Delaware

Senate Democrats Look to Make Their Mark on Foreign Policy
With Obama no longer in the White House, minority party is stepping up

Maryland Sen. Benjamin L. Cardinsays there’s no shortage of foreign policy leaders among Senate Democrats. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Democrats are not shying away from criticizing the Trump administration when it comes to foreign policy.

It’s a new and potentially adversarial role: being in the minority while explosive headlines from conflicts abroad dominate the news.

Rising Stars 2017: Advocates
On the front lines in a new era

Seven advocates made the CQ Roll Call’s list of Rising Stars of 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

All this week, CQ Roll Call has been looking at 17 Rising Stars of 2017 — people who will now wield power and influence in a Washington that has been turned upside down by the presidency of Donald Trump.

Some of the names are familiar, others have recently burst on the scene. They include members of Congress, congressional and administration staffers, and advocates.

To Save Millions, Military Grounds Planes Worth Billions
Economics ‘upside down’, expert says

The Air Force has grounded part of its fleet of C-5 Galaxy transport planes. (Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)

The Air Force has grounded a big portion of its newly refurbished, multibillion-dollar fleet of C-5 Galaxy transport planes, just to avoid spending the relatively small amount of money it costs to fly them. 

In order to save $60 million in annual operating costs, the Air Force has since fiscal 2015 placed eight of its top-of-the-line C-5s in “backup aircraft inventory” status, even though they are needed to ferry troops and gear around the world, said Gen. Carlton Everhart, the four-star chief of Air Mobility Command.

Senators Look to Move Past Nuclear Option
Bipartisanship touted when they return from recess

Maine Sen. Susan Collins said lawmakers should move on to an issue with bipartisan support, such as improving infrastructure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senators are getting some time away from the nation’s capital for the next week and half, following a tense battle over the Supreme Court. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell invoked the so-called nuclear option last Thursday to effectively change the Senate rules and lower the threshold for ending debate on high court nominees. While the move raised questions about whether the chamber had reached a partisan point of no return, senators were hopeful they could still come together on other issues.

Hill Frustrated by Trump Administration’s Lack of Long-Term Syria Plan
Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker: ‘I wish we were further along’

Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, an Armed Services member, said Friday he wishes the Trump administration was closer to having a long-term Syria plan after launching an airstrike there Thursday night. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senior Trump administration officials did not disclose to lawmakers any long-term plans for dealing with Syrian strongman Bashar Assad or the years-old conflict in his country, further complicating President Donald Trump’s relationship with Congress.

Republican and Democratic senators expressed surprise and frustration, after a classified briefing Friday, that the new president and his team have no strategy for what comes next, following a Trump-ordered Tomahawk missile strike on a Syrian air base in response to a reported Assad government chemical attack that killed dozens of the country’s own civilians.

Don’t Expect Military Force Authorization for Syria Soon
Lawmakers want a plan from the president

Kaine said the strikes in Syria were unlawful, and has argued that military force be approved by Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin walked into the closed-door briefing on military strikes in Syria, with a joint resolution in his hand.

“I’m going to see what part of this still applies, and I think a lot of it still does,” the Illinois Democrat said as he entered the secure briefing room in the Capitol on Friday where Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was addressing senators.

Photos of the Week: Senate Goes Nuclear to Confirm Gorsuch
The week of April 3 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gives a thumbs-up on Thursday after the Senate invoked the "nuclear option" which will allow for a simple majority vote to confirm a Supreme Court justice nominee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The consideration of Neil Gorsuch to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court was front and center all week on Capitol Hill. The final vote for confirmation took place Friday morning, with Vice President Mike Pence presiding over the Senate, but the lead-up had more fireworks — with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell invoking the “nuclear option” on Thursday to lower the threshold of cloture votes needed, effectively clearing the way for Gorsuch’s approval. 

Nuclear Option Deployed in Quiet Senate Chamber
Gravity of situation tempers reactions amid historic moment

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gives a thumbs-up on Thursday after the Senate invoked the "nuclear option" to allow for a simple majority vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Thursday was a day for the Senate history books, but the ultimate change of the chamber’s rules for ending debate on Supreme Court justices was met with a quiet resignation.

Just after 12:30 p.m., the Senate clerk read the tally: 52 in the negative, 48 in the affirmative, overruling the presiding officer’s ruling that cloture, or ending debate, on Supreme Court justices required 60 votes.

The Bipartisan Effort to Make Senate History
Lack of Senate retirements could be unprecedented

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein appears more likely to run for a fifth full term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For all of the moaning and groaning about Washington being dysfunctional, members of Congress aren’t exactly tripping over each other to get out of town.

So far, all of the Republican and Democratic senators up for re-election this cycle seem intent on seeking another term. And if that trend continues, it would be historic. 

Senate LGBT Staff Group Provides Bipartisan Professional Development
GLASS caucus prioritizes being a safe space for its members

The Senate GLASS Caucus board. Back row left to right: Robert Curis, Mario Semiglia, Trelaine Ito, Russell Page. Front row left to right: Peter Narby, Tré Easton, Caitlin Hart, Andrew Shine, Michelle Mittler. (Photo courtesy of the Senate GLASS Caucus)

The Senate GLASS Caucus was created to provide a safe space for staffers on Capitol Hill who might still feel uncomfortable about being openly gay in their offices.

The caucus’ co-chairmen this year are Caitlin Hart, legislative correspondent for Florida Democrat Bill Nelson, and Andrew Shine, legislative correspondent for Delaware Democrat Thomas R. Carper.