Joe Manchin III

Opinion: Best and the Brightest? Trump’s Troika of Troubled Nominees
Senate can stop president’s dismal choices for cabinet jobs

White House physician Ronny Jackson, nominee for Secretary of Veterans Affairs, had better hang on to his day job after lawmakers cited “serious concerns,” Walter Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate confirmation fights have been the stuff of Washington drama from the fictional “Advise and Consent” (1960 Pulitzer Prize) to the real-life rejection of John Tower (a rumored alcoholic and inveterate skirt chaser) for Defense secretary in 1989. And of course, Mike Pence last year had to break a 50-50 Senate tie over the fate of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

But never in modern times has a president in the midst of his first term had three nominees as troubled as the Trump Troika.

After Coons Demonstrates Comity, Pompeo Avoids Dubious Distinction
Old Senate traditions on display as Delaware Democrat pairs with Georgia Republican

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., left, and ranking member Bob Menendez, D-N.J., confer Monday before a tense committee markup on the nomination of Mike Pompeo to be secretary of State. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

CIA Director Mike Pompeo narrowly avoided historical ignominy on Monday when the Foreign Relations Committee approved his nomination to be secretary of State.

It took more steps to advance President Donald Trump’s nominee than anyone might have anticipated going into the meeting, including what in the modern Senate was a magnanimous gesture from Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware.

Arizona Teachers Latest to Walk Out, Members Supportive
Grand Canyon State ramps up protest, lawmakers react across U.S.

Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., speaks with Roll Call in his office in the Longworth Building. Grijalva said he supports Arizona teachers in the fight for better education funding, as teachers voted on a Friday walkout. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Arizona teachers voted Thursday night to join their counterparts in states such as West Virginia and Kentucky protesting wage and benefit cuts.

Teachers in the state voted through the Arizona Education Association to participate in a statewide walkout Friday to fight for better pay and school funding.

White House Presses Vulnerable Dems on Pompeo Nomination
Sen. Cotton dubs Foreign Relations Democrats ‘two-bit Talleyrands’

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., right, meets with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of State, in the Capitol on March 19. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House circled the wagons Wednesday around CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s nomination to become secretary of State, arguing vulnerable red-state Democrats will feel “consequences” in November if they vote against him.

The Trump administration dispatched Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas to argue Pompeo is highly qualified for the top State Department position and to press Democrats running for re-election in states won by President Donald Trump to vote in favor of his nomination.

Nathan’s (Mostly) Political One-Liners: Push Polls, Endorsement Misses and CAVA
What’s running through my head on tax day, April 17

Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., speaks to a group of constituents on the House steps on March 22 after the final vote of the week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Arkansas’ 2nd District: Congratulations to Democrat Clarke Tucker’s campaign for using the term “robocalls” in a press release even though the local media referred to them as a “push poll,” which it most likely wasn’t since push polls don’t exist.

Colorado Governor: State Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, recent ex-wife to GOP Rep. Mike Coffman, received a dismal 6 percent of delegates at the Republican state assembly over the weekend, well short of the 30 percent threshold needed to make the GOP primary ballot for governor.

Photos of the Week: Ryan’s Done (Almost), Zuckerberg Testifies and 2 New Lawmakers Make Entrances
The week of April 9 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees on the protection of user data on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congress returned from its spring recess to a busy week, made busier when Speaker Paul D. Ryan announced he would not seek re-election in November.

Also this week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent three days on the Hill meeting with lawmakers and testifying on improper use of his company’s customers’ data. And there’s a new senator — Mississippi Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith — and a new House member — Pennsylvania Democrat Conor Lamb — after two swearings-in this week. 

Former Coal Lobbyist Confirmed as Pruitt’s Deputy at EPA
Heitkamp and Manchin join Republicans on vote

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt now has a deputy — a former fossil fuel lobbyist — after a Senate confirmation vote Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate has confirmed former fossil fuel lobbyist Andrew Wheeler as deputy EPA administrator, providing a second-in-command for Administrator Scott Pruitt as he struggles amid alleged ethical failings.

Wheeler was confirmed Thursday with a 53-45 vote. Some Democrats hoped Pruitt’s difficulties would give them the votes to block the confirmation, but their efforts were not enough. Democratic Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia joined Republicans in voting for Wheeler. Both are running for re-election this year in states won by President Donald Trump.

Manchin Munchin': The Pepperoni Roll Explained
West Virginia delicacy makes its way to nation's capital -- at last

Karen Shannon, owner of the Pepperoni Chic pop up restaurant, serves pepperoni rolls to Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., on Wednesday, April 11, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III decamped Capitol Hill on Wednesday in search of a little slice of home, and he found it in far Northwest D.C., in the form of pepperoni rolls. But what are pepperoni rolls?

“Mmm-hmm. It’s the real thing,” the Democrat said as he bit into his state’s signature dish at Pepperoni Chic, the pop-up restaurant at 5111 Georgia Ave. NW, north of the Petworth neighborhood, as duly noted on social media. 

Trump Takes Light Jabs at Manchin Despite Senator’s Vulnerability
Participants lavish president with praise as in past tax event

President Donald Trump walks from the Oval Office to Marine One on March 23. He flew to West Virginia Thursday to tout the GOP tax overhaul bill. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Sen. Joe Manchin III received only a light verbal flogging Thursday from Donald Trump. Instead, the president delivered freewheeling remarks in West Virginia on a wide range of issues.

The president traveled to the Mountain State for the fourth time since he took office to tout the GOP tax law. It gave him an opportunity to ding Manchin as he awaits a general election challenger following a three-way May 8 Republican primary.

Survivor: Inside the Beltway
Senate’s bare-bones agenda paves way for Trump’s nominees with outcome uncertain

President Donald Trump and Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, second from right, hold a listening sessions with veterans organizations in March 2017. Shulkin is the latest senior official to fall from favor with the president. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

It’s the best of times and the worst of times for President Donald Trump’s nominees to top federal positions.

The confirmation process for a new secretary of Veterans Affairs, secretary of State and CIA director will help fill an otherwise bare-bones legislative calendar for the remainder of the year.