Nebraska

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.

A Republican Party Pulled in Multiple Directions
Same factors could bedevil other legislative priorities

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan will face the same factions in his Republican caucus that helped sink the GOP health care measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan wasted no time, fresh off his defeat on the Republican health care plan, in pivoting to priorities like a tax overhaul. But the constituencies pulling his party in different directions will still be present for those complicated debates as well.

“Our members know that we did everything we could to get consensus,” the Wisconsin Republican said shortly after he pulled a measure that would have partially accomplished what has motivated his party for more than seven years: getting rid of the 2010 health care law. But in the end, the GOP’s factions pulled it in so many directions that they couldn’t even muster a majority to pass a bill that would put a win on the board.

Word on the Hill: Gorsuch on Snapchat
Albright, spottings, and grad school

Monday's snapchat filter from the NRSC. (Photo courtesy of the NRSC)

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has decided to have some fun with Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination hearings.

The NRSC launched a Snapchat filter series in support of Gorsuch, and a new filter will be unveiled each day that you can use if you’re in the area. The committee asks that you send your photographs with the filter to ‘TheNRSC’ on Snapchat.

Fears Surface of Russian Hack of Congress IT System
Subcommittee told legislative branch is highly vulnerable

Sasse asked about the likelihood of a Russian incursion. Witnesses said it was likely. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senators’ examination of Russian efforts to undermine democracies took a turn that hit close to home on Wednesday, when witnesses openly speculated to the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism that Congress itself was likely the victim of nefarious hacking.

When Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., asked experts testifying about the likelihood of such an incursion, former Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves offered it was “almost certain” congressional IT systems have been infiltrated by Russia’s security services, particularly if two-factor security is not deployed.

GOP Outside Group Pressures Vulnerable Members on Health Care Plan
American Action Network has now spent $10 million on repeal and replace campaigns

American Action Network is running ads in California Rep. David Valadao's district encouraging him to keep his promise to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The day after the Congressional Budget Office announced 14 million more Americans would be uninsured under House GOP leadership’s health care plan by 2018, a major ally of leadership is hitting the airwaves to defend the plan and the members it needs to back it. 

American Action Network is launching $1.5 million in TV ads Tuesday that will air nationally on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and in 15 congressional districts across the country, about half of which Hillary Clinton won last fall. 

Word on the Hill: Celebrate the New Year Again
Nebraska school gets a coin

From left, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, current Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, and Arizona Sen. John McCain attended last year's Norwuz celebration on the Hill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A celebration of “Nowruz,” the Iranian new year, which also marks the beginning of spring, will be hosted today on Capitol Hill by the Organization of Iranian American Communities.

This year, Nowruz falls on March 21, but the group is getting started early with a Persian dinner and pastries for guests.

GOP Senators Ask Trump to Block Restoration of Earmarks
House Republicans expect hearings on the matter

Arizona Republican Sens. Jeff Flake left, ,and John McCain, right, are asking the president to block a proposal that would reinstate earmarks. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Six Republican senators are sending a letter to President Donald Trump Tuesday asking him to oppose any congressional effort to restore earmarks.

The letter from GOP Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain of Arizona, Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ben Sasse of Nebraska comes as House Republicans are expected to soon begin holding hearings on the idea of allowing earmarks to make a comeback after congressional Republicans, led by then-Speaker John A. Boehner, banned them in 2011.

Word on the Hill: Congressional Dinner
Television safeguard awards and singer and athlete in D.C.

MSNBC host Greta Van Susteren will emcee Wednesday night’s Congressional Correspondents Dinner. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The day after President Donald Trump, an outspoken critic of the media, gave his joint session address to Congress, members of Congress and the media are getting together.

The annual Congressional Correspondents Dinner is tonight, when the media invites sources and politicians to be their guests for the event.

Word on the Hill: Joint Session
Celebrities and hemp today

President Donald Trump’s last big event at the Capitol was his inauguration. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump heads to the Capitol today for his first address to a joint session of Congress, and as a result we don’t get to go to Mardi Gras.

The Capitol will be restricted to those with event credentials, starting at 5:30 p.m. See our list of restrictions around the complex.

Ryan-Aligned Group Drops $2.2 Million on Ads to Oppose Obamacare
Will be featured in multiple swing congressional districts

American Action Network, which supports Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., is spending big on anti-Obamacare ads in swing districts across the country. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A conservative outside spending group is dropping $2.2 million in multiple districts that Democrats are targeting in efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

The ads from American Action Network, a 501(c)(4) sister organization of the Congressional Leadership Fund, feature a pregnant woman named Elizabeth Jacinto talking about how her health care plan was canceled.