staffers

J. Brett Blanton on track to become next architect of the Capitol
Nominee was most recently deputy vice president for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

J. Brett Blanton, nominee to be architect of the Capitol, right, introduces his family to Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy Blunt, R-Mo., before the start of his confirmation hearing on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Most of J. Brett Blanton’s nomination hearing before the Senate Rules Committee to be the next architect of the Capitol on Thursday was essentially a one-on-one public interview between him and Chairman Roy Blunt, as the remaining 18 members of the committee were absent for the majority of the hearing.

No opposition to Blanton, a Virginia resident, is evident, making him likely to be confirmed as the 12th architect of the Capitol. If confirmed, Blanton said he expects to start leading the agency by mid-January.

Congress poised to pass paid parental leave for federal workers
Could the measure spur wider action in the private sector?

A provision in the defense authorization bill expected to be passed by Congress would give all federal employees 12 weeks of paid parental leave. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

About 2 million federal employees are about to be guaranteed 12 weeks of paid parental leave under a bill soon to be signed into law by President Donald Trump, but several experts say the cost of such a benefit may discourage Democrats’ hopes of it spurring broader adoption in private industry.

The provision, folded into a defense bill months in the working, would give all federal civilian employees three months of paid leave for the birth, adoption or fostering of a child. Democrats originally pushed for a broader set of benefits to cover family relations and illnesses but praised the measure’s inclusion. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, who chairs the Oversight and Reform Committee, touted the provision as “long overdue.”  

Campus Notebook: President nominates pick for Architect of the Capitol

The Cannon House Office Building renovation will be a tough issue to grapple with for Blanton. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Monday nominated J. Brett Blanton to be the next Architect of the Capitol for a 10-year stint.

If confirmed by the Senate, Blanton would provide stability to the helm of an agency that has been led by a succession of acting directors. Christine Merdon, an acting director, announced her resignation in August and was replaced by Thomas Carroll, who worked in the same capacity. The Architect of the Capitol is responsible for maintaining the facilities on the Capitol complex as well as renovations.

Staffers gripe about lack of communication during Capitol lockdown
House sergeant-at-arms acknowledges missteps regarding suspicious aircraft incident

Staffers are criticizing the lack of response from the Capitol Police amid Tuesday’s lockdown (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After reports of a possible aircraft in restricted airspace over Washington on Tuesday, U.S. Capitol Police halted access to Capitol grounds. But a lack of communication left staffers confused and in the dark.

Although the lockdown lasted nearly 50 minutes and was “cleared without incident,” according to a Capitol Police statement, several staffers relied on social media and word of mouth for information.

Hill leaders get high marks from Hill staffers
But aides aren’t happy about lack of legislative accomplishments, survey finds

Congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, Charles E. Schumer and Kevin McCarthy received high ratings from Hill staffers in the most recent Capitol Insiders Survey. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times file photo)

As Democrats prepared to take control of the House in 2019, some plotted against Nancy Pelosi, the presumed speaker. Lawmakers like Tim Ryan of Ohio and Seth Moulton of Massachusetts argued that it was time for new blood at the top and a generational shift in the Democratic Party.

Pelosi deftly squelched the revolt and a year’s worth of polling of congressional staffers by CQ Roll Call shows that she has consolidated her power. CQ Roll Call surveyed aides five times in 2019, in January, March, April, September and October, and Pelosi received glowing reviews from Democratic staffers for her job performance.

Tim Ryan was once a star quarterback, with Congress as his backup
Ohio Democrat recalls how he got his start on Capitol Hill

Before he was a congressman, Ohio’s Tim Ryan was an intern and a staff assistant for his predecessor, Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Tim Ryan “caught the bug” for Congress first as a summer intern in 1994 and then as a staff assistant the following year for a fellow Ohioan, the late and colorful Democratic Rep. James A. Traficant Jr.

He recalls meeting Traficant during his senior year in high school, when Ryan was the star quarterback of his team. The two bonded over their football experiences. Ryan was recruited to play for Youngstown State, but an injury cut short his college football career. 

Hill Democratic aides remain conflicted between Warren and Biden
But latest staffer survey finds plenty of agreement across the aisle over 2020 outcome

Who’s the better general election candidate? Hill Democratic aides are split between Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

A year’s worth of polling by CQ Roll Call on politics reveals that congressional aides are just as bewildered by the Democratic field and its prospects as anyone else.

They’re pretty sure, at the same time, that control of the House and Senate won’t change. And both sides are feeling confident about winning the White House.

Trump complains about cost of Democrats’ impeachment lawyer — but GOP lawyer made more
President launched a series of Twitter attacks before public testimony began

President Donald Trump complained that Democrats hired a high-priced “outside lawyer” for the impeachment hearing — but the Republicans’ lawyer appears to have been paid more this year. (OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images file photo)

Ahead of the first public impeachment hearing Wednesday, President Donald Trump complained in a tweet about the “high priced outside lawyer” that Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., picked to question witnesses.

There was just one problem: The Republican impeachment lawyer has made more this year.

How a Capitol Hill staffer and a James Bond screenwriter dramatized ‘The Report’
Political Theater, Episode 101

Journalists follow Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein as she leaves her office on her way to the chamber floor to speak about the CIA torture report being released by the committee on on Dec. 9, 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report in 2014 was a compelling episode in American history, detailing as it did the CIA’s use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques on suspected terrorists and their lack of effectiveness. That doesn’t mean the seven-year investigation that led to the report automatically lends itself to high drama, particularly when one considers that many of those seven years were spent reading sensitive CIA documents in a windowless room. That makes the new movie “The Report” that much more of an accomplishment.

Director and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns had his work cut out for him, constructing a political thriller out of the efforts led by Intelligence Committee staffer Daniel J. Jones. Burns and Jones explained some of thinking that went into the film’s narrative, as well as the issues it explores, in the latest Political Theater podcast with CQ Roll Call senior staff writer Niels Lesniewski and me. 

Why Katie Hill had to go
California Democrat couldn’t stay on in a chamber that had promised to change its ways

With the new rules in place regarding relationships between lawmakers and their staff, California Rep. Katie Hill had no choice but to resign, Murphy writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — There is nothing worse than watching a person you’re rooting for make a mistake. In the case of former Rep. Katie Hill, the talented newcomer made a major mistake when she engaged in a relationship with a campaign staffer leading up to the 2018 midterm elections. She was right to resign her seat last week because of it.

Hill’s mistake was not simply having an affair, especially in this case when the relationship seems to have been consensual and even something her husband was aware of and participated in. But the California Democrat’s choice to start and continue a relationship with a young staffer on her congressional campaign happened at the very time that other women on Capitol Hill were fighting to protect staffers long subjected to sexual harassment by their bosses there.