mitch mcconnell

Reid: 'Mitch McConnell and I Are Friends'

Reid, left, and McConnell reaffirmed their friendship on the Senate floor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate's top two leaders took to the floor Thursday morning to affirm their friendship.  

After Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., gave his opening speech on the Senate floor on the year-end spending and tax package, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., sought to clear the air after Politico reported that the relationship between the two leaders had reached a "new low."  

Heading Into Endgame, McConnell Declares 'Dysfunction is Over'

McConnell said next year he will devote floor time to appropriations bills. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

He may be fond of saying there’s no education in the second kick of a mule, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is plotting another run at a functioning appropriations process in 2016.  

Despite Congress blowing past multiple deadlines to finalize funding the government for the year, the Kentucky Republican said holding more than 200 amendment votes and adopting a budget resolution were successes, though he acknowledged there's plenty of work left to do before Christmas.  

Mitch McConnell: New War Authorization Not Happening Anytime Soon

McConnell doesn't seem inclined to bring an AUMF to the floor.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has dismissed President Barack Obama's call for new authority to use force to combat the Islamic State.  

"I don't think so," the Kentucky Republican told Roll Call when asked about the prospects for a Senate debate on a new Authorization for Use of Military Force in the first half of 2016.  

Bush, Cheney Ticket to Reunite in Capitol

Bush and Cheney will hang out again Thursday in the Capitol. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The 2000 Republican presidential ticket will reunite Thursday for a ceremony dedicating the marble bust of former Vice President Dick Cheney in the Senate's vice presidential collection.  

Former President George W. Bush will make remarks, and he will be joined by several congressional leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis.; Senate Rules and Administration Chairman Roy Blunt, R-Mo.; and, of course, Cheney himself. William Behrends sculpted the bust, his second in the collection. (He did the bust for Spiro Agnew as well.)  

Democrats Look Past Planned Parenthood, Obamacare Fight

Durbin, D-Ill., speaks as Sen. Patty Murray, left and Reid, right listen during the weekly Senate luncheon news conference on Tuesday. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats won't put up much of a floor fight against Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood and gut the Affordable Care Act, aware that it eventually faces a certain veto from President Barack Obama.  

Senators will consider the Planned Parenthood provision and partial rollback of Obama's signature domestic achievement as part of the budget reconciliation process this week, which requires only majority support to pass the chamber.  

Cruz Outpaces GOP Rivals by Wielding Gavel

Cruz has outpaced his presidential rivals in subcommittee hearings. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

At a time when senators running for president have faced criticism for missing votes, the anti-Washington, anti-leadership Ted Cruz has been quietly productive in at least one quantifiable way: Convening subcommittee hearings.  

The Texas Republican — who has the third lowest vote participation percentage in the Senate, according to CQ Vote Watch — has convened nine hearings as chairman of two subcommittees, outpacing the three other senators running for the Republican presidential nomination. “We’re facing enormous challenges in America," Cruz said in an interview last week. "And as chairman of two subcommittees, I have endeavored to convene hearings addressing those challenges. I made a promise to 27 million Texans that if they elected me I would fight for them each and every day. And that is a promise I take very seriously."  

McCain: White House Win 'Extremely Difficult' Without Immigration Action

Both of Arizona's Republican senators support an immigration overhaul. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With Speaker Paul D. Ryan's comments about immigration Sunday, the top two Republicans in Congress have now declared dead the prospects of an overhaul before the 2016 elections.  

In the aftermath of 2012, when Latinos made up 10 percent of the electorate and President Barack Obama was re-elected resoundingly, Republican lawmakers and strategists predicted the GOP's White House ambitions were directly tied to the passage of comprehensive immigration legislation. Many of those voices haven't changed their tune. White House ‘Disappointed’ by Court’s Immigration Decision 

Senate Democrats to GOP: the Barn Isn't Clean Yet

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The top four Senate Democrats offered newly elected Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., well wishes Tuesday, before calling for more action.  

Last week, Congress passed a two-year budget and raised the debt limit. Now, Democrats are asking Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for more in a letter that invokes former Speaker John A. Boehner's favorite phrase in his last days on the Hill.  

Speaker Ryan's Greatest Hurdle: Congressional Math

Ryan should have no problem dealing with Senate Republicans, but problems still remain. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

It's well-documented that Speaker Paul D. Ryan's success depends on his ability to work with the Republican Conference's right flank, but that's just the half.  

For any legislation to advance to the president's desk, the Wisconsin Republican must also find common ground with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. It's not as much a personality issue as it is congressional math, and that means balancing the desires of conservative hardliners with McConnell's reality of needing at least six Democratic votes to clear anything for the president's signature. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, who is no stranger to the far-right's ire, is optimistic. He said Ryan seemed like "the one guy" who could unite House Republicans on legislation that has a chance in the Senate.  

Budget Deal's Fate Looks Good in Senate

Republican leaders, including Cornyn, right, walk Tuesday to meet the press. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 3:26 p.m. | Senators feel confident a two-year budget deal that also lifts the debt limit before the Nov. 3 deadline has the necessary support.  

Leaders are looking at 1 a.m. early Friday for a cloture vote, but the exact time is still up in the air as senators negotiate a final agreement. Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, told reporters Thursday he was confident the deal would get the 60 votes required to advance, and that the expectation is a vote on final passage could come in the hours after the cloture vote Friday morning.