Filibuster

‘Medicare for All’ keeps defining 2020 political landscape
Progressive health care plan could become point of contention as campaign heats up

From left, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., at an event Wednesday to introduce the “Medicare for All Act of 2019.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The “Medicare for All” bill that presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders released Wednesday is more likely to be litigated on the campaign trail than in the halls of Congress. And it highlights a rare political divide among Democrats on one of their marquee issues even as the party seeks to appear unified.

Supporters of the Vermont independent are vying with Democrats who prefer to expand and protect the 2010 health care law. Those differences have recently been overshadowed by larger fights between the two parties after the Trump administration broadened its position in a high-profile lawsuit by calling to strike down the entire 2010 law.

Here’s why the Senate went nuclear for district judge nominations
Senate Republicans cut debate limits on nominees from 30 hours to two

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says Senate Democrats are engaging in obstructionism, making rules changes necessary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate voted last week to change the body's debate rules and further speed up the confirmation of the president's picks for district court judges.

Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cited what he called the Democrats’ “systematic obstruction” of the president's nominees as the reason for the change. Previously, district court nominees had taken a backseat as Senate Republicans pushed to get President Donald Trump’s circuit court picks through.

Elizabeth Warren: Eliminate Senate filibusters if a future GOP minority stops the Democratic agenda
2020 presidential hopeful says Mitch McConnell should not be allowed to block legislation

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., center, listens to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address in February, seated behind, from left,  Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan, Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh. (Doug Mills/The New York Times/pool file photo)

Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren is ready to say that if a future Republican Senate minority were to try to thwart her agenda, it will be time to get rid of the filibuster.

“I’m not running for president just to talk about making real, structural change. I’m serious about getting it done. And part of getting it done means waking up to the reality of the United States Senate,” the Massachusetts Democratic senator is expected to say Friday.

‘Nuclear’ fallout in Senate might take some time to register
Democrats show no immediate signs they are contemplating retaliation

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., decried the erosion of senators’ influence and ability to serve as advocates for their states in the latest move to alter the rules of Senate debate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate’s Geiger counters hardly registered Wednesday afternoon after the most recent deployments of the “nuclear option” to speed up confirmation of President Donald Trump’s nominees, although the long-term effects on the institution may very well be significant. 

The first nominee considered, Jeffrey Kessler to be an assistant secretary of Commerce, was ultimately confirmed by voice vote after the two hours of post-cloture debate allowed under the new process was declared expired.

Senate goes nuclear again, speeding up Donald Trump’s nominations
GOP senators voted Wednesday to effectively change the rules by setting a new precedent on debate time

Wednesday’s procedural moves by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, right, drastically cut the amount of debate time for many judicial and executive nominees. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans moved ahead with deploying the “nuclear option” again Wednesday, this time following through on an effort to cut down on debate time for most of President Donald Trump’s nominees.

In an exercise that had far less suspense than when then-Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, made the move back in 2013, the Senate voted, 48-51, overturning the ruling of the presiding officer and setting a new precedent declaring that the remaining debate time for Jeffrey Kessler to be an assistant secretary of Commerce was two hours. A “no” vote was to overturn the presiding officer and establish the two-hour limit. 

In prelude to nuclear option, Senate rejects speeding up confirmation of nominees
McConnell now expected to move forward with only Republican support

President Donald Trump alongside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., left, and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., last week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate inched closer Tuesday to Republicans using the “nuclear option” to slash the time for debate on the vast majority of judicial and executive nominations.

Senators blocked, 51-48, an effort by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring up a resolution that would have set a new standing order. The support of 60 senators would have been needed to advance the debate.

2020 Democrats reject GOP call to back Iowa disaster aid
Senate Democrats opposed bid by Chuck Grassley amid dispute about Puerto Rico

Sen. Charles E. Grassley pushed colleagues who are running for president to support disaster aid for Iowa. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic senators running for president in 2020 lined up on Monday to block a GOP disaster aid package that would support the key caucus state of Iowa.

The votes against a move by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to limit debate on a $13.45 billion Republican plan came as part of a broader dispute between President Donald Trump and Democratic lawmakers over assistance for Puerto Rico’s recovery.

Cory Booker explains why he is a reluctant filibuster warrior
The Democratic presidential hopeful might prefer to use budget reconciliation

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Presidential candidate and Sen. Cory Booker may have inched toward supporting elimination of the legislative filibuster, but the New Jersey Democrat shouldn’t expect the questions to stop.

In an interview for Wednesday’s episode of the “Pod Save America” podcast, Booker expanded on his long-held reservations about changing the Senate rules allowing contentious legislation to advance without needing 60 votes to get past procedural hurdles.

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

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah., announced support for the termination resolution after President Donald Trump said he opposed a Lee measure to limit national emergencies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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.

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

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., are pushing legislation to restore net neutrality. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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.