Morgan Phillips

Gregg Harper, Retiring Congressman and Giddy New Grandpa
After five terms, Mississippi Republican is looking forward to more family time

Earlier this summer, Rep. Gregg Harper cleared his calendar to fly home for the birth of his first grandbaby — a little boy named Lee.

Speaking in his Rayburn Building office two weeks later, the Mississippi Republican pulled out his phone to flip through pictures.

The Price of Voting Against the Iraq War
Retiring Tennessee Republican looks back on another time he thought his career was over

The five decade-long tradition of Duncan family dominance in Tennessee’s 2nd District will end with the 115th Congress. With an ethics probe clouding his legacy and retirement closing in, Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. looked back to another time he thought his career might be ending.

In 2002, as fear and speculation swirled, Duncan sided with just a handful of other House Republicans, including Amo Houghton of New York, in voting against the Iraq War. He knew it could be political suicide.

1 in 7 Americans Lose Sleep Over Politics, Survey Finds
Younger baby boomers are the most likely age group to toss and turn over political worries

Suffering from insomnia? Here’s a quick cure: stop caring about politics so much. 

A new study shows that one in seven Americans are so riled up about politics that they’re losing sleep over it, according to a survey conducted for Bankrate.com. That adds up to 34 million people, more than those who lose sleep over health care costs or paying rent.

Hacking an American Election Is Child’s Play, Just Ask These Kids
Amidst election insecurity in Georgia, kids at this year’s DefCon show how easy systems are to hack

In March, Hawaii Democrat Rep. Tulsi Gabbard introduced the Securing America’s Elections Act to require the use of paper ballots as backup in case of alleged election hacking. Now voting advocates are suing Georgia to do the same thing.

Some voting systems are so easy to hack a child can do it. Eleven year old Emmett Brewer hacked into a simulation of Florida’s state voting website in less than 10 minutes at the DefCon hacking conference last week in Las Vegas, according to Time

Goodlatte Family Feud Not the First to Befuddle Congress
Between Bernie’s son and the Conyers family, this election cycle has seen some familial discord

When Bobby Goodlatte, son of the Virginia congressman by the same name, spoke out this week in defiance of his father, it struck some as odd. But it wasn’t the first family feud to play out in Congress. Here are a few of the ones we’ve seen this year: 

Things got a little awkward for retiring Republican Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte over the weekend, after his son announced he had donated the maximum amount allowed to the Democrat running to replace him.

2 Democratic Women Face Off in Connecticut for Esty’s Seat
Connecticut Democrat opted to retire after an office abuse scandal

Two women face off Tuesday in a competitive Democratic primary to fill Rep. Elizabeth Esty’s seat in Connecticut’s 5th District. 

Mary Glassman, a former local elected official in suburban Hartford, has the state party’s endorsement. But Jahana Hayes, a former national teacher of the year, received enough support at the party convention to qualify for the primary ballot 

Young Voters Don’t Like Being Called Millennials, Or Too Much Trump-Bashing
Millennials and Gen Z to make the largest demographic come 2020

By Election Day 2020 Millennials and Generation Z will make up 40 percent of eligible voters. 

Right now, only 23 percent of that demographic turns out to vote, according to Ben Wessel, director of NextGen Rising. His organization is aiming to change that.

Senate Democrats Urge Trump Administration to Stop ‘Ghost Guns’
As of midnight Wednesday, instructions to build a 3D-printed firearm will be accessible to the public

UPDATED 6:55 p.m. | With the clock ticking toward the release of publishable blueprints of 3D-printed guns, Democrats held a press conference Tuesday in a last-ditch effort to implore the White House to stop it.

As of Wednesday, nonprofit Defense Distributed will publish on its website instructions to build a 3D plastic gun named the Liberator. Democrats are worried these guns are undetectable, untraceable, and unrestrained: they won’t have a metal part and won’t be detected by metal detectors, they will not have a serial number to be tracked by law enforcement, and anyone will be able to build them without a background check.

Ron Dellums, Antiwar Activist-Turned-Armed Services Chairman, Dead at 82
Former Oakland mayor died Monday of cancer

Former Rep. Ronald V. Dellums, a Marine-turned-antiwar activist who represented Oakland in the House and went on to chair the Armed Services Committee, died of cancer early Monday in Washington. He was 82.

Known for championing progressive social movements before they became popular, his career in politics spanned over 40 years, 27 of them in Congress and four as mayor of Oakland.

Amazon Facial Recognition Mistakes 28 Members in Mugshot Test
ACLU-run test also shows racial bias in software when using 80 percent match setting

Amazon’s facial recognition technology mistook 28 members of Congress for arrested individuals when the American Civil Liberties Union ran lawmaker faces against a database of 25,000 mug shots, the group announced Thursday. 

