2019

Try a little fake blood with your Jazz in the Garden
If it looks, tastes and smells like meat, it might not be meat

Jazz in the Garden is a summer standby in Washington, but it’s not above a little meatless improv. (Kathryn Lyons/CQ Roll Call)

Granite and concrete edifices aren’t the only art on display this summer at the Sculpture Garden. When you head to Jazz in the Garden at the National Gallery on Friday, look for a trendy, glistening newcomer: the Impossible Burger.

It looks like meat and smells like meat. The middle is convincingly pink. Bring a bib: It bleeds a little.

A new era for the ERA?
Equal Rights Amendment measures gain traction in Congress and beyond after #MeToo

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., right, and Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., attend a June 2018 news conference in the House Triangle on the need to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In a moment of reckoning for women’s equality, lawmakers and investors are teaming up to push for change in corporate boardrooms, executive suites, and across the country — and that’s generating renewed interest in an Equal Rights Amendment.

Propelled by the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, women are flexing their power to confront everything from gender pay disparities and harassment to the lack of legal protections and corporate diversity.

Retirement savings bill seeks small business buy-in
Bipartisan momentum for change comes as retirement crisis looms

House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal’s retirement savings bill would create incentives for businesses to provide access to workplace savings plans for some of the most underserved groups. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House on Thursday will take up what could be the most significant changes in retirement savings policy in more than a decade.

But the bill’s backers acknowledge it’s just an initial step in addressing what critics call a huge hole in Americans’ nest eggs, at a time when traditional pension plans are increasingly rare and Social Security is facing financial headwinds.

Federal money hasn’t reached disaster victims
Long after hurricanes, red tape leaves relief aid unspent

A man rides a bike in Loiza, Puerto Rico, after Hurricane Maria in 2017. The island’s nearly $20 billion in aid from a Department of Housing and Urban Development program has been mired in a clunky bureaucratic process. (Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images file photo)

It’s been more than a year and a half since Hurricane Maria laid waste to Puerto Rico in September 2017, killing roughly 3,000 people and causing an estimated $90 billion in damages.

But federal money for any long-term rebuilding has yet to reach those in need in the U.S. territory, which was also battered by Hurricane Irma that same month.

Senate, House start to chip away at ‘kiddie tax’ hike
Increase for low-income children was an unintended consequence of 2017 tax overhaul

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., is leading the Senate effort to repeal the “kiddie tax” increase for military survivors in Gold Star families. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Both chambers are moving to reverse tax law changes that unintentionally subjected investment earnings of low-income children to the same tax rates paid by wealthier households.

The House, which under the Constitution must originate revenue bills, plans to act later this week on a broader retirement savings bill that would eliminate the full set of changes to the so-called kiddie tax made by Republicans in the 2017 tax overhaul.

Interior Department policy let political appointees review FOIA requests
So-called awareness review process could expose department to legal action

A public records request for emails between a National Park Service official and Lolita Zinke, above, wife of former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, was originally estimated to potentially yield 96 pages of communication. It ended up being 16 pages long after being put through the awareness review process.  (Scott Olson/Getty Images file photo)

The Interior Department has for about a year allowed political appointees to weigh in on which federal records are released to the public, creating delays that could violate open records law and expose the department to legal action.

“If political officials are becoming involved in the process and as a result of that causes the agency to not comply with its obligations” under the Freedom of Information Act, “that is a serious problem,” said Adam Marshall, an attorney for the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press.

Republican Fred Keller wins Pennsylvania special election
State lawmaker was heavily favored given 12th District’s GOP lean

Pennsylvania state Rep. Fred Keller, who won Tuesday’s special election in the 12th District, joined President Donald Trump onstage at a rally Monday in Montoursville. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A former factory manager who hasn’t gone to college is now headed to Congress.

Republican state Rep. Fred Keller easily defeated Democrat Marc Friedenberg in a special election Tuesday in Pennsylvania’s 12th District. With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Keller led the Penn State professor, 67.8 percent to 32.2 percent.

White House, Hill leaders unable to reach spending deal Tuesday
“Deals like this take time,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy says

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer agree that spending caps and debt limit legislation will go on the same bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Negotiators were unable to reach an agreement on spending caps and the debt limit Tuesday, hours after a two-year deal seemed possible.

“Deals like this take time,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said after leaving an afternoon meeting between congressional leaders and administration officials.

3 things to watch in Pennsylvania’s 12th District special election
Vote in GOP-dominated district could signal party strength in 2020

Republican Fred Keller speaks during a rally Monday in Montoursville, Pa., as President Donald Trump looks on. Keller is the favorite in Tuesday’s special election in the 12th District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Voters head to the polls Tuesday in Pennsylvania’s 12th District to choose a new congressman, and Republican state Rep. Fred Keller is strongly favored in the deep-red district.

The race to replace GOP Rep. Tom Marino, who resigned in January, hasn’t garnered much national attention given the district’s partisan lean. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the contest Solid Republican.

Bend it like Bacon
Members face off in the 7th annual soccer match

Democrats have owned the pitch in recent years, but Don Bacon has been practicing hard.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

I’m no soccer expert (believe it or not), but I know enough to know that when someone in the United States gets excited about “football,” it’s rarely over a little leather black-and-white ball getting kicked around.

So when I saw the announcement for this year’s Congressional Soccer Match, I felt bad. Bad because I had forgotten there was a congressional “soccer” game — which, by the way, has its very own Wikipedia page.