James Lankford

Government Shuts Down as Senate Fails to Advance Spending Measure
Last-minute negotiations come up short

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 17: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks to reporters in the Ohio Clock Corridor after the Senate Republicans' policy lunch on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate on Friday failed to cut off debate on a House-passed bill that would avert a government shutdown and extend funding another four weeks, setting into motion a lapse of appropriations under a unified Republican government. Lawmakers will now aim to make the shutdown short-lived, with the Senate scheduled to reconvene at noon Saturday to advance a shorter-term funding bill and send it back to the House.

Senate Republicans Steamroll Judicial Process
‘Advice’ dwindles in the GOP’s rush for judges

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Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans hardly could have done more last year to help President Donald Trump reshape the nation’s federal courts with conservative appointees.

They put Justice Neil Gorsuch in a Supreme Court seat, one they blocked Barack Obama from filling during his last year in the White House. Then they approved a dozen Trump picks for the influential appeals courts that have the final say on the vast majority of the nation’s legal disputes — a record number for a president’s first year in office.

White House Reiterates Wall Demand Ahead of Key Meeting
Sen. Graham, other lawmakers look to pair DACA with border security upgrades

Aurelia Lopez and her daughter Antonia overlook construction of border wall prototypes on Oct. 5, in Tijuana, Mexico. Prototypes of the border wall proposed by President Donald Trump are being built just north of the U.S-Mexico border. (Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images file photo)

Just hours before a high-stakes White House meeting with Republicans and Democrats, the Trump administration continued to hold tight to its demand that funding for President Donald Trump’s proposed southern border wall be included in a possible immigration overhaul bill.

“President Trump looks forward to meeting with bipartisan members of the House and Senate today to discuss the next steps toward achieving responsible immigration reform,” White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters said in a statement.

Immigration Deal Tangled Up in Spending Talks
Negotiations over DACA threaten a long-term spending deal

Alabama Sen. Richard C. Shelby anticipates another continuing resolution may be necessary before a spending deal can be reached. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The program that oversees certain immigrants brought illegally to the country as children continues to complicate discussions on government spending.

Democratic senators are insisting a vote on legislation to address the pending expiration of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program occur either before or as part of a fiscal 2018 spending bill.

Immigration Framework Coming Next Week, Senators Say
Plan would boost border security and provide a DACA solution

Sens. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, right, and James Lankford of Oklahoma say the immigration plan will be shared with Democrats as early as Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A framework for immigration legislation that would beef up border security and provide a solution for undocumented “Dreamers” in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is likely to emerge next week, Republican senators said Thursday after a meeting with President Donald Trump.

Thom Tillis of North Carolina and James Lankford of Oklahoma, two of the six GOP senators to attend the White House meeting, said lawmakers and the administration had settled on a general framework and the plan would be shared with Democrats as early as Tuesday.

Topic for Debate: Time to End Congressional Debates?
Real deliberation and persuasion are so rare, the move might improve Hill functionality

In the GOP’s successful push for its tax overhaul, floor debates appeared to have no influence on changing members’ positions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Here’s a modest proposal to jumpstart the new year: Do away with what passes for “debate” on the floors of the House and Senate.

Doing so would mean Congress is facing up to its current rank among the world’s least deliberative bodies. It may be a place suffused with rhetoric, some of it pretty convincing at times, but next to no genuine cogitation happens in open legislative sessions and precious few ears are ever opened to opposing points of view.

Lankford, Rules Panel, Kick Off Latest Nominations Debate
Hearing likely to prelude 2018 fights

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., is pushing a proposal to change the rules for handling nominations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It is unusual for a sitting senator to be the sole witness before a committee, and it is even more unusual for a senator to face questions in such a setting.

But such was the experience Tuesday afternoon when Oklahoma GOP Sen. James Lankford appeared in the Rules and Administration Committee hearing room with a dire warning.

Congress Mandated Harassment Training; Now They Have to Pay for It
Costs, details of the popular resolution still up in the air

Lawmakers, with Gretchen Carlson, unveil sexual harassment legislation earlier this month. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

 

The House and Senate each adopted resolutions mandating harassment and discrimination training for employees of Congress and legislative agencies. Yet it’s not clear how much the training will cost and what it will include.

Senate Panel to Consider Rules Change
Resolution would cut debate time on the floor for nominees

Sen. Roy Blunt thinks Democrats are abusing the rules in demanding full debate time on nominees. On Tuesday, the Rules panel will consider a resolution to cut the debate time. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans are readying another rule change to the chamber, this one aimed at reducing the number of hours the chamber debates executive and judicial nominees. 

The Rules and Administration Committee will meet on Tuesday to consider a resolution sponsored by Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., that would reduce the time the chamber debates nominees drastically from the current 30 hours after debate is cut off. 

Senate GOP’s Immigration Bill Without Path to Citizenship Panned
Democratic lawmakers and even some Republicans have concerns

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley supports offering immigrants enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program three years of protected status in return for enhanced border security, a crackdown on “sanctuary” cities and other GOP immigration priorities. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Democrats and even some Republicans are panning a GOP bill designed to protect undocumented young people and toughen immigration laws because it would not offer the so-called Dreamers a path to citizenship.

The bill, introduced this week by Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley and Majority Whip John Cornyn, would offer Dreamers enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, three years of protected status in return for enhanced border security, a crackdown on “sanctuary” cities and other GOP immigration priorities.