Maine

Spending Shutdown Showdown Fizzling Out
Issues remain, but biggest fights getting knocked out ahead of deadline

From left, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Reps. David McKinley, R-W.Va., and Mike Doyle, D-Pa., attend a news conference at the House Triangle with the United Mine Workers of America on the Miners Protection Act, which would address expiring health care and pension benefits. Funding the miners’ benefits is one of the remaining issues that could affect the debate over government funding. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The first federal funding fight of President Donald Trump’s administration might be ending not with a bang but a whimper. 

House and Senate lawmakers negotiating an omnibus bill to fund the government through the end of September had said the biggest outstanding dispute was over cost-sharing subsidy payments to insurance companies that help lower-income people afford health care under the 2010 overhaul law.

Democrats Make Campaign Issue out of GOP Health Care Proposal
Three Democratic groups launched digital ads Wednesday

Democrats have launched digital ads attacking House Republicans, including New Jersey Rep. Tom MacArthur, who’s behind the latest health care proposal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As soon as House Republicans started talking about another vote on a revised health care plan, Democrats began sharpening their knives.

Both Democratic campaign committees and Priorities USA Action, a major Democratic super PAC, released digital ads Wednesday that accuse Republicans of stripping coverage for Americans with preexisting conditions while exempting themselves.

Senate Republicans Became More Bipartisan in the Last Congress — Democrats, Not So Much
Report places Sen. Bernie Sanders as the least bipartisan senator

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, talk before a committee hearing. Collins was identified in a report as the most bipartisan senator of the 114th Congress. The report ranked Warren 88th. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Democrats, once happy to rail against what they called obstructionist Republicans in the chamber, flipped positions with their friends across the aisle when it came to partisanship in the 114th Congress.

A new report from the Lugar Center and Georgetown University shows that most senators — almost two-thirds of the chamber — acted more bipartisan when it came to cosponsorships on bills during the most recent Congress, compared to the Congress before.

With Trump’s Wall Off the Table, Obamacare Takes Center Stage in Shutdown Showdown
Funding for subsidies leads remaining issues

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, right, Vermont Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, center, and Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin leave the Democratic Senate policy luncheon in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It appears President Donald Trump will settle for enhanced funding for border security instead of his signature wall.

Talks about averting a government shutdown progressed Tuesday after funding for building the wall between the U.S. and Mexico fell off the negotiating table, but lawmakers still had to work through a thicket of issues — including health care funding and family planning. They have until midnight Friday to reach a deal before government funding runs out.

Lawmakers Wary of Russia’s Ability to Plant Cyber Dirt
Moscow’s alleged meddling not just a thing of the past, officials warn

Maine Sen. Angus King said at a hearing last month on Russian cyber operations that Americans should be concerned about being compromised by fake information planted on their computers, and not just the stealing of emails. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In a brief and largely overlooked exchange between Sen. Marco Rubio and America’s top spy during a January hearing about Russia’s alleged election meddling, the Florida Republican sketched out what he fears could be the next front in the hidden wars of cyberspace.

Could Russian hackers, Rubio asked then-Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., hypothetically gain access to a U.S. lawmaker’s computer, plant criminal evidence on the device of, say, child pornography or money laundering and then tip off law enforcement?

Senators See Trump Support Giving Glass-Steagall Bill a Chance
Warren, McCain push for reinstating wall between commercial and investment banking

Arizona Sen. John McCain and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren say big banks pose a threat to the economy. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bipartisan group of senators that claims it has the support of President Donald Trump is backing legislation to revive the Glass-Steagall Act, a piece of 1930s legislation that prohibited commercial banks from engaging in investment banking activities. 

The law was repealed in 1999, and some blame that repeal for the financial crisis that erupted in 2008 and 2009.

Senators Look to Move Past Nuclear Option
Bipartisanship touted when they return from recess

Maine Sen. Susan Collins said lawmakers should move on to an issue with bipartisan support, such as improving infrastructure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senators are getting some time away from the nation’s capital for the next week and half, following a tense battle over the Supreme Court. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell invoked the so-called nuclear option last Thursday to effectively change the Senate rules and lower the threshold for ending debate on high court nominees. While the move raised questions about whether the chamber had reached a partisan point of no return, senators were hopeful they could still come together on other issues.

Maine’s Susan Collins Weighing 2018 Gubernatorial Bid
The four-term senator is considering where she can do ‘the most good’

Maine Sen. Susan Collins may run for governor in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File photo)

There’s been no shortage of speculation that Maine Sen. Susan Collins would run for governor in 2018. But she addressed the subject head-on in an interview with WGAN radio Tuesday morning. 

“Let me say that I am looking at where I can do the most good for the people of Maine,” said Collins, according to a report in the Portland Press Herald. “In the Senate I now have significant seniority and that allows me to do a lot,” she said. 

Nuclear Option Deployed in Quiet Senate Chamber
Gravity of situation tempers reactions amid historic moment

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gives a thumbs-up on Thursday after the Senate invoked the "nuclear option" to allow for a simple majority vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Thursday was a day for the Senate history books, but the ultimate change of the chamber’s rules for ending debate on Supreme Court justices was met with a quiet resignation.

Just after 12:30 p.m., the Senate clerk read the tally: 52 in the negative, 48 in the affirmative, overruling the presiding officer’s ruling that cloture, or ending debate, on Supreme Court justices required 60 votes.

Senate GOP Deploys ‘Nuclear Option’ for Supreme Court
Move allows Judge Neil Gorsuch to be confirmed by simple majority

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gives a thumbs up after the Senate invoked the "nuclear option" which will allow for a simple majority vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate took another step Thursday toward doing away with centuries-old traditions that have distinguished it from virtually every other legislative body in the world. 

Senate Republicans moved forward with invoking the “nuclear option” Thursday to make it so a simple majority of senators can confirm any future Supreme Court justice.