Alaska

Space Force Could Be Compromised From the Get-Go, Watchdog Warns
Malicious actors could take advantage of Air Force’s laxity, according to report

An Air Force communications satellite is launched from Cape Canaveral in March 2017. (Courtesy U.S. Air Force)

The Air Force is not adequately monitoring the pedigree of parts that go into critical space systems, and they are consequently at risk of being compromised by America’s enemies, according to a Pentagon inspector general report released Thursday.

It was the second of four audits that Congress has ordered on the subject, and the results so far indicate a systemic failure to safeguard what goes into U.S. weapons and satellites.

Democrats Continue Camera Shy Ways With Brett Kavanaugh
Senate courtesy meetings continue, but with nary a photo op

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh arrives to meet with Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., in the Hart Senate Office Building on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic senators have, at least from Republican states, started meeting with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but they are mostly avoiding the press when doing so. 

With senators back in town, meetings with President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court resumed Wednesday, with a pair of Democrats on the agenda.

Kavanaugh Makes Strategic Stops on His Senate Tour as Chamber Returns
Heitkamp, Donnelly and other swing votes are on his schedule

Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., are among those expected to meet with Trump’s Supreme Court pick. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will ramp up his behind-the-scenes preparation over the next three weeks for his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, starting with more one-on-one meetings Wednesday with senators whose votes could prove pivotal.

Kavanaugh, who is more used to asking questions from the dais as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for the past 12 years, has been going through mock hearings that last several hours with questions from people assigned to the role of different senators, a White House official said.

Hagedorn Wins GOP Nomination for Toss-Up Minnesota Race
This is Hagedorn’s fourth bid for 1st District and third as the nominee

Jim Hagedorn won the GOP nomination for Minnesota’s 1st District on Tuesday and will face Democrat Dan Feehan in November. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Jim Hagedorn has won the Republican nomination for Minnesota’s 1st District, hoping the third time is the charm to win the highly competitive seat. 

With 88 percent of precincts reporting, Hagedorn led state Sen. Carla Nelson 60 percent to 33 percent, when The Associated Press called the race. 

Photos of the Week: Senate Summer Session Commences, and Breaks
The week of July 30 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., jokes with Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, as he walks down the Senate steps after the last vote of the week in the Senate on Wednesday. Risch was posing for a photo with interns on the steps. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate was at work this week passing a four-bill spending package, which completes the chamber’s 12 appropriations bills for the year. The House got its first week of summer recess under its belt, and by the end of the week, the Senate joined them. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is allowing for a truncated recess, with senators in their home states next week but expected back on the Hill on Wednesday, Aug. 15. 

Dems Rip Page From GOP Playbook to Fight Trump’s Pollution Rollback
Markey: ‘We’ll use every tool available to block the Trump administration’s U-turn on fuel efficiency’

Sen. Dianne Feinstein says “Californians have a right to breathe clean air, and we’re not giving that up to President Trump without a fight.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats opposed to the Trump administration’s proposal to freeze fuel efficiency standards have limited options to fight back in the halls and floor of Congress, but the one option they do have comes straight from the GOP deregulatory playbook.

Once finalized, Democrats, led by top members on the Environment and Public Works Committee, plan to introduce a Congressional Review Act resolution to overturn the Trump administration’s fuel efficiency strategy, Sen. Edward J. Markey told reporters on a phone conference in response to the administration’s proposal Thursday.

Durbin Back on the Warpath Against E-Cigarette ‘Candy-Flavored Poisons’
Introducing new legislation to make e-cig manufacturers show benefits

Sen. Richard J. Durbin has new legislation designed to curtail flavored e-cigs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin has launched a new offensive against a familiar foe: electronic cigarettes.

For years, the Illinois Democrat has been alarmed by the use of e-cigs by young adults — and flavorings that seem designed to appeal to kids, like gummy bear.

Trump Trade Czar Talks Lobsters, ‘Farmers of the Sea’ and ‘Playing Chicken’
Robert Lighthizer tells Senate panel trade dispute with China won’t end soon

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says the Trump administration’s aggressive trade push will eventually result in better deals for American companies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told Senate appropriators Thursday it could take years to get China to change trade policies that he says undercut U.S. businesses. But he added that the Trump administration’s aggressive push for change in Beijing will eventually result in better deals for American companies.

While Lighthizer defended the administration’s tariffs action on Chinese imports, lawmakers on the Senate Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Subcommittee pressed for quicker action to open up additional export markets for U.S. products.

Burr to Hold Up Water Bill, Slow Others, for Conservation Fund
North Carolina senator: ‘We’re going to vote on it on every vehicle leaving the United States Senate’

A move by Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., could become a major hurdle for his Republican colleagues as they try to pass a water infrastructure bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Richard M. Burr will not allow a vote on a key water infrastructure bill unless he receives a commitment for a vote on his legislation to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, senators said.

The North Carolina Republican is also threatening to force senators to vote on his bill as a prelude to action on any other measure that reaches the Senate floor, potentially including the appropriations bill receiving floor consideration this week.

One Foot in Congress, the Other in Grad School
Staffers starting your higher education, you’re in good company

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., received his law degree from Georgetown University. Here he is addressing the law center in 2012. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As orientation kicks off for graduate school programs, staffers who are going part time and keeping their Capitol Hill jobs begin the balancing act.

Those higher knowledge-seekers are not alone. It’s common for staffers to get degrees on top of work.