Alaska

Harry Reid pushing for more UFO research
Wants a key senator to listen to stories from service members who claim sightings

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is continuing to advocate for UFO research. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is lobbying his former colleagues to do more to study unidentified flying objects.

“I personally don’t know if there exists little green men other places, I kind of doubt that, but I do believe that the information we have indicates we should do a lot more study,” the Nevada Democrat said. “We have hundreds and hundreds of people that have seen the same thing — something in the sky, it moves a certain way.”

Senate Republicans Huddle to Break Shutdown Impasse

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has been among the Republicans huddling over a solution to the partial government shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group of Senate Republicans camped out in Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office Thursday morning seeking to come up with a solution to the ongoing partial government shutdown that threatens paychecks for 800,000 federal workers starting Friday.

The group includes senators who have sought to broker an immigration compromise that would provide additional funds for border barriers that President Donald Trump wants, while allowing certain categories of undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. That includes some 700,000 “Dreamers” brought here illegally as children, and possibly a broader discussion about overhauling the nation’s immigration laws.

Fireworks and presidential threats send shutdown talks careening into chaos
Sides trade vicious barbs, allegations after Trump abruptly leaves Situation Room meeting

President Donald Trump, flanked from left by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Senate Majority Whip John Thune, R-S. D., Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., stops to speak to reporters in the Capitol Wednesday following his lunch about the shutdown with Senate Republicans. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Talks toward ending the partial government shutdown hit a new low Wednesday when fireworks broke out at the White House, with President Donald Trump abruptly leaving a meeting with congressional leaders after yet another flap over his proposed southern border wall.

The shutdown enters its 20th day Thursday with no end in sight after another round of fruitless talks and blunt warnings from Trump about his next possible move if he cannot secure a deal with congressional Democrats over his border wall demands — even as 800,000 federal workers and their families wonder about future paychecks.

Trump urges Senate Republicans to ‘just hang together’ on border battle
President meets with GOP caucus after several allies urged him to compromise on shutdown standoff

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence arrive to the Capitol to attend the Senate Republican policy luncheon on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump urged Senate Republicans to hold the line on a partial government shutdown in its 19th day after saying he would do “whatever it takes” — including a national emergency declaration — to get billions for his southern border wall.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence met with Senate Republicans during their weekly luncheon after a handful of them said publicly that the president should compromise with congressional Democrats rather than hold firm to his demand for $5.7 billion for his proposed U.S.-Mexico border barrier.

GOP disaster aid leftovers reflect fresh chance for Democrats
Approps panel ‘will bring up a comprehensive disaster package in the coming weeks’

Incoming House Appropriations Chairwoman Rep. Nita M. Lowey criticized a package from the GOP last year that included $7.8 billion in disaster aid. Now Democrats have a chance to up that sum. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The shutdown fallout may have handed Democrats an unpleasant start to their new House majority. But it also created a fresh opportunity for political victory on a bigger, broader disaster aid package that could hit the House floor in the coming weeks.

Billions are needed to rebuild after recent hurricanes, floods, fires and other natural disasters that ravaged the U.S. in 2018, such as Hurricanes Florence and Michael; mudslides and fires in California, including the Camp Fire that razed the town of Paradise, Calif.; floods and tornadoes that ripped across various parts of the nation; volcanic eruptions in Hawaii and a major earthquake in Alaska; and typhoons that devastated Pacific island nations and territories ranging from the Philippines to Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Trailblazers and absences define start of new Congress
Plenty of firsts, as well as some notable empty seats

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is sworn in Thursday, surrounded by children in the rostrum of the House chamber on the first day of the 116th Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The first day of a new Congress is filled with ceremony and tradition, but there were a few things that set the start of the 116th Congress apart.

For the first time in history, a new congressional session began in the midst of a partial government shutdown. The swearing-in ceremonies and celebrations were clouded by the ongoing shutdown that’s now entered a second week. About a quarter of federal discretionary spending has run out, resulting in the shuttering of agencies and federal programs. But with the legislative branch already funded, there weren’t logistical problems on Capitol Hill that would devastate a high-profile day like the opening of a new Congress.

The Train Is Leaving the Station for the Last Rational Republicans
If they want to save themselves and repudiate Trump, they better do it fast

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, waits for the Senate subway in the Hart Building in September. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — In a classic demonstration of Southern populist oratory at the 1956 Democratic convention, Tennessee Gov. Frank Clement excoriated the misdeeds of the Republican Party by dramatically asking, again and again, “How long, O how long America, shall these things endure?”

As the nation reels towards the end of the second year of Donald Trump’s cataclysmic presidency, Frank Clement’s long-ago question takes on a new urgency. How long, O how long America, will the once-proud Republican Party serve as Trump’s willing enabler?

Senate Passes Government Funding Stopgap, Punts on Lands Issue
Measure now goes to House for consideration, Friday deadline looming

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., warned senators that, even with passage of a government funding stopgap, it isn't over until it's over. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After a back-and forth that ran well into the night, senators came together eventually to pass a stopgap spending bill that will run through February 8 and avert a partial government shutdown, sending it over the House for consideration.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seemed to caution senators against assuming they were done for the the holidays, maybe out of an abundance of caution before the House votes to send the package to President Donald Trump.  A continuing resolution funding several nine Cabinet departments, including Homeland Security and the Justice Department, expires at midnight Friday. 

Republicans in Congress Are Coy About Whether They Would Take Interior Post
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said this week she is not interested in the job

Several senators praised outgoing Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and endorsed his capacity to take on the secretary of the Interior job. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In anticipation of the appointment of a new Department of the Interior secretary this week, one member of Congress on the reported shortlist has confirmed his interest in the post, but most rumored candidates have shied away from public statements.

President Donald Trump said on Twitter Saturday that he would nominate a replacement to outgoing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke this week. 

Flashback Friday: Christmas Tree Bill
When there’s something in a measure for nearly everyone

The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree stands in front of the Capitol on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

For less astute observers of Capitol Hill, the term “Christmas tree bill” might conjure up festive images of twinkling lights and tinsel, candy canes and cookies. But in reality, the term refers to seasonal indulgence of a different sort. A Christmas tree bill is a piece of legislation, loaded with “ornaments” — unrelated, and often, excessive amendments.

The term is said to date back to a March 1956 Time magazine article on the debate over the farm bill. New Mexico Sen. Clinton P. Anderson, frustrated by the number of amendments added to the measure, was quoted as saying, “This bill gets more and more like a Christmas tree; there’s something on it for nearly everyone.”