congressional-operations

Cummings unites lawmakers, for the moment, as impeachment inquiry trudges forward
Probe that late Maryland Democrat helped lead continued with witness depositions Thursday

A memorial for the late House Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah E. Cummings is seen in the committee’s Rayburn Building hearing room on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House lawmakers dialed down the partisan rancor, at least for a day, as they honored the life of Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, who died early Thursday at age 68. But the impeachment inquiry, of which the Maryland Democrat was a key leader, is forging ahead.

The investigation into President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine has stoked anger among Republicans who view the probe as illegitimate. Democrats’ frustrations with the president’s conduct and his supporters in Congress are only growing. The death of Cummings, held in deep respect on both sides of the aisle, didn’t put the partisan fighting completely to rest, but it did quell the most inflammatory elements for the moment.

Elijah E. Cummings in Congress, 1996-2019
Take a look back at his career

Rep. Elijah Cummings in 1996 (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Thirteen-term Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., died Thursday at the age of 68, after complications arising from longtime health issues, according to a statement from his office. He found himself in the national spotlight frequently in his role as the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, but most recently as a strong voice in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. 

Modernization panel mulls overhaul of congressional calendar
Members weigh time in districts vs. in the District

Rep. Mark Pocan, a Wisconsin Democrat, suggested having the House in two for two full weeks, then away for two weeks.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Members of a panel to modernize Congress are floating proposals to overhaul the legislative calendar, including an option of being in session for two full work weeks and then recessing for a fortnight of district work time.

Reps. William R. Timmons IV, a South Carolina Republican, and Mark Pocan, a Wisconsin Democrat, both suggested such an option Wednesday during a hearing of the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, a temporary panel tasked with offering recommendations to update Capitol Hill technology and to improve working conditions for lawmakers and staff.  

Lowey retirement sparks Democratic Appropriations scramble
Contested battle expected for top spot on powerful House spending panel

New York Rep. Nita M. Lowey announced her retirement last week at the end of the 116th Congress. Who will replace her as the top Democrat on House Appropriations? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey’s decision to retire at the end of the 116th Congress will set off a lengthy and contentious campaign among her colleagues to determine who will become the top Democrat on the spending panel.

Unlike the Senate, which predominantly relies on seniority to determine who serves as a chairman or ranking member, the House weighs several factors before deciding who will lead a committee. And right now, assuming Democrats keep their House majority next year, signs may be pointing in the direction of Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro, who will be the third-ranking Democrat on the powerful committee in 2021. 

'There was a lot of blood coming out,' witness says after stabbing near Capitol

A police officer talks on his cell phone at the scene of a stabbing Friday afternoon at the Capitol South Metro station. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sondland is a no-show at Intel hearing, Schiff and Jordan respond

Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks with the media after Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, was blocked from appearing for a closed-door deposition in the in the Capitol Visitor Center on Tuesday (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The three places where senators can ‘actually’ talk
Sen. Chris Coons’ favorite places to reach across the aisle

From left, Sens. Charles E. Schumer, D.N.Y., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Chris Coons, D-Del., share a laugh after a markup hearing on judicial nominations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

“We’re real people. We’re not just two-dimensional targets,” Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., told a lecture hall of law students at Notre Dame last week.Flanked by former Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., Coons talked about the hyperpartisan environment on Capitol Hill and the intention required to cut through it and work. For the Delaware senator, this means talking to his colleagues “in the three settings [he has] found where there [are] no lobbyists, no staff and no press.”

Joking that Flake spent more time in the gym than he did, Coons told the students about the senators-only gym — a place “you can actually chat as you’re working out.” While little information is publicly available about the gym, Roll Call learned more about the facility in 2013 by standing in the hallway outside it for several hours. 

Missouri lawmaker seeks probe of GOP’s census look-alike mailings
RNC ‘district census’ fundraising solicitations raise concerns of potential confusion over 2020 count

Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., shown in the Capitol in May, has said the Republican mailings are an attempt to "deceive and confuse" people. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Mailings the Republican National Committee sent to Montana and Missouri residents have riled officials there, prompting one House Democrat to call for an investigation into fundraising solicitations he says are designed to confuse people about the decennial census.

Styled as the “2019 Congressional District Census,” the mailing includes a questionnaire and letter from RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel soliciting a donation of up to $1,000. But the mailings are likely to confuse residents before the start of next year’s census, argued Democratic Rep. William Lacy Clay of Missouri.

Arkansas man arrested for death threats against Sen. Tom Cotton, Rep. Rick Crawford
James Powell, 43, was charged with first-degree terroristic threatening

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., was one of two Republican Arkansas lawmakers threatened by a man who was arrested earlier this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An Arkansas man was arrested earlier this week for threatening to kill Sen. Tom Cotton and Rep. Rick Crawford, multiple local news outlets reported.

James Powell, 43, was charged with first-degree terroristic threatening, a felony that carries a maximum six-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine.

Why is a Chinese propaganda newspaper delivered to Congress? Rep. Jim Banks wants to know
China Daily is delivered to congressional offices alongside independent papers

Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., wants to know why a known propaganda tool of China’s Communist party is delivered daily to Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Jim Banks want to know why China Daily, a newspaper owned and paid for by the Chinese Communist Party, is delivered routinely to House and Senate offices alongside independent papers like Roll Call, Politico and The Washington Post.

The Indiana Republican wrote a letter to the House Chief Administrative Officer, Philip Kiko, requesting information on the process for how publications are distributed on Capitol Hill and for the CAO to take action.