congressional-operations

Ethics Committee Extending Conyers Review
OCE recommends panel investigate $50,000 paid to staffer on leave

The House Ethics Committee is looking into whether Michigan Rep. John Conyers Jr. paid a longtime staffer part of her salary while not performing official duties. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Ethics Committee announced Wednesday it would extend its review of an inquiry into whether Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers Jr. paid a longtime aide more than $50,000 over a four-month period when the staffer might not have conducted official business.

A report from May by the Office of Congressional Ethics, with which the inquiry originated, detailed Conyers’ decision to place his then-chief of staff Cynthia Martin on leave without pay after she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor on March 30, 2016.

CBO Would Disclose Research Models, Data Under Lee Measure
Utah Republican latest to target Congress’ budget scorekeeper

Utah Sen. Mike Lee wants the CBO to ‘show how its models work.’ (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The hits keep coming for the Congressional Budget Office, as Republicans in Congress continue to lash out against the nonpartisan scorekeeper following its unflattering analysis of recent GOP health care proposals.

Republican lawmakers and White House officials in recent months have accused the CBO of partisan bias; called for slashing its budget; singled out individual employees; and suggested the agency is now obsolete.

Congress Is Broken, and Staff Members Know Why
Survey reveals dissatisfaction with key performance measures

Staff members rated key areas of congressional dysfunction in a survey released Tuesday, including the low level of staff experience, a lack of time for members to focus on important issues and a paucity of access to nonpartisan reports. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Members of Congress will return in September to a glut of complex and technically challenging tasks, including tax policy, the debt ceiling, and Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

But they won’t have the staff expertise, time or outside resources to do the job.

New House Art Contest Controversy Swirls
Finalist’s painting depicts Statue of Liberty as a Muslim woman

Members of the group We The People Rising posted a video of their meeting with Rep. Lou Correa’s staff asking that a controversial painting in the annual House student art competition be removed from his district office. (We the People Rising via YouTube)

A new congressional art competition controversy is swirling around California Rep. Lou Correa after his office selected a painting of the Statue of Liberty depicted as a Muslim woman.

We the People Rising, a group that advocates stricter enforcement of immigration, is arguing that the picture hanging in Correa’s district office in Santa Ana as a finalist for the annual competition is a violation of separation of church and state, the Orange County Register reported.

Trump Again Threatens Members’ Health Insurance
President tries to reset bumpy tenure, but attacks lawmakers

President Donald Trump picked up Monday where he left off on Saturday, threatening members' health insurance because of their failed effort to repeal the 2010 health care law. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

On a day he will try — again — to reset his embattled presidency, Donald Trump kicked off Monday by again threatening lawmakers’ health insurance.

The president repeated his threat — initially made on Saturday — to strip the employer contribution for health insurance away from members of Congress in a morning tweet fired off about an hour before he will swear in his new White House chief of staff, retired Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly.

Trump Threatens Congressional Health Insurance Benefits
Tweet may be prelude to rescinding employer contribution for members

President Donald Trump is suggesting his administration may act to slash health benefits for members of Congress. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump is considering stripping the employer contribution for health insurance away from members of Congress.

While the Trump White House has previously declined numerous requests from Roll Call to weigh in on the possibility, the president took to his favorite social media platform Saturday to make the threat himself.

House to Vote on CBO Staff Cuts
Appropriations amendment would eliminate budget analysis division

Virginia Rep. Morgan Griffith, who led the effort to reintroduce the Holman rule, took the first crack at using it by offering an amendment to cut Congressional Budget Office staff. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House this week will vote on whether to eliminate the positions of 89 Congressional Budget Office employees in what will be its first vote under the so-called Holman rule that Republicans in the chamber reinstated on a trial basis earlier this year.

The Holman rule allows members to offer amendments to appropriations bills designed to reduce the scope and size of government.

Why Republicans Exempted Their Own Insurance From Obamacare Rollback
The unusual nature of staff and member health benefits

Sen. Ted Cruz has written a bill that would strike an exemption for senators’ health care. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate budget rules are giving opponents of the rollback of the 2010 health care law an easy way to attack Republicans for hypocrisy.

The Senate GOP may not really want to immunize their own member and staff health plans from their health care policy changes, but because they are seeking to bring their bill to the floor under the expedited budget reconciliation process, they have little choice.

Congress Still Grappling With Cybersecurity Concerns
Experts say networks on Capitol Hill lag in basic protections

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, seen here at a 2015 #Hack4Congress event at Google’s offices in Washington, is one of several lawmakers who have pushed for improved security for congressional computer networks. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers and their staffs have been aware for years that their internet communications could be prime targets for both foreign and domestic spies.

But after last year’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee by Russian operatives, many are reassessing security protocols that once seemed sufficient — even overbearing — and finding them lacking.

Budget Cuts Would Sting in Trump Country
Republicans shy away from proposed cuts to popular programs

Rep. Claudia Tenney, seen here with Georgia Sen. David Perdue and President Donald Trump in April, opposes certain cuts to social services programs vital to her upstate New York district. (Rex Features via AP Images)

CHITTENANGO, N.Y. — It would make sense that the hometown of L. Frank Baum, the creator of the Wizard of Oz, would be in a county that voted for President Donald Trump.

Trump easily carried this part of upstate New York, which contains places just as rural as Dorothy Gale’s Kansas. But despite the nearby Yellow Brick Road Casino in a converted strip mall, there’s no Emerald City. So Republican members of Congress who represent these parts have a particular challenge and have to fight for federal dollars for their districts.