Iowa

Contentious N.C. Judicial Nominee Advances to Senate Floor
Eastern District of North Carolina seat has been open for 12 years

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the nomination of Thomas Farr to be a judge in the Eastern District of North Carolina. (Screenshot C-SPAN)

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday advanced a controversial nominee to fill the longest vacancy in the federal court system as well as a top Justice Department official.

The committee voted 11-9 along party lines to advance Thomas Farr to be a judge in the Eastern District of North Carolina. The spot has been open for 12 years and has long been caught up in the politics of the state and U.S. Senate. Since judicial nominees can’t be filibustered, Democrats don’t have the votes to stop Farr’s lifetime appointment without help from Republicans.

Opinion: Working Around Trump on Issues That Matter
Reaching for compromise, change seekers are tuning out the president

Sens. Charles E. Grassley and Richard J. Durbin sponsored a bipartisan bill that would reduce mandatory sentences for low-level drug offenders. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

The kiss-and-make-up press conference with President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was one of the most awkward dates in the history of, well, dates, as my Roll Call colleague Walter Shapiro pointed out. They need each other, sure, but will tax cuts be the glue to hold intermittent and shaky truces together for any length of time?

Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Rand Paul of Kentucky looked to stay on Trump’s good side over genial rounds of golf, but they’d better not relax. All it takes is a bit of criticism, and the president shows that the loyalty he demands goes only one way. They need not reach all the way back to the personal insults of last year’s GOP primary race for proof.

Bipartisan Tax Bill More Durable, GOP Says After White House Meeting
Toomey sees overlap, but Democrats show little enthusiasm

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, seated left, South Dakota Sen. John Thune, seated center, and Pennsylvania Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, standing center, were among the Finance Committee members who met with President Donald Trump on Wednesday about a tax overhaul bill. Also pictured, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, standing right. (Chris Maddaloni/Roll Call File Photo)

After huddling Wednesday with President Donald Trump and a handful of Democrats, Senate Republican tax writers said an overhaul bill that secures bipartisan support would be more “durable” than a GOP-only path. 

Senate Republicans are moving ahead with plans to ensure a tax bill could pass with as few as 50 GOP votes, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote. But after a White House meeting with Trump and five Senate Finance Committee Democrats, three GOP members on that panel said they agree with the president that a bipartisan bill is preferable.

Trump Twists Judiciary Leaders’ Findings on Comey Actions
President says Clinton ‘not interviewed’ despite July 2016 session with FBI

A school group from Illinois touring the Newseum in Washington pauses in June to watch former FBI Director James Comey testify before senators. President Trump again attacked him Wednesday morning. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump started Wednesday by twisting the findings of two senior Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans, tweeting that Hillary Clinton was among “people not interviewed” by the FBI in an investigation into her use of a private email server as secretary of State.

The FBI released documents Monday that show then-FBI Director James Comey began writing a statement exonerating Clinton before he concluded his investigation. Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., chairman of Judiciary’s Crime and Terrorism subcommittee, first revealed Comey’s actions Aug. 31.

Judgment Days for Judicial Nominees
Several factors will affect schedule for Senate confirmation of judges

The Republican president and Senate have a chance to reshape the judicial branch, but several factors will determine how things stack up . (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senators face a lengthy list of President Donald Trump’s judicial picks, but consideration of the nominees could be affected by three significant factors: an extensive backlog of vacancies, Republican leaders’ willingness to continue altering chamber traditions, and the Democrats’ lack of motivation to aid GOP efforts to remake the judiciary.

There are 121 vacancies at the U.S. District Court level and an additional 21 vacancies on federal appeals courts, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

In Iowa, Heartland Democrats Ask ‘What About the Economy, Stupid?’
But candidates are divided on how populist their messages need to be

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan talks with Heather Ryan (no relation), a Democratic candidate in Iowa’s 3rd District, during a steak fry in Des Moines on Sept. 30. (Charlie Neibergall/AP File Photo)

DES MOINES, Iowa — Democrats in the Midwest know that the way to win back voters in states like Iowa is to talk about the economy, but they’re debating how exactly to do it.

As a state that can make or break presidential campaignsand one that had regularly sent liberal Democrats to Washington, Iowa now serves as a test of whether Democrats can win back white voters who have swung toward the Republican Party over the last decade.

Photos of the Week: House in While Senate's Out, Congressional Football and a Wharf
The week of Oct. 10 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., holds up bunny ear fingers behind a a technician testing the microphones before the start of the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Thursday. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

The House was the only chamber in session this week in Washington. The lawmakers headed out of town Thursday for their own recess. The Senate returns next week. 

The congressional football team played a game against Capitol police officers this week while D.C. leaders christened a new wharf in town. 

McConnell: Democratic ‘Blue Slips’ Won’t Block Trump Judges
Says objections home-state Democrats will only indicate dissent

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made his most pointed comments yet about judicial nominations. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made clear that Senate Republicans intend to get President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees confirmed no matter what obstacles the Democrats throw their way.

The Kentucky Republican has now confirmed he plans to move forward on judicial nominees even if home-state Democratic senators don’t return their so-called “blue slips” to the Judiciary Committee.

Democratic Young Guns Take Different Approach to Rebuilding Party
In trip to early voting Iowa, Bustos rebuilds from the bottom, while Ryan and Moulton want to topple the top

Democratic Reps. Cheri Bustos of Illinois, center, and Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, left, get instructions before working the grill during the Polk County Democrats Steak Fry in Des Moines on Sept. 30. (Charlie Neibergall/AP)

DES MOINES, Iowa — Before the Polk County Democratic Party’s steak fry, Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos was trying to give potential candidates the secret sauce for Democrats to win in rural areas.

Grassley to Corker and Trump: ‘Cool It’
Trump ups the ante on Tuesday, saying ‘Liddle’ Bob Corker’ was set up by the New York Times

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker traded Twitter barbs with President Donald Trump over the weekend. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Charles E. Grassley told both retiring Sen. Bob Corker and President Donald Trump to ease up on their feud.

Grassley said he didn’t see how the conflict between the two Republicans was productive, “And I think it would help if the president would be the first to cool it,” the Iowa Republican told The Associated Press, which attempted to contact all 52 Republican senators for their take on the war of words.