Joe Manchin III

Senate Energy-Water Bill Advanced Amid Nuclear Weapons Debate
Concerns raised about funding low-yield nuclear weapon

Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was the lone vote opposing a $43.8 billion draft Energy-Water fiscal 2019 spending measure that the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced Thursday.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Appropriations Committee advanced 30-1 Thursday a $43.8 billion draft Energy-Water fiscal 2019 spending measure before entering into a lengthy consideration of how to dispose of 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium and the development of new low-yield nuclear weapons.

The bill would boost spending for the Energy Department, Army Corps of Engineers and related programs by $566 million compared to fiscal 2018 enacted appropriations and is $7.2 billion more than the Trump administration requested. The House version would fund the same agencies at $44.7 billion.

Blankenship to Run as Third-Party Senate Candidate in WV
Former convict says he’ll challenge state’s ‘sore loser’ law

Don Blankenship isn't giving up on his Senate quest. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, who finished third in the West Virginia Republican Senate primary, plans to run for West Virginia Senate as a third-party candidate.

Blankenship announced on Monday he’d run as the Constitution Party nominee, Politico reported. He said he’s willing to challenge the state’s “sore loser” law that would prohibit him from running in the general election since he already lost a major party’s nomination.  

Donnelly Becomes Second Democrat to Support Gina Haspel to Lead the CIA
Indiana senator provides an insurance vote for the Trump nominee

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., announced his support for CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel on Saturday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate appears to be moving full speed ahead on confirming Gina Haspel as director of the CIA.

The Intelligence Committee is expected to vote to advance her nomination to the floor during a closed business meeting scheduled for Wednesday morning, and a Saturday morning announcement by Indiana Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly further reduced the suspense.

Photos of the Week: Haspel Hearing (and Protests), Detainees Return and More
The week of May 7 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

The Service Year Alliance convened on the West Front of the Capitol on Monday in inflatable eagle costumes to call on Congress to expand funding in the 2019 budget for AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps and YouthBuild. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

The focal point of the week of May 7 on Capitol Hill was the series of meetings that Gina Haspel had with senators, as well as the culminating confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Just outside of D.C. on Thursday morning, a scene played out on a tarmac — Secretary of State Mike Pompeoreturned with three American citizens who had been detained in North Korea, and the president was there to greet them.

Here’s the entire week in photos:

At the Races: 6 Months to Go
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

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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

McCain Argues Americans Should 'Give a Damn' About the CIA Torturing Terrorists
Opposition to Gina Haspel's confirmation no surprise when you read his book

The push by Sen. John McCain, left, to block Gina Haspel's confirmation might weigh on his fellow Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, right. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

That Sen. John McCainwants his colleagues to reject President Donald Trump’s choice to lead the CIA should be no surprise — just consider the extent to which his new memoir lays out his deeply held beliefs arguing  against the agency’s use of torture.

The debate over torture techniques in interrogations conducted under the auspices of the Central Intelligence Agency during the George W. Bush administration features prominently in the forthcoming book by the Republican from Arizona.

Way Out in West Virginia, the Political Vortex
The Mountain State keeps taking the stage for U.S. politics

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The spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our newsletter here.

West Virginia occupies a unique place in the political universe. A small state, it hosts one of the most tightly contested Senate races of the midterms. But it also finds itself in the political conversation again and again. 

Six Months Out: The 10 Most Vulnerable Senators in 2018
Nevada Republican Dean Heller remains in top spot

Sen. Dean Heller is the only Republican running for re-election in a state Hillary Clinton won in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Democrats are still defending 10 states that President Donald Trump won in 2016, but six months out from Election Day, the most vulnerable senator remains a Republican.

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller no longer faces a primary threat, but he’s the only Republican up for re-election in a state Hillary Clinton won, and in this national environment that’s a tricky place to be.

McCain: Senate Should Reject Gina Haspel Over Torture Involvement
Arizona Republican made statement following Wednesday’s hearing

Gina Haspel, nominee to be director of the CIA, and Marc Short, White House legislative affairs director, arrive in Hart Building for meetings with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and other senators on Monday. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain wants the Senate to reject the nomination of Gina Haspel to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.

The Arizona Republican, who has been home in Arizona battling brain cancer and related ailments, said in a statement he was not satisfied by Haspel’s responses regarding her involvement in the agency “enhanced interrogation” effort during the George W. Bush administration.

Manchin’s Backing Likely Ends Haspel Suspense
But there may still be ads encouraging other 2018 Democrats to get behind the CIA nominee

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III announced support for Gina Haspel to lead the CIA on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Joe Manchin III on Wednesday probably ended suspense about whether Gina Haspel will win confirmation as the CIA’s next director.

The West Virginia Democrat formally announced his support for Haspel’s confirmation before all of his colleagues on the Senate Intelligence Committee finished the classified part of Wednesday’s hearing with the nominee.