Mark Pocan

House Tradition of Opening Legislative Day with Prayer Upheld
Court rules against atheist who wanted to deliver a secular invocation on the floor

Patrick Conroy, chaplain of the House of Representatives, left, leads both teams in a moment of prayer before the start of the annual Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park in June 15. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Chaplain Patrick Conroy and Paul D. Ryan got a win on Wednesday when the U.S. District Court upheld Congress’ right to open with a prayer.

In the case of Barker v. Conroy, the plaintiff, Daniel Barker, an atheist and the founder of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, filed a federal discrimination and free speech lawsuit against Conroy and Ryan in June 2016 after his request to offer a secular invocation on the floor was declined.

LGBTQ Women Balance Opportunity, Possible Extinction in Congress
Close calls, impossible races, and evolving bench contribute to low numbers

If Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema vacates her 9th District seat to run for Senate, there could be no LGBTQ women in the House in the next Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s been almost 20 years since Tammy Baldwin’s historic election, yet just one woman has followed her through the LGBTQ glass ceiling. And if both women lose competitive races in 2018, the next Congress could be without any LGBTQ women.

While the lack of LGBTQ women in Congress is inextricably linked to the dearth of women on Capitol Hill, the story of lesbian candidates includes some close calls, quixotic races, and a movement still evolving to position more qualified LGBTQ women to run for higher office.

Word on the Hill: Weekend Plans?
WOTH will be back mid-August

It's finally the weekend so get out of the Capitol — and the capital. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It’s the weekend in Washington and the Senate recess has finally arrived, so pick up a book from our summer reading list, or if you're feeling active, try to beat the number of steps that Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., takes in a day.

HOH went for a walk with the congressman recently and ran some errands around the complex with him.

Word on the Hill: Embassy Chef Competition
Wreath-laying for women in the military

Belgium is one of the countries represented in the Embassy Chef Challenge this evening. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Decide for yourself which embassy has the best cuisine.

Thirty-nine chefs from countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas are competing in Events DC’s Embassy Chef Challenge at 6 p.m. today. Last year’s winner was the chef from the Embassy of the Philippines, and in 2015, the Embassy of Barbados took home the trophy.

Paul Ryan Still Wants to Re-do Medicare
Speaker has long championed changes to elderly health plan

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said the House could tackle Medicare changes in the next fiscal year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Friday it is possible the fiscal 2018 budget resolution could propose changes to the Medicare program.

Speaking on WISN 1130, a conservative radio station in Milwaukee, Ryan said he’s long championed changes to the federal health insurance program for people 65 and older.

Political Reaction to Comey Strikes Familiar Pattern
Democrats see opportunity, Republican responses vary

FBI Director James B. Comey’s firing has appeared to knock the issue of the GOP health care bill off the front pages. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A familiar pattern emerged after President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James B. Comey: Democrats pressured Republicans to weigh in, vulnerable Republicans tried to distance themselves, and others stayed quiet.

With the 2018 midterms still 18 months away, political operatives in both parties say it’s difficult to predict what issues will dominate the campaigns. But what followed Comey’s dismissal suggests that both parties may be continuing strategies they developed during last year’s elections: Democrats seek to tie Republicans to Trump, and Republicans try to stay above the the fray of the ever-changing news cycle. 

Some Democrats ‘Adopt a District’ to Talk Health Care
At least 4 House Democrats have held or plan to hold events in GOP districts

New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney talks with constituents during a town hall in Newburgh, N.Y., on June 11, 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

One House Democrat was in enemy territory Monday night, and he was on a mission.

“I’m Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney,” the New York lawmaker told a crowd gathered at an industrial event space in Kingston in a neighboring Empire State district. “Where the heck is your congressman?”

Mark Pocan to Talk Health Care in Paul Ryan’s District
House Democrats up the ante by heading to speaker’s home turf

Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan has accepted an invitation to attend a town hall in Kenosha on Friday despite it being in a neighboring congressional district represented by Speaker Paul D. Ryan.