staffers

Ryan Hasn’t ‘Given Thought’ to Members’ Health Care Coverage
Speaker says GOP health care plan is ‘on track and on schedule’

House Speaker Paul Ryan says the House is working “hand in glove” with the White House on a health care plan that can pass Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan has put a lot of thought into the health care bill moving through the House, but one thing that hasn’t crossed his mind is how members of Congress will get their health care.

The 2010 health care overhaul required lawmakers and their staff to enroll in health care programs created by the law as a means to have them understand the effects of it. But after questions arose, the Office of Personnel Management ruled that members and staff could enroll in the District of Columbia’s small business exchange to maintain the employers’ contribution toward health care costs.

Service Academy Grads Bond on Capitol Hill
Tim Bertocci and Jakob Johnsen founded the Service Academy Graduate Staff Association in the 114th Congress

Service Academy Graduate Staff Association co-chairmen Jakob Johnsen, left, and Tim Bertocci say group members share similar values and backgrounds. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The importance of brotherhood and sisterhood is ingrained as a core value of service academy graduates, which is why two staffers decided to form an association for them. 

The Service Academy Graduate Staff Association was started last Congress by Tim Bertocci, legislative director for Minnesota Democratic Rep. Tim Walz, and Jakob Johnsen, military legislative assistant for Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young.

GOP Plan Doesn’t Address Members, Staff Health Care
Unanswered questions on fate of 11,000 people

A sign from 2013 alerts Senate employees that representatives from DC Health Link are in the Hart Senate Office Building to help them with health insurance enrollment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As lawmakers delve into questions about the Republican health care plan, one big one will remain unanswered for the time being: What happens to health care for members of Congress and their staffs?

The 2010 health care law required members and their staff to enroll in health care programs created by the law. But it’s not clear if that requirement will continue, or whether lawmakers and staff will return to the coverage plans they had prior to the law taking effect.

Connolly Intern Sows Father’s Seeds of Peace for Gaza
Yousef Bashir has faith in a peaceful solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Yousef Bashir, a Gaza native, is an intern in Virginia Rep. Gerald E. Connolly’s office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The future president of a Palestinian state might be working as an intern in Democratic Rep. Gerald E. Connolly’s office. 

“No pressure, huh?” Yousef Bashir replies to the Virginia lawmaker’s assertion about his future and the two laugh.

Senate Democrats Adopt Staff Diversity Rules
New rules will increase the diversity in caucus staff, Schumer says

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, center, and Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz have been pushing for more diversity among Senate staff. Also pictured, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Democrats have taken a formal step to codify their push for staff diversity in the Senate. 

Lawmakers approved new conference rules at the Democrats’ policy lunch last Tuesday, which encourage offices to use the NFL’s “Rooney Rule,” the requirement named after the Pittsburgh Steelers’ owner Dan Rooney that teams interview at least one minority candidate for head coaching vacancies. Democratic offices are now formally encouraged to consider at least one minority candidate when interviewing for an open position.

Survey: Democratic Aides Doubt Senate Can Block SCOTUS Nominee
Staffers overwhelmingly expect Neil Gorsuch to be confirmed

Judge Neil Gorsuch meets with North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in her Hart building office on Feb. 8. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Liberal advocacy groups are spending lots of time and money organizing for what they hope will be a big fight over President Donald Trump’s choice to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, federal appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch.

They might be disheartened to learn that Democratic congressional aides don’t think they can block him.

Foreign Affairs Staffers Group Connected to the World
Group provides access to foreign service institutes and professionals

From left, Varun Krovi, Francisco Bencosme, Sean Snyder, Katharine Denby, Aaron Allen, and Michael Mansour of the Foreign Affairs Congressional Staff Association. (Tom Williams/ CQ Roll Call)

Just like members of Congress, expertise in foreign policy can boost staffers’ careers.

Most staffers are interested in it in some form. But until three years ago, the Foreign Affairs Congressional Staff Association didn’t exist.

Word on the Hill: Hockey Challenge
Maker Caucus events all day

Minnesota Rep. Erik Paulsen celebrates a goal for Team Lawmakers during the 8th annual Congressional Hockey Challenge last year. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Members and staffers team up to face off against lobbyists tonight at the 9th annual Congressional Hockey Challenge

On the lawmakers’ roster, Reps. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., Tom Emmer, R-Minn., Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., Larry Bucshon, R-Ind., and John Katko, R-N.Y., will be joined by staffers and three Canadian members of Parliament.

Georgia Democrat Picks Up Progressive Endorsement
End Citizens United backs Jon Ossoff in special election

Democrat Jon Ossoff is one of 18 candidates vying for Georgia’s 6th District seat. (Courtesy Jon Ossoff for Congress Facebook page)

End Citizens United, a liberal political action committee, is throwing its weight behind Democrat Jon Ossoff in the race to replace Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price in Georgia’s 6th District. 

The endorsement is the latest sign that Democrats want to make a play for the district, which President Donald Trump carried by less than 2 points last fall, and that Ossoff is their top candidate. 

Report Shows ‘Untapped Power’ of Constituent Advocacy
Showing the local effects of legislation can better influence lawmakers

People react to Rep. Jason Chaffetz as he speaks during a town hall meeting at Brighton High School, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017, in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. Hundreds of people lined up early for the town hall with Chaffetz on Thursday evening, many holding signs criticizing the congressman's push to repeal the newly-named Bears Ears National Monument in southern Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)