leadership

Judgment Days for Judicial Nominees
Several factors will affect schedule for Senate confirmation of judges

The Republican president and Senate have a chance to reshape the judicial branch, but several factors will determine how things stack up . (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senators face a lengthy list of President Donald Trump’s judicial picks, but consideration of the nominees could be affected by three significant factors: an extensive backlog of vacancies, Republican leaders’ willingness to continue altering chamber traditions, and the Democrats’ lack of motivation to aid GOP efforts to remake the judiciary.

There are 121 vacancies at the U.S. District Court level and an additional 21 vacancies on federal appeals courts, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

Opinion: The Women in Washington Staying for the Fight
Collins, Feinstein and Pelosi want to keep fighting for their causes

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is among the women in Congress planning to stick around and keep fighting for their causes. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Bob Corker’s leaving the Senate, and who can blame him? At a certain point, life’s just too short to get called “Liddle Bob” on Twitter by anyone, especially by the president of the United States.

But even as Corker announced that he’d retire at the end of his term, two of the Tennessee Republican’s female colleagues decided last week they’re not going anywhere, at least not if they can help it. Both women said while they had considered leaving Washington, the job in the Capitol was too important to walk away from.

Trump, McConnell All Smiles, All the Time
President, majority leader say they are on the same page, despite tension

President Donald Trump, left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., say their relationship is A-OK. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan is ready to cancel Christmas recess to get a tax bill done, but President Donald Trump and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled the effort could slip into next year.

Trump on Monday called his relationship with McConnell “very good” amid reports of tension between the two leaders. During a remarkable and rowdy midday joint press conference in the Rose Garden, Trump declared he and McConnell “are probably now … closer than ever before.

Brady and Ryan Mulling Big Gamble on Key Tax Deduction
State and local tax deduction has its fans among rank and file, though

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady want to repeal the state and local tax deduction, but face resistance from several GOP colleagues in high-tax states. (Chris Maddaloni/Roll Call File Photo)

House Republican leaders face many decisions regarding details of a tax overhaul but perhaps none more immediately consequential than whether to roll the dice and try to eliminate the state and local tax, or SALT, deduction.

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady of Texas and Speaker Paul D. Ryan have made it abundantly clear they’d prefer to get rid of the deduction, which allows taxpayers to deduct what they pay in state and local property taxes and either state income taxes or sales taxes.

‘Call me,’ Trump Tells Democrats After Nixing Obamacare Subsidies
President paints Dems as in pocket of ‘their pet insurance companies’

President Donald Trump speaks on the phone in the Oval Office earlier this year. On Friday morning, he instructed Democrats to call him to talk about a "fix" for Obamacare. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“Call me.”

That was the message early Friday morning from President Donald Trump to Democrats after he drew their ire late Thursday night for canceling health care subsidies they immediately said would drive up insurance premiums.

Pelosi Wants ‘Urgent’ Update on President’s Nuclear Weapons Authority
Minority leader says proposal is about presidential powers, not about Trump

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says the current law guiding the use of nuclear weapons is “ancient.” (Tom Williams/Roll Call)

Status: Urgent.

That’s how House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is categorizing the need to update the law guiding when the president of the United States can use nuclear weapons.

Ryan Threatens to Keep Members in for Christmas to Finish Tax Overhaul
‘I don’t care. We have to get this done,’ speaker says

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said he will keep members in session over Christmas if needed to complete a tax overhaul. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Nothing seems to push lawmakers to get their jobs done and pass legislation more than the threat of having to be in Washington over the holidays. 

Knowing this, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan made it clear Thursday that Congress staying in session over Christmas is an option if they have not advanced a tax overhaul bill by then. 

Why Trump’s Immigration Demands Haven’t Changed the Dynamics on Hill
Prospects for a bipartisan bill were already grim

A sign at an immigration rights protest in from on the White House on Sept. 5 to oppose President Donald Trump’s decision to phase out the DACA program. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

President Donald Trump’s decision to push for his border wall as part of an immigration deal — after previously saying it would be dealt with separately — would, at first glance, seem to lower the probability of a bipartisan accord.

But the prospects were already grim. So Sunday’s release of Trump’s immigration policy priorities caused no major shift in the dynamics on Capitol Hill. 

Feinstein Says Seniority is Key Asset in Navigating Trump Era
California senator tells donors she thought, ‘Maybe I should just walk away’

While some Democrats hoped that California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, left, would retire, she has the support of Kamala Harris, the state’s junior senator. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Donald Trump’s supporters chant for the president, a political outsider, to “drain the swamp,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein has taken a different tone on Washington mainstays.

“Seniority matters,” the five-term Democrat said at a campaign fundraiser Tuesday in Beverly Hills, California, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Democratic Young Guns Take Different Approach to Rebuilding Party
In trip to early voting Iowa, Bustos rebuilds from the bottom, while Ryan and Moulton want to topple the top

Democratic Reps. Cheri Bustos of Illinois, center, and Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, left, get instructions before working the grill during the Polk County Democrats Steak Fry in Des Moines on Sept. 30. (Charlie Neibergall/AP)

DES MOINES, Iowa — Before the Polk County Democratic Party’s steak fry, Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos was trying to give potential candidates the secret sauce for Democrats to win in rural areas.