Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., takes questions from the media in April during an appearance in Durham, N.C. Hagan has tried for her first 5 1/2 years in the U.S. Senate to persuade North Carolina voters that being in the middle of the road is a good thing. Gerry Broome/ASSOCIATED PRESS hide caption

itoggle caption Gerry Broome/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, with incoming Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., talks with reporters on Wednesday about House Republican plans to deal with the border crisis. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

itoggle caption J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont speaks during a committee hearing on veterans' health care. Sanders, an Independent, is a possible 2016 presidential candidate. Cliff Owen/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Cliff Owen/AP

There's an idea in the Senate that it's still a chamber operating on mutual respect and goodwill between colleagues. That's why venerable traditions like "blue slips" — slips of paper senators can use to block any White House choice for judgeships in their home state — carry over today. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

itoggle caption J. Scott Applewhite/AP