Derek Kilmer

Word on the Hill: Spelling vs. Basketball
O’Rourke’s birthday surprise, Moulton’s wedding, and Jackson Lee’s partnership

Reps. Derek Kilmer of Washington, left, and Ted Deutch of Florida talk to the co-champions of the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee, Jairam Hathwar, second from left, and Nihar Janga, before last year’s National Press Club Spelling Bee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two longtime congressional competitions are taking place this evening: the National Press Club Spelling Bee, and the Member of Congress Charity Basketball Game. Which one will you attend?

The spelling bee, which pits members of the media against lawmakers, is at 7:15 p.m. at the National Press Club (529 14th St. NW). Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., is a late addition to the members’ team. Meanwhile, lawmakers take on lobbyists in the basketball game, starting at 7:30 p.m. at George Washington University’s Smith Center (600 22nd St. NW). The game follows a matchup between congressional staffers and lobbyists.

Word on the Hill: Hill 2 Houston
Intelligence conference, and save the date for basketball

hill2houston

Today is the Hill 2 Houston Kickin’ It For a Cause Charity Kickball Tournament organized by the Congressional Black Associates to help with Hurricane Harvey recovery.

Members, USO Make Care Packages for Hurricane Relief Troops
1,500 packages assembled for National Guard troops deployed to Texas and Florida

Reps. Suzan DelBene of Washington, second from right, and Mike Coffman of Colorado, right, assemble care packages in the Rayburn building Tuesday for members of the National Guard who are assisting in the hurricane cleanup efforts. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The USO came to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to get help from members and staffers in their efforts to send 1,500 care packages to National Guard members deployed to Florida and Texas to assist with Hurricanes Harvey and Irma relief.

Hundreds of staffers and several members pitched in and helped the organization reach that goal within two hours. 

How House Members Spend Their Fourth of July
Reps. Payne, Banks, Marshall and Kilmer on their favorite traditions

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke shows some patriotism during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on June 20. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

HOH reached out to several House members to see how they spend Independence Day.

From grilling to fireworks, every member has a different take on their ideal holiday.

EPA Budget Cuts Won't Fly, House Appropriators Tell Pruitt

House appropriators, both Republicans and Democrats, were opposed to the cuts to the EPA budget defended by its administrator, Scott Pruitt. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s defense of the administration’s proposal to his agency’s budget by 30 percent are falling short with House appropriators, who are making clear that they’ll toss it aside when they write their Interior-Environment spending bill.

The sharp cuts proposed in the President Donald Trump’s budget are “untenable,” Interior-Environment Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert told Pruitt at a hearing, a sharp rebuke from a key appropriator.

Word on the Hill: What to Do This Weekend
A birthday wish from the floor

Cherry blossoms on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Happy Friday! 

There are a few ways this weekend to celebrate the new month and the beginning of spring, and the end of what felt like a very long winter.

Amid Liberal Protests, More Democrats Holding Town Halls This Presidents Day Recess
Republicans have held more than Democrats in recent years

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden plans to hold nine town hall meetings during the Presidents Day recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated on Feb. 21, 5:18 p.m. | Despite increased reports of liberal demonstrators disrupting Republican town halls, more lawmakers than usual are planning to meet with their constituents, including Republicans, according to CQ Roll Call data.

Democrats, especially, seem happier than usual to open themselves up this year.

NRCC Goes After Blue-Collar Districts in 2018
GOP campaign arm releases list of 36 initial targets

Rep. Tim Walz speaks with guests during a campaign event in Duluth for fellow Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolan last fall. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee’s initial list of offensive targets for 2018 includes 36 Democrat-held districts, many in blue-collar areas of the country.

If Democrats are targeting the well-educated suburbs (see New Jersey’s 11th District, for example), where Donald Trump either barely won or underperformed, Republicans are going after many rural districts where Hillary Clinton underperformed the congressional ticket. 

New Democrats Want a Piece of the Policy Pie
Coalition arranges task forces around top issues

Washington Rep. Derek Kilmer hopes the task forces gives the New Democrats a chance to help hone policy. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans are in control of Congress, but the House’s New Democrat Coalition does not plan to sit by and let the GOP generate all the policy ideas on issues like taxes, infrastructure and cybersecurity. 

In continuing with their effort to be leaders on policy issues and find potential areas of bipartisan compromise, the New Democrats are launching new task forces designed to generate policy solutions for issues on the GOP’s congressional agenda, as well as policy areas that may not get as much traction in a Republican-controlled Congress, Rep. Derek Kilmer, the coalition’s vice chairman of policy, told Roll Call.