China stages military exercises as US lawmakers visit Taiwan
China says its military has staged exercises to reinforce its threat to use force to bring Taiwan under its control, as U.S. lawmakers visiting Taiwan made a pointed and public declaration of support for the self-governing island democracy while issuing a warning to China.
North Carolina Senate race tests Trump's endorsement power
When Ted Budd won a surprise endorsement from former President Donald Trump last year, he was a little-known congressman running for a Senate seat in North Carolina against some of the state’s most recognizable Republicans, including a former governor.
Pandemic preparedness bill moves ahead; funding still needed
A Senate committee has approved a bipartisan blueprint to overhaul the nation’s public health system, applying the lessons of COVID-19 to future outbreaks through a new chain of command, a stronger medical supply chain, and clearer crisis communications.
Watchdog says key federal health agency is failing on crises
A federal watchdog says the government's main health agency is failing to meet its responsibilities for leading the national response to public health emergencies including the COVID-19 pandemic, extreme weather disasters and even potential bioterrorist attacks.
Another Trump on the ballot? Lara Trump eyes Senate seat
The former president's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, is eyeing the North Carolina Senate seat being vacated by Republican Richard Burr. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)RALEIGH, N.C. – A Trump may be on the ballot next year — but not Donald Trump. The former president's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, is eyeing the North Carolina Senate seat being vacated by Republican Richard Burr. The answer to that question has implications that extend far beyond Lara Trump's political future. The 38-year-old Lara Trump is married to the former president's son, Eric.
A look at how Biden's Cabinet nominees fared Tuesday
(Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP)WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden's Cabinet is starting to fill out, with nominees for agriculture secretary and United Nations ambassador gaining Senate approval Tuesday. “And that’s what we intend to do.”Schumer couldn’t resist a jab at former President Donald Trump, saying that all Biden’s nominees are “undoubtedly qualified for their positions, a stark departure from the caliber of nominees the Senate was made to consider during the previous administration.”But one of Biden's nominees, Neera Tanden to lead the White House Office of Management and Budget, is clearly in trouble in the evenly divided Senate. Currently California's attorney general, Becerra appeared Tuesday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “I'm not sold yet,” Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the ranking Republican on the health committee, said, addressing Becerra. ___INTERIORRep. Deb Haaland, Biden's nominee to lead the Interior Department, fielded sharp questions from Republicans over what some called her “radical” ideas that include opposition to fracking and to the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Impeachment vote becomes defining moment for GOP senator
But the North Carolina Republican’s vote to convict former President Donald Trump should not have come as a shock. AdWith Burr retiring at the end of his term in 2022, it’s a vote that could end up defining his career. Exactly a year later, as the Russia investigation was wrapping up, Burr’s time leading the committee came to an abrupt end. He sided with most Republicans in a vote to dismiss the trial, creating an expectation he’d also vote to acquit. AdSo when Burr stood up to vote for Trump's conviction, many in the chamber wondered if there would be other surprises.
Murkowski says she can't fear fallout for impeachment vote
Alaska Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski speaks to reporters during a visit to the state Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in Juneau, Alaska. Murkowski said she knows there could be political consequences for her vote to convict former President Donald Trump during his recent impeachment trial but says she can't be afraid of that. She also said that if the state Republican Party decides to censure her for her vote, “they can make that statement. Other Republicans who voted to convict Trump, including Sens. She said the Republican Party “was a pretty good party before Donald Trump, and I believe we can be a good party after Donald Trump.
NC GOP votes to censure Sen. Burr after impeachment vote
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)RALEIGH, N.C. – The North Carolina Republican Party unanimously approved a resolution Monday to censure Sen. Richard Burr over his vote to convict former President Donald Trump during Trump’s second impeachment trial. “It is truly a sad day for North Carolina Republicans," Burr said in a statement. Within hours of Burr's decision, the North Carolina GOP and 2022 Republican Senate candidate Mark Walker quickly rebuked Burr. “Wrong vote, Sen. Burr,” Walker wrote on Twitter. Pennsylvania’s Republican Party is planning a meeting to potentially censure Sen. Pat Toomey over his vote to convict Trump, according to county party officials.
