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Floor Charts for the Floor Show
Our favorite visual aids from congressional floor-watching

(Courtesy @FloorCharts screenshot of C-SPAN)

From tributes to senators to hours of testimony from a tech giant, spring has been a visual mixed bag in Congress.

Lawmakers like these oversized and sometimes garish visual aids because they help them get their point across. The Twitter handle @FloorCharts posts some of the daily highlights, and we’re doing a monthly roundup of the best of the best.

Sanders Joins Booker’s Marijuana Legislation
Vermont independent supported marijuana legalization in 2016 presidential campaign

Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., center, announced Sen Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, would co-sponsor his bill legalizing marijuana. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday became the latest senator to co-sponsor Sen. Cory Booker’s bill that would legalize marijuana.

The other co-sponsors are Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. Gillibrand is considered a potential contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination alongside Booker and Sanders.

Homeland Security, Cybersecurity and Silos
Administration looks for ways to strengthen cyberattack defenses

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said her department is working on a new cybersecurity strategy that can be applied in both the public and private sectors. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

SAN FRANCISCO — The Homeland Security Department is working on a cybersecurity strategy that aims to strengthen the overall digital economy’s defenses against cyberattacks, Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said at a cybersecurity conference here on Tuesday.

The strategy “will bolster our digital defenses by prioritizing enhancements in risk identification, vulnerability reduction, threat reduction, and consequence mitigation,” Nielsen said without identifying when the strategy is likely to be made public. “We must be more aware of vulnerabilities built into the fabric of the internet, and other widespread weaknesses.”

A Deeper Look at 2016 Facebook Ads Targeting Pennsylvania, Wisconsin
Large volume of ads came from suspicious groups, many of them Russian in origin

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before House and Senate committees last week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A forthcoming peer-reviewed study of paid political ads that appeared on Facebook in the weeks just prior to the 2016 presidential election shows that of 228 groups purchasing ads on hot-button issues, 122 — more than half — were submitted by “suspicious” groups whose identities may never be known.

The University of Wisconsin researchers, led by Professor Young Mie Kim, defined “suspicious” as meaning there was no publicly available information on who was behind the groups.

Opinion: How Much Longer Can the Trump Coalition Hold?
New study confirms demographic trends remain tough for Republicans

While demographic trends favor Democrats, white voters without college degrees — a key part of President Donald Trump’s base — will remain crucial to both parties’ electoral chances, Fortier writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After Mitt Romney’s defeat in 2012, establishment Republicans, citing unfavorable demographic trends, called for the GOP to improve its performance with growing ethnic minorities. Donald Trump, seemingly poking his finger in the eye of this establishment, pursued the opposite course, attracting more support from white voters without college degrees whose ranks were shrinking but becoming more Republican.

Demographic trends remain tough for Republicans, and a new study released Monday by a coalition of think tanks confirms this. The GOP would benefit from boosting support among new immigrant groups and doubling down on the white working class. But going forward, the Trump strategy of increasing support among non college whites over expanding its vote share among immigrant groups has advantages in both the popular vote and the electoral college, and will likely be at least a part of future GOP election game plans.

Opinion: Who Will Spur the Next Energy Revolution? Not Private Industry
Some say the government can no longer afford to invest in energy research, but we say it can’t afford not to

Solar panels are seen from the air on approach to Indianapolis International Airport on April 2. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In just a decade, America’s energy landscape has been transformed. Wind and solar units have cropped up across the country, quadrupling their output. Our oil production has nearly doubled over the same period, while natural gas has swelled by a third, due in large part to drilling and seismology advances that ushered in the shale revolution.

Who developed those technologies? Researchers at America’s national labs, thanks to decades of federal funding.

Photos of the Week: Ryan’s Done (Almost), Zuckerberg Testifies and 2 New Lawmakers Make Entrances
The week of April 9 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees on the protection of user data on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congress returned from its spring recess to a busy week, made busier when Speaker Paul D. Ryan announced he would not seek re-election in November.

Also this week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent three days on the Hill meeting with lawmakers and testifying on improper use of his company’s customers’ data. And there’s a new senator — Mississippi Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith — and a new House member — Pennsylvania Democrat Conor Lamb — after two swearings-in this week. 

Nathan’s (Mostly) Political One-Liners: Florida, Curious George, and the NFL
What’s running through my head on Thursday, April 12

From left, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Chief Deputy Whip Patrick T. McHenry, R-N.C., and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., arrive in the basement of the Capitol on Wednesday as reports of Speaker Paul D. Ryan not running for re-election spread. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Arizona’s 8th District Special: Welcome to the big leagues, Democrat Hiral Tipirneni, who we’re learning hasn’t treated patients since 2011 and settled a malpractice lawsuit.

Baseball Movies: It’s still hard to believe Aaron Sorkin made “Moneyball” into a watchable movie.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
Ex-Obama official ‘apologizes’ to Rand Paul, last looks at cherry blossoms, and Mullin celebrates his heritage

Rep. Billy Long, R-Mo., takes a picture of the media before a House Energy and Commerce Committee in Rayburn Building on the protection of user data featuring testimony by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating and this is the place for those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.