This Bipartisan Holiday Party Was for the Dogs
Florida representatives dress up Congress’ furry friends for their second annual howliday bash

From left, Reps. Susan Wild, D-Pa., Mini Poodle, Zoey, Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., and Welsh Terrier, Riggins, Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., and Mini Goldendoodle, Carmela, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., and D.C. pound dog, Maya, pose for a picture at the Bipawtisan Howliday in Rayburn Building on December 10, 2018. Riggins is owned by Curbelo's communications director Joanna Rodriguez. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

For nearly 15 minutes, Riggins, a 3 1/2-year-old Welsh terrier, sat alone in his elf costume, surrounded by fawning Hill staffers. The House’s second annual Bipawtisan Howliday celebration was off to a slow start.

When another canine finally joined the party, Riggins couldn’t contain his excitement. The male dog mounted Carmela, a 1-year-old mini goldendoodle, and the human attendees erupted in laughter as the owners broke up the display of affection.

Democrats Push Back on Plan to Make Green Cards Harder to Obtain
Public health advocates, others warn about effects of ‘public charge’ crackdown

Rep. Nanette Barragán, D-Calif., pictured here, joined with Sen. Kamala Harris and public health officials in pushing back against a proposal to make it harder for people who utilize public assistance to obtain green cards. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic lawmakers are joining local health officials, community organizers and immigrant rights groups around the country in opposition to a Trump administration regulatory proposal that would make it harder for foreign nationals to obtain green cards if they have received government assistance.

Sen. Kamala Harris and Rep. Nanette Barragán, both California Democrats, said in a public comment submitted to the Homeland Security Department that the proposed regulation would represent “another misguided step in advancing this administration’s cruel, anti-immigrant agenda.”

Nearly 150 Activists Arrested in ‘Green New Deal’ Protest
The idea is especially popular among young voters, and many of the protesters were students

Capitol Police move media and protesters back as protesters with the Sunrise Movement demonstrate in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's office demanding a climate New Deal from Democrats on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The group spearheading the effort for House Democrats to move Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal” to the top of their legislative agenda appeared to score a victory on Monday as more than 1,000 demonstrators stormed the Capitol Hill offices of Democratic House leaders to stage sit-ins.

Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern, the top Democrat on the House Rules Committee, emerged from his office to address protesters and promised them that he is “committed to the House Select Committee on a Green New Deal.”

Water Damage Affects Senate Offices in the Russell Building
Fire in oldest Senate office building leads to water woes in GOP offices

Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., clears her office of water damaged belongings on December 10, 2018, after sprinklers engaged to extinguish a fire that occurred in Russell Building on Saturday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman had office damage to deal with Monday on their side of the top floor of the Russell Senate Office Building in the wake of a fire Saturday night

Portman’s front office was closed, and there was no immediate estimate for when repairs could be made. Other parts of the Portman office, where much of the staff works, was not affected. Fischer herself was spotted doing some packing and clearing belongings from her water-damaged office Monday morning.

Supreme Court to Hear Case on Administrative Power
At heart of case is deference courts have given to federal agencies

The justices agreed Monday to take up a case about overturning two Supreme Court rulings at the heart of administrative law. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court will decide whether federal agencies should stop getting such a strong voice when interpreting their own regulations, in a case that could significantly influence how judges decide challenges to environmental, health care, immigration, veterans benefits and other rules.

The justices on Monday agreed to hear arguments about overturning two Supreme Court rulings at the heart of administrative law, Bowles v. Seminole Rock & Sand Co. in 1945 and Auer v. Robbins in 1997. In the case, the court could accomplish part of what some conservative members of Congress have sought to do legislatively.

Supreme Court Will Not Hear Planned Parenthood Defunding Appeal
Two conservative justices — Roberts and Kavanaugh — side with liberal colleagues

Supporters and opponents of abortion rights demonstrate outside the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal by two states that want to cut Medicaid funds from providers like Planned Parenthood, keeping in place lower court opinions that anti-abortion advocates oppose.

