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The Senate's Three Competing Priorities Before Memorial Day Recess

May 18, 2015 Mitch McConnell has three competing priorities this week before he can send the Senate home for a Memorial Day break: Trade Promotion Authority, the Patriot Act, and a highway bill. As of last week, the majority leader had committed addressing all of them, but no one in either party knows ...

House Preps Highway Extension as Deadline Looms

May 15, 2015 The House is slated to vote next week on an extension of federal highway authority that would avert a funding cutoff at the end of the month. But lawmakers' reprieve from finding a longer-term solution won't last long. The legislation, which would allow state transportation departments to draw on the ...

Amtrak Has a Trust Problem in Congress

May 14, 2015 In the wake of a horrific train derailment, everyone in Congress agrees that Amtrak—particularly in the now-paralyzed Northeast Corridor—is ailing. But the two parties are offering very different prescriptions to fix it. Regardless of the ultimate cause of Tuesday's deadly accident in Philadelphia—the National Transportation Safety Board said the train ...

Pentagon’s Budget, Middle East Summit Add Up to A Big Week in Washington

May 11, 2015 Congress is thinking globally this week. Fresh off of a Senate victory last week clearing the way for Congress to review a final Iran nuclear deal, lawmakers in both chambers will get to work authorizing the country's armed forces while the bulk of the week on the Senate floor will ...

Battles Over the Pentagon's Budget Are Likely This Week

May 11, 2015 Congress is thinking globally this week. Fresh off of a Senate victory last week clearing the way for Congress to review a final Iran nuclear deal, lawmakers in both chambers will get to work authorizing the country's armed forces while the bulk of the week on the Senate floor will ...

The High Stakes Test for the Iran Deal — and the 2016 Contenders

April 27, 2015 Mitch McConnell promised that when he became majority leader, the Senate would have an open amendment process. That's exactly what the chamber will get this week on a high-stakes Iran bill—a scary test for an already hard-fought deal between the administration, Republicans, and Democrats. Senators from both parties—including the quartet ...

Senate Heavy Lifting Begins With Education and Iran; Budget Framework Still Under Negotiation

April 13, 2015 The most important legislative horse-trading this week will be happening in committee rooms, not on the House or Senate floor. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee will begin debating a major education overhaul this week that might actually thread the needle on rewriting the controversial No Child Left ...

There's an IRS Investigation That's Bipartisan and Leak-Free

March 26, 2015 The Senate Finance Committee's investigations team is highly caffeinated. How else could it have gotten through more than a million pages of documents in the last two years? There is an art to the kind of mind-numbing digging that these sleuths do. They set weekly goals for the number of ...

Congressional Outlook: A Week of Partisan Votes and Bad Blood

March 16, 2015 Even when senators don't intend to be controversial, they manage to find their way there anyway. No one can say quite how it happened, but legislation that was supposed to represent a Kumbaya moment in the Senate last week appears to be headed in the opposite direction. A bipartisan bill ...

After Rough Week, Senate to Take Bipartisan Turn

March 9, 2015 It's been a rocky few weeks in Congress. Lawmakers need a break from brinksmanship and blaming. In that spirit, the Senate this week will vote on something everyone agrees on—combatting human trafficking. The House is taking a breather for a mid-winter recess and will reconvene on March 16. The week ...