Patrick J Leahy

Grassley Gave McConnell Judges. Now He Wants His Criminal Justice Bill
‘I look at this in a very personal way,’ Grassley said

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has helped confirm a record number of judges. All he wants from Mitch McConnell now is a little “reciprocity.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley on Thursday leaned on his track record of processing judicial nominations to get a floor vote on a bipartisan bill he spearheaded to overhaul the nation’s criminal justice system.

In an unusual personal plea, the 85-year-old Iowa Republican said he wanted “reciprocity” from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for “what I’ve done in our unified effort on judges” during President Donald Trump’s administration.

Here’s the List of Senate Republican and Democratic Leaders
Status quo reigns (mostly)

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., prepares to address the media after the Senate Policy lunches in the Capitol on March 20. Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., center, and Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., also appear. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In Appropriations Endgame, All Roads Lead to Border Wall
Dec. 7 funding deadline fast approaching

Border Patrol vehicles stand guard along the United States-Mexico border fence in on Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014. The fence runs through the cities of Calexico, Calif., and Mexicali on the Mexico side. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sooner or later, President Donald Trump will have to confront the political reality that Congress is extremely unlikely to provide the $5 billion he wants to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

That realization has to occur in less than a month, with the House and Senate both in session for only 12 legislative days before the current stopgap funding measure expires Dec. 7.

Anti-Pork Senators Warn of Potential Return of Earmarks
Flake, McCaskill and company again call for action on legislation to formally ban practice

Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., held an event in January to demonstrate that Congress can “eat pork without spending it.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bipartisan group of senators critical of pork-barrel spending is again warning about the possible return of congressional earmarks.

The contingent of persistent critics of the earmarking process warned about talk of the return of the practice in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York, Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby of Alabama and Vice Chairman Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont.

McCarthy Bill Would Fund Border Wall, Boost Speaker Bid
Legislation not likely to move this year, but raises issue profile

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has introduced legislation to fund a border wall, something that could boost his bid to lead the House Republican Conference. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has introduced legislation that includes more than $23 billion for President Donald Trump’s border security agenda and numerous enforcement provisions aimed at cracking down on sanctuary cities and undocumented criminals, a proposal that could boost his bid to lead the House GOP after next month’s elections.

The California Republican introduced the bill on Friday after visiting the El Paso, Texas, sector of the southern border on Thursday.

Impeachment or Bust? Democrats Have Few Options on Kavanaugh Inquiries
Lawsuits, possible House probes expected, but party largely staying mum for now

Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee ponder their next move during a session on the nomination of now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh on Sept. 28. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Brett M. Kavanaugh looked bewildered. Sen. Kamala Harris looked perturbed but determined. It was hour ten of the then-Supreme Court nominee’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee early last month, and the California Democrat seemed to have him backed into a corner.

Harris, a former prosecutor, was very much back in a courtroom. She was trying to get her witness, Kavanaugh, to reveal the name — or names — of anyone at the Washington law firm of Trump’s personal attorney with whom she alleged he had discussed special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and his ongoing Russia election meddling investigation the president almost daily refers to as a “witch hunt.”

Senators Trigger Investigation Into Missing Saudi Journalist Who May Have Been Murdered
Jamal Khashoggi went missing after visiting Saudi consulate in Turkey

Protesters hold posters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi  at the entrance to Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on Monday. Fears are growing over his fate after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Senators on Wednesday triggered a U.S. government investigation into what happened to a prominent missing Saudi journalist, who is suspected to have been murdered last week in Turkey.

The lawmakers said they expect the investigation to look into the actions of the “highest-ranking officials in the government of Saudi Arabia,” a move that signals lawmakers on both sides of aisle are willing to confront the staunch ally.

Republicans Restart Push for Lower Court Judges
Democrats object to the process

Eric E. Murphy, nominee to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit, introduces his wife, Michelle, and daughters Isabelle, 7, right, and Grace, 9, during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on judicial nominations in Dirksen Building on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

With the fight over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh behind them, Republicans on Wednesday restarted the Senate Judiciary Committee’s push to confirm lower court judges with a hearing on a pair of nominees that Democrats staunchly oppose for their legal work on health care, LGBT rights and other issues.

The hearing featured almost everything Democrats have complained about the confirmation process during President Donald Trump’s administration — including scheduling more than one circuit court nominee in a single hearing and doing so over the objections of a home state senator.

Trump Mocks Kavanaugh Accuser, Takes Ownership of Midterms
President ostensibly in Mississippi to stump for Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., talks with Vice President Mike Pence at her swearing-in ceremony in April. President Trump was in Mississippi Tuesday night to campaign for her. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Donald Trump mocked Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser and took ownership of whatever happens to Republican control of the House and Senate after November’s midterm elections Tuesday night.

Trump defended the federal appellate judge amid sexual assault allegations and questions about whether he lied under oath last week to the Senate Judiciary Committee about his drinking habits and other actions as a younger man. 

Democrats Protest ‘Railroad Job’ After Kavanaugh Vote Set
Senators storm out, Booker and Harris refuse to vote

A woman holds up her handcuffed hands while being arrested for sitting in outside of the Judicial Committee meeting on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court Friday Sept. 28, 2018. (Photo By Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Sparks flew even before the Senate Judiciary Committee started a hearing to vote on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for a seat on the Supreme Court, as two women confronted Sen. Jeff Flake in an elevator.

“Look at me when I talk to you!” one of the women yelled at the Arizona Republican just minutes after he announced he would vote to confirm the federal judge.