The waiting game
March 30, 2020

Congress initially planned to get back to work by April 20, but that's starting to feel like a pipe dream, Politico reports. Now, it's anybody's guess when lawmakers will return to Capitol Hill, as they, like the rest of the United States, wait out the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Nothing has officially changed — April 20 is still the date on the docket, but resignation to the contrary seems to have set in among members of Congress. After all, President Trump, who once believed the U.S. economy would be "raring to go" again by April 12, just extended the federal government's social distancing guidelines until the end of April. "That's sort of an aspirational goal, but I think it's obviously subject to radical change based on circumstances," said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.). "April 20 is what, three weeks away? That seems a little early based on the pace of this crisis."

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said "it's pretty hard to predict" when lawmakers will return, while his colleague Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said Congress should "lead by example" and keep things remote for now.

Capitol Hill has shown itself to be pretty susceptible to the spread of the coronavirus after five members of the House tested positive for COVID-19, including Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.), who tested positive Monday, just days after she spoke on the House floor. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) also came down the virus. So, staying away certainly seems to make sense for the foreseeable future. Read more at Politico. Tim O'Donnell

June 23, 2016

Hillary Clinton's list of potential vice presidential picks may be getting shorter and shorter, but, Politico reports, there's one thing still holding her back: Donald Trump. Clinton reportedly wants to be absolutely certain that Trump will be the Republican presidential nominee before she makes any moves:

The selection process, however, is colored by new uncertainty among Democratic donors and Clinton allies who are no longer convinced that Donald Trump is sure to be the GOP nominee. A big advantage of holding their convention second, Democrats said, was being able to make a final pick with full knowledge of the GOP ticket.

At a fundraiser in Manhattan earlier this week, Clinton was peppered with questions from her top donors about whether there is any chance that the Republicans could nominate someone else — she said she thought the chances of that outcome were low. [Politico]

So, Clinton's vice presidential frontrunners, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, might be waiting until July 18 — the start of the Republican National Convention — to hear much of anything.

Read the full story on Clinton's VP search — including who the current frontrunner is — over at Politico. Becca Stanek

April 17, 2015

President Obama nominated Loretta Lynch for attorney general five months ago, making her's the longest-stalled cabinet nomination since at least the George H.W. Bush administration. Democrats and Republicans are getting in an increasingly testy fight over Senate Republicans' refusal to hold a vote on Lynch until the Senate passes an unrelated human trafficking bill, which Democrats are holding up because of a provision dealing with abortion. Lynch has the support of at least five Senate Republicans.

On Thursday, probable GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush urged Senate Republicans to confirm Lynch. Speaking in Concord, New Hampshire, Bush said that presidents should be able to pick their own cabinet, and "whether you agree with them or not, there should be some deference to the executive.... It should not always be partisan," he added, noting that confirming Lynch would at least end the tenure of Attorney General Eric Holder, unpopular with the GOP.

Regarding his possible run for the White House, Bush said he's "on a journey to kind of measure support," and isn't worried about jumping into the race late. "Other people's processes are not really that relevant to me," he added. "I'll make up my mind in relatively short order." Peter Weber

March 16, 2015

President Obama's attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch has been in limbo for 128 days now, a situation White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest says is due to Senate Republicans "playing politics."

"It's an unconscionable delay," Earnest said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said that Senate Democrats' refusal to pass a controversial human trafficking bill, being held up because of language that restricts abortion, "will have an impact on the timing of considering a new attorney general."

Lynch's confirmation was again stalled last week when Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) announced he would investigate her role in the HSBC Swiss Bank's tax-dodging scheme.

Politico reports that Lynch, who would be the first black woman to serve as U.S. attorney general, is in danger of losing the support of "wavering Republicans" the longer the confirmation process drags out, and that if she is confirmed, it's likely it would be with the fewest 'yes' votes in history. Teresa Mull

See More Speed Reads