Lisa Murkowski

Republicans Face Critical Moment With Kavanaugh
Allegation against Supreme Court nominee heaps cultural importance on what senators do

Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh meets with Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a member of the Judiciary Committee, in July. Graham said on Sunday that he is willing to hear Kavanaugh’s accuser, but said that should happen “immediately.” (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS: President Donald Trump’s pick for a pivotal spot on the Supreme Court already put the Senate at the confluence of the nation’s contentious political and legal movements.  But a woman’s allegation of sexual assault by Brett Kavanaugh  — dating back decades to when he was a teenager — heaps cultural importance as well on what senators do at this moment.

Senators, particularly Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Republicans who have relentlessly insisted on a confirmation vote this month, now have to decide what to do amid a “Me Too” movement that has exposed how these types of allegations have been hidden, mishandled or simply ignored by powerful men in the past. 

Three Ways Kavanaugh Nomination Could Play Out After Accuser Speaks
Female GOP senators could have big say in what happens next

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, arrives for his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Hart Building on Sept. 4. His wife, Ashley, daughter, and Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, also appear. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS | What was an anonymous letter with serious allegations against Supreme Court nominee are now vivid words from an accuser, putting a name and face on the charges and raising new questions about the nomination.

A California professor contends she instantly thought a “stumbling drunk” Kavanaugh might “inadvertently kill” her during a party in the early 1980s while they were in high school, breaking her public silence and handing Republican leaders and the White House tough decisions about what to do next.

Civil Rights Commission Calls for Action on Voting Rights Fix
State actions since 2013 have hurt minority voting rights, new report says

Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, second from right, at a rally outside the Supreme Court in January to oppose an Ohio voter purge law. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights urged Congress on Wednesday to update the landmark law that protects voter rights, finding in a new report that a 2013 Supreme Court decision helped lead to elections with voting measures in place that discriminate against minorities.

But opposition from Republican lawmakers has stalled legislation to change the Voting Rights Act of 1965 since the 5-4 decision in Shelby County v. Holder that struck down a key enforcement mechanism in the law. Current efforts appear stuck for the same reason.

With Kavanaugh Hearings Underway, Supreme Court Ads Fill the Airways
Advertising, direct mail and fundraising continues on both sides

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, arrives for his Senate Judiciary confirmation hearing Tuesday in the Hart Building. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In Washington, all eyes may be on Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, but people who would rather watch “Bachelor in Paradise” won’t be able to escape the Supreme Court debate either.

That is especially true in some key states, where interest groups on both sides of the aisle have continued to spend on advertising seeking to influence senators who have not announced their positions on whether they will support President Donald Trump’s second nominee for the nation’s highest court.

It’s Kavanaugh Week on the Hill. Here’s What to Expect
Labor Day weekend screeches to a halt with confirmation hearing for Trump’s Supreme Court pick

It’s the big week for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, whose confirmation hearing starts Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Brett Kavanaugh starts his confirmation hearing Tuesday with a clear political path to the Supreme Court, if he can avoid a major misstep when Democrats press him on controversial topics like abortion rights, health care and the criminal investigations swirling around President Donald Trump.

The grilling won’t change minds on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which appears on track to approve Kavanaugh with an 11-10 party-line vote. Instead, Democrats will aim to sway a handful of centrist senators who aren’t on the committee but could cast key confirmation votes on the Senate floor — as well as residents in their states.

McCaskill: Verdict’s Still Out after Meeting with SCOTUS Nominee Kavanaugh
Missouri Democrat said she would likely decide after the confirmation hearings

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., met with Judge Brett Kavanaugh this week. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Less than 15 minutes into Sen. Claire McCaskill’s campaign event, Rachel Goldberg stood up to ask the senator a question.

Goldberg was concerned that President Donald Trump’s Supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh opposed Roe v. Wade, a Supreme Court decision that effectively legalized abortion. The 34 year-old counselor wanted to know if McCaskill had decided whether to support Kavanaugh.

As Dems Campaign on Pre-Existing Conditions, 10 Republicans Move In
Tillis touts ‘common-sense’ solution, Murray calls it a ‘gimmick’

As the 2010 health care law weathers its latest legal challenge, Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., has introduced a bill aimed at pre-existing conditions. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ten Senate Republicans on Friday released a bill meant to guarantee the protections for patients with pre-existing conditions included in the 2010 health care law.

The measure is a response to the latest legal challenge to the health law, which seeks to invalidate the law after Congress effectively ended the so-called “individual mandate” that requires most Americans to maintain health insurance coverage or pay a fine.

Republican Infighting Over Abortion Almost Sends Spending Bill Off the Rails
Drama unfolded as senators neared passage of a $856.9 billion funding package

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., says fellow Republicans tried to block him on abortion. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 5:47 p.m. | Not long after their plans were nearly derailed Thursday over a dispute about Planned Parenthood funding, Senate leaders got a final vote on a $856.9 billion funding package.

Earlier in the day, Sen. Rand Paul had fumed that his fellow Republicans were blocking a long-sought amendment to keep taxpayer dollars from going to abortion providers.

Your Job in Politics Will Probably Last Less Than 10 Years
So make the most of it, Hill veterans say in new advice manual

Jaime Harrison and Amos Snead have some advice to share with would-be Hill staffers. (Bian Elkhatib/CQ Roll Call)

In politics, work can come at you fast. “A decade or less is the length of your typical Hill staffer career,” write Republican Amos Snead and Democrat Jaime Harrison in a new advice manual.

The two former aides rose through the Capitol ranks in half that time. So how did they do it?

Road Ahead: Appropriations on Senate Floor, Russia Talk Away From It
Senators to vote on spending for four cabinet departments

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, left, actually had better attendance last week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With the Senate back to legislating, more attention will be on lawmaker attendance than it was during last week’s abbreviated session.

At the high-water mark, only 90 senators  were present for votes during the two-day workweek, with most of the absentees being members of the GOP. That led a reporter to quip to Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York that his Democrats actually had the majority.