Vermont

States Alarmed by Delay in HHS Family Planning Money
Title X grant recipients play the waiting game, fearing revival of abortion gag rule

The Department of Health and Human Services has yet to announce a new round of Title X funding for family planning, leaving advocacy groups fearing for the future. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

State officials are dismayed that the Trump administration has stalled the process for applying for new family planning money the states are counting on. Abortion advocacy groups worry that the delay may mean the administration is planning to target abortion providers or rewrite family planning policies. 

The funding announcement was expected by November, with states’ applications for 2018-19 due Jan. 3. But the announcement still isn’t out. The funding is provided by the Title X program, through the only federal grants focused on family planning.

The Democrats’ Savior
Donald Trump gave Democrats what they could not give themselves: unity

Protesters walk down Independence Avenue in Washington on Jan. 21, 2017, during the Women’s March. President Donald Trump has energized and united Democratic voters. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

One year ago, as Donald Trump was preparing to take the oath of office, Democrats were in disarray. Supporters of 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders were pointing fingers at each other, the Democratic National Committee was in disgrace, and Democratic voters were demoralized.

Now, Trump has succeeded in doing something extraordinary, something neither Clinton nor House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi could do — he has united and energized Democrats.

Doug Jones Took Office Leading Senate Democrats in Diversity
Jones chief of staff and transition adviser are African-Americans

Then-Democratic candidate for Senate Doug Jones speaks, flanked from left by Selma Mayor Darrio Melton, Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., and former Gov. Deval Patrick, D-Mass., outside of the Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma, Ala., on Dec. 9. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Alabama Sen. Doug Jones took office on Wednesday as the only Democrat in the Senate with an African-American chief of staff.

Dana Gresham, Jones’ new chief, was previously assistant secretary for governmental affairs at the Department of Transportation. He was nominated by former President Barack Obama and held the position for all eight years of the administration. He most recently was a consultant in D.C.

Hatch’s Congressional Career in Photos
The seven-term Utah senator said he’s retiring at the end of this term

Nov. 13, 2017: Ranking member Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Sen. Michael D. Crapo, R-Idaho, arrive for the Senate Finance Committee markup of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, a staple of the Senate for more than 40 years, said Tuesday that he will retire at the end of his term and not seek re-election in the 2018 midterms. 

Roll Call dug into our archives to find a few highlights of the Utah Republican’s seven terms in office:

Al Franken's Departure Date: Jan. 2

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., arrives in the Capitol to deliver his resignation speech on the floor of the Senate on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Al Franken plans to leave the Senate on Jan. 2, ending his tenure in the chamber with nearly three years left in his term and after he started 2017 being regarded as a possible presidential contender.

Last week, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said he would appoint the state’s lieutenant governor, Tina Smith, to fill Franken’s seat until a 2018 special election. 

House Will Need to Revote on Tax Overhaul
Bill as written violates Senate rule

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Despite House Republicans’ jubilant celebration after Tuesday’s passage of the tax overhaul, the chamber will have to vote again Wednesday because the measure as written would violate Senate rules.

The issue stems from the fast-track budgetary process known as reconciliation that the GOP is using to advance it. The process allows Republicans to pass a bill with support from a simple majority. But there are rules that govern the process, including the so-called Byrd Rule, which mandates that every provision must have a budgetary impact.

Landmark GOP Tax Bill Poised for Final Passage
Measure may pass through both chambers before Christmas

Senate Finance Committee chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, left, and Ways and Means chairman Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, have steered a tax bill that would be the the first major tax overhaul in 30 years. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans late Friday unveiled their final plan to overhaul the tax code, a sweeping measure that aims to lower taxes on businesses and individuals, open up parts of Alaska to oil drilling and roll back a key piece of the 2010 health care law.

The massive measure is likely to pass both chambers early next week. Momentum for the landmark package grew throughout the day Friday, capped off with a surprise announcement from Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., that he would back the final bill after opposing a previous version.

No-Alias: Smith & Jones Will Alter the Senate in ’18
Two newest Democrats will join as powerful a minority as possible, whether they skew left or to the center

The Senate will be a very different place after the arrival of two new Democratic senators: Doug Jones, the winner of Tuesday’s stunning upset in Alabama, and Tina Smith, who was tapped on Wednesday to fill the pending vacancy in Minnesota. (CQ Roll Call file photos)

Turns out, the Senate is going to be quite a different place next year even without Roy Moore — and that’s not only because senators named Smith and Jones will be serving together for the first time in 86 years.

The chamber will have its closest partisan split in a decade, and the narrowest divide in favor of the Republicans since the spring of 2001. The roster of women will expand to a record 22, and for the first time a pair of women will comprise the Senate delegations of four states. The Deep South will be represented by a Democrat for the first time in four years.

Trump Poised to Set Record for Appeals Court Judges
Three more nominees set to be confirmed this week

Appellate nominee Steve Grasz, who is set to be confirmed by the Senate this week, was , nominee to be U.S. circuit judge for the Eighth Circuit, testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee nomination hearing in Dirksen Building on November 1, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans are set to confirm three more of President Donald Trump’s appeals court picks this week, a push that will help set a record for the most such appointments in a president’s first year in office.

The Senate is expected to confirm Steve Grasz for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, and James Ho and Don Willett for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, over the objections of Democrats who question whether they can be unbiased.

Can Presidents Obstruct Justice? Republicans and Democrats Say Yes
Durbin: ‘Desperate statement’ suggests ‘they expect to lose on the merits’

Vermont Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, left, and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham confer before a hearing in 2015. Both senior Judiciary Committee members say there is ample precedent showing a president can obstruct justice, despite a claim to the contrary by President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican and Democratic lawmakers say an assertion by Donald Trump’s personal lawyer that a sitting president cannot obstruct justice is dubious, warning the White House there is ample precedent to the contrary.

The members were reacting to Trump lawyer John Dowd’s legal argument in a recent interview with Axios that “the president cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [Article II of the Constitution] and has every right to express his view of any case.”