independents

Supreme Court Nominee Gorsuch’s Hearings to Begin March 20
The judge will face lawmakers on March 21

Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch looks on as Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, speaks to reporters following their meeting in the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley announced Thursday that the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch will begin March 20.

Grassley's office indicated in a statement that the opening statements will take place on Monday, March 20, and Gorsuch will face the committee the following day. The hearings are expected to last three to four days and include testimony from outside experts.

Like Democrats Before Them, GOP Dismisses Town Hall Threat
There’s little data to gauge electoral threat protests pose for 2018

New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen says he’ll be sticking with tele-town halls for the near future. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ask Republican lawmakers about the specter of protests in their districts next week, and they’ll likely shrug off constituent outbursts as “manufactured” or “scripted.” 

The GOP is largely adopting the Democratic posture from the summer of 2009 that angry voices at town halls don’t represent a political threat. That may be true. The question is how Republicans now, and Democrats back then, arrived at that conclusion. 

Wisconsin’s Sean Duffy Will Forgo Senate Bid
Other potential candidates had been waiting on congressman’s decision

Rep. Sean Duffy announced he’s passing on a challenge to Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Update 9:35 a.m. Feb. 16 with Duffy announcement

Wisconsin Rep. Sean P. Duffy announced Thursday he will pass on a run for Senate in 2018.

Congress Split on How to Proceed on Flynn
House, Senate lawmakers differ on probe of former national security adviser

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., center, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., conduct a news conference Wednesday in the Capitol on investigating former national security adviser Michael Flynn. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers who oversee intelligence are struggling with how to investigate reports that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had inappropriate contact with Russian officials and later misled the White House about it.

The top Republican and Democrat on the House Select Intelligence Committee offered dueling perspectives on a path forward on their panel’s probe; Senate Democrats coalesced around a plan with the Intelligence Committee taking the lead, something their GOP colleagues support; Senate Democrats also said the Judiciary Committee could play an investigatory role, and some lawmakers are still sending signals they want an independent commission in on the action.

Senate Democrats Coalesce on Demands for Russia Probe
Minority party hopes public attention forces issue on GOP

Schumer, center, Sen. Mark Warner and Sen. Dianne Feinstein at a news conference on investigating former national security adviser Michael Flynn. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats have laid out their demands for independent investigations into potential contact between Russian officials and members of President Donald Trump’s team, and are hopeful public outcry will force the administration and congressional Republicans to comply.

Democrats held what they called an “emergency” caucus meeting Wednesday to discuss former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s resignation following revelations he discussed sanctions with Russia’s  ambassador to the United States before Trump took office. The meeting also followed a New York Times report that a handful of Trump officials had been in contact with Russian intelligence officers leading up to the presidential election.

For the GOP, a Dangerous Gamble on the All-Important Town Hall
Old-school constituent connections work best, but the anger is proving tough to withstand

Police escort California Rep. Tom McClintock through a town-hall audience in Roseville, California, last Saturday. (Randall Benton/The Sacramento Bee via AP)

Consider 10 and 19 as two more figures that help illustrate the risky congressional Republican strategies of passivity, defensiveness and avoidance during the first month of the Trump administration.

Ten is the total number of GOP lawmakers who have town hall meetings scheduled next week, the longest period Congress will be back home since the inauguration.  

No Party Line for GOP on Flynn Fallout
Members left to guess about next steps in inquiry

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks with reporters as he heads to a briefing in the Capitol Visitor Center on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans were swarmed on Tuesday with questions about what President Donald Trump knew and when did he know about former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s questionable interactions with Russian authorities. But there was little consensus on the best venue for getting to the bottom of it.

“I think it’s good for the American people to understand, in a fulsome way, everything that’s happened. And to get it behind us,” Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker said. “This is going to go on forever if we don’t address it somehow.”

Democrats Want Probe of ‘Unfit’ Flynn’s Russia Ties
Cummings, Conyers want Justice briefing before President’s Day holiday recess

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, at podium, and then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at a campaign event at the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Ave., NW, in Washington. On Monday night, Flynn resigned as Trump's national security adviser. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional Democrats are applauding the resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, labeling him “unfit” for the office and calling for the Justice Department to fully disclose his ties to Russia.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called for an “bipartisan, independent, outside commission” to investigate President Donald Trump’s and his administration’s connections with Russia.

Amid Senate Tensions, Hatch Eyes Bipartisan Tax Deal
Utah Republican says House GOP plan will not pass the Senate

Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch says that despite “a lot of bitterness around here,” he plans to meet with Senate Democrats to gauge interest in a bipartisan tax proposal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Utah Sen. Orrin G. Hatch has launched a new push for a bipartisan Senate alternative to the contentious House Republican tax plan, as President Donald Trump begins to frame administration priorities.

The Senate Finance chairman said last week he was meeting with Democratic tax writers one-on-one and hoped there would be leeway for deals, after bitter debates over Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin riled the Senate and exposed deep partisan fault lines.

House Poised to Block D.C. Suicide Law but Senate May Not Act
Oversight committee approves resolution overturning the law

Ohio Rep. Brad Wenstrup introduced the resolution to overturn the District of Columbia’s assisted suicide law. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Monday approved a resolution to overturn a District of Columbia law that would allow doctors to prescribe life-ending drugs to terminally ill patients who request them. The 22-14 vote was the culmination of an emotional markup that pitted Democratic support for local governance against the Republican majority’s assertion of congressional power over D.C. law.

The D.C. law is similar to those in five other states and requires the physician to assert that the patient is mentally competent, along with other safeguards, before the drugs are administered. Mayor Muriel Bowser signed it into law in December after an 11-2 council vote.