congressional-operations

Congressional Budget Office Revises Economic Forecast Downward
Director warns that projections are ‘inherently uncertain’

The Congressional Budget Office is revising downward its forecast of the country's economic growth for 2018. CBO Director Keith Hall, pictured, warns, though, that such projections are "inherently uncertain." (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Congressional Budget Office projects the economy to grow at a rate of 3.1 percent in 2018, a slight revision to the 3.3 percent growth rate the agency forecast in April.

The CBO attributed the slight decline in its gross domestic product estimate this year to revised projections of discretionary spending and interest rates.

3 Eye-Popping Details in the Chris Collins Case Documents
Bad news at the White House, in-law joint indictments and prior knowledge

The events leading to Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., arrest are eye-catching. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins was arrested Wednesday on charges including insider trading and lying to authorities. The indictment documents and related complaint from the Securities and Exchange Commission illuminate a wild chain of events that led to the arrest.

Here are three of the most eye-popping details from the documents:

What the Recess Rollback Means for Capitol Hill (and Taxpayers)
Police overtime, food workers, Capitol improvements all affected

The Senate's shortened recess means some big changes for workers on Capitol Hill (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate’s truncated August recess is changing plans on Capitol Hill, but it’s not yet clear how much it will cost taxpayers.

With lawmakers back in their states, the Architect of the Capitol can typically count on a block of weeks to work on projects that might cause disruption if Congress were in session. And the summer recess is usually a prime time for staffers and Capitol Police to schedule vacations. But not this year.

Congress Isn’t Perfect but the Politicians Aren’t Always to Blame
Fixing the Hill is easier said than done

Politicians aren’t always to blame for the dysfunction in Congress and the perceived solutions are more complicated than many realize, Gonzales writes. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After 30 years of covering Congress, David Hawkings has a good idea of how Capitol Hill works — or more important, how it doesn’t — and he laid out five key reasons why Congress is broken.

But whether it’s money, maps, media, mingling or masochism, there are no easy solutions. Nor are they entirely the responsibility of the politicians to address.

Office of Congressional Ethics Sees Huge Uptick in Citizen Outreach
More than 8,000 private citizens contact office for information or requests

An investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, was halted when he resigned in April. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Office of Congressional Ethics saw a considerable uptick in citizen outreach in the second quarter of 2018. At the same time, three referrals were sent to the House Ethics Committee for action.

Over 8,300 private citizens contacted the Office of Congressional Ethics during the second quarter, up from 580 in the first quarter of 2018, according to the OCE’s most recent quarterly report. In the last year, citizen contacts had previously topped out at 1,450 per quarter. The contacts fall into two categories: Allegations of misconduct and requests for information about the OCE.

Library of Congress Awards $27.3 Million Data Center Contract
Accenture will develop long-planned project

The Library of Congress has awarded a multi-million dollar contract to Accenture for a new data security and storage center. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Contracting giant Accenture was awarded the $27.3 million contract to build the long-planned new data center for the Library of Congress.

The federal services arm of Accenture announced the three-year contract to build both a physical data center and other hosting environments, including cloud services.

Man With Gun and Ammunition Arrested Near Capitol
Police spotted firearm in car during parking enforcement

Officers spotted what appeared to be a firearm in a parked car near the Capitol and arrested the owner when he returned to his car. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Capitol Police arrested a man with a gun and ammunition in his vehicle near the Capitol Thursday morning.

Robert Wesley Combs, 23, of Monroe, Georgia, has been charged with having an unregistered firearm and unregistered ammunition, Capitol Police said.

Downloadable Guns Would Pose Unique Risk to Capitol, Gainer Says
‘Even the most technologically advanced security cannot neutralize all possible threats,’ Ex-Senate sergeant-at-arms writes

Former Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance W. Gainer says not permanently stopping downloadable plastic guns “will increase the challenges of protecting the security of members of Congress, their staffs and visitors to the Capitol.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 3:26 p.m. | The only person to hold both top law enforcement roles at the Capitol says downloadable plastic guns would pose an added challenge of “detection and defense” for those who protect Capitol Hill.

Terrance W. Gainer, who served as Senate sergeant-at-arms for seven years and before that as the chief of the Capitol Police, said he is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, but elected officials must recognize the “unique threat downloadable firearms pose to public safety.”

Three Men Arrested for Impersonating Senate Staff
Arrests in Ohio Clock Corridor came 10 minutes after Monday’s final votes

Three men were arrested Monday evening and charged with unlawful entry and impersonating Senate staff. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

U.S. Capitol Police arrested three men Monday evening in the Senate’s Ohio Clock Corridor, charging them with unlawful entry and impersonating Senate staff.

The three men claimed they had left their staff IDs in their office when they were stopped for being in the area without displaying congressional identification, according to a brief summary of the incident Capitol Police released Wednesday.

Lobbying Groups Join Fight Against Sexual Harassment
‘We just have not had anyone come out and report it just yet, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t or isn’t happening.’

K Street sign at 15th and K Streets in Washington, D.C. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Major advocacy and government affairs groups are joining the fight against workplace sexual harassment in Washington.

Groups announced Wednesday the formation of a task force to develop a plan to protect professionals from harassment, with the goal of creating guidelines, standards and programs to support harassment victims.