John Barrasso

Despite Rancor On Tariffs, Senate GOP Rejects Legislative Response
What started off as a war cry has been reduced to a whimper

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says nullifying tariffs on imported steel and aluminum imposed by the president isn't in the cards for his chamber. Also pictured, from right, South Dakota Sen. John Thune and Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans, after decrying President Donald Trump’s recently announced tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, have no plans to pursue legislation to block them from going into effect.

“The thought that the president would undo action he’s taken strikes me as remote at best and I’d like to use floor time in the Senate for things that actually have a chance to become law,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Tuesday. “I think it’s highly unlikely we’ll be dealing with that in a legislative way.”

Photos of the Week: Graham Lies in Honor, Gun Control Bills and #Windmageddon
The week of Feb. 26 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

A Secret Service uniformed officer uses his foot to stop a trash can lid as it blows down Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House during the high winds warning in Washington on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A powerful storm hit the East Coast on Friday causing wind advisories and debris to fly around the White House and the Capitol Building.

Earlier in the week, the House canceled votes on Wednesday and Thursday as Rev. Billy Graham, a prominent religious leader and adviser to 12 consecutive U.S. presidents, was lying in honor. He died Feb. 21 at the age of 99. 

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
Reading with your office dog, Windmageddon 2018, and Warner to appear on Colbert’s show

UTransportation Secretary Elaine Chao greets Chairman John Barrasso, R-Wyo., before a Senate Environment and Public Works Senate Committee hearing on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

Senators Rebuke GSA, FBI Over Handling of FBI Headquarters
Abrupt abandonment of years-long process to relocate miffs lawmakers

The front of the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building on Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican and Democratic senators on Wednesday blasted the General Services Administration and the FBI over costs, press leaks and changes in security requirements in its redrawn plan for a new FBI headquarters.

Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barrasso complained at a hearing that senators learned of the GSA’s abrupt cancellation of a previous FBI plan last year through press reports rather than from the agencies. He also cited the missed deadlines on that plan, which had been more than a decade in the making.

Trump Again Criticizes Police Over Florida School Massacre
President: I would have confronted gunman ‘even if I didn’t have a weapon‘

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., speaks with President Donald Trump as they arrive for the Senate Republicans’ policy lunch in the Capitol on Oct. 24. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump again on Monday criticized Florida law enforcement officers who did not enter the Parkland high school where a 19-year-old gunman killed 17 people earlier this month.

“I really believe I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon,” the president told a group of Republican and Democratic governors during a summit on a range of issues at the White House. He called it “disgusting” that a handful of officers who responded to the shooting quickly did not immediately storm the school.

Maryland Democrats Blast FBI HQ Plan
Cardin, Hoyer concerned about effort to put new FBI building at current location

Maryland lawmakers are criticizing the GSA and FBI plan to rebuild the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building on its current site. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Trump administration’s proposal to keep the FBI headquarters adjacent to the president’s hotel complex in downtown D.C., has raised the ire of Maryland lawmakers.

“Throughout the Bush and Obama Administrations, the FBI and GSA repeatedly told Congress that the FBI needs a new, fully consolidated headquarters, going so far as to stress the need for selecting a new site because the existing location does not allow the FBI to consolidate the almost 11,000 headquarters employees into one facility,” House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer said in a statement

White House to Pull Nominee to Head Environment Council
Kathleen Hartnett White has history of rejecting climate change science

The White House is withdrawing the nomination of Texas climate change science skeptic Kathleen Hartnett White. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House will withdraw the nomination of Kathleen Hartnett White, the former Texas environmental official tapped to lead the Council on Environmental Quality, a White House official said Sunday.

The Washington Post first reported the planned withdrawal on Saturday.

Senate Confirms Army Corps Chief
Get-out-of-town vote was overwhelmingly bipartisan

Senators confirmed the new head of the Army Corps of Engineers and then headed home. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate voted 89-1 Thursday to confirm Rickey Dale “R.D.” James to lead the Army Corps of Engineers, which will serve as the chamber’s get-out-of-town vote after a long haul of days that involved the government shutdown over the weekend. 

Earlier in the week, the chamber had expected to approve James by voice vote on Wednesday before a roll call vote on the nomination was scheduled for Thursday afternoon. Afterward, senators headed for the exits. 

Senate PSA: Be Nice or Get Rule 19’d
Sherrod Brown was read the decorum rule, and questioned why

Sen. Sherrod Brown, center, was reminded of decorum rules on Sunday, but questioned why. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate prides itself on being the world’s greatest deliberative body, but that doesn’t mean one can say just anything. In fact, if you say something out of bounds, a colleague can invoke a rule that forces you to sit down and be quiet. 

This dynamic came into focus over the weekend. As shutdown tensions ran high, Rule 19 was pulled out for a fresh reading as a reminder about the chamber’s standards for decorum.

Holds on Energy and Environment Nominees Pile Up — Again
Procedural roadblocks reflect concerns about Trump administration policies

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski says the process for environment-related nominees has become “a little more complicated this year.”

A series of energy- and environment-related nominees are stuck in limbo as procedural roadblocks, or “holds,” pile up over concerns by Republican and Democratic lawmakers about policy implementations by the Trump administration.

The holdups — five announced last week — have almost become a rite of passage for Trump nominees looking to take positions within the Energy Department, Interior Department and the EPA.