James M Inhofe

House Panel Plans Bipartisan Push Against Trump on Syria
Mac Thornberry, Adam Smith on same page as leaders of Armed Services

House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, is working with Adam Smith, the panel's top Democrat, to push back on President Donald Trump's plan to withdraw from Syria. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans and Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee say they are launching an unusual bipartisan campaign to push back against President Donald Trump’s proposed withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Syria.

Texas Republican Mac Thornberry, the committee’s chairman, and Washington Democrat Adam Smith, the ranking member and likely the new chairman in the next Congress, said in separate interviews Thursday that they will join forces to try to slow or shape, if not stop, the president’s move. It was their first public comments on the issue.

22 Images That Defined 2018 in Congress: Photos of the Year
Roll Call’s photographers captured moments from the halls of Congress to the campaign trail

1. FEBRUARY 7: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks with reporters as she leaves the House chamber in the Capitol after holding her filibuster focusing on DACA for eight-plus hours. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

2018 is wrapping up on the Hill, while uncertainty remains on federal funding for much of the government in fiscal 2019. In short, it’s another year in Congress

Roll Call reviewed its archives from Capitol Hill to Laguna Beach, California (and all the campaigns in between), and picked 22 of our favorite images from the year.

Senate Armed Services Chairman Inhofe Ditches Defense Stocks Under Pressure
Oklahoma Republican’s personal finances handled by third-party adviser, office says

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., has divested from defense contractor Raytheon after a news organization approached him about his recent investment. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Armed Services Chairman James Inhofe has ditched a stock purchase in one of the Pentagon’s leading defense contractors amid pressure from a news organization that was preparing a report on the connection between his official duties and personal finances.

Inhofe’s office distanced the senator from his personal finances, saying in a statement that all of his financial transactions are handled by a third-party adviser.

Trump Loves Space Force. Can He Convince Skeptical Lawmakers?
Congressional authorization required to create new service branch

President Donald Trump wants to create a “Space Force” to defend vulnerable U.S. satellites. (Matt Stroshane/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump may typically communicate via quickly fired, unfiltered tweets, but when he talks about creating a Space Force to defend vulnerable U.S. satellites and other extraterrestrial interests, his language becomes uncharacteristically poetic.

“The essence of the American character is to explore new horizons and to tame new frontiers,” he said in June as he instructed the Defense Department to create this new force. “But our destiny, beyond the Earth, is not only a matter of national identity, but a matter of national security — important for our military, so important.”

Thomas Farr Nomination Likely Sunk After Tim Scott Announces Opposition
Senate had delayed confirmation vote until next week

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., announced his opposition to Thomas Farr’s nomination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Tim Scott has announced his opposition to the nomination of Thomas Farr to a federal judgeship in North Carolina, potentially dooming his confirmation.

“I am ready and willing to support strong candidates for our judicial vacancies that do not have lingering concerns about issues that could affect their decision-making process as a federal judge,” Scott said in a statement reported by The State newspaper. “This week, a Department of Justice memo written under President George H.W. Bush was released that shed new light on Mr. Farr’s activities. This, in turn, created more concerns. Weighing these important factors, this afternoon I concluded that I could not support Mr. Farr’s nomination.”

Vote on Confirming Thomas Farr Delayed, Demonstrating Low Margin of Error for Support
Unexpected absence of one GOP senator punts contentious nomination for now

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., is among the senators who have concerns with the nomination of Thomas Farr to the federal bench. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Despite Senate Republicans’ hopes they would fill it this week, the nation’s oldest judicial vacancy will get a little older after they push consideration of Thomas Farr to be a district judge in North Carolina until next week. The delay also highlighted the degree of opposition to Farr, because it was necessary due to the unexpected absence of one GOP senator.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said Thursday a final vote on the nomination of Thomas Farr to be a federal judge in the Eastern District of North Carolina was postponed because Sen. James M. Inhofe had a death in the family. An aide later clarified it was a family emergency. 

Senators Press Supreme Court to Lift State Uranium Mining Ban
Domestic production at historic low

Republican senators contend that a case about uranium mining before the Supreme Court involves issues that are critical to national security and defense. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Three Republican members of the Senate Armed Services Committee contend that a case now before the Supreme Court could undermine federal policy about uranium and other assets that are critical to national security and defense.

The justices heard arguments Monday in an environmental case about a three-decades-old Virginia law that prevents mining of the largest deposit of uranium in the United States, in Pittsylvania County, in the southwest region of the state.

Ethanol Lobbying Is Up, and It Seems to Be Paying Off
Biofuels groups are spending more this year, and they may soon have summer E15 to show for it

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, holds an ear of corn in 2008. As industry groups have lobbied the Trump administration to rethink the Renewable Fuel Standard, lawmakers in the corn belt have applied pressure too. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Biofuel groups upped their spending on lobbying this year as they pressured lawmakers and the Trump administration on issues related to the Renewable Fuel Standard, which sets minimum volumes of biofuels to be used to power cars and trucks.

Some of those efforts appear to be paying off for now, as the Trump administration has proposed to allow year-round sales of gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol, or E15, which is currently prohibited between June and September. The EPA had argued previously that E15 contributes more to summer smog than the more commonly sold gasoline with 10 percent ethanol.

The Last of the Gingrich Revolutionaries
Come January, the GOP class of 1994 could be down to seven

From left, Reps. Mac Thornberry of Texas, Steve Chabot of Ohio and Walter B. Jones of North Carolina are among the few remaining members of the Class of 1994 still serving in Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photos)

It was nearly 24 years ago that Republicans swept into power in stunning fashion, ending 40 years of Democratic rule in the House.

But those 73 new Republicans who came to the House and 11 who came to the Senate on the 1994 wave engineered by Georgia Republican Newt Gingrich and his “Contract with America” have now dwindled down to a handful, and after this election only seven will likely be left in Congress.

Final Kavanaugh Vote Comes With a Whimper, Not a Bang
Somber mood pervades Senate as Supreme Court nominee is confirmed

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., holds a press conference in the Capitol after the vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the end, for as long, drawn out and acrid as the fight over Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination was, the actual confirmation vote itself was brief, to the point and relatively somber.

Senators, seated to take their votes in the chamber during the rare Saturday session, rose at the calls of their names, saying “yes” and “no.” When Vice President Mike Pence announced the 50-48 vote and that Kavanaugh had been confirmed, he did so flatly, with none of the flourish or emotion that usually comes with such hard-fought victories.