South Dakota

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)

After Momentous Election, Senators Largely Settle for Leadership Status Quo
Republicans add woman to leadership slate for first time since 2010

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer were re-elected to their respective posts for the 116th Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the aftermath of a momentous midterm election, senators in both parties are largely sticking with the status quo when it comes to their own elected leaders.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York were re-elected to their posts by acclamation, along with the entire slate of nine other Democratic leaders.

What’s Going On in the Senate This Week
Chamber to take up Coast Guard reauthorization and Federal Reserve nominee

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., led negotiations on the Coast Guard bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators return to Washington on Tuesday with plenty of housekeeping to take care of before the 115th Congress comes to close.

Before getting to leadership elections and greeting incoming Senate colleagues, the current class has some legislating left to do. First up is a long-stalled reauthorization of the Coast Guard.

Senate Republicans Schedule Leadership Elections
Start of lame duck session will also set slate of leaders for 116th Congress

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., center, and behind him from left, his leadership team, Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., John Thune, R-S.D., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, have scheduled leadership elections for Nov. 14. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Win, lose or draw on Election Day, the Senate Republican Conference has formally scheduled leadership elections for the 116th Congress for the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 14.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is the only member of the Republican leadership not facing a conference-imposed term limit on his role. Barring something unforeseen, the Kentuckian is set to lead his conference for the fifth consecutive congress. The 76 year-old McConnell became the longest serving leader of the Republican Conference in June — he was minority leader from 2007 to 2015.

Ethanol Lobbying Is Up, and It Seems to Be Paying Off
Biofuels groups are spending more this year, and they may soon have summer E15 to show for it

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, holds an ear of corn in 2008. As industry groups have lobbied the Trump administration to rethink the Renewable Fuel Standard, lawmakers in the corn belt have applied pressure too. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Biofuel groups upped their spending on lobbying this year as they pressured lawmakers and the Trump administration on issues related to the Renewable Fuel Standard, which sets minimum volumes of biofuels to be used to power cars and trucks.

Some of those efforts appear to be paying off for now, as the Trump administration has proposed to allow year-round sales of gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol, or E15, which is currently prohibited between June and September. The EPA had argued previously that E15 contributes more to summer smog than the more commonly sold gasoline with 10 percent ethanol.

Republicans Condemn Explosive Devices Sent to Clintons, Obamas
Ryan, Scalise among those who quickly responded to threats

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., is a survivor of political violence. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

High-profile Republicans in Congress moved quickly to denounce political violence aimed at Democrats on Wednesday, even as some of their colleagues across the aisle blamed President Donald Trump for working the nation into a frenzy. 

Suspicious packages, potentially containing explosive devices, were intercepted at the homes of the Clintons and Obamas and at CNN’s headquarters. Democratic donor George Soros had a similar package sent to him this week.

Senate Republicans Ready to Limp Into Border Wall Fight
With Democratic votes needed, wall funding may not meet what Trump and House GOP want

From left, Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and John Thune, R-S.D., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, conduct a news conference in the Capitol on Wednesday after the policy lunches. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans say they are willing to join their House counterparts in a postelection fight over border wall funding but recognize that their chamber will be more constrained by the need for Democratic votes.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan predicted Monday that there would be a “big fight” in December on appropriating more money for President Donald Trump’s desired wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. The Wisconsin Republican wouldn’t foreshadow how that fight would play out, but he didn’t rule out a partial government shutdown as a potential outcome.

Ditch Columbus Day? Some Places Already Have
Sen. Mike Rounds’ state celebrates indigenous people instead, and has since 1990

The statue of Christopher Columbus is framed by wreaths left over from the Columbus Day celebration in front of Union Station in Washington in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s still a federal holiday. But more and more places are moving to replace Columbus Day.

South Dakota did it first, in the 1990s. “It’s about reconciliation. It’s about trying to bring people from different cultures, different backgrounds, different races together,” said Republican Sen. Mike Rounds.

Senate Clears Big Aviation, Opioid Legislation Under Shadow of Brett Kavanaugh and FBI
Pending water resources deal could be last major legislative item before Election Day

A reauthorization of the FAA will be among the final pieces of big-ticket legislation to pass before Election Day. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate’s never-ending Supreme Court drama continued to overshadow a pair of bipartisan legislative wins — with at least one more expected before Election Day.

As senators awaited a supplemental report from the FBI about sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, they cleared for President Donald Trump a big bipartisan bundle of bills to combat the opioid scourge and a long-awaited reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration.

All Eyes on Senate For Signs of What’s Next On Kavanaugh
Republicans pressing for Friday Judiciary Committee vote

Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, focusing on allegations of sexual assault by Kavanaugh against Christine Blasey Ford in the early 1980s. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/POOL)

Senate Republicans want to press forward with a vote on Friday on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, after a marathon Senate Judiciary Committee hearing featuring emotional testimony from the nominee and the woman who has accused him of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford.

Soon after the Judiciary Committee wrapped up for the day, key swing voters huddled with GOP leaders to discuss the way forward: Republicans Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Jeff Flake of Arizona and one Democrat, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia.