congressional-operations

Congress tries to walk the climate crisis talk
Amid debate on Green New Deal, Democrats are treading lightly in their daily lives

Staffers are aiming to lead by example, by creating workplace cultures where being “green” is a priority. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Staffers working for environmentally minded lawmakers are trying to walk the talk on climate change by taking small personal actions while their bosses call for big-picture policy shifts.

Around Capitol Hill, several aides are aiming to create workplace cultures where being “green” is a priority and holding colleagues accountable is the norm.

Transparency advocates call on Capitol Police to improve public records policies
Group says it has tried, without success, to obtain documents considered public

A letter sent last week to Capitol Police Chief Matthew R. Verderosa calls for the department to publish its guidelines and procedures on public documents. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Capitol Police, a department of more than 2,000 employees with a budget topping $450 million, is facing new calls for increased transparency.

In a letter sent last week to Capitol Police Chief Matthew R. Verderosa,  progressive advocacy group Demand Progress called for the department to publish its guidelines and procedures on what it considers public documents that the public and news media have access to.

Capitol Police crackdown on press escalates to physical altercation
Witness: ‘It got really ugly’

A Capitol Police crackdown turned physical Thursday, when police clashed with reporters attempting to speak with senators (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A Capitol Police crackdown turned physical Thursday afternoon, when officers clashed with reporters attempting to speak with senators in a location known as key territory for lawmakers and media to mix: the Senate basement.

Capitol Police officers physically shoved reporters away from senators heading to vote on the spending package, even when lawmakers were willingly engaging with the press.

Not OkCupid: Staffers urged to tell sweethearts to skip the Capitol Hill deliveries
Otherwise, Capitol Police will be peeking at notes from your sweetie ... and they will probably be late

Security procedures might squash Valentine’s Day treats for staffers. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s a well-known fact of life on Capitol Hill: It’s nearly impossible to get packages delivered in a timely manner. That includes Valentine’s Day.

Senate staffers are being urged to tell their sweethearts to skip romantic gestures that include deliveries to congressional office buildings this week.

House Democrats hire Obama ethics czar for oversight of Trump, DOJ
Norm Eisen will advise House Judiciary Committee as it investigates Trump and his Justice Department

Chairman Jerrold Nadler prepares to conduct the House Judiciary Committee markup of a resolution authorizing issuance of a subpoena to Acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Former Obama administration ethics czar Norm Eisen has been hired by the House Judiciary Committee as it probes the Department of Justice and other aspects of the Trump administration and seeks to shield the special counsel investigation into Russian election interference.

Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York has said that protecting the Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into the 2016 election, including possible ties between the Trump campaign team and Russia, is the committee’s No. 1 priority.

Road ahead: Border security deadline, celebrating The Dean and a new attorney general
Race against the clock to avoid another shutdown begins

House and Senate negotiators will find their road ahead this week dominated by the deadline to fund the federal government. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Federal workers and lawmakers are already thinking about Friday, the deadline for a spending deal to avert another partial government shutdown. But there’s plenty of other action expected on Capitol Hill before then.

House and Senate negotiators have been working for more than two weeks on a border security funding deal that would clear the way for a final fiscal 2019 spending package.

Through Whitaker, Trump officially declares war on House oversight
In acting AG’s letter to House Judiciary, administration indicates it will resist disclosing president’s conversations with aides

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker leaves the House chamber Tuesday after President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS — The Trump administration on Thursday moved its first chess piece in what is expected to be a contentious match between the White House and House Democrats as the latter seek documents and testimony for their oversight investigations of the president and his Cabinet.

In a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler on Thursday, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said he would bail on his scheduled hearing on Friday unless Nadler assured him he would not file a subpoena to compel Whitaker to disclose his conversations with the president on hot-button topics or force Whitaker to invoke “executive privilege.”

House Democrats to consider publishing internal caucus rules ‘in short order’
Progressive groups have called out secrecy surrounding how Democrats govern themselves

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries and Vice Chairwoman Katherine M. Clark conduct a news conference after a caucus meeting in the Capitol in January. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats will consider making public their internal party rules after pressure from outside groups who say such a move would exemplify the party’s “commitment to open government.” 

“We believe in transparency and accountability,” Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries wrote Thursday in a letter obtained by Roll Call, “and in that spirit, this issue will be presented to the Caucus for consideration in short order.” 

House cracks down on parking delinquents among members and staff
The House Administration Committee added new penalties for members and staff notorious for flouting the rules

Members and staff face tougher penalties under new parking rules. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Parking scofflaws, beware. The House Administration Committee toughened parking rules Thursday with new penalties for members and staff notorious for flouting the rules.

The exclusive member license plates or congressional parking passes can’t protect you now.

Rick Perry named ‘designated survivor’ for State of the Union address
Former Texas governor once advocated abolition of federal agency he now heads

Energy Secretary Rick Perry was this year’s “designated survivor” during President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Energy Secretary Rick Perry will be this year’s “designated survivor” for President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night. 

The macabre but important ritual keeps one cabinet-level official out of sight on State of the Union night and out of harm’s way. The idea is that in the event of a horrific disaster or attack on the prime-time event, a clear line of presidential succession is maintained. With members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, the cabinet and joint chiefs of staff all in one room, one person is hidden away in a secure location to ensure that government can continue if the worst were to happen.