Elijah E Cummings

This time House Democrats might support D.C. statehood
Attitudes have changed since the chamber last voted on the issue in 1993

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D- D.C., has introduced a bill that would make the District of Columbia the 51st state. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia’s delegate to Congress, is hoping attitudes have changed in her own Democratic caucus about making Washington, D.C., a state.

She introduced a bill on Jan. 3 that would make the District the 51st state, entitled to a representative and two senators, and she now has 178 co-sponsors. But back in 1993, the last time the House voted on such a proposal — also put forward by Norton — 105 Democrats voted no, along with almost every Republican. The bill failed 153-277.

Democrats cry foul as GSA inspector condemns Trump Hotel contract
GSA lawyers knew government lease to Trump Hotel might violate Constitution, but ‘punted’ on legal concerns

The Trump International Hotel's lease with the General Services Administration is in possible violation of the Constitution, the GSA inspector general said in a report Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic lawmakers were outraged Wednesday after the General Services Administration inspector general suggested in a report that a contract between the agency and the Trump International Hotel could be in violation of the Constitution.

In 2016 and 2017, the GSA decided to maintain its lease of the Old Post Office Building to the Trump International Hotel after Donald Trump was elected president — even though a government-issued lease to the real estate organization headed by the president of the United States represents an obvious and serious conflict of interest, the report details.

House moves to protect federal interns from harassment and discrimination

The House voted on a measure by Rep. Eijah Cummings, D-Md., to protect federal interns from workplace harassment and discrimination. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House took action Tuesday to protect the youngest members of the federal workforce, interns, from workplace harassment and discrimination.

The House passed by voice vote a measure from Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings, that would extend certain federal employee protections to unpaid interns in the federal government. Cummings is the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, and a version of his measure also passed in the 115th Congress.

Adam Schiff hiring full-time team to investigate Trump’s Russia connections
House Intelligence Committee chairman hiring more investigators to revive House Russia probe

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., is adding more investigative manpower to his committee staff. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff is sinking panel resources into a robust investigative staff to revive the probe into President Donald Trump's ties to Russia with roughly seven committee staffers directing their energy full-time.

Schiff and the Democrats have made offers to six new staffers, CBS News reported, including a corruption expert and a former prosecutor. The committee is still looking to hire six more people as Schiff restructures the subcommittee and plans targeted lines of inquiry into the president and his 2016 campaign staff’s connections with Russian officials.

Rep. Elijah Cummings on Trump oversight: ‘We’ve got to hit the ground flying’
Oversight Committee has already sent more than 50 letters to the White House and federal agencies

House Oversight Committee Chariman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., leaves the House Democrats’ caucus meeting in the Capitol earlier this month. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Elijah Cummings, the new chairman of the House Oversight Committee, stressed in a TV interview Sunday night the urgency of investigating President Donald Trump.

“There’s so much [to investigate],” Cummings said on “60 Minutes.” “We’ve got to hit the ground not running, but flying.”

Michael Cohen Will Testify Before House Oversight Panel in February
Trump’s former personal lawyer has implicated president in campaign finance crimes

Michael Cohen will testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee next month. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, will testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Feb. 7, Chairman Elijah E. Cummings announced in a press release Thursday.

For months, Cohen and House Democrats have expressed a shared interest in the former Trump fixer appearing before Congress to go public about his work for the president during his 2016 campaign and before Trump launched his political career.

Former lawmakers, staff quickly set up on K Street
But many are finding a competitive job market downtown

Former Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., has returned to his previous job at lobbying and law firm Covington. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The revolving door between Capitol Hill and K Street kicked into hyper-spin this week, just days into the new Congress, as recently departed lawmakers and aides announced new gigs.

In an unusually fast repeat move, former Sen. Jon Kyl, the Arizona Republican who rejoined the Senate last year to temporarily fill the late Sen. John McCain’s seat, returned to his previous job at the lobbying and law firm Covington. He reported earning $1.9 million from the firm during part of 2017 and 2018, according to a recently filed 2018 financial disclosure form, and he will be subject to a two-year ban on lobbying Congress, as are all senators in the first two years after leaving office.

USPS IG clears conservative group of wrongdoing in Spanberger file release
At least 6 other former employees had their files improperly released after FOIA requests, IG found

The U.S. Postal Service improperly released a highly sensitive personnel file of Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., to a conservative opposition research group last summer. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The U.S. Postal Service inspector general officially cleared a prominent conservative research group of any wrongdoing for getting its hands on Rep. Abigail Spanberger’s complete and unredacted official personnel file last summer.

America Rising, a conservative opposition research group contracted by dozens of conservative PACs and campaign committees each election cycle to dig up dirt on Democratic candidates, went through the proper channels, submitting a Freedom of Information Act request for Spanberger’s file to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the IG concluded in its report released in late December.

For 2018 Trump Starred in Best (Worst?) Reality Show Yet
Uncertainty keeping everyone on the edge of their seats but not in a good way, Curtis writes

Traffic cones alert pedestrians to manure outside the Federal Reserve building on Constitution Avenue on December 22, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — In television shows, the cliffhanger is a bit of a cheat, putting a lead character in jeopardy so fans will have a reason to tune into the new season. Those (including me) who have labeled the current president and his administration something of a reality show — with its surprise guests, plot twists and dizzying cast of characters — could hardly have predicted how much Trump and crew would have followed the script.

As 2018 ends, the United States is on the brink of not only a new year but also new and not always encouraging developments of national and international significance. And no one, certainly not the president, knows how it will end.

Postal Service Prayer: Deliver Us From Fiscal Doom
White House stops short of calls for outright privatization, but big changes could lie ahead

United States Postal Service employee Gloria Hinton participates in a rally in Washington in 2011. Over the last decade, mail volume has tanked but package delivery has become more important than ever. The White House is calling for a legislative overhaul, but conflict with Congress could get in the way. (Tom Williams/Roll Call file photo)

The United States Postal Service faces a major policy shakeup at a time when package delivery has become more central to Americans’ lives than ever.

A growing reliance on e-commerce has driven demand for direct-to-door shipping for everything from textbooks to toothbrushes. And to the casual observer, USPS is playing what looks like a seamless part in the process, with more and more packages delivered the “last mile” to customers’ doors by government workers.