Richard J Durbin

Senators Keeping Hope — and ‘Regular Order’ — Alive
That immigration debate hasn’t derailed spending may be cause for optimism

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby and Sen. Roy Blunt are among the lawmakers trying to keep the Senate’s productive streak alive. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Does the Senate’s sudden appetite for “regular order” have any chance of continuing through the summer, particularly when it comes to writing spending bills?

“One only hopes,” Sen. Lindsey Graham said. “Appropriators seem to be able to get along better than other people.”

Trump Hits FBI, Defends N.Korea Summit in Wild Driveway Scene
President: Without Singapore summit, ‘you’re going to have nuclear war’

U.S. President Donald Trump crosses the South Lawn after arriving at the White House on May 5, 2018, in Washington, D.C. (Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump suggested Friday outside the White House that former FBI Director James B. Comey should be jailed and his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un averted “nuclear war.”

Trump broke with decades of protocol and ventured out to the executive mansion’s North Lawn to do a live interview with Fox News. He stayed outside with Secret Service agents scanning nearby Pennsylvania Avenue and Lafayette Park for nearly an hour, taking a half hour of questions from a Fox anchor then another 30 minutes of questions from White House correspondents.

DOJ Watchdog Report on Comey Stirs Politics on Hill
Sessions calls report an opportunity to learn from past mistakes

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies during a Senate Select Intelligence Committee hearing on Thursday. On Friday, President Trump declared feeling “total and complete vindication.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Even before the results of an internal Justice Department probe were released Thursday, that report into former FBI Director James Comey’s actions during the 2016 presidential campaign had reopened deep political divisions and fueled fresh questions about congressional oversight of the agency’s work.

That’s unlikely to change during the upcoming week of hearings and headlines on Capitol Hill about the watchdog’s report, starting with a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing slated for Monday and another before the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees set for Tuesday.

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.

‘Beast’ Mode: Democrats Worry Kim Is Playing Trump
GOP is willing to give him time, but Dems see ‘unprepared’ president

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un participate in a signing ceremony during a Tuesday meeting on Sentosa Island in Singapore. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Kim Jong Un peered inside as a Secret Service agent held open a door of “The Beast,” President Donald Trump’s heavily armored limousine. The surreal moment left some lawmakers speechless, with Democrats saying it showed Trump was too conciliatory toward the North Korean leader during their historic summit.

Trump and Kim wrapped their Singapore summit by signing a preliminary nuclear agreement Tuesday that is as sweeping as it is vague. It expresses the United States is “committed” to providing unspecified security assurances to the North and that Kim “reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

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.

Memorial Day Means a Gas Price Event at Congressional Exxon
Schumer-led effort calls on Trump to push OPEC, oil executives to slash prices

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and Sen. Maria Cantwell were among the Democrats at an Exxon station at Massachusetts Avenue and Second Street Northeast on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

With Memorial Day weekend and summer driving season approaching, it was time once again for lawmakers to descend on a familiar Capitol Hill landmark.

This time, it was Senate Democrats making the pilgrimage to the Exxon station at the corner of Second Street and Massachusetts Avenue Northeast to decry policies behind rising gas prices.

Congress Doesn’t Report Diversity Because It Doesn’t Have to
While federal agencies must report the diversity of their employees, there is no such requirement of Congress

Kemba Hendrix, director of the House Democrats’ Diversity Initiative, took on her role in November. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 10:30 a.m. with figures for House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer’s staff | If you ask a House or Senate office to break down the diversity of its staff, chances are it won’t. Because it doesn’t have to.

While the executive branch has to provide data on the racial and ethnic makeup of its staff for the public record, there is no rule mandating that congressional offices do the same.

Appropriations Vs. Judges: Battle for Senate Floor Time Nears
White House, senators apply pressure on summer recess

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has been upfront about his wish to approve nominations and consider appropriations bills on the floor this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Nominations and spending bills — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s twin top priorities this summer — are on a collision course given the scarcity of floor time.

The Kentucky Republican has made confirming conservative judges a core mission this year. He’s also told appropriators he wants the Senate to move back toward real floor debate on spending bills, including amendments, while avoiding another massive year-end pileup with another 12-bill omnibus President Donald Trump said he won’t sign.