rhode island

Senate Appropriations Approves $5M to Pay Interns
New funding approved in the fiscal 2019 Legislative Branch markup

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., has been tackling the issue of paying interns in the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved $5 million Thursday to compensate the chamber’s interns.

Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen teamed up with fellow Democrats Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut, Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, and Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine.

Photos of the Week: A Moose, Some Ducks and a Stanley Cup
The week of June 4 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Caps fans celebrate on G Street NW on Thursday shortly before the Washington Capitals defeated the Vegas Knights 4-3 to capture the team’s first Stanley Cup. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

We’re All Caps at Roll Call this Friday. We captured some of the celebrations Thursday night of the Washington Capitals’ defeat of the Las Vegas Knights to win the Stanley Cup.

Also this week, there were several foodie activities on the Hill, a large moose in the Senate’s Hart Building for the Experience New Hampshire event put on by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and a look at the ducks on the National Mall (if you don’t know the history of the ducks in the nation’s capital, read this and watch this).

Senators Fight Over How to Use Canceled Recess Weeks
Republicans point to judicial nominations and appropriations, Democrats say health care

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., flanked from left by Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Thune, R-S. Dak., and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, speaks to reporters in the Ohio Clock Corridor after the Senate Republicans’ policy lunch on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats and Republicans are facing off for the best way to use their three extra weeks in the “swamp.”

After Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the chamber would remain in session for three weeks in August, both parties put in their two cents on how to best use the extra time. Democrats say focus on health care, while Republicans want to approve more of President Donald Trump’s nominees.

Court Rules for Baker in Same-Sex Wedding Cake Case, Avoids Key Issue
Colorado failed to apply law with neutrality toward religion, 7-2 court decision finds

U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington on Thursday, April 12, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:50 p.m. | The Supreme Court on Monday sided with a Colorado baker who declined to make a cake for a same-sex wedding because of his religious views, ruling that the state’s civil rights commission violated his rights when it did not decide the matter with religious neutrality.

The justices, in a 7-2 opinion, took a narrow approach that avoided the big question — where to draw a line between religious liberty and anti-discrimination laws — that had made it a potentially landmark case on a hotly contested social issue.

Opinion: Liberia the Latest Success Story of UN Peacekeepers
Supporting the United Nations’ efforts across the globe has many benefits

A U.N. peacekeeper prepares a truckload of Ebola relief aid in 2014 in Harbel, Liberia. The presence of U.N. forces helped stabilize Liberia after civil war, Kinzinger and Cicilline write. (John Moore/Getty Images file photo)

On March 30, peacekeepers from the United Nations lowered their flag in Liberia, ending a 15-year mission to stabilize the country after its vicious civil war. The end of the United Nations Mission in Liberia is one indication of the positive transitions happening in the West African nation and the real potential for a lasting peace.

The brutal history of Liberia’s power struggle is well-known to the world, and it has become a lesson on resilience. For decades, Liberians have been oppressed by brutal warlords and violent factions within the once-democratic government. Following the Cold War, the country became infamous for its child soldiers and wars that left 250,000 dead and millions of people displaced.

Criminal Justice Overhaul Efforts Appear Stuck
House and Senate Judiciary panels have taken different approaches

New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries says he expects criminal justice legislation to hit the House floor in the next few weeks with bipartisan support. But the Senate appears to have decided on a different course. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House action on a criminal justice overhaul bill this week appears to have done little to change the political dynamic in the Senate that makes it unlikely Congress will act on the issue this year.

The House Judiciary Committee advanced legislation on Wednesday that aims to prepare federal prisoners for release so they are less likely to commit another crime. A co-author of the bill, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, said in an interview Thursday he expected the measure would hit the House floor “in the next few weeks, and we’ll have strong bipartisan support.”

Gina Haspel Performs Well but Raises More Questions During Hearing
Suggests she has handled declassification decisions about her own background

Gina Haspel, nominee to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency, is sworn in before testifying during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Nothing Gina Haspel said during the open portion of her Senate confirmation hearing seemed likely to derail her nomination to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, and she picked up some needed Democratic support along the way. 

Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, who serves on the Intelligence panel, was the first Democrat out of the gate to support Haspel.

Trump Calls for Sen. Tester’s Resignation Over VA Nominee Saga
Navy admiral may still face review of allegations

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., attends a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on Nov. 1. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump escalated his feud with Democratic Sen. Jon Tester on Saturday morning, using a tweet to call for the Veterans Affairs Committee ranking member to resign.

The Montana senator on Wednesday made public allegations from whistleblowers against Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, Trump’s military physician and nominee to run the Department of Veterans Affairs, that helped him decide to step aside.

Ratings Changes: Duking It Out in Six Gubernatorial Races
State races could have national impact

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has won three statewide elections, including a recall contest, but his race for a third term is likely to get more competitive, Gonzales writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While most of the national attention is on the fight for Congress and President Donald Trump’s tweets, this year is also huge for gubernatorial races, providing an opportunity for Democrats to bounce back from a couple of disappointing cycles.

Republicans are defending 26 of their 33 governorships this year, while Democrats are defending nine of their 16 governorships. One independent governor in Alaska is up for re-election as well.

Former Coal Lobbyist Confirmed as Pruitt’s Deputy at EPA
Heitkamp and Manchin join Republicans on vote

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt now has a deputy — a former fossil fuel lobbyist — after a Senate confirmation vote Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate has confirmed former fossil fuel lobbyist Andrew Wheeler as deputy EPA administrator, providing a second-in-command for Administrator Scott Pruitt as he struggles amid alleged ethical failings.

Wheeler was confirmed Thursday with a 53-45 vote. Some Democrats hoped Pruitt’s difficulties would give them the votes to block the confirmation, but their efforts were not enough. Democratic Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia joined Republicans in voting for Wheeler. Both are running for re-election this year in states won by President Donald Trump.