Roll Call Staff

Brian Mast Among Candidates to be VA Secretary
Freshman lawmaker is combat veteran who served in Afghanistan

Rep. Brian Mast confirmed he has been under consideration for the nomination to be secretary of Veterans Affairs.

“It is an honor to be considered to serve my fellow veterans and their families at the highest possible level,” the Florida Republican said Thursday.

Senate Mourns Death of Assistant Parliamentarian Michael Beaver
Leader, chaplain floor comments focus on staffer who was typically behind the scenes

The Senate is mourning the death of Assistant Parliamentarian Michael Beaver. 

As the chamber convened Monday afternoon for the first time since its one week recess, Chaplain Barry Black noted Beaver’s loss in his opening prayer.

CQ Top Editor Steve Komarow Dies
Reporting ranged from the White House to the Khyber Pass

Steve Komarow, a veteran foreign correspondent and newsroom leader who served as senior vice president and executive editor at CQ Roll Call, died Sunday after a recent accident and long illness. He was 61.

“Steve and I joined CQ Roll Call in January 2015 and from the outset his intellect and encyclopedic knowledge of Washington was an enormous asset to our coverage and the development of new products,” said Paul McHale, CQ Roll Call’s president. “But that intellect never got in the way of what I will remember most about Steve, his humanity.”

House Resolution Misspells Name of Architect Who Dreamed Up Central Park
Frederick Law Olmsted designed the Summerhouse on NE side of Capitol

The House Administration committee introduced Thursday a measure, “Authorizing the printing of ‘United States Capitol Grounds: Landscape Architect Frederick Law Olmstead’s Design for Democracy” as a House document.

It’s Olmsted. No ‘A’. He’s a famous architect.

Scalise Says He Won’t Run Against McCarthy to Succeed Ryan
But Louisiana Republican’s phrasing appears to leave some wiggle room

It was the race that wasn’t.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise on Thursday threw his support behind Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to succeed Speaker Paul D. Ryan as the House GOP leader. 

Zuckerberg Testimony: 5 Things You Should Know So Far
Questioning ranges from chocolate to Palantir

“I’m sorry,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during his opening remarks to a Senate hearing. The social media wunderkind took responsibility for the violations of Facebook users’ data privacy.

It set the tone for the questioning, signaling to senators that Zuckerberg came to Washington to cooperate — or at least give the appearance of doing so. If a February deep dive by WIRED is true, Zuck and Co. are soul-searching.

While Demonstrators Call for Action on Gun Violence, Nobody’s Home at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Trump has ‘no public events scheduled’ at Mar-a-Lago

One notable resident on Pennsylvania Avenue — the nexus in Washington, D.C., for perhaps some 500,000 demonstrators who want action on gun violence — was out of town Saturday.

President Donald Trump left Washington on Friday after a news conference that featured testy and sometimes disjointed remarks on the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending package, promising never to sign “another bill like this.”

Ethics Committee Finds Rush, Gutiérrez in Violation
Free office space and misuse of funds at issue

The House Ethics Committee released two separate findings Thursday involving Illinois Democrats implicated in separate infractions.

The panel found that Rep. Bobby L. Rush has improperly accepted free office space in a Chicago shopping center over the course of two decades, while Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez used his member’s representational allowance — his congressional office’s set budget — to pay former chief of staff, Doug Scofield, through his communications firm.

Democratic Memo Defends Investigation into Alleged Russia-Trump Campaign Links
Heavily redacted document challenges Republican criticism of FBI, DOJ

The FBI investigation into “links between the Russian government and Trump campaign association” was based on “troubling law enforcement and intelligence information” unrelated to a controversial dossier compiled by a former British spy, a Democratic memo released Saturday asserts.

The 10-page memo was a response to a declassified memo compiled by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif. — released more than three weeks ago with President Donald Trump’s blessing — that alleged possibly illegal and misleading “interactions with the Foreign Surveillance Court.”

Trump Announces ‘Bump Stock’ Directive After Parkland Murders
Asks AG Sessions to expediently finalize guidelines

President Trump announced Tuesday he signed a directive ordering Attorney General Jeff Sessions to craft regulations banning “bump stocks” and other devices that turn semi-automatic firearms into automatic weapons.

