Virginia

For Riverby Books, a Time to Close
For owner Paul Cymrot, decision was personal, based on several factors

Paul Cymrot, the owner of Riverby Books, in one of the store’s coziest spots. He is closing the store’s Capitol Hill location at the end of the month. Cymrot and his father Steve opened it in 2001. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The closing of Riverby Books’ Capitol Hill location brings with it all the hallmarks of the great literature that animated its business: a sense of place, change, ambiguity and loss.

“I love the way it looks. I love the way it feels. I have a lot of memories here. It’s a neighborly place,” owner Paul Cymrot said of what he will miss most about the store he opened at 417 East Capitol St. SE in 2001 with his father, Steve.

Congress Lauds Amazon HQ2, But Staffers Worry About Making Rent
An influx of wealth could magnify the city’s housing problems, with big implications for the Hill

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, center, is pictured in the Capitol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Amazon received a warm reception on Capitol Hill when it announced a new major outpost in the Washington area, with senators lauding the online retail giant’s entry just across the Potomac. But privately, some congressional staffers fume that “HQ2” will further escalate rents.

Congressional staffers have already been crushed by stagnating wages and climbing housing costs. And they worry Amazon’s new headquarters will mean they’ll have to allocate a larger chunk of their paycheck to their landlords. Some have taken up second jobs, and anticipate tough decisions about the future.

Bob Corker’s Quieter Foreign Policy Legacy
Retiring Foreign Relations chairman offers advice for new members

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., has advice for incoming senators: become an expert, listen to colleagues and score quieter wins with an eye to the future. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker prepares to yield his gavel and leave the Senate, he has advice for newly elected senators: gain expertise and actually listen to your colleagues.

“Some of these people obviously are coming in with large platforms. I mean, they’ve been significant figures prior to coming here,” the Tennessee Republican, first elected in 2006, said in a recent interview. “Still though, they’re going to be freshman senators and they’re going to be sitting at the end of the dais in most cases in whatever the committee.”

Are White Evangelicals the Saviors of the GOP?
Key voting group has remained virtually unchanged in its political preferences

President Donald Trump attended a worship service at the International Church of Las Vegas in October 2016. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Amid all the talk about shifting demographics and political changes over the last decade, one key voting group has remained virtually unchanged: white evangelicals.

According to one evangelical leader, a record number of white evangelicals voted in the 2018 midterms after an inspired turnout effort.

Expect Record Turnout in 2020
No reason to think Trump won’t continue to drive voters to the polls on both sides

Midterm turnout was nearly 50 percent of the voting-eligible population, the highest for a midterm in more than a century. Above, voters stand in line to cast their ballots on Nov. 6 at the Old Stone School polling location in Hillsboro, Va. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With the 2018 elections coming to an end, it’s clear that voters set a modern record for turnout in a midterm. And there’s no reason to believe voters won’t set another record two years from now.

According to the United States Election Project, turnout this year was nearly 50 percent of the voting-eligible population, the highest for a midterm in more than a century.

A Contrast in Styles as Trump, Country Bid Farewell to George H.W. Bush
41st president’s 1992 defeat could offer lessons for 45’s expected re-election bid

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump pay their respect at former President George H.W. Bush's casket in the Capitol Rotunda on Monday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The late President George H.W. Bush will leave the Capitol for the final time Wednesday morning and make one last pass by the White House before his flag-draped casket is placed at the front of the National Cathedral for his state funeral farewell. Seated a few feet away will be a very different president, Donald Trump.

The late Republican president’s four years in office and 1992 defeat to an upstart Democratic governor from Arkansas, Bill Clinton, offer contrast to the incumbent’s raucous two years and lessons for his expected re-election bid. The two presidents’ work with Congress and legislative histories differ sharply, as do how they comported themselves — from Bush’s thoughtful letter-writing to Trump’s off-the-cuff tweeting.

SALT Still Rubs the Democrats’ Tax Wounds
Getting to a unified agenda on taxes won’t be easy for incoming majority

Virginia Democrat Jennifer Wexton criticized the the GOP tax overhaul for capping the SALT deduction used by many residents of her 10th District. But undoing the cap would create new complications for Democrats, Cohn writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — A strange dilemma for the incoming majority House Democrats is encapsulated in a series of June tweets from Democratic candidate Jennifer Wexton on the six-month anniversary of the Republicans’ signature 2017 tax overhaul.

Rep.-elect Wexton, who ultimately defeated GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock in northern Virginia, wrote in an opening tweet that the bill “hurt working families by giving tax cuts to the wealthiest and blowing up our national debt.” In another, Wexton wrote that the law’s cap on state and local tax deductions “hits #VA10 families hard, yet @RepComstock still voted for the bill.”

Staff Testimony and Report Released In Ethics Case Against Rep. Thomas Garrett
Virginia Republican announced in May he would be leaving Congress to confront his excessive drinking

The Office of Congressional Ethics released its report on their investigation into Rep. Tom Garrett, R-Va., Wednesday. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Office of Congressional Ethics released its report on allegations against  Rep. Thomas Garrett Tuesday, including testimony from staffers past and present.  The House Ethics Committee announced that it is continuing its own inquiry, but has not yet impaneled an investigative subcommittee.

The House Ethics panel began the inquiry into the outgoing Virginia Republican on June 8 and received a referral from the Office of Congressional Ethics on Sept. 5 and extended the inquiry in late September.

Congress Ready to Punt Spending Fight for Two Weeks
Fight over border wall funding on hold as nation mourns 41st president

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., says the new funding deadline “raises the stakes” for negotiators working on the seven remaining spending bills. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers plan to send a two-week extension of interim government funding to President Donald Trump this week, putting their fight over border wall funding on hold to mourn the death of former President George H.W. Bush.

The bill released Monday would push the deadline by which Congress needs to pass a spending package for the remaining 25 percent of this year’s agency budgets from Dec. 7 to Dec. 21 and would provide a temporary extension of the National Flood Insurance Program until the same date. It would also continue an extension for the Violence Against Women Act, which was extended through Dec. 7 in the current stopgap spending law. (Roll Call incorrectly reported in an earlier story that the VAWA extension was not included in the stopgap spending bill.)

Rep.-Elect Ben Cline Wins Raucous Office Lottery
Incoming Congress does the floss, impersonates Oprah at biennial tradition

Rep.-elect Ben Cline, R-Va., is seen after drawing number 1 during the new member room lottery draw for office space in Rayburn Building on November 30, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It got raucous in the Rayburn Building on Friday as Virginia Republican Ben Cline pulled the lucky number during a lottery for incoming members of Congress. The reward was a coveted one: first choice of office space. 

Packed with 85 freshmen, plus their staff and press, the room erupted when Cline pulled the top number, giving him his pick of available office suites. He flashed a big smile as he turned around to face the crowd.