Charles E Grassley

Democrats Press GOP for Quick Legislative Response on Russia
Several measures in both chambers designed to push back on Putin

Protesters participate in a candlelight vigil in front of the White House Wednesday to protest President Donald Trump in the wake of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Congress could consider several bills in response to concerns about Russian meddling in the upcoming election. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

House and Senate Democrats are pressuring their Republican colleagues to bring to the floor legislation introduced in response to President Donald Trump’s comments — and revisions to those comments — this week on Russian interference in U.S. elections.

Democratic House leaders released a bipartisan package that includes 17 previously introduced bills that would further restrict the White House’s foreign policy and economic options when it comes to Moscow.

Floor Charts for the Floor Show — Summer Edition
Our favorite visual aids from a month of congressional floor-watching

(Courtesy @FloorCharts, Screenshot/C-SPAN)

Cheesin’ photos, safety precautions and tiny charts — watching the House and Senate floors can be a thankless task. But the floor charts make it  worthwhile.

Lawmakers like these oversize and sometimes garish visual aids because they help them get their point across. The Twitter handle @FloorCharts posts some of the daily highlights, and Roll Call now provides a monthly roundup of the best of the best.

Democrats Demand Paperwork Before Meeting With Kavanaugh
Judiciary Committee members debated the Supreme Court nominee’s voluminous paper trail Thursday

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, waits for a meeting in the Capitol on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats haven’t had private meetings with Judge Brett Kavanaugh in his first two weeks as a Supreme Court nominee, and aren’t likely to until there is progress on getting access to his lengthy paper trail about his prior political work.

Democrats want assurances that the National Archives will agree to send to the Senate Judiciary Committee volumes of documents about Kavanaugh’s past, which includes a lengthy tenure in the George W. Bush White House, a senior Senate Democratic aide said Thursday. And they want to know that the document access won’t be thwarted by claims of executive privilege.

Photos of the Week: Kavanaugh Hits the Hill and Strzok Strikes Back at House
The week of July 9 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Make-A-Wish recipient and “U.S. Senator For a Day” Thomas Stephenson and Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., ride the Senate Subway on Tuesday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

It’s almost the middle of July, but there’s no summer slowdown on Capitol Hill. The president’s Supreme Court pick was in the Capitol on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as senators consider his nomination to replace Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

But the joint committee in the House that heard testimony from Peter Strzok on Thursday possibly stole the show for this week on the Hill as sparks flew between members and the FBI agent Peter Strzok.

Why Former Sen. Jon Kyl Got Tapped to Guide Brett Kavanaugh
Supreme Court nominees need an experienced ‘sherpa’ to navigate the Senate’s unique ways

White House Counsel Don McGahn, right, and former Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., arrive at the Capitol on Tuesday as they escort Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Vice President Mike Pence to meetings with senators. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

He spent 18 years as a senator on the Judiciary Committee, the last six as the Republican whip and No. 2 in leadership. Now his lobbying clients include a group already spending millions to push the federal courts hard right. His big gig on the side is rooting out perceived liberal bias on social media.

If Jon Kyl does not have the ideal background for successfully shepherding a Supreme Court nominee through this Senate, perhaps no one does.

Democrats Have Few Tactical Options to Fight Supreme Court Pick
Senate rules provide some delay tactics, but not many now that filibuster is unavailable

When he was Senate majority leader, Robert C. Byrd once ordered the arrest of senators to make sure there was a quorum present to conduct chamber business. If enough senators skip a session to, say, delay a confirmation vote on a Supreme Court nominee, such an option is available to the majority. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats can make as much noise as they want about President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, but they have few procedural weapons at their disposal to stop Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation on their own — although they can make life difficult along the way.

One strategy for the Senate Democrats may be to create as much time as possible between Monday night’s announcement and the Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearings.

Senators Press Chief Justice Roberts for Faster Release of Supreme Court Audio
Letter comes as Roberts renews opposition to cameras in the Court

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., is facing a new call from key senators for faster release of Supreme Court audio. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The current chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and one of his predecessors have teamed up to press Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., to release audio of all arguments on the same day that they take place.

Iowa Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley and Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick J. Leahy made the request of the Supreme Court in a June 29 letter to Roberts that was publicly circulated on Monday.

With Only One Vote, McConnell Approves Treaty for the Blind
Majority leader used rare Senate procedure of the standing vote

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made use of a rare procedure to help approve the so-called Marrakesh Treaty. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A five-year campaign for a copyright exemption designed to make it easier for the blind and physically impaired to get access to foreign works of music and literature moved a step closer to being realized, under a rarely used Senate procedure.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday night engineered the approval of the so-called Marrakesh Treaty by using the chamber’s rarely used procedure of the standing vote.

Outside Groups, Democrats Form Ranks in Supreme Court Fight
‘This will not happen without a fight,’ Sen. Cory Booker says

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker called for the Senate Judiciary Committee to not consider a Supreme Court pick by the president until the Russia investigation is complete. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Less than 24 hours after Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court, liberal advocacy group Demand Justice rallied in front of the court building Thursday with a string of Democratic lawmakers with a unified message: We will fight.

A professionally printed “Ditch the List” sign featuring President Donald Trump’s face hung on the podium, an expression of dissatisfaction with his list of 25 solidly conservative potential picks. Numerous Democratic senators also seized on the phrase as a hashtag on Twitter.

Trump Talks Supreme Court Picks With Democrats Who Voted for Neil Gorsuch
Donnelly, Heitkamp and Manchin among White House invitees Thursday evening

Sens. Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Donnelly, seen here at a Senate Banking meeting last year, were among the attendees at a Thursday White House meeting in which the upcoming Supreme Court vacancy was discussed. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Wednesday night, President Donald Trump was visiting North Dakota, attacking its junior senator, Democrat Heidi Heitkamp, in the most recent of his campaign-style rallies ahead of the midterms.

“Heidi will vote ‘no’ on any pick we make,” the president said of Heitkamp’s vote on the next Supreme Court nominee to replace the retiring Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.