Science

Who staffs the most diverse Congress ever? Sandra Alcala, for one
Meet the House Democratic Caucus’ dream team

Sandra Alcala, a third-generation Mexican American from San Antonio, is director of member services for the House Democratic Caucus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The much-publicized diversity of the House Democratic Caucus in the 116th Congress goes deeper than the lawmakers; it extends to the staff. 

Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries, a New Yorker in his fourth term and in his first top leadership post, has assembled an eight-member supporting cast of five women, including three who are black and one who’s Hispanic, and three men, including one who’s black and one who’s Hispanic.

Power of New York, Texas hinges on immigrant count
Census will determine which states win or lose in redistricting

Texas could gain as many as three seats in Congress after the 2020 census — but not if the census response rate falls among noncitizens in the Lone Star State. (Courtesy Scott Dalton/U.S. Census Bureau)

Two states that have the most on the line in the Supreme Court case over the citizenship question in the 2020 census are taking drastically different approaches to the decennial count next year.

New York and Texas could have the biggest swings in congressional representation after the 2020 census. New York is projected to lose two seats, and Texas could gain as many as three, according to forecasting by the nonpartisan consulting firm Election Data Services. 

Live in the ‘here and now,’ even in traffic court, says Rep. Ben Cline
The Virginia Republican has some advice for recent grads

Virginia Republican Rep. Ben Cline went from legislative correspondent to member of Congress in 25 years’ time. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

If you want to get your foot in the door on the Hill, go to your alumni network. That’s one of Ben Cline’s biggest takeaways from his early days as a staffer.

Cline, now a congressman himself, started out as a legislative correspondent for Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte. He met the Virginia Republican by volunteering at their mutual alma mater, Bates College.

Klobuchar, others prod Uber, Lyft on recall safety
Minnesota senator leads group of Democrats questioning ride-sharing giants

Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota is leading a letter to Uber and Lyft abour unresolved recalls in the cars used by their drivers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Amy Klobuchar is prodding the leadership of Uber and Lyft about the safety of their drivers using recalled vehicles.

Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat and 2020 White House hopeful, is leading a letter to the ride-sharing companies and is being joined by three senior Democratic members of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

Trump EPA answer to Obama Clean Power Plan ‘does virtually nothing‘ to curb CO2
The new rule combines a Clean Power Plan repeal with new, less stringent emissions reductions guidelines

A flag hangs over an entrance to the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington on April 22, 2017. The EPA finalized a rule Wednesday that would replace the Obama administration’s signature carbon emissions plan, scrapped by President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The EPA finalized a rule Wednesday that would replace the Obama administration’s signature carbon emissions plan and give states more flexibility in emissions reduction, even as environmental advocates worry about the potential for increased pollution and threaten to sue.

The Affordable Clean Energy rule is the Trump EPA’s answer to the 2015 Clean Power Plan, which for the first time set nationwide limits on greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants across the country.

Pelosi against censuring Trump: ‘If the goods are there, you must impeach’
Democrats will consider impeachment ‘when we stop finding even more information,’ Pelosi says

Speaker Nancy Pelosi conducts her weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday made her strongest comments on impeachment to date in rejecting an idea some House Democrats have floated to censure President Donald Trump. 

“No. I think censure is just a way out,” the California Democrat said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast, when asked if she would support a censure resolution against Trump. “If you want to go, you have to go. In other words, if the goods are there, you must impeach.”

Debate on e-cigarettes lights up 10 years after FDA tobacco law
Calls grow for agency, Congress to do more after spike in teen use

Florida Rep. Donna E. Shalala says Congress must update the 2009 law that gave the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A decade after Congress gave the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate tobacco products, there is a growing sense that the law should be revisited to address a product that lawmakers barely knew about in June 2009: electronic cigarettes.

The tension lies in how to balance e-cigarettes’ potential benefits with their clear risks. While e-cigarettes may offer a less harmful alternative for adults who smoke combustible cigarettes, they can appeal to young people who never would have smoked.

Bill de Blasio is wrong about New York City’s schools
The mayor and presidential candidate is papering over an inconvenient truth

Mayor Bill de Blasio is missing the point, Winston writes. Instead of trying to close the diversity gap in New York City’s elite public schools, he should be focused on upping standards across the board. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — There are numbers that matter. I look at them everyday. They tell me what people think and what they want from their political leaders, what they want for themselves and their families and the future.

And then there are some numbers that stop you cold.

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.

Is the census ready for its online debut?
Census Bureau says it’s prepared for security threats, but watchdogs raise doubts

The prospect of an external attack has driven the Census Bureau to lean on the Department of Homeland Security. Above, workers attend a training session in Houston in February 2016. (Scott Dalton/Houston Census Office)

Next year the federal government will launch its largest public-facing online portal in years, for an undertaking facing risks ranging from foreign cyberattacks to collapsing under its own weight: the 2020 census.

For the first time, the census will rely on online responses, one of a slew of technological upgrades by the Census Bureau that also includes computerized address verification. Those changes have watchdogs worried, despite assurances by the bureau that it will be ready when the census is rolled out in Alaska starting in January.