James Lankford

Appropriations Vs. Judges: Battle for Senate Floor Time Nears
White House, senators apply pressure on summer recess

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has been upfront about his wish to approve nominations and consider appropriations bills on the floor this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Nominations and spending bills — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s twin top priorities this summer — are on a collision course given the scarcity of floor time.

The Kentucky Republican has made confirming conservative judges a core mission this year. He’s also told appropriators he wants the Senate to move back toward real floor debate on spending bills, including amendments, while avoiding another massive year-end pileup with another 12-bill omnibus President Donald Trump said he won’t sign.

A Plea for the Old School Senate: Senators Really, Really Want to Move Spending Bills This Time
Meeting on nomination rules changes gives way to talk of spending bills, comity

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., brought a chart of the Senate floor to the Rules Committee. (Rules and Administration Committee screenshot)

What could have been a contentious meeting about shortening Senate debate time for nominations turned into more of a bipartisan conversation among some of the most senior senators at taking another shot at moving regular spending bills.

“Let’s pick an appropriation bill, put some training wheels on it and head it to the floor. Let’s see how this works,” Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin said. “We’ve got to educate ourselves.”

Senate GOP Set to Revive Time Limits on Debating Nominees
Rules panel expected to advance changes along party lines

Senate Rules and Administration Chairman Roy Blunt, R-Mo., speaks to reporters Tuesday about the proposed rules changes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican senators will take a small step Wednesday toward speeding up the pace of confirming President Donald Trump’s nominees even as controversy swirls around his pick to head the Veterans Affairs Department. 

The proposal by Sen. James Lankford is not exactly new. In fact, it isn’t new at all.

Pompeo Confirmation Debate Highlights Another Week of Senate Nomination Feuds
Rules and Administration panel also debating changes to nomination floor procedures

CIA Director Mike Pompeo, left, President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of State, arrives for his confirmation hearing April 12 accompanied by Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

CIA Director Mike Pompeo seems all but assured to be confirmed as secretary of State this week. The question is how much pain will senators go through along the way.

The way forward should become clear after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee convenes late Monday afternoon to formally vote on advancing Pompeo’s nomination — probably without a favorable review.

Arizona Teachers Latest to Walk Out, Members Supportive
Grand Canyon State ramps up protest, lawmakers react across U.S.

Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., speaks with Roll Call in his office in the Longworth Building. Grijalva said he supports Arizona teachers in the fight for better education funding, as teachers voted on a Friday walkout. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Arizona teachers voted Thursday night to join their counterparts in states such as West Virginia and Kentucky protesting wage and benefit cuts.

Teachers in the state voted through the Arizona Education Association to participate in a statewide walkout Friday to fight for better pay and school funding.

Lankford: Best to Let Russia Investigation Run Its Course
“The best politics would be do the right thing,” says Lankford

Sen. James Lankford is not in favor of the legislation to protect the special counsel. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Republican member of the Senate Intelligence Committee is reiterating his advice that President Donald Trump should let Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation run its course.

Sen. James Lankford said in an interview taped Thursday that the best strategy will be to let the chips fall where they may, citing the example of how the firing of FBI Director James Comey precipitated an expansion of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race, rather than cut it off.

Richard Shelby Officially in as Senate Appropriations Chairman
GOP colleagues ratify powerful committee's vote

Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., is the new chairman of the Appropriations Committee, replacing Thad Cochran. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans officially chose Sen. Richard C. Shelby as Appropriations chairman on Tuesday after his fellow Republicans ratified the Committee’s Monday evening vote during a closed-door lunch.

David Popp, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., confirmed the Alabama Republican’s selection, as well as the approval of Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., as the new Rules chairman, replacing Shelby.

Women Who Run the Show
Monica Popp and Alexis Covey-Brandt are chiefs of staff in leadership offices

Monica Popp has been Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn’s chief for almost three years. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans haven’t exactly followed the advice of conservative icon Margaret Thatcher, who liked to say, “If you want anything done, ask a woman.”

The GOP has five female senators, and none in leadership. It can seem like a man’s caucus, at least from the outside looking in.

Members Caught Off Guard on News of DACA Fix On Omnibus

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., was among the members who thought the ball was in the administration's court adding a DACA fix to the omnibus. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The White House has held some discussions with Congress about addressing immigration in the pending fiscal year 2018 spending bill, according to GOP senators and aides, but members are skeptical that such a provision will be included in the omnibus package.

Lawmakers in both parties have sought a solution to the situation surrounding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — which covers undocumented immigrants who come to the country as children. President Donald Trump targeted it for expiration on March 5, which has been halted by court actions. The chamber voted on a series of different DACA proposals in February, but none garnered the necessary 60 votes to advance.

Congress Warns North Korea — and Trump — on Nuke Talks
Messer says Trump deserves a Nobel Prize

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said President Donald Trump's position on North Korea gave an opportunity for diplomacy with North Korea. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Members of Congress were cautious in response to the news that President Donald Trump will meet with Kim Jong Un to discuss North Korea’s nuclear program.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a hawkish Republican who went from being a major Trump critic to ally, said Trump’s “strong stand” against the regime gives the United States the best opportunity for peace.