Delaware

Senate Panel Sends Message By Advancing Mueller Bill
A warning to Trump even if special counsel protections don’t become law

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill to provide job protection for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, but it faces major obstacles. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill Thursday to give protections to Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III, which senators said sent a message to President Donald Trump even if it has major hurdles to ever becoming law.

Although the 14-7 vote on the measure split Republicans, the message from the committee to Trump was clear.

Menendez ‘Severely Admonished’ Over Gifts From Dr. Melgen
Should close the book on Senate action related to ethics scandal

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., was admonished by the Senate’s Ethics Committee on Thursday . (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Ethics Committee has “severely admonished” Sen. Robert Menendez for improperly accepting gifts from South Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen.

In a letter, the Ethics panel directed the Democrat from New Jersey to pay for all improper gifts that have not already been reimbursed. The panel of three Democrats and three Republicans noted that some reimbursement had already been made.

Here’s What You Should Know About 3 Special Elections Other Than Arizona 8
House control question hovers as 2018 approaches

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., holds a press conference with House GOP leadership in the Capitol on Wednesday. Some pundits say Arizona could follow in Pennsylvania’s footsteps for an upset election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

All eyes are on Arizona tonight but at least three more upcoming special elections will take place ahead of the 2018 midterms.

If you missed it, here’s the skinny on the Arizona 8th District contest between Republican Debbie Lesko and Democrat Hiral Tipirneni to fill Trent Franks seat, which he vacated in December over allegations of sexual impropriety.

After Coons Demonstrates Comity, Pompeo Avoids Dubious Distinction
Old Senate traditions on display as Delaware Democrat pairs with Georgia Republican

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., left, and ranking member Bob Menendez, D-N.J., confer Monday before a tense committee markup on the nomination of Mike Pompeo to be secretary of State. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

CIA Director Mike Pompeo narrowly avoided historical ignominy on Monday when the Foreign Relations Committee approved his nomination to be secretary of State.

It took more steps to advance President Donald Trump’s nominee than anyone might have anticipated going into the meeting, including what in the modern Senate was a magnanimous gesture from Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware.

Rand Paul Flips, Will Support Mike Pompeo Nomination

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., attends a Senate Foreign Relations committee markup in Dirksen Building on the nomination of Mike Pompeo to be secretary of state on April 23, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Rand Paul, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said in a series of tweets sent just before the panel was scheduled to gavel into session, that he would support the nomination of CIA Director Mike Pompeo to be Secretary of State.

“Having received assurances from President Trump and Director Pompeo that he agrees with the President on these important issues, I have decided to support his nomination to be our next Secretary of State,” Paul said

New Push for Senators to Pay Their Interns
Advocates say the time is right for offices to stop relying on free labor

A majority of Senate offices do not offer paid internships, according to data from nonprofit advocacy group Pay Our Interns. (Illustration by Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

Ideas to boost diversity on the Hill have been thrown around, and the numbers are slowly improving. But what if the solution was right in front of everyone, sitting at tiny shared desks in congressional offices?

Paid interns.

Senate Panel Tees Up Mueller Protection Bill Despite Headwinds
McConnell indicates measure won’t reach Senate floor

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, pictured here with ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., says the views of Majority Mitch McConnell are important but do not govern what happens in the committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee say they want to act on a bill to protect Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III — even if Majority Leader Mitch McConnell essentially killed it by saying it won’t make it to the floor.

They then spoke to the natural follow-up question: Why bother?

Corker Releases AUMF Without an Expiration Date
Prospects for approval uncertain with expected opposition within Foreign Relations panel

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker is not concerned that the new force authorization measure does not have a commitment from leadership for a floor vote. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The long-awaited draft authorization to set new guidelines on the 17-year-old war on terrorism was released Monday night by senators and, to the displeasure of some Democrats, it would not impose significant restrictions on military operations, such as an expiration date.

The bipartisan Authorization for Use of Military Force of 2018 would repeal and replace the 2001 AUMF, which has been increasingly criticized for its expansive justification of all kinds of military actions against extremist groups that did not exist at the time of the 9/11 attacks. The new AUMF would also repeal the 2002 authorization that enabled the 2003 Iraq War.

GAO: Pruitt’s Pricey Privacy Booth Violated Federal Law
Monday report states funds were not legally available

A staffer exits the Senate subway on April 11 with a poster detailing EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s ethics issues. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The EPA violated federal law when it paid more than $43,000 to install a soundproof privacy booth for Administrator Scott Pruitt without first notifying congressional appropriators, the Government Accountability Office said.

The agency violated the law by using more than $5,000 of fiscal 2017 appropriated funds for an unintended purpose without giving lawmakers advance notice, GAO investigators wrote in a report released Monday.

Three Big Hurdles for D.C. as Advocates Lobby for Statehood
Any form of Congress’ voting power would still have a few problems to overcome

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., speaks during a press conference to commemorate the renaming of the historic U.S. Post Office located at 2 Massachusetts Avenue NE in honor of Dr. Dorothy I. Height. Norton has been a longtime advocate of D.C. statehood. (Douglas Graham/Roll Call file photo)

Washington advocates used the leadup to Monday’s D.C. Emancipation Day celebrations to push once again for the District of Columbia to become a state.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., has been a leader in the D.C. statehood effort for decades — she’s known for asking to be referred around the Capitol as representative, despite her non-voting status. Norton spoke about D.C. statehood in Congress again Thursday night ahead of Emancipation Day.