rules-and-procedure

Senate Poised for Immigration Votes With Uncertain Outcome
None of the proposals appear to have support of at least 60 senators

An immigration proposal by Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley has the support of President Donald Trump but faces strong opposition from Democrats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate is likely to hold test votes Thursday on four immigration proposals, none of which has an obvious route to passage or a clear-cut coalition of lawmakers backing it.

Democrats emerging from a meeting late Wednesday were noncommittal about their support for a compromise reached by the so-called Common Sense Coalition, one of the four proposals likely to get a cloture vote when the chamber reconvenes Thursday. Sixty votes are needed to advance.

And They’re Off! Senate Finally Votes to Proceed on Immigration
Votes on amendments expected soon

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had some harsh words for his Democratic colleagues before the chamber approved the motion to proceed to immigration legislation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

After two days of the equivalent of a legislative staring contest, the Senate has decided to move along toward immigration legislation. But this is just the beginning, and feelings are a little raw over how things have unfolded so far. 

The chamber approved, by voice vote Wednesday morning, a motion to proceed to the expected legislative vehicle for an immigration overhaul. 

Immigration Debate Sputters at the Starting Line
While McConnell and Schumer disagree, second federal judge issues DACA injunction

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer were at an impasse Tuesday over how to structure the immigration debate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 6:13 p.m. | The Senate kicked off its long-awaited immigration debate Tuesday not with the flurry of bipartisan cooperation that some lawmakers had hoped for, but with a thud.

Before a single vote was cast to amend the shell bill serving as the vehicle for a potential deal, leaders of both parties were at an impasse over how to structure the debate, which is aimed at reaching a compromise to protect 690,000 “Dreamers” from deportation and meeting President Donald Trump’s immigration enforcement and border security goals.

Senators Prepare for Messaging and Uncertainty From Immigration Debate
‘You know it’s an election year?’

Demonstrators supporting the so-called DREAM Act will likely be back on the Capitol grounds this week, like this group from Jan. 16 in the Hart Building. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators say they are ready for what Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to give them this week: a return to regular order.

But that does not mean it will be easy.

Senate Immigration Debate to Begin With Blank Slate
“The amendment process will be fair to all sides,” McConnell says

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised a “level playing field” for the immigration debate likely to take place next week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday he will kick off next week’s debate over the fate of 690,000 “Dreamers” with a shell bill that does not include immigration-related language.

The debate “will have an amendment process that will ensure a level playing field at the outset,” the Kentucky Republican said on the Senate floor.

Nancy Pelosi Claims Record for Longest House Floor Speech
And a brief history of the chamber’s ‘filibuster’

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., appears on a screen on Wednesday from the House floor where she’s voicing support for a DACA-related vote. In the background, Democratic leaders hold a news conference in the Capitol Visitors Center. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 6:11 p.m. | House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi claimed the record for longest ever House floor speech Wednesday. Democrats clapped when she announced the new record.

Republicans can thank John A. Boehner.

Five Continuing Resolutions? Par for the Course on Capitol Hill
Fiscal 2018 isn’t an outlier, yet, when compared to recent years

The late Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, as Appropriations chairman, presided over 21 continuing resolutions in fiscal 2001. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Frustration is high among lawmakers being asked to vote for yet another continuing resolution, the fifth of its kind for the current fiscal year that began on Oct. 1.

None of the 12 annual appropriations bills have been enacted, and the reliance on interim funding at prior-year levels leaves agencies operating on outdated, and in some cases lower, budgets that don’t reflect new priorities and needs identified over the course of the previous year.

Mike Pence, Breaking Ties and Maybe a Senate Record
Vice president and his tiebreaking votes might fell a decades-old mark

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell greets Vice President Mike Pence during a dinner at the GOP retreat in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., on Jan. 31. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

When it comes to ties, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell knows who to turn to. And turn to. And turn to. That would be Vice President Mike Pence, who has already broken more ties in his one year in office than Dick Cheney did in eight years. 

McConnell even joked last week at the Republican retreat in West Virginia — where Pence was the keynote speaker at a dinner — that the vice president was “well on his way to breaking the most tiebreakers in Senate history.”

Opinion: To Filibuster or Not to Filibuster
The American public wants government to act

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer admits that the filibuster rule change instituted by former Democratic leader Harry Reid made it more difficult for his party to oppose President Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

To filibuster or not to filibuster. That is the question and only Senate Democrats can supply an answer. The choice is clear. More uncertainty for the country and putting economic growth at risk — or a willingness to accept compromise neither side may like but both can live with.

Yet a government shutdown looms once again, the markets are rattled and frustration is rising — especially for House Republicans who have sent bill after bill to the Senate only to have Democrats block consideration.

The Appropriator in Winter: Frelinghuysen’s Last Stand
With re-election out of the way, Approps chairman seeks productive final year

House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, left, talks with Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart at a hearing last June. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen is giving up the throne of what used to be the most sought-after seat at the Capitol after just one year.

The House Appropriations chairman is going out amid a blizzard of Republican infighting; lackluster presidential approval dragging down many of his “blue state” GOP colleagues; the increasing polarization of the electorate; and greater influence of Southern and Western conservatives at the expense of Northeastern moderates like himself.