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The U.S. Senate plans to vote this Friday on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Given his record, predictions are that Kavanaugh will shift the court to a conservative majority. That got us wondering about what cases are on the docket for the term that began on Monday. We spoke with Fred Smith, Jr. about cases to watch during the 2018-2019 term. Smith is an associate professor of law at Emory University School of Law.

The American flag flies at half-staff above the White House in honor of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Sunday, Aug. 26, 2018, in Washington. McCain, 81, died Saturday at his ranch in Arizona after a yearlong battle with brain cancer.
(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

On this edition of Political Rewind, as the country mourns the loss of Sen. John McCain, a proposal by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to rename the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington to honor McCain is raising thorny questions with Georgians about the legacy of Richard Russell. 

Updated at 11:50 a.m. ET

Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith has been appointed to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by Al Franken's upcoming resignation.

Smith, a Democrat, will serve until January 2019. She also plans to run in a special election next year to serve out the entirety of Franken's term, which ends in 2020, according to a source who spoke to Minnesota Public Radio.

Updated at 4:12 p.m. ET.

The Senate has voted to get rid of a banking rule that allows consumers to bring class-action lawsuits against banks and credit card companies to resolve financial disputes. Critics say Republicans and the Trump administration are siding with Wall Street over Main Street and that the shift will block consumers from joining together against the likes of Wells Fargo and Equifax.

It has been a quarter of a century since reliably red Alabama elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate. But Democrats see an opening in the upcoming special election to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions' old seat because of the controversial record of Republican candidate Roy Moore, which includes twice being removed from public office.

Senate Republicans passed a $4 trillion budget blueprint late Thursday by a narrow 51-49 vote, with Kentucky's Sen. Rand Paul joining Democrats in opposing the measure considered a key step in forward on President Trump's promises of a tax overhaul.

The White House praised the bill, saying it "creates a pathway to unleash the potential of the American economy through tax reform and tax cuts."

President Trump has recently taken a series of what appear to be bold executive actions to reverse Obama-era policies: declining to re-certify the Iran nuclear deal, halting subsidy payments to insurance companies and setting an expiration date for the DACA immigration program. But, in so doing, he's dumping thorny problems on a GOP-controlled Congress already struggling to rack up significant legislative accomplishments.

The White House says the fight over health care is not over, but on Capitol Hill, Republicans are ready to move on.

"The president isn't giving up on health care and neither should the Senate," Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney declared on CNN on Wednesday.

On the Senate floor that same morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, was already focused elsewhere.

Thursday is the day the judicial filibuster in the Senate is scheduled to die. There hasn't been much of an effort to save it, but there have been a lot of lamentations for the slow demise of the World's Greatest Deliberative Body (WGDB), otherwise known as the U.S. Senate.

Here are five insights into what the death of the judicial filibuster means:

1. The winners and losers

The Senate is set to hold confirmation hearings starting on Tuesday for several of President-elect Trump's Cabinet choices. Democrats say majority Republicans are jamming the nominees through — nine of them scheduled just this week — and that several of them haven't yet completed or submitted all of the financial disclosure and ethics paperwork required.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid will give his farewell address Thursday on the Senate floor. The Nevada Democrat has served in Congress for 30 years, and as his party's leader in the Senate for 12.

Reid tells Morning Edition's Rachel Martin that he — and many other Americans — are still anxious about the incoming Trump administration, but he sees reasons for optimism as well.

"I've learned to accept the Trump election," he says.

The last unfinished Senate race of the election is nearly over.

State Treasurer John Neely Kennedy, a Republican, is the clear favorite to become the next Senator from Louisiana, despite an eleventh-hour fundraising surge from his Democratic opponent, Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell.

JIM BARKSDALE

With the presidential election just weeks away, we turn our focus on the race for U.S. Senate in Georgia.  Candidate Jim Barksdale (D) will face off against incumbent Johnny Isakson (R) on Election Day.  

Barksdale joins us to talk about his campaign and how his career in finance may have prepared him for the role of politician.