2020

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
Meeks on Pence ‘laying low,’ the millennial caucus, and Reichert says leave investigations to the pros

Democratic Rep. Gwen Moore of Wisconsin gets a hug from Washington Democrat Dan Kildee at a House Financial Services Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade hearing 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 it. We look, but we don’t find everything. We want to know what you see too.

No Chief Out of ‘Central Casting’ This Time for ‘Unmanageable’ Trump
President needs a Hill-savvy ‘trench warfare specialist,’ GOP strategist says

President Donald Trump arrives for meeting with the House Republican Conference at the Capitol on Nov. 16, 2017. Outgoing White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly trails behind his boss and House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Donald Trump had been in office just a few minutes when he boasted that John F. Kelly looked like a military general straight out of a Hollywood movie, but now the president is holding a likely extended casting call for a more loyal chief of staff — one who will immediately have to navigate a thicket of congressional and federal investigations. 

As Trump searches for what will be his third top aide in two years, Republican insiders see no frontrunner or even a clear list of candidates. But what they really cannot determine is who could coexist with a chief executive who rejects his staff’s attempts to manage him and his bombastic, norms-busting approach to the job.

House Primaries on the Horizon for Democrats in 2020
Illinois’ Dan Lipinski is most likely to face intraparty challenge

Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., narrowly beat back a primary challenge earlier this year. He’s unlikely to go unchallenged in the next cycle, Gonzales writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

We already know the Democratic presidential primary is going to be crowded and crazy as a few dozen candidates battle for the right to take on President Donald Trump.

But at least a handful of 2020 House primaries are also on the horizon for Democrats as the party fights over ideology and loyalty. And there’s still plenty of time for more intraparty races to take shape.

Pelosi Agrees to Deal Limiting Her Speakership to 4 Years
Caucus may not formally adopt leadership term limits but Pelosi agrees to hold herself to a maximum of two more terms

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has agreed to limit her pending speakership to a maximum of two more terms to win the support of five members who otherwise opposed her bid.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 11:21 p.m.Nancy Pelosi is doing exactly what she said she wouldn’t in order to secure the votes she needs to be elected speaker — putting an end date on her tenure as the top House Democratic leader. 

Under an agreement reached with seven Democrats who opposed her speaker bid, Pelosi will back term limits for the top three Democratic leaders. The limit she has agreed to will prevent her from serving as speaker beyond another four years. 

Trump Wants New Chief of Staff Who ‘Believes in What We’re Doing’
Sarah Sanders suggests John Kelly should have hashed out gripes ‘behind closed doors’

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly waits to speak as press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders introduces him during a White House briefing in October 2017. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s top spokeswoman suggested her boss grew frustrated with outgoing Chief of Staff John Kelly disagreeing with his policies — and sometimes taking disputes public.

“I think he brought a lot of structure to the White House that was needed at the time he came in,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said of his second chief of staff. “That being said, I think the president is looking for somebody who believes in what we’re doing.”

Pelosi Opponent Moulton Stares Down Potential Primary Challenge
Massachusetts state senator mulls opposing him in 2020

Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., has antagonized some progressive groups with his opposition to Nancy Pelosi’s bid for speaker. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton positioned himself as a chief antagonist to Nancy Pelosi when he joined with other Democrats to oppose her bid to reclaim the speaker’s gavel — rankling party leadership and progressive organizations.

But Moulton might soon be facing down a different kind of political rival: a primary opponent.

Mitch McConnell Touting Victory With Hemp Legalization on Farm Bill
Issue is becoming an early plank of the Kentucky Republican’s 2020 re-election bid

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been promoting industrial hemp language in the farm bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to put himself on the farm bill conference committee was insurance that one of his policy priorities — and a key issue for his 2020 re-election campaign — would make it to President Donald Trump’s desk this year.

“At a time when farm income is down and growers are struggling, industrial hemp is a bright spot of agriculture’s future,” McConnell said Tuesday morning. “My provision in the farm bill will not only legalize domestic hemp, but it will also allow state departments of agriculture to be responsible for its oversight.”

3 Takeaways From Trump’s Made-For-TV Oval Office Border Brawl
“You get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you,” Pelosi says

President Donald Trump argues about border security with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as Vice President Mike Pence sits nearby, silent, in the Oval Office on Tuesday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS | Vice President Mike Pence looked taken aback, barely moving and saying nothing as President Donald Trump and the top Democratic congressional leaders bickered and moved the country — with each insult and barb — closer to a partial holiday season government shutdown.

The former Indiana congressman’s statuesque performance was a contrast to the kinetic scene unfolding around him, another made-for-television moment that allowed the bombastic Republican president to pick a fight with the two Democrats perhaps most reviled by his conservative base on live cable TV.

Beto O’Rourke Gauging Potential Presidential Support from Obama, Gillum
Texas Democrat is weighing a 2020 bid for the party nomination

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate from Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke is considering a 2020 presidential bid. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Beto O'Rourke has continued to put out feelers for a possible run for the presidency in 2020 — most recently gauging interest from prominent black Democrats like former president Barack Obama and Florida governor candidate Andrew Gillum.

O'Rourke, the lame-duck Democratic congressman who narrowly lost to GOP Sen. Ted Cruz in the Texas Senate race in November, has spoken with Obama, Gillum, and Rev. Al Sharpton over the last few of weeks.

Politically Wounded Trump Complicates Border Talks With Pelosi, Schumer
‘When he feels challenged … he pulls back to his base’

President Donald Trump arrives back at the White House on Friday evening without taking reporters' questions. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

Another wild weekend — with federal prosecutors appearing to implicate Donald Trump in a pair of federal crimes and his second chief of staff leaving soon — has only complicated the president’s coming talks with Democratic leaders to avert a partial government shutdown over the holidays.

Trump is scheduled to meet in the Oval Office on Tuesday morning with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer less than two weeks before a deadline to pass legislation to keep the Department of Homeland Security and several other agencies funded and open beyond 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 21.