Kansas

Opinion: Trump’s Alabama Attitude Adjustment
Even voters in the Deep South are figuring out who’s behind the bile

Alabama Democrat Doug Jones celebrates his victory over Judge Roy Moore. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“Because something is happening here But you don’t know what it is Do you, Mister Jones?”

That 1965 Bob Dylan lyric qualifies as half right. Doug Jones certainly figured it out. After all, Jones is now the first mainstream Democrat to be elected to the Senate from Alabama since New Dealer Lister Hill.

Word on the Hill: Special Election Special Edition
Democrats spike the ball after historic upset win in Alabama

Supporters of Alabama Democrat Doug Jones celebrate his victory over Judge Roy Moore at the Sheraton in Birmingham on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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

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.

Analysis: 2017 Has Been Nutty for K Street, but 2018 Could Be Insane
Campaign season is soon to kick into high gear

As 2017 draws to a close, the unpredictable nature of the first year of the Trump administration could very well bleed into next year as the midterm elections heat up. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lobbyists have — almost — survived a genuinely bonkers year.

The Trump era ushered in a maelstrom of unpredictable policy fights along with scandals that have ripped into K Street. Think it can’t get any stranger? Just wait until campaign season kicks into high gear in 2018.

The Strange Day of Senate Farewells
Franken, Strange speeches were very different scenes

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and his wife Franni, leave the Capitol on December 7, 2017, after Franken announced on the Senate floor that he will resign his seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Thursday became departure day in the Senate, with back-to-back farewell speeches oddly linked due to the recent wave of allegations about sexual harassment.

Staffers and visitors, along with members of the media, filled the Senate chamber Thursday morning for Sen. Al Franken’s announcement that he would in fact resign his seat in the aftermath of an ever-increasing number of sexual harassment allegations.

GOP Power Play in Hurricane-Ravaged Puerto Rico
Conditional funding gains support amid talk of new Marshall Plan

Workers in Caguas, south of San Juan, Puerto Rico, repair electrical lines on Oct. 25, more than a month after Hurricane Maria hit the island. (Ramon Tonito Zayas/AP file photo)

In late September, just over a week after winds of 155 miles per hour flattened homes and struck down power lines and more than 30 inches of rain inundated parts of the island of Puerto Rico, a leader of the recovery efforts with the Army Corps of Engineers offered his blunt assessment of the damage.

“This is a massive undertaking, one in which I don’t think we’ve undertaken before in terms of this magnitude,” Col. James DeLapp told CNN. The closest thing he could think of by way of comparison? “When the Army Corps led the effort to restore … electricity in the early stages of the Iraq war in 2003 and 2004.”

Civility Pledge Signers ‘Disagree Without Being Disagreeable’ in a Tumultuous Congress
HOH talked to 18 freshman members who signed pledge earlier this year

From left, Reps. Lou Correa of California, Brian Mast of Florida and Scott Taylor of Virginia walk down the House steps after the group photo for the freshman class during orientation week in November 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House freshmen who signed a civility pledge say they’ve been able to live up to their agreement to “disagree without being disagreeable” and even strike up some friendships amid a rancorous Congress.

Rep. Mike Johnson, the author of the pledge that the lawmakers signed in January, said his model for civility is former President Ronald Reagan.

Senators Unclear on Plan to Fund Government Days Before Funding Expires
Republican senators say second continuing resolution into January possible

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., would need to be consulted to secure needed Democratic votes for a continuing resolution. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Freshman Civility Pledge Reflections: Across-the-Aisle Friendships
Members of the House freshman class discuss bipartisan relationships

From left to right: Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., interviewed by HOH's Alex Gangitano. (Bian Elkhatib/CQ Roll Call)

Louisiana Republican Mike Johnson, right out of the gate of his first term in Congress, decided to set civility in stone.

“If the nation’s leaders can’t model civility, then it’s pretty hopeless for the rest of the country,” he said.

Trump Tax Taunts Don’t Trouble Red-State Democrats
McCaskill outspoken in criticism of Senate GOP measure

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill speaks Tuesday during the Senate Democrats news conference on taxes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Moderate Senate Democrats — many of them on the ballot in 2018 — came together with a unified message Tuesday morning, just before President Donald Trump arrived at the Capitol to meet with the Republican Conference.

Sen. Tim Kaine was perhaps the most direct. The Virginia Democrat said at the news conference that the GOP should make a run at a bipartisan product before bringing to the floor a tax reconciliation bill that would only require a simple majority to pass.

Meet the Man Who Carried the Capitol Christmas Tree From Montana to D.C.
Larry Spiekermeier drove a 79-foot Engelmann Spruce from Kootenai National Forest

A baby visits Larry Spiekermeier in the truck. (Courtesy US Capitol Tree/Twitter)

Everyone in the Montana trucking industry knows Larry Spiekermeier. And now people on the road between the Treasure State and D.C. know him too — as the man who delivered the 53rd annual Capitol Christmas tree.

Spiekermeier drove the truck carrying the 2017 tree for two weeks, starting from Kootenai National Forest in northwestern Montana. Spiekermeier and the 79-foot-tall Engelmann Spruce made twenty stops between Nov. 13 and Nov. 27 in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri and Kentucky before arriving at the Capitol on Monday.