Pelosi says independent commission will examine Capitol riot
(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday that Congress will establish an independent, Sept. 11-style commission to look into the deadly insurrection that took place at the U.S. Capitol. In a letter to Democratic colleagues, Pelosi said the House will also put forth supplemental spending to boost security at the Capitol. After former President Donald Trump’s acquittal at his second Senate impeachment trial, bipartisan support appeared to be growing for an independent commission to examine the deadly insurrection. AdInvestigations into the riot were already planned, with Senate hearings scheduled later this month in the Senate Rules Committee. An independent commission along the lines of the one that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks would probably require legislation to create.
Support grows for Capitol riot inquiry after Trump acquittal
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., walks on Capitol Hill after the Senate acquitted former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021. Trump was accused of inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, and the acquittal gives him a historic second victory in the court of impeachment. Investigations into the riot were already planned, with Senate hearings scheduled later this month in the Senate Rules Committee. We needed more senators with spines.”AdMcConnell told Republican senators shortly before the vote that he would vote to acquit Trump. Beutler's statement late Friday that Trump rebuffed a plea from House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy to call off the rioters was ultimately entered into the trial record.
7 Republicans vote to convict Trump in impeachment trial
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, arrives at the start of the fifth day of the second impeachment trial of former President Trump, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021 at the Capitol in Washington. (Stefani Reynolds/Pool via AP)WASHINGTON – Seven Republicans voted Saturday to convict former President Donald Trump in his Senate trial, easily the largest number of lawmakers to ever vote to find a president of their own party guilty at impeachment proceedings. AdAlso striking was the “guilty” vote by Cassidy, who was reelected in November from a deep-red state where GOP support is widespread. I voted to convict President Trump because he is guilty,” Cassidy said in a one-sentence statement issued after his vote to convict. He said he wouldn't vote against his own conscience “simply because it is politically convenient.”Romney’s “guilty” vote at Trump’s initial impeachment trial last February made him the first senator to ever vote to convict a president of the same party.
Which GOP senators are seen as possible votes against Trump?
But that hope dimmed when word came Saturday before the trial resumed that Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell would vote to acquit Trump. If Trump were convicted, the Senate could take a second vote to ban him from running for office again. AdA look at the Republicans whom Democrats are eyeing as they make final arguments in the case:THE FREQUENT TRUMP CRITICSRepublican Sens. AdThree other GOP senators have said they will not run again in two years, potentially freeing them up to vote against Trump and anger base voters in the party. The Republican leader’s views are closely watched and carry sway among GOP senators, and his decision on Trump is likely to influence others weighing their votes.
As impeachment trial ends, GOP senators face big decision
If Trump were convicted, the Senate could take a second vote to ban him from running for office again. While none of them are locks to vote for conviction, they have joined with Democrats twice to vote against GOP efforts to dismiss the trial. AdHEADED OUTPennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, who is retiring from the Senate in 2022, has also voted twice with Democrats to move forward with the trial. All three voted to dismiss the trial, but Portman says he still has an open mind about conviction. EYES ON McCONNELLSenate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has twice voted to dismiss the trial, indicating he will ultimately vote to acquit.
White House says it will defer to CDC on reopening schools
Facing criticism that President Joe Biden has not acted aggressively enough on reopening schools, the White House on Thursday said it’s aiming for a full reopening but will defer to science experts on how to achieve it in the middle of a pandemic. The White House drew criticism this week when it said schools would be considered opened if they teach in-person at least one day a week. “I can assure any parent listening that his objective, his commitment, is to ensuring schools are open five days a week,” Psaki said at a press briefing. And this week, the White House said schools would be considered open as long as they teach in-person once a week. Asked why parents should be satisfied with just one day of in-person teaching per week, Psaki appeared to back away from her previous stance.
What to watch as Trump's 2nd impeachment trial kicks off
What to watch as the trial kicks off:FIRST, AN EFFORT TO DISMISSTuesday’s proceedings will begin with a debate to dismiss the trial before it even begins. The effort to dismiss is expected to fail, allowing arguments in the trial to begin on Wednesday. They point to an 1876 impeachment trial of a secretary of war who had resigned and note that Trump was impeached before he left office. But the managers can ask for a Senate vote on calling witnesses if they so choose. A (LESS) CAPTIVE AUDIENCEAs they were last year, at Trump’s first impeachment trial, senators are expected to listen to every word of the arguments before they cast their votes.
