Harry Reid

Nuclear Option Looms as Supreme Court Hearings Wrap Up
Senators ready to blame opposing party for any upending of Senate rules

Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch testifies on the second day of his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

With Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings wrapping up, senators will soon confront whether his nomination will upend Senate rules.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not yet said  whether he would move to change Senate rules that currently require 60 votes to end debate on Gorsuch’s nomination. If eight members of the Democratic caucus do not join the 52 Republicans to move the nomination forward, McConnell could move to change the rules, lowering the threshold to a simple majority.

Flashback Friday: Garland Heads to the Senate
One year later, a different nominee is up for confirmation

Garland, right, made his first visit with senators, including Reid, left, one year ago today. Republicans never granted the Supreme Court nominee a hearing. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

On St. Patrick’s Day in 2016, Supreme Court nominee Judge Merrick G. Garland made his first visit to the Senate. But the luck of the Irish wasn’t enough to move his nomination forward. One year later, a different judge is facing a confirmation hearing.

Garland, the chief judge for the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, made his way to the Senate one year ago today, the day after President Barack Obama nominated him to fill the vacancy left by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Warren Taps Reid Aide Orthman as Senior Political Adviser
Massachusetts native will work for home state senator

Kristen Orthman, right, will be a senior adviser to Sen. Elizabeth Warren. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has brought on a top leadership aide to Sen. Harry Reid as a senior adviser to her political operation.

Kristen Orthman, who hails from the Boston suburbs, will be going to work for the Massachusetts Democrat after a run as communications director in the retired Nevada senator’s leadership office, as well as a senior adviser to the Nevada State Democratic Party ahead of the 2016 campaign cycle.

Road to House GOP Health Plan Passage Still Uncertain
Budget Committee considers measure, but changes await

Pence has been a constant presence at the Capitol during the health care debate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

By LINDSEY McPHERSON and REMA RAHMAN CQ Roll Call

Two of the strongest proponents for the House Republican plan to remake the health care system, Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., said Wednesday they were open to changes to secure floor passage.

What’s in a Name? ‘Obamacare’ vs. ‘Trumpcare’ vs. ‘Ryancare’
Politics defines health care plan labeling

Democrats and Republicans tested out their own nomenclature for the GOP’s health care plan on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Hours after House Republicans released their health care plan, GOP and Democratic critics were coming up with their own nicknames for the repeal and replace bill, each of which is riddled with not-so-subtle political messages ahead of next year’s midterm elections.

On the Senate floor Tuesday morning, Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer called the plan “Trumpcare.”

The Regular Order Revue on House GOP Obamacare Bill
Signs from Republicans indicate deviation from transparency promises

Vice President Mike Pence conducts a news conference at the Capitol on Tuesday. Also appearing are, from left, Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado, John Barrasso of Wyoming, John Thune of South Dakota, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republican lawmakers scrambled on Tuesday to explain their health care plan and how they will move it quickly through Congress, but Democrats and even some GOP members accused leaders of rushing through the process and jeopardizing Republican promises to move through regular order.

Lawmakers have one month before they are scheduled to leave for recess on April 7, and GOP leaders hope to pass legislation undoing the 2010 health care law before Congress heads out of town. House committees are marking up the legislation this week, though it’s not clear whether the bill will go through Senate committees or go straight to the Senate floor.

Senate Democrats Adopt Staff Diversity Rules
New rules will increase the diversity in caucus staff, Schumer says

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, center, and Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz have been pushing for more diversity among Senate staff. Also pictured, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Democrats have taken a formal step to codify their push for staff diversity in the Senate. 

Lawmakers approved new conference rules at the Democrats’ policy lunch last Tuesday, which encourage offices to use the NFL’s “Rooney Rule,” the requirement named after the Pittsburgh Steelers’ owner Dan Rooney that teams interview at least one minority candidate for head coaching vacancies. Democratic offices are now formally encouraged to consider at least one minority candidate when interviewing for an open position.

Nevada’s Hill Sway Sinks While Other Small States Surge
New Roll Call Clout Index reveals big disconnects between population and Capitol influence

With the retirement of former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, the Nevada congressional delegation has lost much of its legislative leverage, Hawkings writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Harry Reid may have masterminded one of 2016’s biggest statewide Democratic sweeps as he headed toward retirement, but the Nevada congressional delegation he left behind has lost much of its legislative leverage as a result. 

In fact, only two delegations have less collective influence at the Capitol this year than the six lawmakers from the Silver State, the newest Roll Call Clout Index reveals.

Democrats Cast Wide for Response to Trump Address
Kentucky governor, immigration activist frame minority party debate

Beshear will deliver the Democratic response to the president's address to Congress Tuesday. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Kentucky Gov. Steven Beshear will deliver the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s address to Congress on Tuesday and immigration activist Astrid Silva will deliver the Spanish language response, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced Friday.

Beshear, Kentucky’s governor from 2007 to 2015, presided over one of the 2010 health care law's successes as he implemented the law smoothly, a marked contrast to the debacle of the Healthcare.gov roll out. During his tenure, Beshear expanded affordable health care access by expanding Medicaid and shepherding the insurance exchanges on the state's own health website. His administration is credited with lowering the state’s uninsured rate from more than 20 percent to 7.5 percent.