Joe Manchin III

Senate Republicans Huddle to Break Shutdown Impasse

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has been among the Republicans huddling over a solution to the partial government shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group of Senate Republicans camped out in Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office Thursday morning seeking to come up with a solution to the ongoing partial government shutdown that threatens paychecks for 800,000 federal workers starting Friday.

The group includes senators who have sought to broker an immigration compromise that would provide additional funds for border barriers that President Donald Trump wants, while allowing certain categories of undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. That includes some 700,000 “Dreamers” brought here illegally as children, and possibly a broader discussion about overhauling the nation’s immigration laws.

Trump sends clear signal he’s moving toward a national emergency over southern border
Move could circumvent shutdown standoff

President Donald Trump is signaling that he’s likely to declare a national emergency at the southern border. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 10:32 a.m. | President Donald Trump sent another clear signal he is moving close to declaring a national emergency at the southern border if he cannot cut a border security deal with Democrats to end a partial government shutdown.

Trump told reporters “I have the option” to do so, saying of talks with Democrats: “If this doesn’t work out, I’ll probably will do it — maybe definitely.”

Email dump could slow EPA confirmation fight
Shutdown throws a wrench in court-ordered document release related to potential conflicts of interest

Andrew Wheeler, acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, prepares to testify before the Senate Environment and Public Works panel last year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler has been formally nominated to run the Environmental Protection Agency, setting up a contentious confirmation fight just as a court order threatens the release of over 20,000 emails related to his potential conflicts of interest.

The White House on Wednesday formally sent Wheeler’s nomination to the Senate, triggering the start of the process. Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, was confirmed to be the agency’s deputy in April 2018 and became acting administrator in July after the departure of scandal-plagued Scott Pruitt, who resigned from the top post amid mounting ethics issues.

Can Doug Jones win a full term in Alabama?
Democrat faces a very different voter dynamic in 2020 Senate race

Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., faces voters in 2020 in what is likely to be a very different voting dynamic than his 2017 special election win. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — Alabama’s junior senator, Democrat Doug Jones, has been in office for only 13 months, but he’s already preparing to face voters again in 2020. With the Senate at 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats, Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer can’t afford to lose any seats next year if he hopes to win back control of the chamber. Does Jones have any chance of winning, or is the handwriting already on the wall for a GOP pick-up in Alabama?

The top race handicappers are split on Jones’s re-election prospects.

Senate set to assert itself on Syria sanctions, Middle East policy early in 2019
New Syria sanctions appear to be among the top legislative priorities

Sens. Marco Rubio and Jim Risch are leading the first bill introduced in the Senate in the new Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate is moving quickly to assert its point-of-view on U.S. policy regarding Syria and in the broader Middle East, and it could serve as a rebuttal to the decision by President Donald Trump to pull back U.S. forces from Syria.

Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio introduced the first piece of legislation on the first day of the new Congress (designated as S 1), and it could lay a marker  on the situation in Syria and the Middle East. The backers include the new chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

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.

Chuck Schumer Seeks Senate Vote on Defending Obamacare
New push by Senate Democrats to respond to Texas judge’s ruling that law is unconstitutional

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Sunday that Democrats will make another push to get the Senate to defend the health care law in court. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Calling the ruling of a Texas federal judge, “awful, awful,” New York Democratic Sen. Charles E. Schumer wants a congressional intervention on behalf of Obamacare.

The Friday night ruling from Judge Reed O’Connor struck down the individual mandate of the 2010 health care overhaul as unconstitutional, and he went a step further in saying that it couldn’t be severed from the rest of the law, meaning it would fall as well. But as a practical matter, the law appears to be remaining in place pending appeals.

Are White Evangelicals the Saviors of the GOP?
Key voting group has remained virtually unchanged in its political preferences

President Donald Trump attended a worship service at the International Church of Las Vegas in October 2016. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Amid all the talk about shifting demographics and political changes over the last decade, one key voting group has remained virtually unchanged: white evangelicals.

According to one evangelical leader, a record number of white evangelicals voted in the 2018 midterms after an inspired turnout effort.

Party Leadership Duped Voters With Millions for ‘Dubious’ Midterm Ads, Report Finds
Congress, FEC could close loopholes so voters know who is paying for campaigns, group says

Members-elect from the 116th Congress pose for the freshman class photo on the East Front of the Capitol on Nov. 14. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Newly elected members of Congress benefited from millions of dollars indirectly tied to party leaders in Washington. But much of that money was spent on ads that appeared to be from local groups, according to a study released Thursday.

The tactic is legal, thanks to campaign finance laws that have not been updated since the dawn of the digital age and Supreme Court rulings that have struck down limits on money in politics. But such strategies, laid out in the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center’s “Dodging Disclosure” report, represent the acceleration of “big money trends” that have given deep-pocketed groups outsize influence over elections and made the 2018 midterms the most expensive in American history, the report said.

Representing Is Hard. Online Town Halls Can Help
We invited citizens to connect with their lawmakers. Our findings were both startling and heartening

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., conducts a town hall meeting in 2017. Lawmakers can’t possibly meet with every constituent in person — but they can turn to some of the same communication tools already in use in the private sector, the authors write. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — At the end of the movie “The Candidate,” Robert Redford’s character wins a Senate seat, and then immediately pulls aside his most trusted adviser and asks, “What do we now?” After the divisive election of 2018, we imagine that many newly elected members of Congress are pondering the same question.

Our suggestion, based on over a decade of research: Go beyond business as usual. Make special efforts to connect with your constituents, not just interest groups and your most vocal supporters. These interactions can’t simply be infomercials, but must offer genuine, two-way engagement.