Jeff Merkley

Suicide Nooses in Cells Prompt ICE Query From Elizabeth Warren, Democrats
Letters come after DHS inspector general found makeshift nooses in detention cells

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is leading a letter to the private companies that run ICE detention facilities. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group of Senate Democrats want the private prison industry to explain whether it is complying with federal standards for housing at ICE immigration detention centers.

Led by Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the senators have written to CoreCivic and GEO group about their housing practices following reports from the inspector general at the Homeland Security Department.

It’s Not Too Early to Start Looking at the 2020 Senate Map
The fight for the Senate should once again be a prime battle.

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., is up for re-election in 2020 in a state carried by both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The votes haven’t all been counted in the 2018 Senate elections, but we know the size of the incoming majority will be critical, because the 2020 Senate map offers limited initial takeover opportunities for both parties.

Of course, it’s too early to tell what the presidential race will look like, how voters will feel about the economy and direction of the country, and whether they’ll believe more Democrats are needed in Washington.

Tax Break for Electric Vehicles in the Crosshairs
Barrasso: ‘Wealthiest Americans’ benefit at the expense of taxpayers

Tesla vehicles stand outside of a Brooklyn showroom and service center in August. Legislation unveiled Tuesday would end a tax incentive for electric vehicles. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images file photo)

The chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unveiled legislation Tuesday to end the $7,500 tax incentive for electric vehicles.

The yet-unnumbered bill comes as a United Nations report on climate change, released over the weekend, outlined dire consequences for the planet in the absence of global action to drastically reduce carbon output over the next decade.

Floor Charts for the Floor Show — September So Far
Our favorite garish visual aids from a month of congressional floor-watching

(Courtesy of @FloorCharts, screenshot of C-SPAN)

When it’s all Kavanaugh, all the time, watching the House and Senate floors can be a thankless task. But the floor charts make it all worthwhile and a lot of them over the last month have been about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Lawmakers like these oversized 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 Fume Over Transfer of FEMA Money to ICE Before Hurricanes
Agency officials, some Republicans say funds could not be used for response

Sen. Jeff Merkley has released documents showing that nearly $10 million from FEMA’s budget was diverted to fund ICE’s detention facilities and deportation operations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

On the eve of Hurricane Florence hitting the U.S. coast, Democratic lawmakers expressed outrage that the Homeland Security Department transferred nearly $10 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to Immigration and Customs Enforcement in a reprogramming move this summer.

Sen. Jeff Merkley’s office on Wednesday released documents confirming that $9.8 million from FEMA’s operations and support budget was diverted to fund ICE’s detention facilities and deportation operations.

Here Are the Senators Attending John McCain’s Funeral
List includes 14 Republicans and 10 Democrats

At least 24 senators will attend the funeral service Thursday of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in Phoenix. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

At least 24 current U.S. senators will attend Sen. John McCain’s memorial service Thursday in Phoenix, his office said.

The service, which will begin at approximately 10 a.m. local time, follows a procession from the Arizona state Capitol, where visitors on Wednesday could observe McCain’s casket draped in the American flag.

Trump Announces Trade Pact with Mexico
Deal comes amid efforts to update NAFTA but excludes Canada

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump walk across the South Lawn to Marine One on July 27. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:24 p.m. | President Donald Trump on Monday announced a trade deal with Mexico aimed at revamping parts of the North American Free Trade Agreement, but Canadian officials still must sign off on the pact.

The president hailed the preliminary pact as a “big deal” in a Monday morning tweet, but — at least for now — it does not include Canada. Trump said during an Oval Office announcement that the new pact would not be called NAFTA.

At the Races: O-H-I-O
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter by subscribing here. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. —Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman

Senate Passes Spending Package, Rejects Trump’s Proposed Cuts
Chamber has now passed seven of the 12 annual spending bills

Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., has shepherded a largely bipartisan appropriations process, pushing forward a four-package spending measure on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate approved a $154.2 billion, four-bill fiscal 2019 spending package Wednesday as a continuing bipartisan effort in the chamber pushed it ahead of the House in the appropriations process.

The vote was 92-6. Republicans cast the opposing votes: Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania.

Withdrawn Nomination Gives Democrats Hope in Brett Kavanaugh Fight
Small margin in Senate provides little wiggle room for Supreme Court nominee

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will continue to meet with senators this week, even though Democrats want to see documents from his time working in the White House for George W. Bush. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The last-minute White House withdrawal of an appeals court nominee on the Senate floor Thursday underscores just how thin of a margin Republicans have on the looming fight over President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court.

Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the Senate’s lone black Republican, planned to vote Thursday against the nomination of Ryan Bounds of Oregon to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, based on some writings by Bounds in college. Republicans have only 50 votes right now because Sen. John McCain of Arizona is battling brain cancer at home.