American Indians

Hearing on missing and murdered indigenous women brings tears to Haaland’s eyes
 

Rep. Deb Haaland got emotional while questioning a witness at a hearing on missing and murdered indigenous women Thursday. Choking back tears, Haaland asked North Dakota state Rep. Ruth Buffalo about a garment she presented during her testimony that was handmade to represent members of indigenous groups who were missing or murdered.

Governors vs. senators: Hickenlooper, Inslee will test old theory
Democrats are desperate to beat Trump, but do previous measures of experience still matter?

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper entered the Democratic presidential race last week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With the entrance of John Hickenlooper and Jay Inslee into the crowded 2020 presidential contest,  Democrats are set to test once again the conventional wisdom that governors make better candidates than senators.

On the surface, it looks like the rules have changed with the odds stacked against the two. Hickenlooper, a former governor of Colorado, and Inslee, the current governor of Washington, are up against a wealth of hopefuls from the Senate, many with national profiles and a demonstrated ability to raise serious amounts of cash. The winner will have to face off against President Donald Trump, who defied political wisdom when he won in 2016 in spite of his inexperience and unconventional campaign.

House eyes Violence Against Women Act reauthorization and expansion
VAWA extension was not included in last month’s spending package

California Rep. Katie Porter spoke of her experiences with law enforcement as a survivor of domestic abuse during an event to mark the introduction of the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Violence Against Women Act is back on the House agenda, with Democrats and at least one Republican leading a fresh effort to reauthorize and expand the domestic violence law.

A bill introduced Thursday would include updates to the landmark legislation, which was first enacted in 1994. The proposal is sponsored by California Democrat Karen Bass and Pennsylvania Republican Brian Fitzpatrick, a former FBI agent.

Elizabeth Warren planned fanfare, but instead she’s getting panned
Warren’s anticipated 2020 campaign rollout overshadowed by reports renewed criticism over Native American heritage claim

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has been dogged with questions about her claims of Native American heritage in the week before her anticipated announcement of a 2020 presidential bid. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Elizabeth Warren planned to spend the week gearing up for a “big announcement,” in her home state of Massachusetts followed by a ceremonial tour of Iowa.

Instead, she has been overwhelmed yet again with criticism about her claims of Native American heritage. It is the latest in a series of unforced errors that have destabilized Warren, as she attempts to roll out one of the most highly anticipated presidential campaigns in a competitive Democratic field. 

House members are more diverse, but does the same go for staff?
Roughly 40 percent of new House members have hired a top staffer of color

Staffers for Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., pose in her office. Haaland pledged during her campaign that she would hire a diverse group. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

More women and people of color are serving in the House than ever before. And at least one office has fueled hopes of that diversity extending to congressional staffers.

New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland announced earlier this month that she had assembled a majority-minority team, fulfilling a campaign promise to hire a diverse staff.

Covington Catholic lawyer adds Rep. Ilhan Omar to ‘libel,’ ‘get sued’ list
Minnesota Democrat deletes tweet that blamed teens for confrontation with Native American last week

Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar deleted a tweet Wednesday morning that blamed Covington Catholic students for the confrontation last weekend with a Native American protester. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Ilhan Omar is the latest public figure to catch the attention of the attorney for the Covington Catholic students, Robert Barnes, who is threatening to sue just about anyone who he thinks spread “libel” against his clients.

“This is libel. Retract, or get sued,” Barnes tweeted, quoting a now-deleted tweet from the Minnesota Democrat in which she claimed the teens were at fault for the confrontation Saturday at the Indigenous People’s March in Washington, D.C., between the students from the Northern Kentucky school and Native American Nathan Phillips.

MAGA hat ban ‘joke’ leads to Twitter skewering of House Democrat
Kentucky Rep. Yarmuth was riffing on Trump’s campaign promise to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S.

Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., was "ratioed" on Twitter for jokingly suggesting that lawmakers ban MAGA hats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Well, that joke went over people’s heads.

Twitter — usually not the best medium for conveying sarcasm — raked Rep. John Yarmuth over the coals this weekend after he suggested lawmakers impose a “total and complete shutdown of teenagers wearing MAGA hats until we can figure out what is going on.”

Trailblazers and absences define start of new Congress
Plenty of firsts, as well as some notable empty seats

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is sworn in Thursday, surrounded by children in the rostrum of the House chamber on the first day of the 116th Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The first day of a new Congress is filled with ceremony and tradition, but there were a few things that set the start of the 116th Congress apart.

For the first time in history, a new congressional session began in the midst of a partial government shutdown. The swearing-in ceremonies and celebrations were clouded by the ongoing shutdown that’s now entered a second week. About a quarter of federal discretionary spending has run out, resulting in the shuttering of agencies and federal programs. But with the legislative branch already funded, there weren’t logistical problems on Capitol Hill that would devastate a high-profile day like the opening of a new Congress.

Jayapal Joins Pocan As Co-Chair of Congressional Progressive Caucus
Ro Khanna replaces Jayapal as the caucus’s first vice chair

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., will co-chair the Congressional Progressive Caucus with Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan will serve as co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus for the 116th Congress.

The CPC — which will have more than 90 members next year — held its leadership elections Thursday, which also saw California Rep. Ro Khanna chosen to replace Jayapal as first vice chair. 

Women Elected at Historic Levels, But No Surprise Here: White Men Dominate 116th Congress
Number of veterans down

A record number of women will be heading to Congress and there will be more minority lawmakers, but white men will still make up most of Congress. Above, supporters celebrate Jennifer Wexton's victory in Virginia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The 116th Congress is on track to be one of the most diverse in history, but the legislature will still be overwhelmingly white and male compared to the overall U.S. population. Historic numbers of women won seats in the midterm contests, but the number of veterans is likely to fall or stay flat. 

At least 96 women running for the House have won their races, shattering the previous record of 84 women in the House. Eighty-three of the women who won were Democrats.