Biden officials considering action on student debt relief
“The President continues to support the cancelling of student debt to bring relief to students and families,” Psaki tweeted. AdBiden previously had said he supports erasing up to $10,000 in student debt through legislation, but he had not shown interest in pursuing executive action. “The last thing people should be worried about is their student debt,” she said. Calls for debt forgiveness have been mounting following years of college tuition increases that have contributed to ballooning national student debt. Forgiving $50,000 in student debt would cost an estimated $650 billion, Warren said.
As Wisconsin's Johnson weighs future, Trump ties take a toll
Not Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson. Bishop criticized fellow Republicans like Johnson who parroted claims of illegal election activity, even as he remains a Johnson backer. A number of Republicans are eyeing a run for either Senate or governor, depending on what Johnson does. Potential Republican Senate candidates include U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, former U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy and Kevin Nicholson, who lost a 2018 Republican Senate primary. Mandela Barnes, the state’s first Black lieutenant governor, state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski and state Sen. Chris Larson of Milwaukee.
GOP Ohio Sen. Portman not seeking reelection, cites gridlock
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)CINCINNATI – Ohio Sen. “Our country is very polarized,” Portman said, adding that former President Donald Trump did not help with the polarization. “Both in his words before the attack on the Capitol and in his actions afterward, President Trump bears some responsibility for what happened,” Portman said. “And right now the kind of candidate that’s going to come out of a Ohio Republican primary is not going to be that kind of candidate. “Yeah, sure, some people are mad at him,” said Ohio Republican strategist Ryan Stubenrauch.
Justice Dept. won't charge Sen. Burr over stock sales
Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., speaks during a Senate Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Hearing on the federal government response to COVID-19 on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, in Washington. The investigation escalated in May when the FBI obtained a search warrant to seize a cellphone from Burr. The day after that action became public, Burr said he would step aside as Intelligence Committee chairman while the FBI investigation was ongoing. Democrats are set to take control of the Senate on Wednesday, and Virginia Sen. Mark Warner will become the panel’s chairman. He had also called for a Senate Ethics Committee investigation into his actions.
Donor backlash fuels GOP alarm about Senate fundraising
The GOP already faces a difficult Senate map in 2022, when 14 Democratic-held seats and 20 Republican ones will be on the ballot. That includes at least two open seats that Republicans will be defending because of the retirements of GOP Sens. One of those lawmakers, Florida Sen. Rick Scott, is the new chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, a post that makes him the public face of the Senate Republican fundraising efforts. But two senior Republican strategists involved in Senate races say the cumulative effect of the companies' decisions could have a bigger impact. That puts more pressure on the NRSC and the leading Senate Republican outside group, Senate Leadership Fund, to cover the difference.
Ga. Sen. Perdue boosts wealth with well-timed stock trades
Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Sen. David Perdue speaks during a campaign rally on Friday, Nov. 13, 2020, in Cumming, Ga. Perdue and Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff are in a runoff election for the Senate seat in Georgia. But for Sen. David Perdue, a Georgia Republican, the crisis last March signaled something else: a stock buying opportunity. The Cardlytics transactions were just a slice of a large number of investment decisions made in the early days of the pandemic by Perdue and other senators. “The bi-partisan Senate Ethics Committee, DOJ and SEC all independently and swiftly cleared Senator Perdue months ago, which was reported on," Burke said. Isakson, who served with Perdue, took steps to avoid the type of scrutiny Perdue is now facing.
Biden seeks swift Cabinet votes, but GOP Senate stays silent
Scott Applewhite)WASHINGTON – As President-elect Joe Biden started rolling out his administrative team, one voice has been notably silent: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. But key Republican senators, including the GOP leader, are keeping quiet, for now, choosing their battles ahead. Biden purposefully tapped seasoned government officials for his national security team as he vows a diverse administration reflecting the nation. Those two positions do not require Senate confirmation. Yellen was confirmed twice with bipartisan support, including as Fed chair in 2014 with the backing of three sitting Republican senators: Collins, Murkowski and Richard Burr of North Carolina.
Hardening partisan map steepens Democrats' climb in Senate
Yet as states increasingly sort themselves along hardening partisan lines, it's complicating Democrats' drive to win the majority and keep it. Thanks to this month's elections, Democrats will own all four Senate seats from purple Arizona and increasingly blue Colorado next year. In addition, three current Senate Democrats are from states that President Donald Trump carried easily this month despite losing to Democrat Joe Biden. “The problem is a Democratic Senate majority runs through red states, and that is an inherent structural difficulty." In the 2022 elections, Democrats will defend Senate 13 seats — all from states Biden won.