The announcement comes as students lobbied state and federal lawmakers to take action after 17 were killed by a gunman with an AR-15 assault rifle at a school in Parkland, Florida.

Four Up, Four Down on Senate Immigration Proposals
Bipartisan, Democratic, Republican amendments all blocked

The Senate voted down all four immigration proposals in front of it on Thursday, failing to cut off debate on each one of them and leaving the chamber at a loss on how to proceed, eventually, on the high-profile issue.

First up was a motion to cut off debate on a proposal from Arizona Republican John McCain and Delaware Democrat Chris Coons to provide conditional permanent residence to recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program if they meet certain qualifications, and would authorize $110 million annually, for fiscal 2018 through fiscal 2022, for grants for border security activities in states with international or maritime borders.

And They’re Off! Senate Finally Votes to Proceed on Immigration
Votes on amendments expected soon

After two days of the equivalent of a legislative staring contest, the Senate has decided to move along toward immigration legislation. But this is just the beginning, and feelings are a little raw over how things have unfolded so far. 

The chamber approved, by voice vote Wednesday morning, a motion to proceed to the expected legislative vehicle for an immigration overhaul. 

Justice Department Drops Corruption Case Against Menendez
Decision comes after it recently said it would retry the New Jersey Democrat

The Justice Department is dropping its case against Sen. Robert Menendez, less than two weeks after it announced it would retry the New Jersey Democrat on corruption charges. 

The federal judge overseeing the case, U.S. District Judge William H. Walls, last week entered acquittals on seven of the 18 charges in the indictment against Menendez and his co-defendant, South Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen

Train Carrying GOP Lawmakers to Retreat Hits Truck
Reports: At least one dead, others injured

Updated 2:51 p.m. | A train transporting Republican lawmakers to the GOP retreat in West Virginia was involved in an accident with a truck late Wednesday morning.

Representatives were seen attending to injured people from the truck, according to a source on the train. At least one person was reported dead. 

Highlights From Trump’s State of the Union
Republicans cheer, Democrats sit on their hands as president lays out his vision

While he aimed to deliver a unifying speech, President Donald Trump was speaking to half of the House chamber on Tuesday on a number of the goals he carried from his campaign in his first State of the Union address.

The president hit the familiar themes of a wall along the southern U.S. border and making America great again, which got cheers from the Republican side of the room — even eliciting chants of “U-S-A!” from Republicans — but had Democrats sitting on their hands.

Hatch and Alexander Play Piano, Discuss Songwriting Legislation
 

 Video courtesy of the office of Sen. Lamar Alexander....
Judge Knocks Off a Few, But Not All, Counts Against Menendez
Justice Department would have fewer counts to pursue in a retrial

Less than a week after the Justice Department said it would seek to re-try Sen. Robert Menendez after his corruption trial ended in a mistrial last year, a federal judge has knocked out seven counts against him.

According to NBC 4 in New York, Wednesday’s decision by U.S. District Judge William H. Walls forbids the government from seeking retrial on those counts. The judge left the rest of the government’s case intact, though. Walls declared a mistrial in November after individually interviewing members of the jury after it deadlocked. 

No Deal After Trump-Schumer Meeting to Avoid Shutdown
‘The discussions will continue,’ minority leader says

An impending government shutdown continued to loom following a meeting between President Donald Trump and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer at the White House Friday afternoon.

Schumer made a brief statement to reporters outside the Capitol upon his return.

Capitol a Land of Confusion as Shutdown Approaches
House members not even sure if they are free to go home

A sense of general confusion gripped the Capitol on Friday as the Senate argued over the way forward on avoiding a government shutdown and House members were unclear about whether they were supposed to go home or not. 

“I just don’t think they are in a position to tell us anything right now,” Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said, adding that there haven’t been any instructions from GOP leaders about whether members can leave following votes. 

17 of 2017’s Most Popular Stories
A look back at a contentious year on the Hill

With control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, Republicans had high hopes of pushing an ambitious agenda forward and making good on last year’s campaign promises.

But their long-held promise of repealing and replacing the 2010 health care law stalled in the Senate in one of the most dramatic moments of the year. Infighting derailed other agenda items that followed.