congressional-operations

Trump’s 2020 re-election rally signals 2016 strategy may be used again
President used digs at Obama, Clinton to fire up supporters in key battleground of Florida

President Donald Trump concludes a rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., on May 20. It was one of his first events for his reelection campaign, which he formally kicked off Tuesday in Florida. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Donald Trump repeatedly railed against Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as a friendly Florida crowd cheered and jeered. Only it wasn’t 2016 — it was just six days ago.

The president took a crowd of supporters in Orlando on a journey through time last Tuesday as he formally announced his re-election bid. He dropped his now-familiar attack lines that elicited chants of “Lock her up” for Clinton and boos for Obama.

Congressional compensation: Isn’t there a select committee for that?
Panel tasked with modernizing Congress will look at staff but not member issues

Chairman Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., right, and vice chairman Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., during a Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress meeting in March. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As lawmakers engage in a contentious debate about whether to thaw a decadelong freeze on their pay, there’s a logical place where the underlying issues of member compensation and housing could be addressed — the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. 

But the panel currently has no plans to take up such matters, its chairman, Rep. Derek Kilmer, and vice chairman, Rep. Tom Graves, told CQ Roll Call. 

Senators (rich and not-so-rich) fight to keep lawmaker pay freeze
A bipartisan letter to appropriators follows weeks of strife on member pay

Sens. Rick Scott, R-Fla., (pictured) Kirsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Mike Braun, R-Ind., urge the extension of the lawmaker pay freeze. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A bipartisan group of Senators is speaking out against a pay raise for lawmakers.

The letter, cosigned by Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republicans Rick Scott of Florida and Mike Braun of Indiana, urges Legislative Branch appropriators to include language in their fiscal 2020 bill to extend the lawmaker pay freeze for another year.

Pay debate raging on Capitol Hill ignores lowest-earning staffers
Boosting MRA would do most to address pay woes, Hill aides say

Boosting member pay could translate to higher salary caps for staffers, as House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer has pointed out. But what about those who make the least? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While Congress tussles over whether a legislative spending bill should allow a salary boost for lawmakers, their staffers agree that the Members’ Representational Allowance — which pays House staff salaries — needs more funding.

House Democrats this month pulled the Legislative Branch appropriations bill amid backlash from Republican campaign strategists and members of their own caucus.

Public to get rare look inside the Congressional Research Service, with attrition, morale points of contention
Former employees knock management as stifling quality work, innovation

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., center, chairs the House Administration Committee, which will hold a rare public examination into the Congressional Research Service. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Clarified 3:05 p.m. | Thursday’s House Administration Committee oversight hearing into the Congressional Research Service is the first in more than a decade — and is long overdue, according to former employees who say the agency is mismanaged, stifles expert research and results in a lesser work product.

The hearing will examine increasing attrition rates, low employee morale and a lack of diversity at the agency, among other issues, according to a committee spokesperson. Since 1914, the Congressional Research Service, or CRS, has provided expert policy and legal analysis to staff, members and committees in the legislative branch.

House floor shenanigans punctuate start of spending season
Democrat calls GOP males ‘sex-starved,’ while Republicans use procedural delay tactics

From left, Republicans Justin Amash, Chip Roy and Jim Jordan are seen during a House Oversight and Reform Committee markup on Wednesday. Roy was requiring the House to conduct roll call votes on noncontroversial amendments. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional proceedings are usually pretty dry, but on Wednesday, House floor watchers might as well have been tuned into a reality TV show given all the shenanigans occurring as lawmakers debated their first spending package for the upcoming fiscal year.

Between a Democratic lawmaker calling her GOP male colleagues “sex-starved” and Republicans using a series of procedural tricks to delay proceedings, there was no shortage of tension to kick off the fiscal 2020 appropriations process.

Women senators ‘shame the guys to hurry up and vote’
Female lawmakers push their male colleagues to pick up the pace

Her female colleagues said it was Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s idea to shame their male colleagues into getting their business done in the time allotted. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The women of the United States Senate took their colleagues to task Wednesday for taking too long to vote.

In the middle of a vote series that typically would have appeared mundane— with members frequently leaving the floor during one vote and returning during the next, or sitting in the cloakroom on their cell phones — most of the women were seated at desks, calling for regular order in an attempt to speed up what have become increasingly long series.

Food worker chases House member hustling to votes after she didn't pay
‘She didn’t pay me!’ shouted food service worker following Rep. Carolyn Maloney into House chamber

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., was pursued by a food service worker nearly into the House chamber after being surprised by unexpected midday votes on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 4:30 p.m. | House members hustled to surprise midday votes Wednesday, and in her haste, one lawmaker didn’t pay for her lunch.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney speed-walked into the chamber for the second surprise vote of the day carrying a takeout container brimming with food.

Republicans move for House to adjourn over inaction on border crisis
GOP members use procedural delay tactic to highlight need for more funds at border

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, left, moved for the House to adjourn on Wednesday in protest over the Democratic majority not taking action on the president’s border supplemental funding request. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Frustrated over what they say is Democrats’ inaction on President Donald Trump’s request for more money to manage the migrant crisis at the border, a few House Republicans on Wednesday used a procedural motion to adjourn to protest on House floor.

The first motion to adjourn, offered by Texas GOP Rep. Chip Roy, was defeated 146-244. The second, offered by Arizona GOP Rep. Andy Biggs, was also defeated, 140-254. 

Rep. King’s ‘Diamond and Silk Act’ gets ripped by conservative pundits
Iowa Republican’s bill aimed at helping veterans, homeless was product of conversation with conservative YouTube personalities

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, will introduce the “Diamond and Silk Act” this week. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Conservative media pundits panned Rep. Steve King’s new bill aimed at providing aid and resources to veterans and homeless people as a politically motivated ploy that unnecessarily involves the controversial conservative YouTube personalities known as “Diamond and Silk.”

“I understand the need for cheap shots in politics. But really, at the expense of the homeless and veterans?” Washington Examiner opinion columnist Becket Adams wrote in an article Monday titled, “Rep. Steve King makes a mockery of homelessness, veterans issues.”