Patrick J Leahy

Leahy tears up committee rulebook after Graham pushes immigration vote
‘Tear them up,’ the Vermont Democrat says

Sen. Patrick Leahy tears up a copy of the Senate Judiciary Committee's rules of procedure as ranking member Dianne Feinstein and Chairman Lindsey Graham look on during a markup of the Secure and Protect Act of 2019 on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham pushed forward a committee vote Thursday on an immigration bill, despite protests from the panel’s Democrats that he was breaking the rules.

Senate panel advances asylum bill over Democratic objections
‘This is supposed to be the Senate Judiciary Committee — not the Donald Trump committee,’ Leahy says

Sens. Lindsey Graham and Patrick J. Leahy talk in 2015. On Thursday they clashed over Graham’s asylum bill, which aims to reduce the flow of migrants to the southern border. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved, 12-10, Sen. Lindsey Graham’s asylum overhaul bill that aims to stanch the flow of migrants to the southwest border.

But the vote came amid loud protests from Democrats that the legislation was hastily pushed through. Democrats said Graham, the committee chairman, broke from longstanding committee procedures in scheduling a markup for Thursday and not allowing any Democratic amendments.

Two-year budget pact clears Senate, ending fiscal 2020 impasse
President Donald Trump has said he’ll sign the measure when it lands on his desk

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, leaves the Capitol on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019, after clearing a two-year budget pact that ends a fiscal 2020 impasse. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate cleared legislation Thursday that would set topline spending levels for the next two fiscal years and suspend the debt limit through July 2021, clearing the way for appropriators to begin work two months before the new fiscal year begins.

The 67-28 Senate vote came just before lawmakers left town for the August recess and follows a 284-149 House vote last week before that chamber left town for its summer break.

Senate inches toward Wednesday budget deal vote
McConnell laid out the process for a series of get-out-of town votes

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell leaves the Capitol on Tuesday for a Senate Republican’ policy lunch at the National Republican Senate Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate leaders edged toward get-out-of-town votes on Wednesday, lining up a series of President Donald Trump’s nominees for confirmation either this week or shortly after the summer recess.

There was still the matter of voting on the two-year budget caps and debt limit suspension package, but clearing that measure for Trump’s signature appeared likely Wednesday. A notice from Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin of Illinois said consideration of the budget measure was “expected to occur” Wednesday. 

Shelby finalizing allocations for fiscal 2020 bills; first markup Sept. 12
Senate appropriators will find out how much they can spend

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., has said for weeks that he hopes to mark up the fiscal 2020 Defense measure the first week lawmakers are back in Washington following the August recess. (File photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Appropriations subcommittee leaders are likely to learn within the next week how much they have to spend on their fiscal 2020 bills.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., said Monday he hopes to finalize the 12 subcommittee allocations by the end of this week or early next week.

For spending bills, now comes the hard part
Both chambers need to reach agreement before Sept. 30 to avoid a repeat of the 35-day partial government shutdown

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, Homeland Security Appropriations chairwoman, said that getting her committee’s spending bill enacted will be ‘difficult.’ (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congressional leaders and the Trump administration proved last week that they can work together by reaching an agreement to avoid default on the nation’s financial obligations and prevent $125 billion in spending cuts that could disrupt the longest U.S. economic expansion on record.

Assuming the House-passed budget pact is cleared by the Senate this week and signed into law, lawmakers still have their work cut out for them.

White House, Hill leaders agree on two-year budget deal
‘This was a real compromise in order to give another big victory to our Great Military and Vets!’ Trump tweeted

President Donald Trump alongside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., left, and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., talks to the media about Robert Mueller’s report upon arriving for the Senate Republican Policy luncheon in the Capitol on March 26, 2019. Trump tweeted Monday he and both Senate and House leaders had agreed on a budget deal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House leaders released legislation late Monday that would implement the two-year accord on appropriations and the debt ceiling struck earlier in the day by the White House and top Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill.  

The 26-page draft bill, expected to get a House vote Thursday, calls for raising limits on discretionary spending by $321 billion over two years, compared to the strict caps imposed under a 2011 deficit reduction law.

USDA official says agencies can find new staff after they move to Kansas City
Research chief also disputes reports that USDA is burying climate science research

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced new homes for the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A top Agriculture Department research official told a Senate committee that two agencies slated for a contested move out of Washington can recover from an exodus of employees and denied media reports the department has hidden agency documents on climate change.

Scott Hutchins, deputy undersecretary for research, education and economics, said Thursday that many employees eligible to move to the Kansas City metropolitan area with either the Economic Research Service or National Institute of Food and Agriculture have notified USDA that they will stay in Washington. Employees who have agreed to move have until Sept. 30 to make the trek west, where the agencies will operate out of a temporary space until USDA finds a long-term landlord.

White House offers up extensive menu of cuts for spending caps deal
The administration wants at least $150 billion in savings

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is leading the talks for her side of the aisle. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Trump administration has laid out a wide array of spending cuts and tweaks to mandatory programs for Democratic leaders to consider for inclusion in a two-year discretionary caps and debt limit package.

The White House offsets menu includes $574 billion culled from items in President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2020 budget request, according to a source familiar with the proposal. In addition, there’s $516 billion in “structural reforms” obtained by extending current discretionary spending limits by another two years, through fiscal 2023.

Leahy casts his 16,000th vote, joining an exclusive Senate club
No currently serving senators have cast more career votes

Sen. Patrick Leahy cast his 16,00th vote Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

“Just a little perspective, imagine taking 16,000 pennies and stacking them one on top of the other, they’d surpass the height of the Washington Monument. They’d more than double the height of the Capitol Dome,” said Schumer. “It’s a reminder that a multitude of smaller actions and the accumulation of smaller accomplishments over a lifetime of quiet dedication can amount to a great monument of achievement.”

After accolades and congratulations, Leahy had some words of his own.