Niels Lesniewski

Mitch McConnell sets up Senate vote on a Green New Deal resolution
Democrats have decried the majority leader's move as a partisan stunt

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has followed through on his promise to call a test vote on a resolution supporting the Green New Deal, a vote that Democratic supporters have decried as a political stunt.

The Republican from Kentucky moved to limit debate on taking up a joint resolution supporting the Green New Deal, setting up a vote after the Senate recess next week.

Senate learns pushing back on Trump can be hard work
After rejecting U.S. role in Yemen war, senators will vote Thursday on terminating the border security emergency

The Senate is learning this week that exercising atrophied constitutional muscles can be hard work — and it comes with political repercussions.

Thursday’s chamber agenda features debate and votes on a joint resolution that would terminate President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency for border security, which is part of his attempt to move money around to build a wall at the border with Mexico. It will be considered under an expedited procedure that will allow for Senate passage without the need for 60 votes to overcome a filibuster.

Boeing faces increasing political pressure to ground 737 Max 8
Elizabeth Warren weighs in through her presidential campaign, for one

Amid concerns over the safety of new Boeing 737 Max 8 planes, the debate is spilling into presidential politics.

Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren was among those calling for the United States to join other countries in grounding the planes on Tuesday after two crashes abroad.

Georgia Senate delegation has women in charge again
Megan Whittemore's promotion means both Sens. David Perdue and Johnny Isakson have female chiefs of staff

Georgia’s Senate delegation again has two women leading the way at the staff level.

That is the result of Megan Whittemore, who has worked for Sen. David Perdue since he was campaigning for the seat in 2014, being elevated to chief of staff.

Stew’s next stop
Longtime McConnell spokesman is heading to the Association of Global Automakers

Don Stewart, the outgoing deputy chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and a Senate fixture for more than two decades, has his next destination.

Stewart is expected to finish up in the Kentucky Republican’s office this week before starting at the Association of Global Automakers on March 25.

Road Ahead: Budget week, sending a Mueller message, Senate vote on termination resolution
Committees will be particularly busy ahead of St. Patrick's Day recess.

House Democrats intend to send a message this week that the full report of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III should be sent to Capitol Hill and released.

So for the second week in a row, a nonbinding resolution will be among the headliners on the House floor. The Rules Committee is scheduled to meet Monday evening on the concurrent resolution introduced by House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York, with the backing of other Democratic chairmen.

Schumer says Trump ‘redefined chutzpah’ when he called the Democratic Party ‘anti-Jewish’
New York senator, who is Jewish, was responding to comments made outside the White House

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer says that President Donald Trump calling the Democratic Party the “anti-Israel, anti-Jewish party” has “redefined chutzpah.”

“For the president, who when neo-Nazis marched in Charlottesville in front of a synagogue and said ‘burn it down’ and he said ‘both sides’ are to blame, this is a new divisive low,” the Democrat from New York, who is Jewish, wrote on Facebook.

With clocks springing ahead, lawmakers want more sunshine
Florida senators lead effort for year-round daylight saving time as Markey touts 2005 expansion

Ahead of this weekend’s move to “spring ahead” the clocks, Florida lawmakers announced an effort to get rid of time changes altogether.

With the “Sunshine Protection Act,” Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott and Rep. Vern Buchanan want to make daylight saving time permanent, eliminating the switch back in the fall. Rubio introduced the same bill in the last Congress.

Senators unveil new plan to counter Vladimir Putin’s energy influence in Eastern Europe
Chris Murphy and Ron Johnson leading bipartisan effort to improve energy infrastructure

Bipartisan lawmakers are unveiling Thursday the latest Capitol Hill effort to counter Vladimir Putin’s energy activities in Eastern Europe.

This time, a contingent of senators led by Democratic Sen. Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut and Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is introducing a bill that would authorize as much as $1 billion in financing for the next few years for energy sector projects in Europe.

Tim Kaine and the war on zombie wars
Virginia Democrat says he is slowly gaining support for a more robust congressional role in military adventures

Little by little, Sen. Tim Kaine thinks fellow members of Congress are coming around to his point of view that the legislative branch should be more assertive when it comes to war powers.

The Democrat from Virginia has been among the most persistent advocates for the Senate debating and voting on authorizations for using military force when needed, and pulling them back when it’s past due. His latest push is against what he calls “zombie authorizations.”