House Latest: Republican Lauren Boebert wins Colorado House
She soundly defeated Tipton, a co-chair of President Donald Trump’s Colorado reelection campaign, in the Republican primary in June. Republican state Sen. Stephanie Bice earned a reputation as a political moderate in her two terms in the Oklahoma Senate. ___11:20 p.m. TuesdayRepublican Maria Elvira Salazar has defeated Democrat Donna Shalala for a House seat in Florida. Republican Ronny Jackson has won a House seat in West Texas, where he moved after leaving the White House in 2018. The solidly Republican district is currently held by Mac Thornberry, one of six GOP congressmen in Texas retiring this year.
Senators seek highest civilian honor for Till and his mother
WASHINGTON – Congress should give the nation’s highest civilian honor posthumously to Emmett Till and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, a Republican and a Democratic senator said Wednesday. She remained a Civil Rights activist in honor of her slain son for the rest of her life. Till-Mobley created the Emmett Till Players, where teenagers traveled throughout the country presenting the speeches of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. She also was one of the founders of the Emmett Till Justice Campaign, which pushed for the re-investigation of Till's murder. President George W. Bush signed the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Act, which allows cold civil rights cases to be reopened, into law in 2008.
Senator: Allowing college athletes NIL pay is 'huge mistake'
A fourth congressional hearing this year on how to allow college athletes to earn money off their names, images and likenesses came Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, with a stern warning from one senator. I think this is a huge mistake, Burr, said of athletes profiting from NIL. (Greg Nash/Pool via AP, File)The fourth congressional hearing this year on how to allow college athletes to earn money from their names, images and likenesses came Tuesday with a stern warning from one senator. The U.S. Senate Committee of Health, Education, Labor & Pensions held a hearing on compensating college athletes as the NCAA changes its rules to allow athletes to profit from their fame. Burr said college athletes are already compensated with scholarships and a valuable education.
In time of crises, lands bill gives Senate a chance to unite
The bill, set for a Senate vote this coming week, would spend about $2.8 billion per year on conservation, outdoor recreation and park maintenance. McConnell told the two senators, who are both seeking reelection this year, that he would not consider the bill unless Trump was on board. Cantwell credited Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., for forcing attention on the conservation fund by blocking a 2018 spending bill that did not renew the program. While widely supported, the outdoors bill faces sharp opposition, mainly from Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and other Gulf Coast senators pushing to ensure it includes revenue-sharing for their states from offshore drilling. Calling Trump's record on the environment "the worst one in history,'' Cantwell said Gardner, Daines and other Republicans will be forced to defend the president as they go before voters.
Rubio, now intelligence chair, warns of virus misinformation
WASHINGTON Sen. Marco Rubio, the new Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is warning that foreign actors will seek to amplify conspiracy theories about the coronavirus and find new ways to interfere in the 2020 presidential election. Rubio is taking over the chairmanship just as the committee wraps up a three-year investigation into the Russian interference. The panel has publicly released its endorsement of a 2017 assessment by intelligence agencies that Russia interfered and favored Trump, a conclusion that Trump has disputed. I think our report will be one of now several inquiries or investigative efforts that have led to the same conclusion, Rubio said. Rubio has shown little interest in criticizing Trumps response to the coronavirus, including his refusal to wear a mask in public.
US closes probes into 3 senators over their stock trades
Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., listens during a virtual Senate Committee for Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing, Tuesday, May 12, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington. Dianne Feinstein of California, Kelly Loeffler of Georgia and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, according to people familiar with notifications sent to the senators. The developments indicate that federal law enforcement officials are narrowing their focus in the stock investigation to Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C, the former Senate Intelligence Committee chairman. Like Loeffler, both Inhofe and Feinstein denied any wrongdoing or involvement in the trades. From the outset, Senator Burr has been focused on an appropriate and thorough review of the facts in this matter, which will establish that his actions were appropriate, Fisher said in a statement.
