Filibuster

Syria, Trump and Congress’ Ever-Eroding War Powers
Lawmakers lukewarm to a force-authorization measure for U.S. missile strike

President Donald Trump and his national security team receive a briefing on April 6 about an air strike he ordered on a Syrian air base. (White House photo)

President Donald Trump has gone to great lengths to break from the policies and approaches of his predecessor. Yet, when it came to justifying a round of U.S. military missile strikes in Syria, the new commander in chief dusted off a legal rationale crafted by Barack Obama’s administration.

Like the 44th president, Trump contended that the Constitution vests in the office of the presidency enough war powers to carry out some isolated military operations without lawmakers’ approval.

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.

Maine’s Susan Collins Weighing 2018 Gubernatorial Bid
The four-term senator is considering where she can do ‘the most good’

Maine Sen. Susan Collins may run for governor in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File photo)

There’s been no shortage of speculation that Maine Sen. Susan Collins would run for governor in 2018. But she addressed the subject head-on in an interview with WGAN radio Tuesday morning. 

“Let me say that I am looking at where I can do the most good for the people of Maine,” said Collins, according to a report in the Portland Press Herald. “In the Senate I now have significant seniority and that allows me to do a lot,” she said. 

Opinion: Trump Is Paying Back Corporations by Wiping Out Regulations
11 protections have been lost through CRA resolutions so far

More than 80 days into his administration, the CRA resolutions are the only legislation of consequence that President Donald Trump has signed, Gilbert writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If many of President Donald Trump’s proposals become law, regular Americans — including many diehard Trump supporters — have a great deal to lose.

In the past month, this has been illustrated most clearly through Trump’s health care plan and his proposed budget, both of which would harm regular Americans to pay back the Republicans’ benefactors and corporate cronies.

Opinion: Would Trump Nuke Congressional Budget Rules?
They could stand in the way of president’s infrastructure plans

President Donald Trump may feel that he has the credibility to shatter the Republican consensus on budgetary issues now that his nominee has joined the Supreme Court, Walter Shapiro writes. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If real life resembled apocalyptic 1950s movies, the triggering of the nuclear option would have left a radioactive cloud all over North America and Europe. And the remnants of humanity would be hunkering down in Australia, calculating how long it would take for the deadly wind currents to reach that far south.

Instead, when the Senate went nuclear, Neil Gorsuch was elevated to the Supreme Court and Congress went home for recess without needing Geiger counters or fallout shelters. In fact, amid the thrill-a-minute gyrations of the Donald Trump White House, the nuclear option is already half-forgotten as all punditry is now raining down on the cruise missile strike in Syria.

Tense Senate Confirms Gorsuch to Supreme Court
Colorado jurist will restore conservative tilt as Scalia replacement

Neil Gorsuch is the next associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 1:41 p.m. | The Senate confirmed Judge Neil Gorsuch as the next Supreme Court justice on Friday on a mostly party-line vote, 54-45. Democrats Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana joined all Republicans present in voting to confirm. Republican Johnny Isakson of Georgia did not vote.

Gorsuch was supported by the fewest number of senators since Justice Clarence Thomas was confirmed in 1991 on a 52-48 vote. 

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.

Senate GOP Deploys ‘Nuclear Option’ for Supreme Court
Move allows Judge Neil Gorsuch to be confirmed by simple majority

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

The Senate took another step Thursday toward doing away with centuries-old traditions that have distinguished it from virtually every other legislative body in the world. 

Senate Republicans moved forward with invoking the “nuclear option” Thursday to make it so a simple majority of senators can confirm any future Supreme Court justice.