Senate’s Radical Reasonable Caucus Finds Their Moment
Will a group of 20 senators be able to gain influence?

A bipartisan group of Senators hold a new conference in the Capitol on Monday after they voted to end debate on a continuing resolution to reopen the government. From left, Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, Tim Kaine, Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Donnelly, Joe Manchin III, Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, Lisa Murkowski, Amy Klobuchar and Maggie Hassan. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In a Senate environment where party discipline has been the norm, a group of senators that lobbied leadership to accept a resolution to end the government shutdown Monday now has leverage, if they decide to use it.

“One of the good outcomes is that we had a group of 20 … that built a lot of trust with each other. So it could create an environment, at least over the next month or so, where some really positive things happen,” Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, a GOP partipant said Monday. “On the Democratic side, it was necessary to have a large group of Republicans [who] were committed to try and resolve these issues.”

When a Shutdown Amounts to a Mulligan
Hill Democrats, Republicans and Trump ALL escape from the impasse with a shot at redemption

Signs were posted outside the Library of Congress in Washington on Sunday notifying visitors that all Library of Congress buildings would be closed to the public during a government shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It may be hard to believe now, especially for those whose lives were upended the past three days, but this could end up being remembered as the “Never mind” shutdown.

Since the federal government is going to be fully back in business Tuesday — after just one weekday when the lights were only partially and inconsistently turned off — both parties in Congress may have won the same consolation prize for their long weekend of partisan petulance: a get-out-of-political-jail-for-free card.

Trump Takes Back Seat in Shutdown-Ending Talks
Despite past rhetoric and boasts of deal-making, president let Congress figure it out

President Donald Trump addresses staff at the White House on Saturday while lawmakers worked on an agreement to end the government shutdown. (Courtesy Joyce N. Boghosian/White House)

President Donald Trump on Saturday, amid a government shutdown that tarnished the anniversary of his first year in office, was surrounded by a room of people at the White House, apparently hanging on his every word. But these were his own staffers, not lawmakers working to turn the federal lights back on.

Trump and his top aides, even before the government went dark at 12 a.m. Saturday, tried to assign blame for the shutdown to Democrats as well as responsibility for ending it. Yet there is a sense in Washington that the president, who as a candidate said his business-world success made him uniquely qualified to cut deals with Congress, left the heavy lifting to others.

Opinion: Women Played a Key Role in Harassment Bill
In the #MeToo era, some lawmakers may be scurrying for cover

Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., describes legislation aimed at helping victims of harassment on the Hill as “some of the most important work” she’ll ever do in the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When people talk about women running for office, we hear a lot about numbers. X-number of women are running. Women make up y-percent of Congress or elected officials. When x and y are equal, then we’ll finally see a difference in our government.

But beyond the numbers, if you really want to see the difference it makes to have women from both parties at the table when legislation is drafted, look no further than the bill introduced last week to finally begin to change the way sexual harassment has been dealt with in Capitol Hill offices since the Congressional Accountability Act passed in 1995.

Supreme Court Hops Into Case About a Frog and Property Rights
But the justices will leave bearded seals alone

The dusky gopher frog has emerged as a touchstone for environmentalists and business groups feuding over property rights and government power. (Courtesy The Wildlife Society)

The Supreme Court jumped into a case about the government’s power to designate private land as critical habitat for an endangered frog species, but is staying out of another case seeking to protect the bearded seal from future threats of climate change. 

The justices announced Monday they will hear oral arguments about the dusky gopher frog and a 1,500-acre tract of Louisiana forestry land that could lose $34 million in development value because of the Fish and Wildlife Service designation under the 1973 endangered species law. The arguments will likely be scheduled for the next Supreme Court term that starts in October.

Capitol Ink | Shutdowner

Walking and Talking: Fleischmann’s Insight Into Budget Talks
Tennessee Republican considers himself ‘boring’ and relaxes with coffee and cookies

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann walks to and from work regardless of the weather. (CQ Roll Call/Sara Wise)

With late-night negotiations and long hours, members have little time to stop and smell the lawmaking.

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann has found that walking to and from work — from his Capitol Hill home to the Rayburn House Office Building — is a way to stay focused and energized.