Panel approves Ratcliffe for spy chief, sends to full Senate
WASHINGTON The Senate intelligence committee on Tuesday approved the nomination of Texas GOP Rep. John Ratcliffe to be director of national intelligence, sending the nomination to the Senate floor for his likely confirmation. Ratcliffe was first picked for the post last summer, shortly after Coats resignation, but then withdrew after some Senate Republicans questioned his experience. GOP senators warmed to Ratcliffe after Trump unexpectedly nominated him again in February. At his hearing, Ratcliffe worked to separate himself from the president, including by saying he believed Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, a conclusion Trump has often resisted. Ratcliffes nomination was approved 8-7 in a closed committee hearing, with all Democrats voting against it, according to a committee aide.
Rubio steps in to lead Senate Intelligence Committee
WASHINGTON Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will temporarily become chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Republican leaders announced, taking charge of the panel at a time of turnover and tension in the nation's intelligence community. Rubio has focused much of his Senate career on foreign policy, particularly Russia and China, and he is a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations panel. He is also the chairman of the Senate small-business committee, where he has been negotiating relief measures during the coronavirus pandemic. In announcing Rubio's appointment to head the intelligence panel, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not say whether he would keep the small-business gavel. "I am grateful to Leader McConnell for his confidence in me to lead the Senate Intelligence Committee during Senator Burrs absence from the chairmanship, he said.
Florida Sen. Rubio named acting chair of intelligence panel
WASHINGTON Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will temporarily become chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Republican leaders announced Monday, taking charge of the panel at a time of turnover and tension in the nation's intelligence community. Trump has also repeatedly questioned the intelligence agencies' conclusions that Russia attempted to interfere in the 2016 elections. The Senate panel endorsed that conclusion in a report last month including that Russia had a preference for Trump and Rubio has repeatedly warned that Russia could try again. In announcing Rubio's appointment to head the intelligence panel, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not say whether he would keep the small-business gavel. "I am grateful to Leader McConnell for his confidence in me to lead the Senate Intelligence Committee during Senator Burrs absence from the chairmanship, he said.
Burr submits final Russia report before leaving chairmanship
WASHINGTON Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr on Friday submitted the final report in the panel's three-year Russia investigation to the intelligence community for a declassification review. The report on the panels counterintelligence findings including whether President Donald Trumps campaign coordinated with Russia marks the conclusion of its Russia probe, which it first launched in January 2017. It had been the final known investigation of Trumps 2016 campaign and Russia that was still active. Committee members have remained quiet on the panels conclusion on whether Trumps campaign coordinated with Russia. But Burr has said several times that he has seen no evidence of such collusion, a conclusion that would be in line with the House Intelligence Committees own Russia report in 2018.
Burr steps aside as Senate intelligence chair amid FBI probe
Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., listens to testimony before the Senate Committee for Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing, Tuesday, May 12, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington. Hours later, Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina stepped aside Thursday as chairman of the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee, calling it the “best thing to do." Alice Fisher, a lawyer for Burr, noted that Burr called for an ethics inquiry into the stock sales once they were disclosed. He was first elected to the Senate in 2004 and chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee as it conducted its own investigation into Russian election interference in the 2016 presidential election. The Los Angeles Times first reported the search warrant.
Intelligence official 'disappointed' after ouster by Trump
Trump informed the Senate intelligence committee Friday, April 3, 2020, of his decision to fire Atkinson, according to a letter obtained by The Associated Press. Scott Applewhite, File)WASHINGTON – The ousted inspector general of the intelligence community says he is “disappointed and saddened” that President Donald Trump fired him, but he also encouraged other inspectors general to continue to speak out when they are aware of wrongdoing. The inspector general had deemed it urgent and credible, meaning that he was required to share it with the House and Senate intelligence committees. He added: “That man is a disgrace to IGs.”Atkinson’s removal is part of a larger shakeup of the intelligence community under Trump, who has long been skeptical of intelligence officials and information. Atkinson is at least the seventh intelligence official to be fired, ousted or moved aside since last summer.
Here's what Republican senators say about whistleblower complaint
Some of the most influential people on Capitol Hill, Senate Republicans including Roy Blunt, didn't have much to say in the hours after it came out. But some of the most influential people on Capitol Hill -- Senate Republicans -- didn't have much to say in the hours after it came out. Many Senate Republicans said on Thursday that they haven't read the whistleblower complaint yet. Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said, "We're committed to gather the information before we reach conclusions. On the whistleblower complaint, he said that he prefers to look at the primary document, meaning the rough transcript.