congressional-operations

Can You Tell August Recess (Kinda Sorta) Is Almost Here?
Messaging votes, floods in the Capitol, stinky gas and boatloads of cash

Rep. Steve Knight, R-Calif., leaves the House after the last votes of the week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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It’s almost time for the kinda-sorta August recess (with the House leaving after next week for a month, and the Senate, not so much) and that means there will be no shortage of messaging votes set up by Republican leaders so their members can head back to the hustings and brandish their votes before November’s midterm elections. 

Floor Charts for the Floor Show — Summer Edition
Our favorite visual aids from a month of congressional floor-watching

(Courtesy @FloorCharts, Screenshot/C-SPAN)

Cheesin’ photos, safety precautions and tiny charts — watching the House and Senate floors can be a thankless task. But the floor charts make it  worthwhile.

Lawmakers like these oversize and sometimes garish visual aids because they help them get their point across. The Twitter handle @FloorCharts posts some of the daily highlights, and Roll Call now provides a monthly roundup of the best of the best.

Rep. Maxine Waters Warns Supporters Not to Confront Militia Group
Oath Keepers, an armed far-right group, plans to protest Waters for weeks in her California district

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., urged her supporters to stay away from the Oath Keepers, a far right armed group that is planning a protest at her Los Angeles office on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Maxine Waters of California warned her supporters not to be baited into a confrontation with a a far-right militia group planning a protest at her South-Central Los Angeles office Thursday.

The Oath Keepers, which claims 35,000 members who often dress in military gear and carry military-grade rifles at protests and events across the country, issued a “call to action” for Thursday to protest Waters’ “incitement of terrorism” and Democrats’ opposition to Republican immigration policies.

Bill Meant to Clear Public Access to Congressional Reports Running Out of Time
Measure would require online portal for congressionally mandated reports

Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., sponsored a bill to create a single online portal for reports federal agencies submit to Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A bill meant to clear the way for public access to reports submitted to Congress is in danger of hitting a roadblock, government transparency advocates warned Thursday. 

The bipartisan Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act was approved without objection by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Administration Committee in February and April, clearing the way for consideration on the House floor. 

Negotiations Over Sexual Harassment Bills Continue, but No Timetable Yet
Lawmakers report progress on reconciling House, Senate approaches

House Administration Chairman Gregg Harper, R-Miss., says he and his colleagues are making progress on reconciling sexual harassment legislation from the two chambers, but a time frame for enactment is unclear. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Even as lawmakers and staff work to reconcile legislation passed by the House and Senate to curb sexual harassment on Capitol Hill, a timeline for enacting the bills is unclear, months after they were fast-tracked for floor votes.

“We’re confident we are going to get there at some point. We’re not quite there,” House Administration Chairman Gregg Harper of Mississippi said.

Linda Sánchez Formally Announces Bid for Democratic Caucus Chair
Crowley seems to endorse her campaign to succeed him

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., and Vice Chairwoman Linda Sánchez, D-Calif., have been the 4th and 5th ranked Democratic leaders this congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Linda Sánchez is running for Democratic Caucus chair, officially announcing her plans Tuesday in a Dear Colleague letter Tuesday to House Democrats.

The California Democrat currently is vice chairwoman of the caucus. She is looking to move up now that Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley of New York lost his primary and thus won’t be running for leadership again.

Alexa, What’s Going on in the House of Representatives?
Project would allow data queries from a smart speaker

The House chamber during a State of the Union address. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

What’s the quickest way to find out whether the House is in session? What committee hearings are scheduled? The name of a district’s congressional representative?

Soon, you might be able to ask Alexa.

The House Democrats Considering Leadership Bids — So Far
Most are keeping their options open for now

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley, center, lost his primary last month, which opens up his leadership slot in the next Congress. Vice Chairwoman Linda T. Sánchez and DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján are current members of leadership who could seek to move up. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ahead of a potential wave election, few House Democrats have declared their interest in running for specific leadership positions. But more than a dozen are keeping their options open as the caucus members consider how much change they want to see in their top ranks next Congress.

The number of potential Democratic leadership contenders has ballooned since Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley lost his primary in New York’s 14th District late last month. His leadership position is the only one guaranteed to be open for the next Congress, but his loss has also raised questions about who can usher in the next generation of Democratic leaders

Critics Pan Plan to Publish Congressional Research
Transparency advocates say thousands of documents would be left off website

The Library of Congress’ Thomas Jefferson Building is pictured from the observation area at the top of Capitol Dome. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Government transparency advocates were thrilled last spring when Congress ordered its in-house think tank to publicly release its reports.

Now, groups that lobbied for years to end the secrecy surrounding the Congressional Research Service say the website scheduled to launch in September would leave out crucial documents and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars more than it should.

Trump Taps Senate’s Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms for NASA Post
Morhard to be nominated to be deputy administrator of the space agency

Deputy Senate Sergeant at Arms James W. Morhard is interviewed by Roll Call in the Capitol, January 9, 2015. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The deputy sergeant-at-arms of the Senate has been picked by President Donald Trump to be the deputy administrator of NASA.

James W. Morhard, who has been deputy SAA since Republicans took over the Senate majority in 2015, has largely focused on the various administrative functions of the Senate.