Sheldon Whitehouse

Road Ahead: Senate Returning to DC for the Ides of August
Floor agenda will look familiar: judicial nominations and appropriation bills

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.,left, jokes with Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, as he walks down the Senate steps on Aug. 1 after the chamber’s last vote of the week. Risch was posing for photos with interns on the steps. Senators return Wednesday from their truncated district work period. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Thank goodness the Senate has “manufactured weather.”

That’s what Carrier called the system that was first installed to cool the chamber in the early 20th century. The modern air conditioning will be in full use this week as the Senate returns for a rare mid-August session.

Democrats Seek Probe of Air Force One Tours for Mar-a-Lago Members
Warren, others question special access for members of the president’s club

The request for inquiry stems from a BuzzFeed article alleging tours of the president’s plane were given to members of the national golf club owned by the president in Palm Beach, Fla. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Were members of President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club given special tours of Air Force One?

That’s the question a group of Senate Democrats, led by Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, want two Pentagon inspectors general to find out.

Maria Butina in Mind, Democratic Senators Want Treasury Documents About Russian Ties to NRA
Finance Committee members renew request in aftermath of arrest

Sen. Ron Wyden is seeking documents from the Treasury about potential connections between the NRA and Russia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Ron Wyden is again pushing the Treasury Department to hand over documents about Russians possibly funneling money to the National Rifle Association.

It’s a renewal of a request the Oregon Democrat first sent to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at the beginning of February. And now, joined by fellow Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the query is expanding.

The ‘Hell’ in Helsinki, Fist Bumps and Chickens in Alaska: Congressional Hits and Misses
 

“That was strange,” President Donald Trump said after the lights went out during his statement to a group of reporters and lawmakers that he had full faith in U.S. intelligence agencies. This was a day after Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland, which Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin said “put the hell back in Helsinki.” See that and more from members of Congress in this week’s Hits and Misses.

Pruitt’s Shadow May Linger Over EPA as Probes Continue
Carper: ‘It still blows my mind’

Scott Pruitt, shown here in May, may be out as EPA administrator, but he’s still casting a long shadow over the agency. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Scandal-plagued former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt may no longer work at the agency, but at least some of the investigations into his alleged misdeeds will continue.

From the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee investigation that has uncovered damaging allegations of Pruitt’s misuse of staff, to numerous open EPA inspector general audits of his travel spending, Pruitt’s cloud over the EPA is likely to linger as conclusions from the multiple probes trickle out through the rest of 2018.

Trump Defends Pruitt Until the Very End
A look at the times when the president — and others — rallied behind the former EPA chief

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, here at a Senate hearing in May, is resigning after 16 months on the job. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Embattled EPA administrator Scott Pruitt turned in his resignation Thursday, but right until the very end, he could do no wrong in the eyes — or tweets — of President Donald Trump.

“Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this,” the president tweeted in his announcement that Pruitt was stepping down.

Cattle Call, Grifters and Counting to a Billion: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of June 25, 2018

The Senate’s farm bill debate this week brought about talk of the other white meat, pivot irrigation and lots and lots of cattle. Plus, learn what member of the Trump administration Rep. Denny Heck calls “a homie.”

GOP Celebrates Supreme Court’s Most Conservative Term in Years
Kennedy retirement capped a season of 5-4 highlights

In his first term on the court, Justice Neil Gorsuch, shown here during his 2017 confirmation hearings, was a reliably conservative vote. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court ended its term with a number of decisions that split the court along ideological lines, a finish that underscored just how much President Donald Trump’s appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch influenced the nation’s legal landscape.

Now, with a second Supreme Court nominee to select, Trump has the power to move the court solidly to the right.

Opinion: A New Climate of Realism Emerges in Energy Debate
Progressives and conservatives must embrace ideas and partners they’ve shunned before

The North Anna Power Station in Louisa County, Virginia. Non-carbon sources of energy, including nuclear, must be fully embraced if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change, Grumet writes. (Scott Olson/Getty Images file photo)

Two mainstay and false arguments of the climate debate — “It’s all a hoax” and “Renewable energy alone can save us” — are beginning to lose steam.

In place of the scientific, engineering and economic denial that has marred the last two decades of debate, a new coalition that acknowledges the growing risks of climate change and embraces a broader set of solutions is emerging. Whether the motivation here is the slow drip of evidence, the destabilizing effect of careening federal policy, or simply exhaustion, a new climate of realism is gaining adherents in industry, among advocates, and on Capitol Hill. For this movement to take hold, progressives and conservatives must both embrace ideas and partners they’ve doubted or shunned in the past.

Criminal Justice Overhaul Efforts Appear Stuck
House and Senate Judiciary panels have taken different approaches

New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries says he expects criminal justice legislation to hit the House floor in the next few weeks with bipartisan support. But the Senate appears to have decided on a different course. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House action on a criminal justice overhaul bill this week appears to have done little to change the political dynamic in the Senate that makes it unlikely Congress will act on the issue this year.

The House Judiciary Committee advanced legislation on Wednesday that aims to prepare federal prisoners for release so they are less likely to commit another crime. A co-author of the bill, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, said in an interview Thursday he expected the measure would hit the House floor “in the next few weeks, and we’ll have strong bipartisan support.”