Sheldon Whitehouse

Health law appeal paused as shutdown affects federal courts
Justice Department also asks for pause in suit concerning acting AG Whitaker

Citing the shutdown, Justice Department lawyers asked for a pause in a suit challenging the appointment of acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, pictured here. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The partial government shutdown halted a major challenge to the 2010 health care law among other civil litigation on Friday, as Justice Department lawyers sought the same in a challenge from three Senate Democrats to the appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit issued a two-page order granting the Trump administration’s request to halt the 2010 health care law case “in light of lapse of appropriations.”

2018 in 5 Minutes: The Best of Congressional Hits and Misses
 

As the 115th Congress limps across the finish line with several unfinished spending bills and a partially shutdown federal government, Hits and Misses takes a look back at our favorite funny, awkward and downright bizarre moments from the House and Senate in 2018.

For Stripped-Down Criminal Justice Bill, Less Could Be More
Sen. Kamala Harris: It’s a ‘compromise of a compromise‘

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., announced her support for the bill Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The bipartisan criminal justice overhaul bill that advanced Monday evening falls short of what lawmakers and advocates had sought to do with the measure more than four years ago — but now that’s the key to enacting the most sweeping changes to prison and sentencing laws in decades.

The latest version, on the floor via an unrelated bill, is whittled down to the provisions with the broadest support, bulked up with measures demanded by law enforcement and tough-on-crime Republicans, and tweaked to get the backing of President Donald Trump.

Democrats Press Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg to Disclose More About Political Ads
Senators want voluntary disclosures about buyers of politically charged advertising

Democrats want Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to offer more voluntary disclosure about political ads. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A contingent of Senate Democratic Conference members want Facebook to voluntarily disclose more about the sources of advertising dollars on the social media platform.

The group led by New Jersey’s Robert Menendez, highlights in a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg efforts by Russia to use Facebook to spread political messaging to undermine the U.S. electoral process.

Schumer Asks if Acting AG Talked to White House About Russia Probe Details
Senate Democratic leader requests review by Justice Department inspector general

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., has  questions about contacts between the White House and acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker about the Russia investigation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer wants to know if the acting attorney general talked to the White House about the special counsel investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Specifically, the New York Democrat is asking Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz about contacts between Matthew G. Whitaker and other parts of the Donald Trump administration about the work of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III and his team.

Democratic Senators Sue Trump Over Whitaker Appointment
Blumenthal, Whitehouse, Hirono say move violates Appointments Clause

Matt Whitaker was appointed acting attorney general by President Donald Trump after Jeff Sessions was asked to stepped down. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Three Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee filed a lawsuit Monday challenging the appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general, asking a federal court to stop him from leading the Justice Department.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Mazie K. Hirono of Hawaii argue in the case that President Donald Trump’s move to name Whitaker temporarily as the nation’s top law enforcement official violates the Appointments Clause of the Constitution.

Budget Overhaul Panel Can’t Pull It Together in Time for Thanksgiving
Lowey: Reporting out final product as-is would ‘doom it to failure’

Rep. Steve Womack, says that while the joint committee package does not completely satisfy every member of the panel, “that is no reason for us not to move forward and finish this.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The special select panel charged with overhauling the congressional budget process on Thursday punted a final vote on recommendations until after Thanksgiving amid disagreement by its two leaders over when the panel should act.

The committee is scheduled to reconvene at 2 p.m. Nov. 27, three days ahead of the Nov. 30 deadline for the committee to report a bill.

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 Chairman Charles E. Grassley is leaning 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 on Thursday 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.

Democrats Renew Pressure on FBI for Trump‘s Influence on Headquarters Move
Six Dem senators pen letter to FBI Director Wray asking for documents about decision to keep headquarters across from Trump Hotel

The J. Edgar Hoover FBI building in Washington as seen on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic senators on Thursday stepped up their pressure on the FBI to provide more answers on President Donald Trump and his administration’s involvement in the scrapped FBI headquarters move.

In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, the Democratic senators demanded that he compile and hand over any documents and communications related to the FBI’s and General Services Administration’s decision to keep its headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C., on Pennsylvania Avenue — adjacent Trump Hotel.

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.”