Lisa Murkowski

Opinion: Bob Corker and the Chairmen Who Hold Trump’s Fate in Their Hands
Alienating key GOP senators unwise for the president

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker is among the key Senate chairmen that President Donald Trump has lied about, demeaned, ignored or otherwise alienated, Murphy writes. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

We all know that Washington is about relationships. I’ve gotten some of my best scoops (so to to speak) at the dog park and met some of my best sources on “Wing Night” at the Capitol Lounge years ago. On Capitol Hill, good bills have died over years-long grudges, while mediocre bills have gotten by on, “Well, I just like the guy (or lady).”

With a huge legislative agenda to pass and a major international incident looming in North Korea, you’d think that President Donald Trump would be rallying his fellow Republicans to his side, especially the most senior leaders who could shepherd his agenda through the Hill. Instead, he has attacked, lied about, demeaned, ignored or otherwise alienated a host of GOP senators, including the ones crucial to his efforts to build a wall, pass tax reform, reform health care and, if it came to it, escape impeachment.

Natural Resources Chairman Has Questions About Zinke’s Travel

Secretary of the Interior nominee Rep. Ryan Zinke returns to his seat after greeting chairwoman Sen. Lisa Murkowski before the start of his confirmation hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in January. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

 The Republican chairman on the House Natural Resources Committee has joined Democratic lawmakers who have taken an interest in the travel expenses incurred by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

In a letter sent late Tuesday, Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, whose committee has oversight of Interior, asked the agency chief to provide details about its travel policies and travel records for Interior secretaries over the last eight years. The letter, which was also signed by the panel’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., also suggested that Bishop believes Democrats may be trying to draw attention to the issue for political purposes.

Senate Republican Class of 2014 Looking to Shake Things Up
The group has become more vocal in their desire to change business as usual

Republican members of the Senate class of 2014 were instrumental in delaying the start of the August recess. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. David Perdue keeps a calendar in his office to remind him how many working days the Senate has left this year.

But with just 43 legislative days remaining and a packed agenda ahead, it’s not a countdown he particularly enjoys. To make matters worse, that number counts most Fridays as in-session days, though the chamber almost always wraps up its weekly work Thursday.

CBO Still Expected To Analyze Graham-Cassidy Health Care Measure
Sponsors of the bill plan to continue work on the proposal to repeal the 2010 health law

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., says the Congressional Budget Office will still release a full analysis of his health proposal with three other GOP senators. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Congressional Budget Office will still release a full analysis of a proposal from four Republican senators that would overhaul the health care system, according to one of the bill’s main sponsors.

During an interview for Tuesday’s CQ Roll Call Big Story Podcast, Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana said a full score from the nonpartisan budget office is still expected. He believes that report could help dispel some of the opposition to the legislation.

White House Defends Tax Plan as Good for Middle Class

National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, pictured here at the Capitol on Sept. 12,  says wealthy “guys like myself” don’t need a tax break. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Facing criticism that a Republican-crafted tax plan would hand wealthy Americans relief at the expense of the middle-class, a rich White House aide declared Thursday the blueprint does not favor “guys like myself.”

That was the message from Goldman Sachs boss-turned-chief White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, whose estimated net worth is north of $260 million, a day after President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans rolled out a tax overhaul framework.

Trump Insists Senate Has Health Care Votes, But Not by Deadline
Tweets come one day after GOP leaders pull the plug on latest version of health care overhaul

Sen. Lindsey Graham, flanked by members of GOP leadership, speaks to reporters about his health care bill following the Senate Republicans' policy lunch on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump declared Wednesday that the Senate has enough votes to pass a bill aimed at repealing and replacing the 2010 health care law — but not in time for the Sept. 30 deadline.

But the president’s vote count also came with confusion — and no details of just what version of a bill he believes could pass the Senate one day after GOP leadership pulled a measure sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy that would have overhauled the U.S. health care system.

Pence Didn't Push on Health Care Vote
Veep did not seek to force Senate hand on latest bill

Vice President Mike Pence joined Senate Republicans at their weekly lunch, but did not opt to force the issue of taking a vote on the health care bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Vice President Mike Pence opted not to make a last-ditch pitch to Republican senators Tuesday to vote for the GOP’s latest health care bill.

Instead, Republican senators leaving their weekly lunch at the Capitol said Pence focused on how Congress could provide disaster aid to U.S. territories devastated by a string of recent hurricanes, pivoting from one of the president’s central campaign promises. Shortly after the lunch, GOP leaders said they were shelving a vote.

Senate Republicans Commence Health Care Blame Game
Unclear what is next step for outstanding health issues

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell heads to the podium to speak to reporters about the GOP health care bill following the Senate Republicans’ policy lunch Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Frustration overtook Senate Republicans on Tuesday as the reality sunk in that they had failed again in fulfilling a seven-year campaign promise to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law.

And senators were looking to cast blame wherever they could find it.

Amid Health Care Chaos, Graham and Cassidy Still Lacking Votes
Finance hearing rocked by protests, S&P prediction dire

A protester is taken out of a Senate Finance Committee hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on the proposal by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy to change the U.S. health insurance system. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate on Monday was consumed by a now-familiar sense of chaos as Republicans continued their quest to pass in an accelerated fashion a major overhaul of the U.S. health care system, even as protests erupted in the hallways of the Capitol and independent forecasters predicted dire consequences in the form of lost jobs and diminished economic activity. 

Sponsors of the bill, which would essentially turn all federal funding included in the 2010 health law into massive block grants to states, tried mightily to gather support, but the effort continued to hit fierce head winds.