Lisa Murkowski

Trump judicial pick blows off Democrats’ questions on Ukraine
An appeals court nominee has ignored a request from Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, but still advances

Steven J. Menashi during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on  September 11, 2019. He refused to answer questions on Ukraine, but his nomination was advanced to the Senate floor anyway.  (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

An appeals court nominee has ignored a request from Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee to say whether he played a role in White House events now at the heart of the accelerating House impeachment probe — and Republicans haven’t let that halt his move through the confirmation process.

The committee voted 12-10 along party lines Thursday to advance the nomination of Steven Menashi, who works in the White House counsel’s office. President Donald Trump picked him for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit based in New York.

Manchin backs FERC nominee despite Schumer’s opposition
W.Va. Democrat’s support should all but clear the way for a precedent-breaking confirmation

Senate Energy and Natural Resources ranking member Joe Manchin has said he will support the nomination of James Danly to fill a vacant Republican seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Energy and Natural Resources ranking Democrat Joe Manchin III said he will support President Donald Trump’s pick to fill a vacant Republican seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission even though the White House has yet to nominate a member for a vacant Democratic seat.

The West Virginia senator’s support should all but clear the way for a precedent-breaking confirmation, despite opposition from Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer.

Vulnerable GOP senators back Graham impeachment resolution
Condemnation of Democrats’ process signals strategy for 2020 hopefuls as probe continues

Sen. Lindsey Graham introduced a resolution condemning the House’s impeachment probe. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican senators who could be vulnerable in next year’s elections, including some who have declined to say whether it would be appropriate for a president to use U.S. aid to get political favors from a foreign leader, have signed on to a measure condemning the House impeachment process.

Their support for a resolution introduced in the Senate on Thursday by South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shows the GOP is rallying behind criticism of Democrats’ tactics as a way to blunt questions about President Donald Trump’s behavior.

Impeachment news roundup: Oct. 25
Federal judge affirms legality of House impeachment inquiry, despite process complaints from GOP

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Justice Department to provide the House Judiciary Committee with materials from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and affirmed the House impeachment probe's legality. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats scored a key victory on Friday when a federal judge ordered the Justice Department to deliver to the House Judiciary Committee all redacted materials, including grand jury documents, from Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation and in the process affirmed the legality of the House impeachment probe into President Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, three Republican senators are still holding out on endorsing South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham’s resolution condemning how the House is conducting its inquiry.

A portrait unveiling for ‘Alaskan of the century,’ Uncle Ted Stevens
Senators reminisce about the late Alaska senator and his legendary salmon fishing trips

Catherine Stevens, far left, the widow of the late Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, attends the portrait unveiling for the senator, with family members, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., right, and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., second right, in the Old Senate Chamber on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Some senators are better fishermen than others.

When senior lawmakers gathered with many of their former colleagues to unveil the leadership portrait of former Senate President Pro Tempore Ted Stevens on Wednesday, it was inevitable that there would be plenty of discussion of the legendary salmon fishing trips hosted by the late Republican from Alaska.

Some Republicans inch closer to Trump impeachment after Mulvaney comments
Possible support for the ongoing probe comes as 2016 presidential candidate Kasich supports impeachment outright

Florida Rep. Francis Rooney, who is weighing retiring from Congress, has broken with his Republican colleagues on impeachment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Several Republicans grew more receptive this week to the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump after acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on Thursday said in a televised briefing that seeking help to investigate Democrats was part of the reason military aid to Ukraine was temporarily withheld.

While Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill have signaled they’re eager to learn more from the impeachment investigation led by House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff, 2016 GOP presidential candidate and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Friday that he is “across the Rubicon” and Trump should be impeached.

House, Senate appropriators talking despite impeachment calls
Senate appropriators have begun early talks with House counterparts on next year’s spending bills, despite an impeachment inquiry

Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., right, and Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., prepare for a Senate Appropriations Committee markup on June 19, 2019. Senate appropriators have vowed to press on with next year's spending bills as a formal impeachment inquiry begins in the House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Impeachment inquiry? We’ve still got spending bills to pass.

That’s the attitude of top Senate appropriators, who have begun preliminary talks with their House counterparts about a possible path forward for next year’s spending bills, in advance of formal conference negotiations.

As House passes Arctic drilling ban, Interior goes the other way
Trump administration moves to open part of sensitive area to drilling, a win for Alaska Republicans

A pair of moose are seen near the Sheenjek River in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. (Alexis Bonogofsky/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

The Interior Department and the House are moving in different directions on Arctic drilling.

Hours after the House voted 225-193 to block oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the agency said it was moving to open a portion of the area to drilling.

House takes aim at Trump’s drilling plan with three bills
Bills would block offshore exploration in parts of the Gulf of Mexico, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and the Pacific and Atlantic coasts

A surfer rides a wave at the Huntington Beach pier with an oil rig and Catalina Island in the background in Huntington Beach, CA in 2018 (Photo by Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

Lawmakers from both parties evoked the memory of the 2010 BP oil spill Tuesday to drum up support for a trio of House bills that would hamper offshore drilling and President Donald Trump's energy agenda. 

The House is expected to vote Wednesday and Thursday on three bipartisan bills that would block exploration in parts of the Gulf of Mexico, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.

For spending bills, now comes the hard part
Both chambers need to reach agreement before Sept. 30 to avoid a repeat of the 35-day partial government shutdown

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, Homeland Security Appropriations chairwoman, said that getting her committee’s spending bill enacted will be ‘difficult.’ (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congressional leaders and the Trump administration proved last week that they can work together by reaching an agreement to avoid default on the nation’s financial obligations and prevent $125 billion in spending cuts that could disrupt the longest U.S. economic expansion on record.

Assuming the House-passed budget pact is cleared by the Senate this week and signed into law, lawmakers still have their work cut out for them.