mitch-mcconnell

Capitol Ink | Full Speed Ahead

Appropriators set Friday deadline for unresolved issues
Signals renewed intent to get a spending bill deal completed before the holiday recess

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby says finalizing all 12 spending bills would be a “monumental task.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Individual spending bill negotiators are attempting to resolve lingering disputes this week before kicking any final disagreements upstairs.

Subcommittee heads have until Friday to give Appropriations Committee leadership a list of the sticking points that must be settled to complete work on fiscal 2020 bills, lawmakers said Wednesday.

McConnell questions Pompeo on Hong Kong, Myanmar in Louisville visit
‘What’s your take on Aung San Suu Kyi?’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., welcomed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the University of Louisville on Monday. (University of Louisville/screenshot)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was in his element Monday morning as he welcomed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the University of Louisville.

The Kentucky Republican served as interviewer for an onstage discussion with Pompeo, who is widely known to be the preferred candidate of McConnell and other senior Republicans for the Senate seat in Kansas being opened by the pending retirement of GOP Sen. Pat Roberts.

Photos of the Week
The week of Nov. 22 as captured by Roll Call’s photojournalists

Workers hoist one of three holiday wreaths into place on the front facade of Union Station on Tuesday morning. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A marathon of impeachment hearings dominated the week, but we also saw former Speaker John Boehner return to the Capitol for the unveiling of his portrait before Congress left town for the Thanksgiving recess.

Hill leaders get high marks from Hill staffers
But aides aren’t happy about lack of legislative accomplishments, survey finds

Congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, Charles E. Schumer and Kevin McCarthy received high ratings from Hill staffers in the most recent Capitol Insiders Survey. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times file photo)

As Democrats prepared to take control of the House in 2019, some plotted against Nancy Pelosi, the presumed speaker. Lawmakers like Tim Ryan of Ohio and Seth Moulton of Massachusetts argued that it was time for new blood at the top and a generational shift in the Democratic Party.

Pelosi deftly squelched the revolt and a year’s worth of polling of congressional staffers by CQ Roll Call shows that she has consolidated her power. CQ Roll Call surveyed aides five times in 2019, in January, March, April, September and October, and Pelosi received glowing reviews from Democratic staffers for her job performance.

Democrats prepare to duel McConnell over year-end wish list
Amid push for legislation benefiting Kentucky constituents, Dems seek their own concessions

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing several initiatives to benefit his constituents, including renewal of tax breaks for bourbon distillers, aid for retired coal miners and appropriations to bolster Kentucky’s hemp industry. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As former Sen. Wendell Ford often said, with small variations: “Kentucky is beautiful women, fast horses, bourbon whiskey, cigarettes and coal. I represent Kentucky, and that’s what I represent.”

The colorful Ford, a Democrat who died in 2015, had little else in common with Mitch McConnell, the stoic Kentucky Republican who served as the junior senator from the Bluegrass State alongside Ford for 15 years until the latter’s 1999 retirement. But the Senate majority leader is clearly taking a few pages from Ford’s playbook in the year-end legislative scramble as he heads into a potentially difficult reelection campaign in 2020.

Suddenly, Ken Cuccinelli is No. 2 at DHS
The immigration hardliner became acting deputy secretary after Chad Wolf sworn in as acting DHS chief

Ken Cuccinelli is moving into the role of acting deputy secretary at the Homeland Security Department. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Shortly after being sworn in as acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf — who the Senate confirmed as the agency's policy undersecretary just hours earlier — conducted his first order of business. 

He moved Ken Cuccinelli, a favorite of immigration hardliners, into the No. 2 position. 

‘Dreamers,’ Democrats push for DACA
While Dreamers await Supreme Court decision, Democrats push Senate leadership to pass DACA bill

DACA recipients, including Jirayut “New” Latthivongskorn (left) Carolina Fung Geng, (3rd from left), plaintiff Martin Batalla Vidal (center) and Eliana Fernández (3rd from right) pump their fists before entering the U.S. Supreme Court before Tuesday’s arguments. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Waving American flags and holding up signs that read “Defend DACA” and “Make SCOTUS great again,” hundreds of young immigrants, activists and their supporters demonstrated Tuesday outside the Supreme Court steps as justices inside heard arguments regarding the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Just a few blocks away at the Capitol, meanwhile, congressional Democrats urged Senate leadership to take up House-passed legislation that would ensure protections for this population.

December stopgap funding seems likely path forward for long-delayed appropriations
Another three- to four-week extension is expected as lawmakers hash out differences

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., left, said he had a “positive discussion” with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., about the path forward for stalled spending bills. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congressional leaders and the White House agree they’ll need another three or four weeks to wrap up negotiations on 12 annual spending bills, and are likely to extend stopgap funding to Dec. 13 or Dec. 20, a decision that may finally propel the fiscal 2020 appropriations process forward.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby said he had a “positive discussion” with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland on Thursday. Senate Democratic Leader Charles E. Schumer said in floor remarks that “we’re seeing some positive signs that we can get the process back on track.”

Is tight Kentucky governor’s race a sign of trouble awaiting McConnell in 2020?
Competitive red state excites Democrats, but GOP says no comparison between Bevin and Senate leader

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin stand during the National Anthem at the 2016 Fancy Farm Picnic in Fancy Farm, Ky. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Shortly before Kentucky Gov.  Matt Bevin won his first term four years ago, he made an elaborate show of contrition to onetime rival and fellow Republican Mitch McConnell, showing a satirical video at a GOP dinner in which Bevin appeared to get a McConnell-themed tattoo.

Now Bevin is in the homestretch of a bitter reelection battle — against the state’s Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear — that is seen as a curtain raiser to McConnell’s own 2020 campaign for a seventh Senate term. And the Senate majority leader has been returning the love, working behind the scenes to boost his erstwhile antagonist, according to sources familiar with the race.