Lisa Murkowski

Senators look to clear legislative decks before impeachment trial
Notice requirements could give just enough time

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., speaks to the media following the Senate Democrats’ policy lunch on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate appears set to try to clear the decks of pending legislative business before diving into the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

That could include delivering a big policy victory to the president on trade.

Impeachment news roundup: Jan. 14
House committees release trove of new documents produced by Lev Parnas

Speaker Nancy Pelosi departs from Tuesday’s Democratic Caucus meeting with House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

House committees investigating President Donald Trump as part of the impeachment process released a trove of documents Tuesday night including phone records, documents and materials produced by Lev Parnas, an associate of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.

The evidence the committees released showed Parnas was a key figure, as other witnesses testified, in working with Giuliani to try to get Ukraine to open the investigations Trump wanted.

Impeachment trial could sideline Iran war powers debate
Confusion about calendar abounds

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives for the weekly Senate Republican policy lunch Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The confluence of a pending impeachment trial and the potential for military conflict with Iran has left senators with unusual anxiety and a lack of control over their own calendars.

Normally, a privileged resolution under the War Powers Act seeking to stop President Donald Trump from launching a war against Iran would take precedence over other Senate business — and a floor debate and vote would be expected as early as next week.

Lawmakers urge Supreme Court to reexamine abortion decisions
Mostly Republican group targets Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood v. Casey

More than 200 lawmakers, almost all of whom are Republican, want the Supreme Court to strike down landmark cases upholding abortion rights. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Over 200 lawmakers, mostly Republicans, filed an amicus brief Thursday urging the Supreme Court to upend the precedents set by two landmark abortion rights cases, elevating abortion as a campaign issue ahead of this fall’s elections.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on March 4 in June Medical Services v. Gee, a case over a 2014 Louisiana law that requires physicians who offer abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital within 30 miles. Abortion rights advocates argue that the restrictions are burdensome and would cause most doctors to stop performing abortions.

At the Races: New year, same politics

By Bridget Bowman, Stephanie Akin and Simone Pathé 

Welcome to At the Races! Each week we’ll bring you news and analysis from the CQ Roll Call team that will keep you informed about the 2020 election. Know someone who’d like to get this newsletter? They can subscribe here.

Mar-a-Limbo: With Senate trial on hold, Trump faces uncertainty during Florida vacation
Despite likely acquittal, presidential scholars see an executive office likely changed forever

President Donald Trump arrives on the South Lawn of the White House before speaking to members of the media in Washington on Oct. 10. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Foreign aid rider tangles up final spending talks
The White House is concerned the rider could cut out faith-based aid groups from USAID contracts

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., listens during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday. Shaheen says her amendment, creating concerns for the White House in year-end spending talks, has nothing to do with funding abortions. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Urged on by anti-abortion activists and religious groups, the White House is raising concerns in year-end spending talks about language secured by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., in the Senate’s State-Foreign Operations bill they fear could cut out faith-based aid groups from U.S. Agency for International Development contracts.

Shaheen argues the provision in the bill would simply require USAID contractors to adhere to current law, which stipulates they can’t deny services to individuals based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, political affiliation or other factors.

Senate confirms Brouillette to succeed Perry as Energy secretary
Republican donor and former business executive will take over one of the most technically complicated departments in the federal bureaucracy

Brouillette before his confirmation hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Nov. 14. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate voted 70-15 Monday evening to confirm Dan Brouillette to succeed Rick Perry as Energy secretary. 

President Donald Trump nominated Brouillette, a long-time Republican donor and former business executive for Ford Motor Co. and USAA who worked at DOE during the George W. Bush administration, after Perry said in October he would step down.

FDA nominee to face questions on issues from vaping to salmon
It might be hard for Stephen Hahn to win over Democrats because of a pending White House vaping decision

Stephen Hahn, President Donald Trump’s choice to head the Food and Drug Administration, faces a confirmation hearing on Wednesday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. (Courtesy The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center)

When President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Food and Drug Administration appears for the first time before a Senate panel on Wednesday, he’ll likely face tough questions about some policy issues that he may not have thought much about previously.

While the nominee, Stephen Hahn, is a highly regarded cancer doctor who has helped lead a research hospital with a budget nearly the size of the FDA’s, the confirmation hearing will be a reminder of the breadth of the agency’s work.

Democrats protest, but Senate confirms Steven Menashi to federal appeals court
Nominee for Second Circuit described as ‘bottom crawler’ by Democratic leader

Steven J. Menashi was confirmed to the federal bench on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The man Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer described as a “bottom crawler” was confirmed Thursday to a lifetime appointment on the federal appeals court based in his home state of New York.

Schumer and other Democrats have opposed many of President Donald Trump’s nominees to be federal judges that have been called up for votes by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. But the opposition to Steven J. Menashi has been more voracious than for most.