Heard on the Hill

Motivational Speakers: Members Hit the Graduation Circuit
Harris, Booker, Flake and Warner among those sending off this spring’s graduates

Virginia Sens. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Mark Warner, D-Va., are both speaking at graduation ceremonies in their home state next month. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Politicians, often blessed with the gift of the gab, are rarely shy about sharing stories about how they got to where they are.

And some of them will be sharing their wisdom and inspiration at graduation ceremonies, beginning next month. Students wrapping up their college or graduate school experiences can expect to hear about following their dreams or — considering the number of Trump critics among the speakers — what not to do. 

Republicans’ First Congressional Baseball Practice After Shooting Set for April 25
Security higher at the field in Alexandria, Virginia

Cones, police tape and emergency medical bags are seen at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Virginia, where House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot during practice for the Congressional Baseball Game on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Republican congressional baseball team will return to Simpson Field in Alexandria, Virginia, for its first practice after last year’s shooting.

The practice is at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 25.  The team, managed by Rep. Joe L. Barton, will hold a press conference at 7:30 a.m. 

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
Some 4/20 news, free national park admission, and a visit from Ivanka

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., waits for a tour group to cross the East Plaza as he leaves the Capitol after a vote on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating and this is the place for those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

New Push for Senators to Pay Their Interns
Advocates say the time is right for offices to stop relying on free labor

A majority of Senate offices do not offer paid internships, according to data from nonprofit advocacy group Pay Our Interns. (Illustration by Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

Ideas to boost diversity on the Hill have been thrown around, and the numbers are slowly improving. But what if the solution was right in front of everyone, sitting at tiny shared desks in congressional offices?

Paid interns.

Collins Looks Back on His Technology-Less, Reception-Dependent Intern Days
‘At night, I would get to call my girlfriend, who’s now my wife, from the WATS line, and I got to sit in Ed’s chair’

As a 20-year-old, Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., left, interned for Rep. Ed Jenkins, D-Ga., in 1987. (Courtesy Rep. Doug Collins’ office)

Intern tasks, email aside, haven’t changed much since 20-year-old Doug Collins first came to the Hill in 1987. The same can’t be said for politics.

The Georgia Republican interned for the late conservative Democrat Ed Jenkins, who represented much of Collins’ current district.

Intern Success Story: How to Get Hired Right Away
‘I tried to add value to whatever I did,’ former Perdue intern Jenni Sweat says

Jenni Sweat, from the office of Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., took online classes and independent studies to finish college. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Jenni Sweat was such a stellar intern that she stayed in Sen. David Perdue’s office instead of returning to school for her last semester of college.

Sweat started her unpaid internship in the Georgia Republican’s office in January 2017. She was a 20-year-old junior at the University of Georgia and received a scholarship to be part of her college’s internship program.

Paid Internships Were Victim of Clinton Era Deficit Reduction
The LBJ internship program was suspended in 1994 after 20 years

An internship program, named after President Lyndon B. Johnson, once funded two interns for every House office. (Courtesy the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library)

There was a time when all House members paid their interns. But that ended more than 20 years ago, the victim of a Clinton-era push for more deficit-cutting. 

The LBJ Congressional Intern program, named to honor the recently deceased President Lyndon B. Johnson, was authorized by a House resolution in 1973. It provided funds for lawmakers to hire two LBJ interns per year.

Floor Charts for the Floor Show
Our favorite visual aids from congressional floor-watching

(Courtesy @FloorCharts screenshot of C-SPAN)

From tributes to senators to hours of testimony from a tech giant, spring has been a visual mixed bag in Congress.

Lawmakers like these oversized and sometimes garish visual aids because they help them get their point across. The Twitter handle @FloorCharts posts some of the daily highlights, and we’re doing a monthly roundup of the best of the best.

Flashback Friday: Lame Duck
The term originated in Great Britain in the 17th century

Why do they call Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., a lame duck? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan is a lame duck speaker. He announced on April 11 that he would retire at the end of his current term.

Why do we call politicians “lame ducks” when they have one foot out the door?

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
The new Beethoven, e-Waste Disposal Day and military children on the Hill

From left, Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., and Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, stop to chat with Miss South Carolina Tori Sizemore and Miss Louisiana Lauren Vizza as they arrive at the Capitol for the final votes of the week on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating and this is the place for those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

McKinley ‘on a Mission’ to Help Veterans Hear
Hearing-impaired congressman wants to make it easier for vets to get cochlear implants

Rep. David B. McKinley, R-W.Va., has a visible hearing aid on his right ear. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. David B. McKinley is thankful to hear birds chirping in the morning and wants others to have that opportunity.

The West Virginia Republican, who has a cochlear implant in his left ear, has made improving the lives of people like him a personal goal.

Nashville Hot Chicken Flies Off Table at Hill Charity Cook-Off
Winners included Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Sen. Angus King

People were lining up to try Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s Nashville-style hot chicken Tuesday evening.

The Tennessee Republican won the People’s Choice award at the March of Dimes Gourmet Gala, an annual fundraiser where lawmakers become celebrity chefs to the delight of attendees’ tastebuds. This year’s gala included 50 members of Congress — from both chambers and both sides of the aisle — sharing samples of their favorite recipe. Many took the opportunity to showcase delicacies specific to their hometowns.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
Fired up over the Farm bill fun, Beyonce shoutouts, and Little Big Town on the Hill

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., speaks with reporters before the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating and this is the place for those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

Take Five: John Garamendi
California Democrat says Congress started ‘unraveling’ in 2010

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., says knowing yourself is key to running for Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

California Democratic Rep. John Garamendi, 73, talks about campaigning in a deep purple district, watching Dodd-Frank unravel and how he hit the ground voting.

Q: What was your first-ever vote in Congress in 2009?

House to Hold Memorial Service Wednesday for Late Rep. Louise Slaughter
Service at 4 p.m. in Capitol’s Statuary Hall

The House will host a memorial ceremony Wednesday in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall for the late Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House will hold a memorial ceremony for the late Rep. Louise Slaughter Wednesday at 4 p.m. in Statuary Hall in the Capitol.

The service will be open to members of Congress, Slaughter’s family, invited guests, and credentialed media.