Maine

North Dakota Senate Race Could Come Down to Fossil Fuels
The problem? Heitkamp and Cramer have strikingly similar stances on energy

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Rep. Kevin Cramer are vying for North Dakota’s Senate seat. They’re also racing to show off their energy chops. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The two candidates in the North Dakota Senate race — a tight matchup with massive implications for control of the chamber next Congress — are touting their Capitol Hill energy policy chops to gain an edge in one of the closest contests of the midterms. 

The race has triggered an escalating argument between vulnerable Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp and her GOP challenger, Rep. Kevin Cramer, over which one is the best champion of the state’s fossil fuel industries that rank among the most productive in the nation.

Protesters to Brett Kavanaugh Nomination Descend on Senate Offices
Those objecting to SCOTUS nominee reach out to Republicans Susan Collins, Jeff Flake

Protests of the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court erupted in the Senate on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Protesters occupied the office of Sen. Susan Collins on Thursday, voicing their belief in Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Protesters wore pins reading “I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford” and filed silently into the Maine Republican’s office. Once inside, a few of them implored Collins’ staff not to rush the Kavanaugh confirmation proceedings, citing how long other nominees’ confirmations took.

Lawmakers Unhappy With Pompeo’s Lowered Cap on Refugees
New cap of 30,000 is a historic low

Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Bob Menendez called the Trump administration’s decision to lower the annual refugee cap “truly repugnant.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers of both parties are criticizing the Trump administration’s decision to lower the annual refugee cap to 30,000 people for fiscal 2019 — a sharp decrease from the 45,000 cap set for fiscal 2018, and also a historic low.

“At a time when we should be defending our values and ideals as Americans and working to alleviate the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, it is truly repugnant to see the Trump administration double down on its efforts to reject our foundational values and humanitarian duty of providing those escaping persecution the opportunity to seek protection and safe haven,” Sen. Robert Menendez, the ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement Monday.

Kavanaugh’s Fate Lies in Women’s Hands — As It Should Be
Female voters will also be judging how Republicans treat him and his accuser

Responses by some male Republican lawmakers to the allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh show that many still don’t understand what it takes for a woman to come forward and tell her story, Murphy writes. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — This was the point. This was always the point of the “Year of the Woman,” in 1992 and every election year since then. To have women at the table, to have women as a part of the process in the government we live by every day. Women still aren’t serving in Congress in the numbers they should be, but it is at moments like this one — with a nominee, an accusation, and a Supreme Court seat in the balance — where electing women to office matters.

When Anita Hill told an all-male panel of senators in 1991 that Clarence Thomas had repeatedly sexually harassed her when she had worked with him years before, the senators on the all-male Judiciary Committee seemed to put Hill on trial instead of Thomas. Why didn’t she quit her job and get another one, they asked. Why did she speak to him again? Why didn’t she come forward and say something about Thomas sooner if he was such a flawed nominee?

Kavanaugh, Ford Will Appear Before Judiciary Committee in Public
Supreme Court nominee, woman who accused him of sexual assault will be heard out

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, was among the senators calling for a public hearing about the accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate Judiciary Committee will have a public hearing Monday, Sept. 24, on the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, a former Judiciary Committee chairman, confirmed the scheduling update to reporters on Monday evening. The news broke after senators had arrived back at the Capitol Monday afternoon and after a meeting of Judiciary Committee Republicans in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office about how to proceed in light of allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford.

 Collins: If Kavanaugh Lied to Committee That Would Be “Disqualifying”
 

Eyes are on Republican Sen. Susan Collins as sexual assault allegations roil Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation process. Collins’s vote was already considered pivotal for the nominee, as the moderate Maine senator has bucked her party and President Donald Trump on big ticket issues before. Collins said Monday that both Kavanaugh and the accuser, California professor Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, should testify under oath about the incident. 

“Obviously if Judge Kavanaugh has lied about what happened, that would be disqualifying,” Collins told reporters.

Trump, White House Will Let Senators Resolve Kavanaugh Fracas
President sharply questions top Judiciary Democrat Feinstein’s tactics

President Donald Trump greets Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his family while announcing his nomination to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on July 9. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump and his White House staff have handed Senate Republicans the reins, hoping they can steer Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh around sexual misconduct allegations and onto the high court.

Trump remained silent about allegations made by Kavanaugh’s accuser for most of Monday before the president backed delaying the confirmation process — which had included a planned Thursday vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee — so senators can hear from Kavanaugh and accuser Christine Blasey Ford. But Trump also called the notion of withdrawing the nomination “ridiculous.”

Senate Scrambles for Next Move With Kavanaugh Nomination in the Balance
Growing number of senators say accuser, judge should be able to have say

The Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh hung in the balance on Monday as senators sorted out the chamber's next move in light of sexual assault allegations against the judge. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The most important of those voices was Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, who said Christine Blasey Ford, a California college professor, deserves to be heard after coming forward publicly with the allegation over the weekend.

“So I will continue working on a way to hear her out in an appropriate, precedented and respectful manner,” Grassley said in a news release.

Road Ahead: All Eyes on Brett Kavanaugh and the Senate Judiciary Committee
Senate starting with passage of anti-opioid legislation in another short week

All eyes will be on Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley and ranking member Dianne Feinstein this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A scheduled Thursday afternoon Judiciary Committee vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination was always going to be the most significant event on the schedule.

But the decision by Christine Blasey Ford to come forward publicly with an allegation of attempted sexual assault by Kavanaugh while in high school in Montgomery County, Maryland, has put what could have been a fairly perfunctory (though partisan) proceeding in the spotlight.

Republicans Face Critical Moment With Kavanaugh
Allegation against Supreme Court nominee heaps cultural importance on what senators do

Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh meets with Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a member of the Judiciary Committee, in July. Graham said on Sunday that he is willing to hear Kavanaugh’s accuser, but said that should happen “immediately.” (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS: President Donald Trump’s pick for a pivotal spot on the Supreme Court already put the Senate at the confluence of the nation’s contentious political and legal movements.  But a woman’s allegation of sexual assault by Brett Kavanaugh  — dating back decades to when he was a teenager — heaps cultural importance as well on what senators do at this moment.

Senators, particularly Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Republicans who have relentlessly insisted on a confirmation vote this month, now have to decide what to do amid a “Me Too” movement that has exposed how these types of allegations have been hidden, mishandled or simply ignored by powerful men in the past.