Chris Coons

Lawmakers Wary of Potential Trump Cuts to Foreign Aid
Corker, Menendez doubt legality of reported plan

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., left, and ranking member Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., doubt the administration has the legal authority to impound funds in the way they are reportedly planning. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sources close to Capitol Hill and within the foreign aid community say that Trump administration officials are preparing a potential foreign aid “rescission” package that could cut between $2 billion and $4 billion in fiscal 2017 and fiscal 2018 funds from the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development.

Some $200 million intended to benefit Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is thought to be on the chopping block as part of the request, sources said.

Archives Can’t Deliver Reams of Kavanaugh Docs Fast Enough for GOP
Request could top 900,000 pages, lawyer for National Archives and Records Administration says

Senate Republicans stand in front of stacks of boxes at a news conference Thursday in the Dirksen Building to drive home how many pages of documents they’re seeking on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. From left, Sens. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 4:13 p.m. | The National Archives and Records Administration said Thursday it will need until the end of October to process documents Senate Republicans requested on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, which could derail plans for a speedy confirmation process where Democrats had already complained they weren’t seeing enough information.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, in a July 27 letter, had asked to get records by Aug. 15 from the George W. Bush Presidential Library about Kavanaugh’s work in the White House counsel’s office. 

Senate Passes Spending Package, Rejects Trump’s Proposed Cuts
Chamber has now passed seven of the 12 annual spending bills

Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., has shepherded a largely bipartisan appropriations process, pushing forward a four-package spending measure on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate approved a $154.2 billion, four-bill fiscal 2019 spending package Wednesday as a continuing bipartisan effort in the chamber pushed it ahead of the House in the appropriations process.

The vote was 92-6. Republicans cast the opposing votes: Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania.

Brett Kavanaugh September Judiciary Committee Hearing in the Works
Judiciary chairman outlines September hearing and October vote

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh could get a hearing next month, according to Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sometime in September with the goal of a floor vote by Oct. 1, Chairman Charles E. Grassley said Wednesday.

Grassley laid out the timeline for the Supreme Court confirmation process during an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, saying “the earlier the better,” but noting the Senate still doesn’t have key documents from Kavanaugh’s past.

Jeff Flake in Zimbabwe to Monitor Historic Elections
Arizona Republican has longstanding connection to the region

Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake posted a picture of of himself on the eve of Election Day in Zimbabwe. (Courtesy Sen. Jeff Flake via Twitter)

Sen. Jeff Flake’s work this week as an international observer in Zimbabwe’s historic election is part of a life-long connection to southern Africa.

The Arizona Republican served his Mormon mission in Zimbabwe and South Africa and later returned to the region as a professional, as executive director of Foundation for Democracy, which kept tabs on Namibia’s transition to democracy.

Is Trump Building a Nixonian Enemies List?
A Republican chuckled at notion. A Democrat sees ‘authoritarian behavior’

Sens. Tim Kaine, D-Va., left, and James Lankford, R-Okla., right, have very different views of a White House proposal to strip several former Obama administration officials of their security clearances. All have criticized President Donald Trump. Also pictured, Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Republican lawmaker chuckled. A Democratic senator nodded in emphatic agreement. And a possible 2020 GOP presidential candidate offered nuanced criticism.

How some lawmakers feel about President Donald Trump’s threat to punish political foes who have criticized him — and whether it reminds them of Richard Nixon — depends on how they feel about the president and his unconventional tactics. It makes the issue a microcosm of the Trump presidency.

Senate Democrats Likely to Oppose Push to Block Health Insurance Mandate
Desire to keep contentious amendments off spending bills might prevail

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., chairs the Appropriations subcommittee where any amendment on the D.C. health insurance mandate might come up first in the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A Republican amendment to a House-passed spending package that would ban the District of Columbia from implementing an individual health insurance coverage requirement is unlikely to gain steam as the Senate prepares to take up a similar measure.

It’s not clear yet if any Senate Republicans will introduce a similar amendment when the Financial Services and Interior-Environment package reaches the Senate floor, but it would likely face fierce minority opposition in the chamber, where Democrats are defending the 2010 health care law at every opportunity.

Democrats Press GOP for Quick Legislative Response on Russia
Several measures in both chambers designed to push back on Putin

Protesters participate in a candlelight vigil in front of the White House Wednesday to protest President Donald Trump in the wake of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Congress could consider several bills in response to concerns about Russian meddling in the upcoming election. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

House and Senate Democrats are pressuring their Republican colleagues to bring to the floor legislation introduced in response to President Donald Trump’s comments — and revisions to those comments — this week on Russian interference in U.S. elections.

Democratic House leaders released a bipartisan package that includes 17 previously introduced bills that would further restrict the White House’s foreign policy and economic options when it comes to Moscow.

Foreign Relations Panel Shows Bipartisan Scorn for Administration Trade Agenda
Tough questions from both sides of aisle, liberal, conservative witnesses

Josh Bolten, right, CEO of the Business Roundtable, talks with Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., after a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled "Tariffs: Implications for U.S. Foreign Policy and the International Economy," on July 12, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker was candid with the State Department witness that appeared before his committee at a hearing on Trump administration trade policy Thursday morning.

“You are going to be cannon fodder this morning, and I don’t think you are really prepared to defend the policies in an appropriate manner,” the Tennessee Republican told Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs Manisha Singh.

Analysis: Donald Trump’s ‘Schmucks’ and KGB Summer Sojourn
‘Do you know what? Putin’s fine,’ president declares amid Dems’ concerns

President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 Summit in July 2017. They will meet again on July 16. (Evan Vucci/AP file photo)

President Donald Trump’s European summer swing will be bookended by summits that form a microcosm of his contrarian presidency. Some worry his coming talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin could alter the post-World War II global order.

Trump’s seven-day trip will start with NATO allies he believes are making “schmucks” of Americans and will end with Putin, whom Trump believes is “fine” despite agreement among his intelligence agencies that Russia tried to upend U.S. politics with a disinformation campaign in 2016. Democratic lawmakers are warning that Trump’s unique foreign policy philosophy — a mix of pre-World War I realism and modern-day mercantilism — could lead him to further anger allies and give in to a Russian strongman.