Orrin G Hatch

Senators Confirm Slew of Trump Nominees in Final Hours of 115th Congress
List does not include lifetime judicial appointments; next business will be in the new Congress

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell got a deal to confirm more of President Donald Trump’s nominees. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As a practical matter, the 115th Congress is finally history.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the announcement that the Senate will convene for a pro forma session at 11:50 a.m. Thursday, but there will be no real business until after noon arrives, when the new Congress begins, as outlined in the Constitution. 

Negotiations on Spending Deal Will Continue, But No Deal in Sight
Senate won’t vote on House spending plan, McConnell says he hopes White House and Democrats can make a deal

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., is seen on the Capitol's Senate steps before a procedural vote on the spending bill on Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sens. Jeff Flake and Bob Corker reached an agreement with the two Senate leaders that no vote on a spending plan will happen until there’s agreement between Senate Democrats, House Republicans and the White House.

“We’re not voting on anything else ... until there’s a global agreement,” Corker said on the Senate floor.

The Criminal Justice Bill Shows Where the GOP Is on Race
It wasn’t always this way for the party of Lincoln

Sen. Tim Scott, the only African-American Republican in the Senate, may have gotten his party’s backing for the criminal justice bill, Curtis writes. But where were his GOP colleagues when he tried to block the confirmation of Thomas Farr? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Sen. Tim Scott, Republican from South Carolina, was optimistic after the Senate passed an amended bill this week that makes bipartisan progress on an issue — criminal justice reform — that has divided lawmakers for years.

Scott, an original co-sponsor of the bill, said in a statement: “By cutting recidivism, encouraging job training, education and mental health and substance abuse treatments for incarcerated individuals, and making our criminal justice system both smarter and tougher, we have taken a positive step forward.”

Schumer and Hatch Bet That Sports Betting Ripe for Legislating
No real time left during this session, but foundation for later action is possibility

Senate Minority Leader. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., left, and Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, are laying down the foundation for future legislation on sports betting. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Before Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch heads for retirement, he’s laying down one more legislative marker, with a powerful Democratic ally.

The Utah Republican teamed up with Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York on Wednesday to set out a framework for regulating sports betting in the United States, in the aftermath of the Supreme Court recently throwing out a federal law that had denied the ability of New Jersey to have legalized gambling on sporting events.

Charities Feeling Flush Despite Tax Law Change
Small gifts are down, but big donors have more than made up for it

Charities argued against doubling the standard deduction, but so far the change hasn’t slowed down giving. Above, President Donald Trump, flanked by Republican lawmakers, celebrates the 2017 tax law. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Year-end holiday giving is make-or-break time for America’s charitable sector. Donors who give now may feel compelled by the spirit of the season, but many of them also know that they can soon write off their gifts on their taxes and recoup a portion of their money.

But that latter incentive affects fewer people this year, thanks to a provision in the 2017 tax law that roughly doubled the standard deduction. As a result, the Congressional Budget Office projects that 31 million fewer households will itemize their taxes next year, eliminating their tax incentive to give to charity.

Cindy Hyde-Smith Sworn in for Second Time This Year
Appointed Mississippi Republican won special election in November

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., participates in a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, in the Capitol’s Old Senate Chamber after the real swear in on the Senate floor on December 17, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith was sworn into office for the second time in 2018, the result of having won a special election runoff for the seat she had been appointed to earlier this year.

On Monday afternoon, as the Senate started its workweek, Senate President Pro Tempore Orrin G. Hatch administered the oath of office to the Mississippi Republican. In March, Republican Gov. Phil Bryant appointed her to replace Republican Thad Cochran, who resigned. She took the oath of office on April 9 and immediately went about the business of running in November’s special election to fill out the remainder of Cochran’s term. 

Photos of the Week: Holidays and Bipawtisanship Edition
The week of Dec. 10 as captured by Roll Call’s photojournalists

The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree stands on the West Front of the Capitol on Dec. 10. The noble fir was harvested on November 2nd, from Willamette National Forest in Oregon. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

This week the Capitol Christmas Tree lit the night, a big tech guest heard questions from Congress (and InfoWars’ Alex Jones), and members celebrated bipawtisanship ... keep scrolling, you’ll get it.

The week of Dec. 10, 2018 in photos: 

Rep. Kihuen Preps Vegas City Council Run After Sexual Harassment Case Ends Congressional Career
Nevada Democrat’s congressional career cut short after sexual harassment controversy

Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., left, is preparing a Las Vegas city council run, according to documents he filed with the IRS this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Ruben Kihuen, who will leave Congress after just one term, is taking steps to run for Las Vegas city council, according to files submitted to the IRS.

A House Ethics subcommittee reported in November that Kihuen, a Nevada Democrat, had sexually harassed women who worked with him.

Orrin Hatch Prepares for His Senate Exit
Utah Republican has been packing for roughly a year, but his Hart office is still full of memories

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 11: Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, speaks with Roll Call in his office on Dec. 11, 2018, as he prepares to depart the U.S. Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate’s longest-serving Republican is retiring at the end of this Congress, and he’s been slowly, but surely, packing away decades of accumulation.

President Pro Tempore Orrin G. Hatch began sending boxes of belongings back to Utah about a year ago, but you wouldn’t know it from his personal office on the first floor of the Hart Building.

Supreme Court to Hear Case on Administrative Power
At heart of case is deference courts have given to federal agencies

The justices agreed Monday to take up a case about overturning two Supreme Court rulings at the heart of administrative law. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court will decide whether federal agencies should stop getting such a strong voice when interpreting their own regulations, in a case that could significantly influence how judges decide challenges to environmental, health care, immigration, veterans benefits and other rules.

The justices on Monday agreed to hear arguments about overturning two Supreme Court rulings at the heart of administrative law, Bowles v. Seminole Rock & Sand Co. in 1945 and Auer v. Robbins in 1997. In the case, the court could accomplish part of what some conservative members of Congress have sought to do legislatively.