Filibuster

Barr nomination to get votes on the Senate floor next week
Comes after 12-10 committee vote, which reflected concerns from Democrats about how he would handle the Justice Department’s special counsel investigation

William P. Barr, left, nominee for attorney general, greets former Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, upon arriving for his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. Hatch introduced Barr to the committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 5:18 p.m. | William P. Barr is on track to be confirmed as the next attorney general next week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved to limit debate and cut off any filibuster threats against the Barr nomination Thursday, setting up votes as soon as the Senate finishes work on a bipartisan package of public lands bills.

Michael Bennet went viral. Now what?
Colorado Democrat running digital ads about his speech in early primary states

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet on his way to the Senate floor last month, when he surprised even his own staff by delivering a lengthy and fiery retort to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s been two weeks since Colorado’s senior senator made a national splash with a Senate floor speech that went viral.

But you’d be forgiven if you’d already forgotten about Michael Bennet. He hasn’t been included in most polling of the Democratic field and barely makes the cut in stories about potential candidates.

Unshackled by leadership, appropriators ready to deal on border

Top congressional leaders say they will leave a border security conference committee to work its will. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The top congressional leaders in both chambers have a message for the 17 appropriators making up the House-Senate conference committee on Homeland Security spending: Do your thing.

And that’s a positive sign for negotiations on border security funding that are going down to the wire again, with a Feb. 15 deadline to avert yet another partial government shutdown. Appropriators want to reach at least an agreement in principle by the end of this week, to be able to start putting pen to paper over the weekend.

House Democrats offering less money for a wall this year than in 2018 omnibus
The outline, not yet released in legislative form, eliminates $1.34 billion for fencing that party leaders were ready to accept just weeks ago

From left, House Appropriations ranking member Kay Granger, R-Texas, House Appropriations chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., prepare to start the Homeland Security Appropriations Conference Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats on Thursday unveiled a counterproposal on border security that moves them further away from President Donald Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion in wall money than they were just weeks ago.

The six-page outline, which has not yet been released in legislative form, would eliminate the $1.34 billion for fencing along the southwest border that party leaders were ready to accept just weeks ago, and which was included in the fiscal 2018 omnibus appropriations law enacted last March.

Could Democratic presidential hopefuls help lessen the Senate logjam?
Republicans hope rules change push appeals to folks who would need cooperative chamber

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., is leading the effort to change the Senate's rules for debate time on many presidential nominations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With the shutdown over, Senate Republicans may restart efforts to change rules and reduce the time it takes to confirm President Donald Trump’s nominees — and they’re hoping Democratic presidential hopefuls will help them make it happen. 

When the Senate GOP huddled for its annual issues conference this month at Nationals Park, the nomination backlog was on the agenda. Sen. James Lankford — the leading advocate for restoring an agreement in place during the 113th Congress that reduced debate time after a filibuster was broken for many lower-level nominees — briefed his colleagues on the status of his discussions.

Youth, anger, impeachment and the 1970s
Strengths of freshman Democrats lie more in dramatizing ignored issues than fleshing out policy details

If Bernie Sanders could get through the entire 2016 primary season without coherently explaining how he would pay for “Medicare for all,” why is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez expected to be an ace number cruncher, Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — In the 1970s, as a 25-year-old history graduate student at the University of Michigan, I ran for Congress without family money or even owning a car. In my passion (the Vietnam War was raging) and in my belief that college students deserved representation in Washington, I had much in common with the history-making Democratic Class of 2018.

Unlike, say, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, I lost the Democratic primary to the floor leader of the Michigan state House, although I did carry anti-war Ann Arbor by a 5-to-1 margin. (Many more details on request). But I came close enough to nurture a few fantasies about my arrival in Washington as the nation’s youngest congressman.

Negotiations on Spending Deal Will Continue, But No Deal in Sight
Senate won’t vote on House spending plan, McConnell says he hopes White House and Democrats can make a deal

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., is seen on the Capitol's Senate steps before a procedural vote on the spending bill on Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sens. Jeff Flake and Bob Corker reached an agreement with the two Senate leaders that no vote on a spending plan will happen until there’s agreement between Senate Democrats, House Republicans and the White House.

“We’re not voting on anything else ... until there’s a global agreement,” Corker said on the Senate floor.

Ahead of Shutdown, GOP Senator Floats ‘Nuclear’ Option to Build Trump’s Border Wall
Sen. Steve Daines pitched rules change after House GOP voted to amend spending stopgap

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., is advocating for changing the rules to pass a bill funding the border wall for President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When senators make their way back to the Capitol Friday to go back to the drawing board on government funding, there are sure to be some calls to change the rules to help get President Donald Trump the border wall.

Maybe even from Trump himself.

22 Images That Defined 2018 in Congress: Photos of the Year
Roll Call’s photographers captured moments from the halls of Congress to the campaign trail

1. FEBRUARY 7: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks with reporters as she leaves the House chamber in the Capitol after holding her filibuster focusing on DACA for eight-plus hours. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

2018 is wrapping up on the Hill, while uncertainty remains on federal funding for much of the government in fiscal 2019. In short, it’s another year in Congress

Roll Call reviewed its archives from Capitol Hill to Laguna Beach, California (and all the campaigns in between), and picked 22 of our favorite images from the year.

Congress Waits for a Reboot, but Gets the Spinning Wheel
It’s an open secret that Congress isn’t doing its job. Now what?

Republican Reps. John Shimkus of Illinois, left, and Fred Upton of Michigan look nonplussed at an April 11 hearing featuring testimony from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The spring’s high-profile Capitol Hill hearings with the heads of Facebook, Twitter and Google should have been a chance for lawmakers to demonstrate to the American public why Congress is such an important institution.

Since early 2017, concerns about how tech giants were securing and using the personal information of hundreds of millions of social media users had escalated to alarm. Still, despite bipartisan agreement on the growing need for regulations to better protect privacy and prevent social media platforms from being used to spread lies and hate speech, lawmakers haven’t lived up to their oversight task. Months later, they’ve made no significant headway — no bills tackling the issue have received markups or are moving on the floor.