms sales to Bahrain, Qatar

A bid by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to block arms sales to Qatar and Bahrain fell short on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate on Thursday rejected a bid by Sen. Rand Paul to block arms sales to Qatar and Bahrain even as senators brace for a more contentious debate next week over proposed weapons exports to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The vote Thursday means the proposed sales — a $3 billion Apache Helicopter package for Qatar and a $750 million munitions package to support Bahrain’s F-16 fleet — can go forward.

Democrats spar with State official over arms sales maneuver

Rep. David Cicilline accused a senior State Department official of gas-lighting Congress in his assertions about why the administration needed to subvert Congress on arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A senior State Department official on Wednesday appeared to blame Democrats for the administration’s decision last month to declare a state of emergency over Iran to avoid congressional review of billions of dollars of weapon sales to Arab Gulf states.

R. Clarke Cooper, assistant secretary of State for political-military affairs, attributed the emergency order to holds placed in spring 2018 by Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Robert Menendez on $2 billion in proposed precision-guided missile sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Menendez, D-N.J., placed the holds in response to the many civilian casualties in the Yemen civil war, in which the two Gulf nations are fighting against Iranian-backed Houthi insurgents.

A paper record for every voter: It’s time for Congress to act
Along with mandatory machine testing, it’s the only way to secure our nation’s democracy

If Congress can pass legislation that requires a paper record for every voter and establishes a mandated security testing program for the people making voting machines, the general public’s faith in the process of casting a ballot can be restored, Burt writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Over the last few years, policymakers, election security experts and voting equipment vendors have examined how we can continually ensure our elections and voting machines remain safe and secure.

Recently, we've seen many lawmakers — from bipartisan members of the Senate Intelligence Committee to presidential candidates — call for reforms to secure the integrity of our elections. When it comes to the machines that count votes and the people who make those machines, there are a few things that must happen to ensure faith in our system of democracy continues.

The 8 Senate races likely to determine control of the chamber
Two in states won by Clinton and six in states that backed Trump

How Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, deals with questions about her support for Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh will likely influence her re-election prospects, and, by extension, control of the Senate, Rothenberg writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — The fight for the Senate starts off with only a handful of seats at risk. And that’s being generous.

A few other states are worth your attention because of their competitiveness or questions about President Donald Trump’s impact, but almost two-thirds of Senate contests this cycle start as “safe” for the incumbent party and are likely to remain that way.

Dingell, McCain honored for lifetime as defenders of Congress and democracy
Congressional Management Foundation honors six others for behind-the-scenes service

The late Arizona Sen. John McCain is the recipient (along with the late Rep. John D. Dingell of Michigan) of lifetime achievement democracy awards from the Congressional Management Foundation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Congressional Management Foundation will honor the late Sen. John McCain and longtime Rep. John D. Dingell, two Capitol Hill legends who died within the past year, with lifetime achievement democracy awards next month.

The nonpartisan group, which has been around since 1977 and says it aims to make Congress more effective, also selected a bipartisan slate of six  lawmakers to honor for such behind-the-scenes efforts as constituent service.

US could be at war by the time Congress returns from recess, Udall says
Democrats force votes on approving war with Iran, but come up short in the Senate

Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., is worried that the United States may be at war with Iran by the time Congress returns from recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats on both sides of Capitol Hill have been forcing votes on President Donald Trump’s military powers this week amid the ratcheting up of tensions with Iran, getting predictably disparate results.

In the latest test, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday turned back a Democrat-led effort to move legislation designed to thwart preemptive military action against Iran.

Iran escalations bring war powers debates back to the Capitol
Sen. Tim Kaine expects debate behind closed doors at the Armed Services Committee

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Jim Risch says President Donald Trump “doesn’t need any more authority than what he’s got” to respond to a potential attack. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)k

A Senate briefing by the Trump administration Tuesday about the escalation in tensions with Iran appears certain to kick off another round of sparring over the president’s war powers.

When asked last week whether President Donald Trump could strike Iran using existing authorities from the authorization for use of military force that was enacted after 9/11, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee reflected on the history of disputes between the executive and legislative branches.

FHFA head sees plan this year to change Fannie, Freddie status
Mark Calabria also wants Congress to act

Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been under federal control since they accepted bailouts in 2008 during the housing market collapse. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria said he hopes to have a roadmap for ending the federal conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by the end of the year.

Speaking at a National Association of Realtors event Tuesday, Calabria said it was his job as FHFA director to develop a plan for recapitalizing and releasing the government-sponsored entities, or GSEs. The two mortgage giants have been under federal control since they accepted bailouts in 2008 in the wake of the housing market collapse.

‘Grimmer by the day’ — Farmers’ love for Trump in peril
President’s trade actions are testing farmers in ways they never imagined

President Donald Trump’s trade actions are testing American farmers in ways they never imagined, Murphy writes, even though that’s exactly what he campaigned on. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — The love affair between President Donald Trump and rural America has always made sense to me.

When I covered the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump often went to remote farm communities where Democrats, and even other Republican candidates, never bothered.

3 things to watch when Trump, GOP senators discuss immigration
Jared Kushner has been WH point person — but Stephen Miller has been Trump’s voice

Sens. David Perdue, R-Ga., and Tom Cotton, R-Ark., will meet with President Donald Trump on Tuesday to discuss immigration. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Perhaps sensing momentum in the post-Mueller report realm, President Donald Trump has summoned a group of Senate Republicans to the White House to talk about overhauling the immigration system.

A small group of GOP senators will meet Tuesday afternoon with Trump and senior White House aides to hear details of a plan administration officials have been cobbling together. Presidential son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner has been the point person in crafting the proposal.