Shutdown Ended, but Democrats Still Have Leverage Over Budget Caps
Sequester-mandated cuts still have to be resolved

From left, Colorado Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Illinois Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez and Delaware Sen. Chris Coons talk in Russell Building on Monday after the Senate voted to end debate on a continuing resolution to reopen the government. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 9:20 p.m. | Even though Congress has voted to reopen the government after a brief shutdown, House Democratic leaders, who didn’t sign off on the deal their Senate counterparts helped negotiate, plan to continue their push on immigration and spending issues with a key leverage point: the budget caps.

The House on Monday evening quickly passed a stopgap funding bill that will reopen the government through Feb. 8 by a 266-150 vote, sending the bill to President Donald Trump, who signed the continuing resolution that night. 

Senate Passes Three-Week CR to Reopen Federal Government

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., leaves the Senate floor in the Capitol after the chamber passed a continuing resolution to reopen the government on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate voted 81-18 to pass a continuing resolution running through Feb. 8 on Monday afternoon, sending it back to the House as Day Three of the partial government shutdown dragged on.

The House is expected to clear the stopgap for President Donald Trump’s signature, ending the shutdown in time for federal workers to return to their offices Tuesday morning. A number of House Democrats appear likely to back the measure after opposing a previous version last week, and top Democrats predicted the CR would be passed this time.

Group Backed by Liberal George Soros Posts Uptick in Lobbying
Open Society Policy Center spent record $16.1 million in 2017

Billionaire George Soros, left, attends a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in November 2008. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Open Society Policy Center, the lobbying arm of liberal billionaire George Soros’ philanthropic network, reported spending a record sum to influence federal issues during the first year of the Trump administration.

The group disclosed spending a total of $16.1 million on federal lobbying in 2017, with the majority of that coming in the last three months of the year, according to a report filed with Congress. The Soros group disclosed spending $10.3 million in the fourth quarter.

Pa. Supreme Court Throws Out Congressional Map
Justices want a new map before the 2018 elections

GOP Rep. Ryan Costello’s district was named in the Pennsylvania redistricting lawsuit.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Monday that the state’s congressional map violated the state constitution and a new map must be in place for the 2018 elections.

The plaintiffs, including the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, argued the current map was improperly drawn to benefit Republicans. They alleged Democrats were largely packed into five congressional districts and the remaining Democrats were spread out among the rest. Republicans currently hold 12 of the state’s 18 House seats, with one GOP seat vacant.

Scalise Back in Action After Successful Surgery
‘I’m feeling real good’

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., center, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., arrive for a news conference after a House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol in November. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise returned to the Capitol Monday after surgery and a 12-day hospital stay to cast a “yes” vote on a stopgap spending bill that will reopen the government through Feb. 8.

“I’m feeling real good,” the Louisiana Republican said of his health after what he called a “major surgery” he had 12 days ago. “It was very successful but it took a long recovery. But I’m feeling great.”

Republican Senators Look to Get Out Front on Immigration

Dreamers protest outside of the Capitol calling for passage of the Dream Act as Congress works to find a way to end the government shutdown on Sunday evening, Jan. 21, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A coalition of Senate Republicans huddled at the White House on Monday to try to persuade the administration to publicly back a new bill to address the pending expiration of a program that covers immigrants who come to the country as children, according to lawmakers and aides.

President Donald Trump met with six Senate Republicans on Monday about the next steps in the push for an immigration overhaul bill, according to a senior White House official.

Montana’s Jon Tester Breaks With 2018 Red-State Democrats
Senator was only Democrat from Trump state to oppose stopgap funding measure

Montana Sen. Jon Tester is running for a third term in a state President Donald Trump won by 20 points. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 5:10 p.m. | Montana Sen. Jon Tester was the only red-state Democrat up for re-election this year to vote against a stopgap funding measure Monday to end the three-day government shutdown. 

And his vote, along with an earlier one to oppose advancing debate on the short-term continuing resolution, is already opening him up to Republican attacks that he sided with his party’s most liberal senators, including many 2020 hopefuls. 

House Democrats Not Whipping Shutdown Vote
Despite opposition from some in minority, enough votes are likely there in chamber

The Capitol Visitor Center, usually full of tourists, sits empty on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018, as negotiations to reopen the government continue. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Democratic leaders are not whipping the stopgap spending bill to reopen the government through Feb. 8, freeing members to vote how they wish, members and aides said Monday.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said earlier Monday she’ll be voting “no” and Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., was expected to follow suit. Their opposition is not likely to change the outcome, though, barring a mass change of heart from Republicans.