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Connect to Congress: Big week before two-week recess

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(Sinclair Broadcast Group )

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate reacted to some of the latest big news, days before heading out of town for a two-week recess.

Wednesday morning, we learned Chief White House Strategist under President Donald Trump's administration -- Steve Bannon -- is no longer a member of the National Security Council. Democrats wasted no time highlighting the change on social media.

But Republicans say, don't read too much into the change.

“That’s the White House’s call, who they want in key staff positions,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told WKEF-TV. “Mr. Bannon, of course, I think is an important part of the team and if they think he better serves what the American people elected us to do in some other position, some other capacity, that’s their call.”

Bannon was reported removed as a part of a restructuring.

The fight over the confirmation of federal judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court continues in the Senate.

Oregon Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley spent more than 15 hours, Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning speaking out against Gorsuch's confirmation.

Democrats have successfully achieved enough support to filibuster the nominee. One of those included in that number is Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland.

In an interview with Sinclair, Cardin said, “A Supreme Court Justice should have some consensus on the nominating process. The president should confer with members of both parties, should select someone who can get 60 votes, that would have bipartisan support.”

Senate Republican leaders have vowed to change the Senate rules to allow a simple 51-vote majority on the nomination, the so-called 'nuclear option.'

But Sen. Thom Tillis, R-North Carolina, says it's not really a rule change, since a 51-vote majority was the original intent of the Senate.

What we’re trying to do this week is restore the behavior of the senate for about 214 years,” Tillis told WLOS-TV. “Gorsuch is going to be confirmed at the end of the week and we’re going to move on to working on a bipartisan basis.”

All 52 Republicans in the Senate plan to vote yes, as well as four Democrats. That vote is expected by the end of the week.

Thursday and Friday, President Trump will host Chinese President Xi Jinping in Mar-a-Lago, Florida.

One of the top issues expected to be discussed is trade. Throughout the years and during the presidential campaign, Trump had some harsh words about some of China's economic policies.

But, as Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, pointed out in an interview for KBOI-TV, the campaign is over.

“China is a huge player on the face of this planet. We have to deal with them,” Risch said. “Clearly on trade, they need us, we need them.”

Another big issue expected to be addressed is North Korea, who has taken more provocative actions since Trump took office.

Sen. Joni Ernst told KHQA-TV, “We must continue to push China to be part of that solution because, really, I don’t see an overall solution without having China involved in that discussion. They certainly can put pressure on North Korea and they need to.”