Senate

Trump and McConnell hang out

Featured image President Trump met with Senate Majority Leader McConnell today. Then, they held a lengthy joint press conference. The transcript is here. White House officials described the lunch as focused mainly on efforts to cut taxes. Reportedly, Trump and McConnell also discussed Steve Bannon’s threat to back insurgent candidates in an effort to defeat numerous GOP Senators in primaries. It’s likely that convincing Trump not to support this effort was the »

Judge refuses to dismiss case against Menendez

Featured image The bribery case against U.S. Senator Bob Menendez will proceed, and eventually be resolved by a jury, the trial judge ruled today. Judge William Walls rejected a motion by the defense to dismiss the charges against Menendez. A few days ago, it looked like the defense motion would succeed. Judge Walls initially indicated a willingness to accept Menendez’s position that the prosecution’s bribery case cannot withstand the Supreme Court’s decision »

The Grassley proviso

Featured image In my post on Fred Barnes’s scoop on Senate Majority Leader McConnell’s declaration on the evanescence of the the senatorial blue slip, I asked for the ocular proof. Now Politico reports that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Grassley may have a wrinkle or two to add to Senator McConnell’s declaration: »

Goodbye, blue slips!?

Featured image In news of interest to those of us who have been following the judicial confirmation wars in the Senate in general and in the matter of the nomination of Justice David Stras to the Eighth Circuit in particular, Fred Barnes reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has taken the reins, whipped the horse and expedited matters. Fred supplies this bill of particulars (the first of which I have slightly »

Friendship à la Menendez

Featured image Democratic New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez stands revealed as a man of deeply flawed character in his ongoing trial on corruption charges. The charges derive from the use of his high office to serve his good friend and codefendant, Dr. Salomon Melgen. The government has already convicted Melgen on 67 counts of health care fraud involving millions of Medicare dollars. (Here is a good local news account of Melgen’s health »

Klobuchar shows her blue slip

Featured image Minnesota Senator Al Franken has declared that he will not return his blue slip on President Trump’s nomination of Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras to the Eighth Circuit. By withholding his blue slip Franken seeks to block Stras’s nomination from consideration by the Senate. Franken’s statement on the Stras nomination is posted online here. I have been working like a beast of burden to ascertain whether Minnesota Senator Amy »

Stranger in a strange land [with comment by Paul]

Featured image On Tuesday Roy Moore defeated Luther Strange in the Alabama Republican primary to run in the special election this December. The seat had been resigned by Jeff Sessions when he was confirmed to the position of Attorney General. Strange was appointed by then Governor Robert Bentley to serve in the position until the special election. The only suspense involved in the outcome of the primary was whether Strange would come »

Not looking good for Luther Strange (or Pres. Trump) in Alabama [UPDATED – Moore Wins]

Featured image Judge Roy Moore has opened up a nice lead over Sen. Luther Strange in the Alabama Republican Senate run-off election. With about one-quarter of the precincts reporting, Moore is roughly 17,000 votes ahead (out of about 120,000 counted), for a 57-43 lead. That lead is consistent with, though perhaps at the higher end, of what recent polling has indicated. Moore was expected to win. However, Trump might have though his »

Trump in Huntsville

Featured image President Trump spoke in Huntsville, Alabama tonight. He was trying to boost Sen. Luther Strange, who trails Judge Roy Moore in the Republican Senate primary that will take place next Tuesday. The speech was well over an hour in length. I caught about an hour of it. It was a powerful political speech reminiscent of Trump’s 2016 campaign trail orations. I found it entertaining. Trump spent roughly 98 percent of »

Moore continues to lead Strange, gains Ben Carson’s endorsement

Featured image The latest survey of the Alabama Republican Senate primary has Judge Roy Moore leading Sen. Luther Strange, 54-46. The poll was conducted for Fox 10 News by Strategy Research on Wednesday. It surveyed by telephone 2,000 Republicans who have voted at least once in the last 4 elections and said they planned to vote next week. This result means that Moore has led Strange in all ten of the independent »

Pseudo-moderate Dems toe party line on DOJ nominations

Featured image If there is any administration job for which the Senate should defer to the president’s selection, that job is Solicitor General. The SG represents the U.S. before the Supreme Court, defending the administration’s positions. The administration’s positions should be defended by the lawyer of the president’s choice. Barring truly exceptional circumstances, the Senate should confirm the president’s selection. President Trump chose Noel Francisco for Solicitor General. Francisco has a distinguished »

Strange doings in Alabama, Part Two

Featured image Over the weekend, President Trump announced that he will visit Alabama next weekend to campaign for Sen. Luther Strange in that state’s Senate primary Republican run-off . I found this decision difficult to explain inasmuch as (1) polls show that Strange trails his opponent Judge Roy Moore by a significant margin and (2) Moore seems as likely as Strange to vote for pro-Trump positions — at least the ones that »

Strange doings in Alabama

Featured image The last time we looked in on the Alabama Senate primary race between Sen. Luther Strange and Judge Roy Moore, the (former) judge had a double-digit lead. In the first round of the primary, Moore bested Strange by six points and apparently had extended the margin as the run-off approached. That was about three weeks ago. The latest poll, by Emerson just a few days ago, suggests that the race »

Can Senate Republicans get Obamacare replacement over the finish line?

Featured image As John noted earlier this week, Obamacare replacement legislation isn’t dead in the U.S. Senate after all. Senators Cassidy, Graham, and Johnson have come up with a bill that partially repeals Obamacare and turns power over to the states. Their legislation would: * Repeal Obamacare’s individual and employer mandates. * Repeal the medical device tax. * Enhance the states’ ability to waive Obamacare’s regulations. * Give to the states in »

The Franken factor

Featured image With his his descent to crude and dishonest attacks on judicial nominees in the Judiciary Committee, or in his capacity as a nominee’s home state Senator, Al Franken degrades the Senate and the high office he holds. First among Franken’s intended victims at the moment is Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras. In withholding his blue slip to prevent the Senate’s consideration of Justice Stras to the Eighth Circuit, Senator »

The McConnell factor in Alabama [UPDATED]

Featured image In my post last night about the GOP Senate primary in Alabama, I noted that Judge Roy Moore has a large and somewhat surprising lead over Luther Strange, who was appointed to replace Jeff Sessions and has been endorsed by President Trump. In lieu of offering a full explanation, I pleaded ignorance of Alabama politics. Fortunately, a longtime Power Line reader and GOP insider from Alabama has offered his insights. »

Amy Klobuchar, giant of the Senate

Featured image Former funnyman and current Minnesota Senator Al Franken titled his best-selling memoir Al Franken, Giant of the Senate. He posed for the book’s self-mocking cover. The title and the photograph make a small concession to self-awareness, or to the public relations value of pretending self-awareness, but he deserves credit for the thought. It’s a joke. Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar pretends no such self-awareness. With the active assistance of her hometown »