senate

Trump Vows to Sign Compromise Prisons Bill
President made similar promise on immigration, then helped sink bipartisan measure

President Donald Trump addresses the press before departing for Dallas, Texas, on May 4. (Photo By Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump on Friday did little to help resolve lawmakers’ standoff over differing House and Senate prison overhaul bills, opting against using his bully pulpit to pressure either side.

Instead, Trump gave both sides leverage when he said his administration “strongly supports these efforts,” referring to each chambers’ bill. The remark was something of a shift for the president. Previously, his administration has voiced support for a measure awaiting House floor action but been cooler to a Senate version that includes proposed sentencing changes.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
Bike to Work Day, another Capitals loss and it's almost the Royal Wedding

The dome of the U.S. Capitol is seen through rain drops on the skylight of the Capitol Visitor Center 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.

Congress Doesn’t Report Diversity Because It Doesn’t Have to
While federal agencies must report the diversity of their employees, there is no such requirement of Congress

Kemba Hendrix, director of the House Democrats’ Diversity Initiative, took on her role in November. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 10:30 a.m. with figures for House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer’s staff | If you ask a House or Senate office to break down the diversity of its staff, chances are it won’t. Because it doesn’t have to.

While the executive branch has to provide data on the racial and ethnic makeup of its staff for the public record, there is no rule mandating that congressional offices do the same.

Success Stories: Creating a More Diverse Capitol Hill
Jennifer DeCasper and Hope Goins on how they have done it

Hope Goins says half of her staff are women of color. (Bian Elkhatib/ CQ Roll Call)

Some offices on Capitol Hill make an extra effort to reflect the diversity of America. And while the lawmakers they serve might get the credit, the office directors in charge of hiring are the ones who make it happen.

“It’s been a huge priority of our office, just because our boss is obviously a diverse candidate, we come from a diverse state, and so our office needs to represent our state,” said Jennifer DeCasper, chief of staff for Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina. “Diversity means that it includes everything of value to your constituency. Our constituency is not homogeneous, and so my office should not be homogeneous.”

Trailblazers: African-Americans Who Challenged Segregation in the Senate
In 1947 and 1953, three pioneers knocked down color barriers on Capitol Hill

Christine McCreary worked for Missouri Sen. W. Stuart Symington Jr. in the 1950s. (Courtesy the Senate Historical Office)

Before the Civil Rights Act legally ended segregation, three African-Americans helped break down a few barriers to make the Senate more inclusive.

The first was Thomas Thornton, a World War II Army veteran. In February 1947, Illinois Republican Sen. C. Wayland “Curly” Brooks appointed him a mail carrier in the Senate Post Office. Early the next month, the new staffer went to lunch one day in the Senate cafeteria and sat down to eat.

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

Rep. Mark Takano declared April 26 as International Chart Day. (@FloorCharts screenshot of C-SPAN)

Bunny ears, definitions and big red signs made up the best of floor charts this month. But, more importantly, charts got their own day, which was announced through a ... you guessed it, floor chart. 

The Twitter handle @FloorCharts posts some of the daily highlights, and Roll Call provides a monthly roundup of the best of the best.

Flashback Friday: A Page Right Out of History
The Senate page program was started as a way to keep local kids out of trouble

A Senate page with Sen. Charles Sumner from Edmund Alton’s 1886 book “Among the Law-Makers.”

Here’s a congressional throwback — a phrase or part of Capitol Hill culture that a younger generation of Hill staffers may not know or appreciate.

Senate pages are high school juniors, at least 16 years old, who help deliver correspondence, transport bills and prepare the chamber, all while attending the U.S. Senate Page School.

John McCain Hits the Big Screen
HBO documentary screened at the Capitol Visitors Center Auditorium

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. speaks before a HBO documentary about Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. (Alex Gangitano/CQ RollCall)

Sen. John McCain made it to the big screen in D.C. on Thursday.

HBO hosted a screening of “John McCain: for Whom the Bell Tolls” in the Capitol Visitors Center Auditorium for senators, journalists, staffers and members of the defense community, among others.

Senate Confirms Gina Haspel to Lead CIA
Bipartisan vote does not follow partisan script

Senators confirmed Gina Haspel to become CIA director before finishing work for the week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After a number of Democratic senators announced they would support President Donald Trump’s choice of Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel to run the agency, she was easily confirmed Thursday afternoon.

In what has become a bit of a regular routine, Senate leaders reached an agreement to expedite votes on a key national security nominee and prevent any threat of a weekend session.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
We found your badge, Shaun; Virginia commuting woes; and royal wedding prep

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., arrives for a Senate Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the FBI’s 2019 budget featuring testimony by director Christopher Wray on Wednesday. (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.