congressional-operations

McConnell to Senate: Don’t Book Nonrefundable Travel for August Recess
Kentucky Republican has a lengthy summer legislative agenda

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is hinting at an extended summer of Senate work. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators and staffers should enjoy the Memorial Day recess, because it might be a long summer on Capitol Hill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is far from waving off the idea that he might truncate the August recess, and doing the math on the amount of floor time needed for his current legislative agenda seems to point to one thing: extra work weeks.

Blunt Wants Senate to Pass Anti-Harassment Legislation This Week
Plans to outline bipartisan agreement with Klobuchar by the end of Tuesday

Sen. Roy Blunt is the lead Republican on the effort to combat harassment on Capitol Hill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Rules and Administration Chairman Roy Blunt hopes to pass a bill this week addressing harassment on Capitol Hill.

“Let’s see what the members said at lunch, but it would be great if we could get this done before the Memorial Day break,” Blunt said, telling reporters he needed to consult with his Democratic counterpart on the measure, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

House Republicans Break Record for Closed Rules in Single Congress
Ranking Democrat on Rules Committee: ‘It’s like the majority is allergic to an open process’

The House Rules Committee under Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, has broken a record for the number of closed rules reported during a single Congress. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Rules Committee broke a record Monday night for the number of closed rules — a mechanism for setting up floor debate on a bill without amendments — reported in a single Congress. 

The panel tied and then surpassed the previous record set during the Republican-controlled 113th Congress of 83 closed rules when it reported out two closed rules.

Rayburn Press Room to Close, to Be Renovated for Member of Congress
Old press office shuttering at the end of 2018

The Rayburn Press Room will close at the end of the year and re-open as office space for a member of the House. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Rayburn Press Room, one of the spaces designated as workspace for the press in the Capitol complex, will close at the end of the year and be remodeled for use by a member of Congress. 

The Standing Committee of Correspondents, the journalists elected to represent the daily press galleries in the Capitol, on Monday sent a letter to credentialed members of the press galleries to inform them that the Rayburn Press Room, located on the first floor of the Rayburn House Office Building, will change hands.

Congress Doesn’t Report Diversity Because It Doesn’t Have to
While federal agencies must report the diversity of their employees, there is no such requirement of Congress

Kemba Hendrix, director of the House Democrats’ Diversity Initiative, took on her role in November. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 10:30 a.m. with figures for House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer’s staff | If you ask a House or Senate office to break down the diversity of its staff, chances are it won’t. Because it doesn’t have to.

While the executive branch has to provide data on the racial and ethnic makeup of its staff for the public record, there is no rule mandating that congressional offices do the same.

Flashback Friday: A Page Right Out of History
The Senate page program was started as a way to keep local kids out of trouble

A Senate page with Sen. Charles Sumner from Edmund Alton’s 1886 book “Among the Law-Makers.”

Here’s a congressional throwback — a phrase or part of Capitol Hill culture that a younger generation of Hill staffers may not know or appreciate.

Senate pages are high school juniors, at least 16 years old, who help deliver correspondence, transport bills and prepare the chamber, all while attending the U.S. Senate Page School.

GOP Leaders Float Alternative to Immigration Discharge Petition
Denham says discharge petition supporters working with leadership but have the signatures

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis.,and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., are working on an immigration plan with President Donald Trump they hope will stop a discharge petition moderate Republicans are pushing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 7:35 p.m. | House Republican leaders and the conservative rank and file are desperately trying to kill a discharge petition that would trigger a series of immigration votes, likely resulting in House passage of a bill carried mostly by Democrats.

Moderate Republicans say they have enough support to force a vote on a “queen of the hill” rule that would set up votes on four different immigration bills, with the one receiving the most support above the required simple majority threshold advancing. But not all the members whose support they’re counting on have signed on to the discharge petition yet, partly because GOP leaders insist they’ll have an alternative solution.

Ohio Man Who Threatened to Kill Stivers Gets Three Years
Left a series of voicemails threatening Ohio congressman and his family

Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, walks down the House steps after final votes of the week last month. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An Ohio man who sent threatening voicemails to Ohio Republican Rep. Steve Stivers was sentenced to 40 months in prison.

E. Stanley Hoff, 69, sent a series of threatening voicemails to Stivers, who is chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, criticizing the House Republican agenda, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

All of a Sudden, a Busy House Floor Schedule
Legislative to-do list grows ahead of 2018 midterms

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., left, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., have a lot of bills they’re planning to bring to the floor in the coming weeks. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House’s legislative wheels are kicking into high gear this week.

After four months of mostly sleepy floor activity — not counting the protracted fiscal 2018 spending fight that led to two partial government shutdowns and a few other bills, like a reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration — the House has enough major legislation coming out of its committees to fill the floor schedule for the next two to three months.

How Ryan and Pelosi Are Kicking Themselves to the Curb (Sort Of)
Removing modest perks for ex-speakers is good politics but enfeebles the speakership

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Speaker Paul D. Ryan are of one mind when it comes to post-speaker perks. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Incredible Shrinking Speakership is going to get just a little bit smaller.

The Constitution makes speakers unassailable as presiding officer in the House. Chamber rules vest the job with plenty of responsibility. And federal law places them second in the line of presidential succession.