The states, Kansas and Louisiana, argued that Medicaid does not allow individual patients to sue if state officials refuse to cover a provider’s non-abortion services because the provider sometimes separately performs abortions.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill
Rokita sends off successor, Loebsack is lonely no more, and Pearce gets a new post

Sgt. Maj. Julian Ayers, drum major for the U.S. Army Band, leads a rehearsal on the East Front of the Capitol before the arrival former President George H.W. Bush’s casket last week. (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 it. We look, but we don’t find everything. We want to know what you see too.

Shutdown Fears Abound, Despite Temporary Reprieve
Another deadline looming in appropriations standoff

Senate Transportation-HUD Appropriations Chairwoman Susan Collins, R-Maine, says Transportation-HUD measure not among the “problem child” spending bills. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congressional aides on both sides of the aisle say they don’t see how the appropriations impasse ends without a partial government shutdown just in time for Christmas Eve.

President Donald Trump signed a continuing resolution into law Friday that would change the expiration date of the stopgap measure enacted before the midterm elections to Dec. 21. But he wasted little time in taking aim at Democratic leaders for “playing political games” on border security funding, even as he prepares to sit down with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York in the Oval Office Tuesday.

Rick Scott Spent Record $64 Million of His Own Money in Florida Senate Race
GOP senator-elect made fortune as health care executive

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), spent nearly $65 million of his own money on his Senate campaign. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Florida Gov. Rick Scott will become the most junior member of the Senate next month after the 116th Congress is sworn in after defeating three-term Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. But that victory won without a steep price tag.

Scott spent a record $63.6 million of his own money on his campaign to oust Nelson and turn the Florida Senate delegation all red, according to his most recent Federal Elections Commission report.

Rep. Mark Meadows on Trump’s Short List for Chief of Staff: Reports
Freedom Caucus chairman would be president’s third chief of staff in less than two years

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., has been floated as a potential replacement for chief of staff in the White House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump and his top advisers are considering whether to make Rep. Mark Meadows, the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, his next chief of staff.

Axios first reported the president’s consideration of Meadows, one of his fiercest defenders in the House since he took office.

House Judiciary Democrat Promises ‘In Essence’ Impeachment Hearings
Steve Cohen introduced articles of impeachment in November 2017

Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., serves on the House Judiciary Committee, where Congress oversees impeachment proceedings, and first introduced articles of impeachment last year. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A leading Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee referred to the business empire of President Donald Trump as a “criminal enterprise” on Sunday and promised to investigate allegations that he has used his White House office to enrich himself.

The Trump Organization is “a criminal enterprise that he and his family has been engaged in, to run for president and once they got the presidency they monetized it,” Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen said in an interview with MSNBC.

Trump’s Christmas Wish List: Billions for Wildfire Suppression, Unaccompanied Children
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 91

Trump is seeking billions more in spending. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

With Opponents Dug In, Pelosi Has Little Room to Negotiate on Speaker Votes
At least 15 Pelosi opponents say they remain firm and will not vote ‘present’

Reps.-elect Max Rose, D-N.Y., left, and Jason Crow, D-Colo., pictured fist bumping at the new member office lottery on Nov. 30, are among the Democrats firmly opposed to Nancy Pelosi’s speaker bid. Rep.-elect Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., is among those who voted against Pelosi in caucus elections but appears open to supporting her on the floor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

At least 15 Democrats resisting Nancy Pelosi’s speaker bid are holding firm in their opposition and say they plan to vote for someone other than the California Democrat during the Jan. 3 speaker election, providing Pelosi with little room to negotiate a victory.

With the House poised to have 235 Democrats seated on the opening day of the 116th Congress when the speaker election takes place, Pelosi can only afford to have 17 Democrats vote and say a name that is not hers to meet the 218-vote majority threshold. 

Care With a Side of Comfort Promises Big Savings in Health Costs
Experiments targeting housing, transportation, food and other nonmedical services are flourishing

Circle the City’s respite program provides health assessments, physical therapy and other care for homeless patients. (Courtesy Circle the City)

As state and federal officials increasingly search for ways to curb rising health care costs, a decades-old idea is gaining traction: helping people with challenges that have nothing to do with medical care but everything to do with their health.

Insurers are taking steps as simple as paying for hot meal deliveries and outreach to homebound people and replacing air filters in homes with asthmatic children. More radical approaches include building affordable housing for people who don’t have a stable home of their own.