Ed Royce

Word on the Hill: How Involved Are You?
What the week ahead looks like

When staffers aren’t busy with their bosses, there are clubs for them. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

We’ve covered several congressional staff associations in Heard on the Hill and a bunch of them got together last week to tout their groups.

The Staff Association Fair on Friday was similar to a college activities fair and allowed staffers to learn about the many different options for them to get involved.

Word on the Hill: Week Wraps Up
Animals, actors, and singers

California Rep. Ed Royce shows off George the kangaroo at a World Wildlife Day event hosted by the Wildlife Conservation Society on Capitol Hill this week. (Chip Weiskotten/WCS)

Happy Friday of a very busy week in Washington! And, a belated Happy Women’s History Month!

Here are a few things that happened this week worth checking out.

Tennessee, Texas Stand Out for Strengthened Hill Sway
In Roll Call’s Clout Index for this Congress, California delegation’s longtime hold on top spot is threatened

Party affiliation and longevity have helped propel members of the Tennessee delegation such as Sen. Bob Corker into positions that convey authority and power, Hawkings writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

No state in this decade has seen a more meaningful boost than Tennessee in institutionalized congressional influence.

Only eight states, all with much bigger delegations because they’re much more populous, have more overt sway at the Capitol this year. That is one of several notable findings from the new Roll Call Clout Index, which the newspaper uses to take a quantifiable measurement of every state’s potential for power at the start of each new Congress.  

Fight for the House Centers on Five States
More than one-third of targeted districts reside in a handful of states

DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján is tasked with leading House Democrats back to the majority, including picking up handfuls of seats in a few key states. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Both parties haven’t wasted any time unveiling their House target lists for next year’s midterm elections, and a few states have emerged as early battlegrounds. 

At the end of January, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released an ambitious list of 59 Republican-held districts, followed by the National Republican Congressional Committee’s ambitious list of 36 Democratic-held districts just more than a week later.

The Incredible Shrinking Split Tickets
Midterm campaign field starts with just 35 crossover House districts

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller is the only Republican up for re-election in 2018 in a state not carried by Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

For the latest evidence of the nation’s polarized politics, the granular returns from November offer these slivers of bright purple insight:

Voters in just 35 congressional districts, or 8 percent of the total, elected a House member from one party while preferring the presidential candidate of the other party — the second election in a row where the share of ticket-splitting seats was in the single digits. Before that, 1920 was the last time the number of such crossover districts fell below one out of every nine.

Hensarling Seen to Vie With Mnuchin for Trump Treasury Pick
An architect of legislation with GOP ties or an emissary to Wall Street?

Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling has an important ally in Vice President-elect Mike Pence, chairman of the Trump transition team. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President-elect Donald Trump could face a classic choice between a Wall Street insider and a GOP strategist — investor Steve Mnuchin and House Financial Services Chairman, Texas Republican Jeb Hensarling — as he moves to replace outgoing Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew.

Trump advisers such as investor Carl Icahn and Stephen Moore, a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation, describe Mnuchin, Trump’s campaign finance director, as the front-runner for the Treasury post. But GOP allies of Hensarling — including Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, Sen. Ted Cruz and former Sen. Phil Gramm, all fellow Texans — say they believe Hensarling has emerged as a strong challenger after meeting with Trump on Thursday.

Word on the Hill: Long Live the Dome
It's class picture day for incoming House freshmen

Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers gets to show off the newly restored Capitol on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With a little more than two months to go until Inauguration Day, the Capitol Dome restoration is done and ready to be shown off.

Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers will conduct a briefing on the restoration, in which he is expected to officially announce the successful completion. The briefing will take place at the House Elm Tree (on the East Front) at 9 a.m.

Word on the Hill: White House Promotes Girl Power
Sanders campaign staffers have a book coming out

Michelle Obama, center, and Cindi Leive, left, participate in a live Skype call for the United Nation’s International Day of the Girl Child. (Courtesy @FLOTUS on Twitter)

Amid focus on a leaked video of Donald Trump making crass remarks about women, first lady Michelle Obama stood up for girls’ education rights on Tuesday.

She partnered with Glamour magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Cindi Leive to host an international Skype discussion on the challenges girls face in terms of access to education.

Senate's NDAA Language Sparks State, Pentagon Turf Battle
House lawmakers vow to push back against bill modifications

Washington Rep. Adam Smith says he wants the State Department and USAID to have more of a leadership role in U.S. development policies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An effort by the Senate Armed Services Committee to consolidate and streamline post-9/11 Pentagon rules for providing security assistance to foreign countries has unleashed long-simmering State Department concerns over how its oversight of those programs is handled.  

As part of committee Chairman John McCain’s ambitious effort to craft a legacy-shaping fiscal 2017 defense policy measure (S 2943), the decision was made to tackle the plethora of authorities that the Defense Department was granted over the past 15 years to partner with dozens of nations in improving not only their militaries but also their police, coast guard, border guards, counterterrorism forces and counternarcotics capabilities.  

Morgan Freeman Pushes Congress to Save the Sharks
Oscar winner visits House and Senate ahead of 'Shark Week'

Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, left, meets with Morgan Freeman, center, on Thursday. (Courtesy Sen. Roger Wicker's Office)

There are celebrities touring the Capitol to push for legislation they support. And then there's Oscar winner Morgan Freeman.  

"I had God in my office," Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said after meeting with the actor who has played God in the movies.