congressional-operations

With House Passage of FISA Measure, Action Moves to Senate
GOP leaders in chamber move to restrict amendments to reauthorization

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is part of a bipartisan group that has problems with the FISA reauthorization measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House on Thursday approved 256-164 a bill to reauthorize provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act for another six years, putting the measure in the Senate’s hands.

The bill, backed by the Trump administration and all the U.S. intelligence agencies, would preserve the FBI and the intelligence agencies’ ability to search a surveillance database for information on Americans with minimal warrant requirements.

Scalise ‘Resting Comfortably’ and in Fair Condition After Surgery
Timetable for House majority whip’s return to Hill uncertain

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., underwent a planned surgery on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. The timetable for his return to the Capitol is unclear. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was “resting comfortably” and in fair condition on Wednesday after a planned surgery in Washington, D.C., hospital officials reported.

The Louisiana Republican will likely remain in the hospital for several days before continuing his recovery at home, according to a press release from MedStar Washington Hospital Center, where doctors performed the operation.

Opinion: With a Potemkin President, Maybe It’s Time for Congressional Government
With Trump, the less he does the better

A strong case can be made that the less President Donald Trump does, the better off Americans are, Shapiro writes. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

In 1885, an up-and-coming Ph.D. student named Woodrow Wilson wrote the book that would establish his academic reputation. Entitled “Congressional Government,” Wilson’s conclusions reflected “the declining prestige of the presidential office” in the decades following the death of Abraham Lincoln.

“That high office has fallen from its first estate of dignity because its power has waned,” Wilson wrote in his introduction. “And its power has waned because the power of Congress has become predominant.”

Senate Leaders Announce New Committee Rosters
Ratio change gives GOP a one-seat advantage at all committtees

Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., received his committee assignments on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The full Senate is set to ratify revised committee rosters and ratios before adjourning Tuesday evening.

The changes add a Democrat to the Finance and Judiciary Committees, because each needed new Democrats to provide an across-the-board one-seat advantage for the GOP with their diminished majority.

Topic for Debate: Time to End Congressional Debates?
Real deliberation and persuasion are so rare, the move might improve Hill functionality

In the GOP’s successful push for its tax overhaul, floor debates appeared to have no influence on changing members’ positions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Here’s a modest proposal to jumpstart the new year: Do away with what passes for “debate” on the floors of the House and Senate.

Doing so would mean Congress is facing up to its current rank among the world’s least deliberative bodies. It may be a place suffused with rhetoric, some of it pretty convincing at times, but next to no genuine cogitation happens in open legislative sessions and precious few ears are ever opened to opposing points of view.

It’s Not Just Romney: Hatch Retirement Could Lead to Decisions for Grassley, Crapo
Judiciary chairman appears to have time left as leader of Finance panel

Sens Charles E. Grassley and Orrin G. Hatch have served alongside each other at the Finance and Judiciary committees. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When GOP Sen. Orrin G. Hatch announced Tuesday that he will retire from the Senate after serving Utah for more than four decades, talk quickly turned to whether Mitt Romney will seek to succeed him.

But on Capitol Hill, the pending departure of the Finance Committee chairman — who could have wielded the tax writing gavel for two more years under conference rules — also raises questions about which senator will lead the GOP on taxes, trade, health care and entitlements.

McCain to Return in January
‘We need his voice now more than ever,’ Lindsey Graham says

Arizona Sen. John McCain and staff make their way from the Capitol Visitor Center to the Capitol last month before he returned home to Arizona. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Arizona Sen. John McCain will return to Washington this month after missing time in December to recover from an infection that arose from his cancer treatment, his friend Sen. Lindsey Graham predicted.

“Sen. McCain is in rehab. He’s coming back in January,” the South Carolina Republican said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” in response to a question about his GOP colleague’s health. “We need his voice now more than ever.”

New Sen. Smith to Prioritize Rural Broadband, Child Care and Paid Leave
Replacement for Franken to be sworn in on Wednesday

Former Vice President Walter Mondale, center, will swear-in Lt. Gov Tina Smith, D-Minn., left, as she replaces Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., who announced his resignation last month. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As she replaces retiring Sen. Al Franken, Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith said she plans on prioritizing expanding rural broadband, paid family leave, and child care.

Smith, a member of the Democratic Farmer-Labor Party, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune she will also look for opportunities to work with Republican colleagues.

17 of 2017’s Most Popular Stories
A look back at a contentious year on the Hill

President Donald Trump arrives with Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for the Republican Senate Policy luncheon in the Capitol to discuss the GOP tax reform bill in November. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, Republicans had high hopes of pushing an ambitious agenda forward and making good on last year’s campaign promises.

But their long-held promise of repealing and replacing the 2010 health care law stalled in the Senate in one of the most dramatic moments of the year. Infighting derailed other agenda items that followed.

Amtrak Safety — or Danger — Needs a Hearing, Cantwell Says
Transportation Chairman Thune planning to deliver one

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., has requested a congressional hearing on Amtrak safety after the derailment Monday in her state that killed three. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Maria Cantwell has sent a letter requesting a congressional inquiry into Amtrak safety procedures in light of the Monday derailment in Washington state that killed three people and injured dozens more.

After Monday’s crash, at least 22 people have died as a result of Amtrak derailments and crashes since 2011. The train system has averaged roughly two derailments per month in recent years, Federal Railroad Administration statistics show.