Oklahoma

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. 

Those That Shall Not Be Named: Cost Sharing Reductions
Once a nonstarter, health insurance subsidies part of year-end calculus

Speaker Paul D. Ryan once panned a measure that would restore cost-sharing reduction subsidies for health insurance companies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In Congress, where most lawmakers are hesitant to spill secrets about ongoing negotiations, answers are often found in what lawmakers are not saying. And House Republican leaders are not saying much about subsidies for health care insurers lately.

GOP leaders’ continued refusal in recent weeks to rule out funding the cost-sharing reduction subsidies, or CSRs, which President Donald Trump’s administration has stopped paying, is not a guarantee that Congress will do so. But it’s certainly a green light for negotiations to continue.

Roy Who? Trump, GOP Quickly Pivot From Alabama to Taxes
Democrats characterize Alabama result as repudiation of president

Republican Roy Moore rides his horse across a field on his way to vote at the Gallant Volunteer Fire Department in Gallant, Ala., on Tuesday. Moore lost to Democrat Doug Jones in Tuesday’s Senate special election in Alabama. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers tried Wednesday to pin blame for Roy Moore’s special Alabama Senate race loss on the controversial former judge, but Democrats contend the president owns the bruising defeat after his full-throated endorsement. 

At the White House, the message was all about a GOP tax overhaul bill following Democrat Doug Jones’ stunning upset win in a state that had not put a member of that party in the Senate since 1992. On Capitol Hill, Republican members admitted relief that Moore would not be bringing his sexual misconduct allegations to Washington — and they asserted neither Trump nor the GOP were damaged by the Alabama race, despite the embrace of Moore by Trump and the Republican National Committee.

Opinion: Where Science Goes, So Goes Our Nation
Investing in research and innovation pays off big

A scientist tracking tornadoes in Oklahoma in May looks at radar on his smartphone as part of a project that gets funding from the National Science Foundation and other government programs. Rep. Paul Tonko  writes that federal funding has had a direct impact on technology such as Doppler radar, GPS and smartphones. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images file photo)

A recent opinion column “Science That Leads” by my colleague, House Science Chairman Lamar Smith, argued that certain kinds of science, especially social and behavioral sciences, are not worth public investment. As an engineer, I take special care when I say: The facts disagree.

In 2014, the world’s foremost doctors and medical experts were working furiously to manage the rapidly growing threat of Ebola. Anthropologists, representing a field of behavioral science, understood the funeral practices in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone and were able to act as mediators to intervene in ways that slowed the spread of the illness and saved countless lives. The full economic and public health value of this contribution is impossible to quantify but the lives and resources they saved are very real.

With Tax Deal in the Works, Questions Turn to Timing
Deal could be announced as early as Tuesday, with votes next week

Capitol Hill was relatively calm Tuesday morning, as Washington braced for the results of the Alabama Senate election and timing on a vote on tax overhaul and spending is in flux. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Capitol Hill was relatively calm Tuesday morning, even as the timing on two big-ticket items — voting on a tax overhaul package and what to do about year-end spending questions — hung in the air unresolved and the nation remained fixated on Alabama’s special Senate election, where voting is underway.

House Republicans meeting as a conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters said there was no specific timeline for voting on the tax package, as the formal conference committee is set to meet, perhaps for the only time, Wednesday.

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.

Ratings Change: Franken Steps Down Amid Allegations, Seat Starts Likely Democratic
Minnesota Senator resigns after colleagues call for his exit

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and his wife Franni, leave the Capitol on Thursday, after Franken announced on the Senate floor that he will resign his seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Al Franken’s resignation puts another Democratic seat into the 2018 mix, but it’s still unclear whether his departure provides Republicans with a legitimate takeover opportunity.

To handicap a race, it’s helpful to know where the contest will take place and who is running. In this case, we know the place is Minnesota, where, despite Donald Trump’s surge in the Midwest, Hillary Clinton narrowly prevailed in 2016, 46-45 percent, and where Republicans haven’t won a Senate race since Norm Coleman’s 2-point victory in 2002.

Picture This: A ‘Perfecto’ Final Tax Bill
As House, Senate negotiate, president raises expectations

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, speaks with reporters about the GOP tax bill between votes in the Capitol on Nov. 30. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House and Senate are not even in formal conference negotiations on a tax overhaul measure yet, but the expectation from the White House is clear: It’s got to be “perfecto.”

On a day of increasing uncertainty over how to fund the government past Dec. 8, President Donald Trump hosted a small group of Senate Republicans at the White House and placed his marker. 

As Crunch Time Approaches, More Rumbling About Trump Behavior
Many members taken aback by a chaotic 48 hours last week

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters at the White House on Sept. 27. A recent 48-hour period last week, which was chaotic even by Trump's standards, has lawmakers newly concerned about his mindset. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

Several veteran Democratic lawmakers were flabbergasted last week by 48 hours that were among the wildest so far of Donald Trump’s presidency. And in private conversations, they say many of their Republican colleagues share similar concerns.

Trump appears to embrace a certain amount of chaos. After all, it generates media coverage — and the president is a voracious consumer of cable television and print news. But the 48 hours between last Tuesday and Thursday caused a spike in concerns among longtime Democratic members about Trump’s mindset and competence.

Limiting Sexual Harassment Payouts ‘Complicated,’ Lawmakers Say
Funding limitation could be one response to sexual misconduct scandals roiling Capitol Hill

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said using the appropriations process to restrict settlement payouts was complex. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated, 4:05 p.m. | Lawmakers have been quick to express their disgust with sexual harassment payments that come out of federal coffers to cover the cost of elected officials’ behavior. But members are more guarded when asked whether they would take action by attaching a funding limitation to a spending bill — a common instrument used by lawmakers in appropriations.

Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, a top Republican appropriator, sounded cautious after last week’s revelation that the Office of Compliance has doled out tens of thousands of dollars since 2013.