2019

Freshman Democrats march to McConnell’s office to urge him to reopen government
McConnell should stop taking cues from Trump, bring up House bills, new members say

From left, freshman members Reps. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., Susie Lee, D-Nev., and Katie Hill, D-Calif., make their way into the Capitol office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to call on the Senate to act on reopening the government on Tuesday, January 15, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A group of roughly a dozen freshman House Democrats on Tuesday marched to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office in the Capitol to ask that he take up House bills to open up government. 

The Kentucky Republican was on the Senate floor when the freshmen stopped by his office, but his staff welcomed them inside. The staff chatted briefly with the new House Democrats and told them they’d set up a meeting with the majority leader.

Time for Republicans senators to override the shutdown
A genuine national emergency — not the kind you have to declare — is taking root

Passengers wait in a TSA line on Jan. 9 at JFK airport in New York City. With TSA agents going unpaid during the partial government shutdown, many are forced to call in sick to work hourly jobs elsewhere to pay the bills. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

OPINION — It’s Day 25 of the longest government shutdown in American history and there’s only one end in sight.

It’s not a compromise between Democrats and President Donald Trump. White House aides say the president is “dug in” on his demand for $5.7 billion for a border wall. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called the wall “immoral.” There is very little hope for a breakthrough between “dug in” and “immoral,” especially between two sides that both think they’ve got the moral high ground — and voters — on their side.

Republican Steering panel votes not to seat Steve King on any committees
“We believe in swift action, because we do not believe in his words,” McCarthy says

Iowa Rep. Steve King has come under fire in recent days for racist comments. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Republican Steering Committee unanimously decided Monday evening not to seat Iowa Rep. Steve King on any committees for the 116th Congress, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters.

Earlier in the day, McCarthy met with King and communicated his intention to recommend that action to the Steering Committee. After the panel met and agreed with McCarthy’s recommendation, the California Republican said he called King to inform him of Steering’s decision.

Six things William Barr will tell senators at his AG confirmation hearing

William Barr, left, nominee for attorney general, meets with Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., in the Russell Senate Office Building on January 9, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Attorney general nominee William Barr will tell the Senate Judiciary Committee at a confirmation hearing Tuesday that he did not pursue the position and was reluctant to be considered for his second stint as the nation’s top law enforcement official.

Barr, 68, plans to say he put off his partial retirement because he believes he can do a good job leading the department during a time when the country is “deeply divided” and the American people must know there are places in government where the rule of law holds sway over politics.

House conflict-of-interest rules still not up to snuff, ethics experts lament
Democratic rule changes haven’t extended to Ethics panel, watchdogs say

The burden of proof to show that a member improperly wielded that influence for personal benefit remains steep, according to some government watchdog groups. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats have touted their new rules package for its crackdown on potential corruption among members and staffers, lobbying, and money in politics.

But the House Ethics Committee’s conflict-of-interest standards for members who own businesses small and large — from plumbing companies to the largest privately owned alcohol retailer in the country — leave a lot to be desired, multiple congressional ethics experts told Roll Call.

The many ways members of Congress can make a stink
Yes, they can donate pay, but they can also get arrested or wear hoodies

Members including, from left, Reps. Luis V. Gutierrez, D-Ill., Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., John Lewis, D-Ga., Judy Chu, D-Calif., Al Green, D-Texas, Adriano Espaillat, D-N.Y., and others march to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection offices last June in protest of the Trump administration’s policy of separating parents and children at the border. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Government’s data policies enter the 21st century — finally
Recently passed reforms hold hope of more evidence-informed policies

Before he gave up his speaker gavel and retired from the House, Paul D. Ryan had a final hurrah in December when Congress passed a package of comprehensive data reforms that he and Washington Sen. Patty Murray had introduced a year earlier. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — It might be 2019, but our government’s data infrastructure is largely stuck in the 20th century.

That’s a big problem in the era of the information age. Failing to use data to improve government’s programs and services means taxpayers may not be getting what they pay for. It also means our public discourse suffers when figuring out what problems should be addressed and the best ways to do so.

Capitol Ink | Character Witness

We’ve peered into the void of Beto’s mouth. Now what?
Hell hath no fury like a bunch of reporters scorned

Beto O’Rourke bared all (of his mouth) this week. The media wasn’t happy. But were they the only ones to care? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

What do Beto O’Rourke and I have in common besides the hot Irish blood running through our veins? We both spent Thursday morning at the dentist. While my hygienist knows this about me, thousands (millions?) know this about O’Rourke, thanks to Instagram.

The former congressman turned failed Senate candidate from Texas, now reportedly eyeing the presidency, took to Instagram Live to broadcast his dental cleaning and speak with his supporters. You know, just Regular Guy stuff.

‘That’s why I’m the majority leader and you’re the minority whip’
Hoyer, Scalise trade barbs in first House floor colloquy together

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., replaces Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in the 116th Congress as the No. 2 Republican leader who gets to participate in weekly floor colloquies with the No. 2 Democratic leader, Steny H. Hoyer. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“That’s why I’m the majority leader and you’re the minority whip,” House Democratic leader Steny H. Hoyer said to Republican whip Steve Scalise on the House floor Friday, just one of the ways Hoyer welcomed his new floor sparring partner to the fray. 

The comment was the most pointed and somewhat personal but far from the only political insult the No. 2 party leaders traded during their first colloquy together.