In its test of Amazon’s Rekognition technology, the software also disproportionately misidentified people of color, the ACLU said. Forty percent of the members wrongly identified were people of color, while that same demographic makes up just 20 percent of Congress.

Kids Curious About Conservative Values Hear From Jeff Sessions, David Perdue
Students from across the country descend on Washington this week to discuss leadership, conservatism

Turning Point USA’s High School Leadership Summit kicked off its second day Tuesday with remarks from seven Washington officials, beginning with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Senator David Perdue.

Sessions commended the students for being politically aware at such a young age. While most students are focused on “pop culture or the latest fad,” these students were focused on the well-being of their country, he said at George Washington University on Tuesday.

Democrats Call On Trump-Putin Interpreter to Testify, Republicans Say No
Marina Gross may be the only one with answers to what happened in the Trump-Putin summit

Democrats looking for information about what happened during the private meeting between President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin want the U.S. interpreter to testify.

New Jersey Democrat Bill Pascrell called Wednesday on Reps. Trey Gowdy and Elijah Cummings, chairman and ranking member of the House Oversight committee, to ask Marina Gross to testify publicly before the committee.

For Stormy Daniels, Monday Was Not Her First Dance in Washington
Stephanie Clifford partook in advocacy campaign in 2008 and explored Senate run in 2009

Monday’s performance at the Cloakroom DC strip club was not Stormy Daniels’ first trip to Washington.

In May of 2008, Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection invited Stephanie Clifford (a.k.a. adult film actress and director Stormy Daniels) to the National Press Club to speak about efforts by the adult film industry to protect children from inappropriate material and encourage using a “Restricted to Adults” label on certain websites.

Rick Scott Raises More than $10.7M in 3 Months
Florida Republican is challenging Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson

Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced Monday that his Senate campaign has raised more than $10.7 million in three months.

The Republican hopeful, who is challenging Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson, received money from over 11,000 contributors, 75 percent of whom gave less than $500. Floridians made up 80 percent of contributors, the Scott campaign said in a press release.

Retiring GPO Director Reflects on 38 Years of Public Service
Andrew Sherman helped usher agency into the digital age

After decades of service in the U.S. Government Publishing Office, Andrew M. Sherman is retiring to a simpler life, one without talk of XML files and print-to-digital transformations.

“Well, the pool in my neighborhood closes Labor Day,” Sherman said. “My only plans are to put my feet up after 38 years of work.”

Supreme Court Who’s Who and How They Got There
A look at who currently sits on high court and the votes that confirmed them

The Supreme Court is in the spotlight this week after it announced decisions on three hot-button issues and an upcoming vacancy, all before the end of its last day Wednesday. After the court upheld the travel ban and delivered a blow to labor unions and abortion rights advocates, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he would be retiring in July.

Here’s a refresher on the makeup of the court and the votes that confirmed each sitting justice:

Forest Service Road Closures Impact Wildfires, Local Economies, Lawmakers Say
Members criticize closures, Forest Service not represented at panel

Lawmakers on an Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee said Tuesday that road closures by the Forest Service could be partially to blame for wildfires ravaging the western part of the country.

“In my state of Arizona, we’ve had catastrophic wildfires. Before these road closures we didn’t have these wildfires,” said Republican Rep. Paul Gosar.

Spokesman Says Arrington ‘100 Percent’ in House Race Despite Wreck
Candidate for Sanford’s seat has additional surgery Sunday after crash that killed wrong-way driver

A spokesman for South Carolina Rep. Katie Arrington said she is “100 percent” still in the race for Rep. Mark Sanford’s House seat despite a fatal car wreck in which she was injured Friday which will sideline her for a few weeks.

Arrington had two surgeries on Sunday, according to a statement released by her campaign. The first was a follow-up to the initial procedure to remove a portion of her small intestine Friday night. The second was for a spinal fracture.

Bipartisan Lawmakers Call for Better Alzheimer’s Detection Capabilities
Proposed comprehensive detection measures aim to lessen burden on families and patients

Bipartisan lawmakers, policy advocates, and medical professionals came together Tuesday with nonprofit UsAgainstAlzheimer’s to call for earlier assessment and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

West Virginia Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito and California Democratic Rep. Linda T. Sanchez touted the CHANGE Act, legislation introduced in February by Capito and Democratic colleague Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.

Report: Competitive U.S. House Races Spell Good Fortune for Broadcast Stations
Campaign spending on TV ads highest of any election cycle

Amid a fierce battle for control of the House, candidates are spending around 50 percent more than they did at this point in the 2014 election cycle, according to a Bloomberg report.

Due to an unusually large number of retirements in the House this year, candidates have come out in large numbers in districts where they will not face the typical uphill primary battle against an incumbent. Sixty-four Representatives are retiring, have resigned, or are running in another election this year, according to Roll Call’s Departing Members