Democrats vow Judge Chad Readler will be 2020 issue
Murray and Schumer among Democrats blasting his role in targeting health care law

Democrats say they will remember the Wednesday afternoon vote to confirm Chad A. Readler, one of President Donald Trump’s most contentious judicial nominees.

The 52-47 vote to install Readler on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Ohio could easily be lumped in with many other Trump choices pushed through the Senate by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Nancy Pelosi joins House and Senate Democrats launching new push to restore net neutrality
Legislation expected to move quickly in the House

The House Democratic majority intends to move quickly on legislation that would revive and codify net neutrality, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Wednesday.

Joined by Democrats from both chambers including Pelosi and top party leaders, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. said the bill would be a priority for his committee. It would codify the 2015 open internet order from the Federal Communications Commission during the Obama administration, which was rolled back after President Donald Trump took office.

Financial transaction tax will be a test for Democratic presidential candidates
Questions will be asked about whether others will join New York’s Gillibrand in support

The many congressional Democrats making runs for the White House will have to decide whether to support a new tax on traders and investors.

With Democrats on both sides of the Capitol unveiling proposed taxes on financial transactions that they say would target high frequency trading while providing new revenue for Democratic priorities, the issue could put several candidates on the record. 

McConnell confirms Senate has votes to disapprove of Trump’s emergency declaration
The legislation is expected to face a presidential veto

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said senators were still looking into whether the joint resolution to stop President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration can be amended.

But, the Kentucky Republican also said he anticipated the Senate would pass the measure disapproving of the border security emergency.

Donald Trump is going to have to veto a congressional effort to stop his border security national emergency
With Sen. Rand Paul on board, the disapproval measure should have the votes to pass the Senate

It appears President Donald Trump is going to have to veto bipartisan legislation that would stop his border security national emergency declaration.

The straightforward joint resolution disapproving of the emergency declaration appears to have reached the threshold of support needed to pass the Senate.

Congress glad Trump walked in Vietnam, but questions trust in Kim Jong Un
Criticism of his accepting Kim’s denial of knowledge of Otto Warmbier’s treatment

Members of Congress are glad President Donald Trump didn’t emerge from his meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with a bad bargain, but some are blasting the president’s taking the dictator at his word about the deadly treatment of U.S. citizen Otto Warmbier.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for instance, said she’s “glad that the president walked away” from the North Korean leader’s offer to denuclearize only if the United States lifted all sanctions against his country.

Tom Udall and Susan Collins introduce Senate disapproval of Trump’s border security emergency
Encourage fellow senators to defend the congressional power of the purse

Sens. Susan Collins and Tom Udall have teamed up on the Senate version of legislation disapproving of President Trump’s border security national emergency.

Udall, a Democrat from New Mexico and an appropriator, said the resolution to terminate the national emergency isn’t really even about the proposed border wall itself, saying on the Senate floor this is a matter of “standing up for the Constitution.”

Meet the new Senate Foreign Relations boss, not the same as the old boss
Jim Risch says he speaks regularly with the president, but does not air laundry

Contrary to past practice, when the new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has a disagreement with President Donald Trump, the public might not hear about it.

But Sen. Jim Risch says that the president himself certainly does — often from the chairman himself.

House disapproves of Trump’s emergency declaration on border
But the vote was far from a veto-proof supermajority

The House passed legislation Tuesday disapproving of President Donald Trump’s border security emergency declaration but came up well short of the two-thirds margin that would be needed to overcome a Trump veto.

The 245-182 vote sends the joint resolution to the Senate, where it should get expedited consideration.

Republicans bullish that veto of disapproval resolution would be upheld
Minority Whip Steve Scalise still hopes a disapproval measure gets stopped in the Senate

Republicans are increasingly bullish they can block Congress from formally disapproving of President Donald Trump’s declaration of an emergency on the southern border in order to redirect spending as he sees fit — although they still might have to go through the process of a veto by Trump and the fallout from that. 

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., said Tuesday that while he hoped the Senate would block disapproval of Trump’s declaration, it would in any case have no chance of a veto override in the House. The House will vote Tuesday on the resolution of disapproval, and it is expected to pass easily, although the margin is unclear at this point.