Filibuster

Trump’s federal judge pace matches recent presidents — but with a big twist
Incumbent has stressed putting conservatives in legal realm’s ‘big leagues,’ expert says

At federal judicial buildings like Washington’s E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse, Trump-nominated judges have given the federal judiciary a conservative bent. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In what the White House, Republican senators and right-leaning organizations hailed as a major milestone, President Donald Trump last week saw his 100th judicial nominee confirmed by the Senate.

But his record of getting federal judges confirmed is largely in line with his most recent predecessors, even if he’s been more successful in elevating nominees to the influential appellate courts.

Former congressional pages: Bring back scandal-plagued program
It wasn’t always easy, but alums say the House page program deserves a second life

Former page Connie “Cricket” Kuhlman of Pennsylvania hugs Jim Oliver, a former page supervisor, in the Longworth Building office of Rep. Joe Wilson, where pages gathered to kick off their 40th-anniversary weekend on Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Joint sessions. The birth of C-SPAN. Robert Byrd playing his fiddle during a filibuster. The awe they felt the first time they walked on the House floor. It all adds up to what alumni of the Capitol page program call a life-altering experience.

But many teenage political junkies won’t get that experience today, thanks to technological changes and sexual misconduct scandals. The House, which accounted for the largest share of pages, shuttered its program in August 2011.

‘Medicare for All’ keeps defining 2020 political landscape
Progressive health care plan could become point of contention as campaign heats up

From left, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., at an event Wednesday to introduce the “Medicare for All Act of 2019.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The “Medicare for All” bill that presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders released Wednesday is more likely to be litigated on the campaign trail than in the halls of Congress. And it highlights a rare political divide among Democrats on one of their marquee issues even as the party seeks to appear unified.

Supporters of the Vermont independent are vying with Democrats who prefer to expand and protect the 2010 health care law. Those differences have recently been overshadowed by larger fights between the two parties after the Trump administration broadened its position in a high-profile lawsuit by calling to strike down the entire 2010 law.

Here’s why the Senate went nuclear for district judge nominations
Senate Republicans cut debate limits on nominees from 30 hours to two

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says Senate Democrats are engaging in obstructionism, making rules changes necessary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate voted last week to change the body's debate rules and further speed up the confirmation of the president's picks for district court judges.

Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cited what he called the Democrats’ “systematic obstruction” of the president's nominees as the reason for the change. Previously, district court nominees had taken a backseat as Senate Republicans pushed to get President Donald Trump’s circuit court picks through.

Elizabeth Warren: Eliminate Senate filibusters if a future GOP minority stops the Democratic agenda
2020 presidential hopeful says Mitch McConnell should not be allowed to block legislation

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., center, listens to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address in February, seated behind, from left,  Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan, Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh. (Doug Mills/The New York Times/pool file photo)

Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren is ready to say that if a future Republican Senate minority were to try to thwart her agenda, it will be time to get rid of the filibuster.

“I’m not running for president just to talk about making real, structural change. I’m serious about getting it done. And part of getting it done means waking up to the reality of the United States Senate,” the Massachusetts Democratic senator is expected to say Friday.

‘Nuclear’ fallout in Senate might take some time to register
Democrats show no immediate signs they are contemplating retaliation

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., decried the erosion of senators’ influence and ability to serve as advocates for their states in the latest move to alter the rules of Senate debate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate’s Geiger counters hardly registered Wednesday afternoon after the most recent deployments of the “nuclear option” to speed up confirmation of President Donald Trump’s nominees, although the long-term effects on the institution may very well be significant. 

The first nominee considered, Jeffrey Kessler to be an assistant secretary of Commerce, was ultimately confirmed by voice vote after the two hours of post-cloture debate allowed under the new process was declared expired.

Senate goes nuclear again, speeding up Donald Trump’s nominations
GOP senators voted Wednesday to effectively change the rules by setting a new precedent on debate time

Wednesday’s procedural moves by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, right, drastically cut the amount of debate time for many judicial and executive nominees. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans moved ahead with deploying the “nuclear option” again Wednesday, this time following through on an effort to cut down on debate time for most of President Donald Trump’s nominees.

In an exercise that had far less suspense than when then-Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, made the move back in 2013, the Senate voted, 48-51, overturning the ruling of the presiding officer and setting a new precedent declaring that the remaining debate time for Jeffrey Kessler to be an assistant secretary of Commerce was two hours. A “no” vote was to overturn the presiding officer and establish the two-hour limit. 

In prelude to nuclear option, Senate rejects speeding up confirmation of nominees
McConnell now expected to move forward with only Republican support

President Donald Trump alongside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., left, and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., last week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate inched closer Tuesday to Republicans using the “nuclear option” to slash the time for debate on the vast majority of judicial and executive nominations.

Senators blocked, 51-48, an effort by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring up a resolution that would have set a new standing order. The support of 60 senators would have been needed to advance the debate.

2020 Democrats reject GOP call to back Iowa disaster aid
Senate Democrats opposed bid by Chuck Grassley amid dispute about Puerto Rico

Sen. Charles E. Grassley pushed colleagues who are running for president to support disaster aid for Iowa. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic senators running for president in 2020 lined up on Monday to block a GOP disaster aid package that would support the key caucus state of Iowa.

The votes against a move by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to limit debate on a $13.45 billion Republican plan came as part of a broader dispute between President Donald Trump and Democratic lawmakers over assistance for Puerto Rico’s recovery.

Cory Booker explains why he is a reluctant filibuster warrior
The Democratic presidential hopeful might prefer to use budget reconciliation

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Presidential candidate and Sen. Cory Booker may have inched toward supporting elimination of the legislative filibuster, but the New Jersey Democrat shouldn’t expect the questions to stop.

In an interview for Wednesday’s episode of the “Pod Save America” podcast, Booker expanded on his long-held reservations about changing the Senate rules allowing contentious legislation to advance without needing 60 votes to get past procedural hurdles.