Susan Collins

Trump drags feet on climate treaty, and Republicans aren’t happy
As Kigali Amendment languishes, Sens. Kennedy, Carper point fingers at the administration

Hydrofluorocarbons — found in air conditioners — are worse for the climate than carbon dioxide. A plan to limit them has bipartisan support, but the Trump administration is standing in the way, Republican senators say. (iStock/Composite by Jason Mann)

It has the support of industry heavy-hitters, environmental advocates and a bipartisan cushion of votes in the Senate.

But the Kigali Amendment, a global treaty to limit hydrofluorocarbons — highly potent greenhouse gases found in air conditioners, refrigerators, insulation and foam — is stuck.

Shanahan’s confirmation as Defense secretary seems likely, if bumpy
Nominee’s ties to Boeing have come under scrutiny

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan may face some pointed questions from senators during his confirmation hearing to lead the department full-time. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate appears likely to confirm Patrick Shanahan as secretary of Defense, barring an unforeseen and damaging disclosure — but not before senators pose some pointed questions of the nominee.

The White House announced on Thursday evening that President Donald Trump intends to nominate Shanahan to run the Pentagon. Shanahan has served as acting secretary since Jan. 1, when James Mattis, the Defense Department’s former boss, quit.

Jeff Sessions, Doug Jones ring in happy birthday for Richard Shelby

A bipartisan group of senators, and one prominent ex-senator, wished Richard Shelby a happy birthday on Monday. (Jennifer Shutt/CQ Roll Call)

The hallways outside the Senate Appropriations Committee filled with the Happy Birthday song Monday afternoon as dozens of senators and staff gathered to wish Chairman Richard C. Shelby a happy 85th birthday.

The closed-door event included coconut cake, champagne and red napkins that read “Happy Birthday Senator Richard Shelby!”

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin endorses GOP Sen. Susan Collins for 2020
Cross-party endorsement is rare, but two voted together to support Kavanaugh

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., is endorsing Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, for re-election next year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III endorsed Republican Sen. Susan Collins’ 2020 re-election bid Thursday, saying he would go to Maine to campaign for her if she asked.

“I would go up and campaign for Susan Collins,” the West Virginia senator said in an interview taped for C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers”  that will air Friday. “For America to lose someone like Susan Collins would be an absolute shame. I feel that strongly about this lady.”

The net neutrality bill is dead in the Senate, but Democrats don’t mind
Democrats are confident they’ll be able to use it to skewer vulnerable GOP candidates next November

Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., leave the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already declared the Democratic net neutrality bill, which passed the House on Wednesday, “dead on arrival” in the upper chamber.

But Senate Democrats don’t seem to mind.

Only 13 Mainers gave $200 or more to Susan Collins in latest quarter
Four-term GOP senator is likely facing her most competitive re-election next year

Maine Sen. Susan Collins is likely facing her most competitive re-election in 2020, but Democrats don’t have a candidate in the race yet. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Maine Sen. Susan Collins, one of the most vulnerable Republican senators in 2020, raised more than $1.1 million in itemized contributions during the first three months of the year. But less than 1 percent of that money came from her home state.

Collins raised $9,200 from 17 itemized donations from Maine during the first three months of 2019. Those came from 15 Pine Tree State residents. Thirteen Mainers gave $200 or more this quarter, while two gave less than $200 this quarter but have given more than $200 to Collins in the aggregate. 

‘Nuclear’ fallout in Senate might take some time to register
Democrats show no immediate signs they are contemplating retaliation

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., decried the erosion of senators’ influence and ability to serve as advocates for their states in the latest move to alter the rules of Senate debate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate’s Geiger counters hardly registered Wednesday afternoon after the most recent deployments of the “nuclear option” to speed up confirmation of President Donald Trump’s nominees, although the long-term effects on the institution may very well be significant. 

The first nominee considered, Jeffrey Kessler to be an assistant secretary of Commerce, was ultimately confirmed by voice vote after the two hours of post-cloture debate allowed under the new process was declared expired.

As lawmakers fret, Trump takes closure threat to border with 2020 in mind
‘We felt the need to give him some advice,’ Kudlow says of economic warning to president

Supporters of President Donald Trump rally during his March 2018 visit to see border wall prototypes in San Diego. He returns to California on Friday as he mulls his threat to close the southern border's ports of entry amid an uptick in migrant apprehensions. (David McNew/Getty Images file photo)

The political and economic stakes will be high Friday when President Donald Trump heads to the U.S.-Mexico border after rankling members of both parties with a threat to close all ports of entry. But as lawmakers fret, he is keeping a major re-election issue on the minds of his supporters.

Trump flashed his unique approach to immigration and foreign policy last week when he floated the notion of closing the ports as a way to gain leverage over Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — by preventing migrants from those countries from trekking up the U.S. border, which he will see Friday in Southern California. He is also using the threat to get Mexico to stop migrants as they move through that country.

Senate goes nuclear again, speeding up Donald Trump’s nominations
GOP senators voted Wednesday to effectively change the rules by setting a new precedent on debate time

Wednesday’s procedural moves by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, right, drastically cut the amount of debate time for many judicial and executive nominees. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans moved ahead with deploying the “nuclear option” again Wednesday, this time following through on an effort to cut down on debate time for most of President Donald Trump’s nominees.

In an exercise that had far less suspense than when then-Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, made the move back in 2013, the Senate voted, 48-51, overturning the ruling of the presiding officer and setting a new precedent declaring that the remaining debate time for Jeffrey Kessler to be an assistant secretary of Commerce was two hours. A “no” vote was to overturn the presiding officer and establish the two-hour limit. 

Offshore drilling may be oily albatross for Trump’s pick to head Interior
Bernhardt’s nomination may face opposition in the Senate from coastal Republicans wary of oil spills

A worker arrives at the Department of Interior on January 28, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Interior Department, former energy lobbyist David Bernhardt, will almost certainly be advanced by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which holds his confirmation hearing Thursday morning.

However, just days after the 30th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, Bernhardt’s nomination may face opposition in the Senate from coastal Republicans wary of similar disasters playing out in their states.