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George W. Bush Delivers Scathing Rebuke of Trump Presidency
'The health of the democratic spirit is at issue,' 43rd president warns

Former President George W. Bush makes remarks during a ceremony honoring former Vice President Dick Cheney in the Capitol Visitor Center in 2015. On Thursday, he delivered a warning about Donald Trump’s presidency. (Tom Williams/Roll Call)

Former President George W. Bush on Thursday delivered a scathing warning about Donald Trump, saying his “America first” philosophy portends a dangerous inward turn that is eroding democracy at home and threatening stability around the world.

“The health of the democratic spirit is at issue,” the 43rd president said during a speech in New York. “And the renewal of that spirit is the urgent task at hand.”

Democrats Drop Congeniality as They Fire Away at Sessions
‘Give me a break,’ attorney general implores at one point

From left, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Delaware Sen. Chris Coons and Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal talk Wednesday as Sessions arrives for the Senate Judiciary oversight hearing on the Justice Department. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions took an unusual path to the witness table before Wednesday’s Justice Department oversight hearing. He looped behind the dais to smile and shake the hands of his former Senate Judiciary Committee colleagues and pat them on the shoulder.

But the next four hours made it clear that congeniality has faded for the former Alabama Republican senator. Democrats lectured him on immigration policy, questioned his truthfulness in previous testimony about Russia and criticized his implementation of the Trump administration’s conservative policies.

Bipartisan Tax Bill More Durable, GOP Says After White House Meeting
Toomey sees overlap, but Democrats show little enthusiasm

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, seated left, South Dakota Sen. John Thune, seated center, and Pennsylvania Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, standing center, were among the Finance Committee members who met with President Donald Trump on Wednesday about a tax overhaul bill. Also pictured, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, standing right. (Chris Maddaloni/Roll Call File Photo)

After huddling Wednesday with President Donald Trump and a handful of Democrats, Senate Republican tax writers said an overhaul bill that secures bipartisan support would be more “durable” than a GOP-only path. 

Senate Republicans are moving ahead with plans to ensure a tax bill could pass with as few as 50 GOP votes, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote. But after a White House meeting with Trump and five Senate Finance Committee Democrats, three GOP members on that panel said they agree with the president that a bipartisan bill is preferable.

Senators Ready to Confront Sessions at Oversight Hearing
Attorney General likely to face contentious questions about his leadership

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions returns to face his former Senate Judiciary Committee colleagues Wednesday in an oversight hearing likely to include contentious questions about Justice Department actions since he took on the role eight months ago.

“The attorney general will earn his money that day,” said committee member John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican.

Opinion: The Short Life Span of the Trump-McConnell Buddy Movie
Quest for lower taxes brings unlikely pair together

President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell talk to reporters in the Rose Garden following a lunch meeting at the White House on Monday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Dating back to the days of Walter Winchell, there was a standard photo display that newspapers used when celebrity couples headed to Splitsville. Tabloids would feature an earlier picture of the couple frolicking on a beach or walking down the aisle with the caption, “In Happier Days.”

The odds are high that Monday’s buddy-movie Rose Garden press conference with the odd couple of Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell will soon invite similar “In Happier Days” nostalgia. For did anyone believe Trump’s hyperbolic claims that the two men are “closer than ever” and that “the Republican Party is very, very unified”?

Opinion: The Women in Washington Staying for the Fight
Collins, Feinstein and Pelosi want to keep fighting for their causes

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is among the women in Congress planning to stick around and keep fighting for their causes. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Bob Corker’s leaving the Senate, and who can blame him? At a certain point, life’s just too short to get called “Liddle Bob” on Twitter by anyone, especially by the president of the United States.

But even as Corker announced that he’d retire at the end of his term, two of the Tennessee Republican’s female colleagues decided last week they’re not going anywhere, at least not if they can help it. Both women said while they had considered leaving Washington, the job in the Capitol was too important to walk away from.

Trump, McConnell All Smiles, All the Time
President, majority leader say they are on the same page, despite tension

President Donald Trump, left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., say their relationship is A-OK. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan is ready to cancel Christmas recess to get a tax bill done, but President Donald Trump and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled the effort could slip into next year.

Trump on Monday called his relationship with McConnell “very good” amid reports of tension between the two leaders. During a remarkable and rowdy midday joint press conference in the Rose Garden, Trump declared he and McConnell “are probably now … closer than ever before.

Rohrabacher Challenger Keirstead Outraises Rouda in Third Quarter
Stem cell researcher’s haul is slightly less than incumbent’s

Dr. Hans Keirstead is an expert in stem cell research and CEO of the biomedical company of AIVITA. (UC-Irvine News via Youtube)

Democratic House candidate Hans Keirstead outraised his Democratic opponents and slightly trailed Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who he is hoping to unseat.

Keirstead, a stem-cell scientist, raised $330,937.24 in total receipts, according to his October quarterly filing with the Federal Election Commission.

Nominations Fill Legislative Void in Senate
Work stalled in the chamber amid partisan health care and tax effort

Callista Gingrich, nominated to be Vatican ambassador, is one of many nominees awaiting a vote from the Senate. She’ll get hers on Monday afternoon. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Republicans have repeatedly accused the Democratic minority of slow-rolling the process of confirming President Donald Trump’s nominees for hundreds of vacant federal and judicial positions. But after engaging in a partisan agenda for most of this year, the GOP may need those confirmation votes just to fill up floor time in the chamber.

The major tenets of the Republican agenda are largely stalled, with the legislative health care effort in tatters and an overhaul of the U.S. tax code still in development.

Senators Launch Podcasts to Connect With Constituents
Sherrod Brown and Heidi Heitkamp touch on hot topics

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, left, interviews workers from his home state at a Whirlpool plant in Clyde for his podcast. (Courtesy Brown’s office)

Tech-savvy senators are trying out a new platform to connect with voters: podcasts. Democrats Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota are embracing the opportunity to record and share.

Brown’s podcast, “Canarycast,” launched Oct. 3, focuses on the value of hard work and gets its name from a pin the senator wears every day.