Mississippi

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.

Senators Again Push Steamboat Exemption Despite Safety Warnings
Ship has taken on outsize significance on Capitol Hill

A group of senators wants to exempt the Delta Queen, a wooden steamboat, to operate as an overnight cruise ship despite safety concerns. (Al Behrman/AP file photo)

A group of senators have quietly inserted into a Coast Guard authorization bill a provision that would allow an old wooden steamboat to operate as an overnight cruise ship despite repeated official warnings that doing so would create a floating fire trap.

The Senate fell four votes short Wednesday of moving forward with the authorization measure. But the issue is not expected to die there.

Nathan’s (Mostly) Political One-Liners: Push Polls, Endorsement Misses and CAVA
What’s running through my head on tax day, April 17

Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., speaks to a group of constituents on the House steps on March 22 after the final vote of the week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Arkansas’ 2nd District: Congratulations to Democrat Clarke Tucker’s campaign for using the term “robocalls” in a press release even though the local media referred to them as a “push poll,” which it most likely wasn’t since push polls don’t exist.

Colorado Governor: State Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, recent ex-wife to GOP Rep. Mike Coffman, received a dismal 6 percent of delegates at the Republican state assembly over the weekend, well short of the 30 percent threshold needed to make the GOP primary ballot for governor.

Gregg Harper Hopes Disability Internship Program Expands After His Departure
Retiring House Administration chairman cites his son as an inspiration

Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., right, poses with his son Livingston and Vice President Mike Pence last year. Harper said Livingston was the impetus for his internship program for individuals with intellectual disabilities. (Courtesy Rep. Gregg Harper’s office)

As Rep. Gregg Harper prepares to leave Congress, he has high hopes the internship program he created for individuals with intellectual disabilities will grow and lead to more alumni getting hired.

Helping the disabled has been a priority for the Mississippi Republican since his election to the House in 2008. He has sponsored multiple pieces of legislation to help people with disabilities transition into adulthood, including his Transition toward Excellence, Achievement, and Mobility, or TEAM, Act in 2013, which stalled in committee.

Trump Orders New Syria Strikes After Assad Chemical Attack
U.S. warns Assad there will be further retaliation for future chemical attacks

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross fires a tomahawk land attack missile during a Trump administration strike on Syrian government targets last April. (Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert S. Price)

The U.S. military — together with French and British forces — struck three targets inside Syria on Friday night, just days after Bashar Assad’s government allegedly carried out a chemical attack on a Damascus suburb and amid new U.S.-Russia tensions.

In a televised address, President Donald Trump announced that strikes against Assad's forces were “now underway.”

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. 

Richard Shelby Officially in as Senate Appropriations Chairman
GOP colleagues ratify powerful committee's vote

Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., is the new chairman of the Appropriations Committee, replacing Thad Cochran. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans officially chose Sen. Richard C. Shelby as Appropriations chairman on Tuesday after his fellow Republicans ratified the Committee’s Monday evening vote during a closed-door lunch.

David Popp, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., confirmed the Alabama Republican’s selection, as well as the approval of Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., as the new Rules chairman, replacing Shelby.

Dems See ‘Unhinged’ Trump, GOP Split After Mueller Rant
Firing special counsel would be ‘like when Nixon fired Cox,’ Sen. Kaine says

President Donald Trump has mulled firing special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is investigating whether the Kremlin colluded with the president's 2016 campaign. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic lawmakers see a “desperate” Donald Trump lashing out at special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Republicans are split, with some defending a frustrated president and others warning him to calm down.

Members of Trump’s own party had little desire to spotlight the Monday evening rant in which he slammed the Mueller-led Justice Department probe into Russia’s 2016 election meddling and possible collusion with his campaign.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
Zuckerberg says he’s sorry, South Dakota siblings, and Tide Rolls at the White House

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., listens to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg 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)

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.

Syria Strife May Cause a Trump Shift Lawmakers Like
‘We need to make Bashar al-Assad pay a price,’ Sen. Roger Wicker says

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., holds up the iconic photo of a young dead Syrian boy as he addresses the Syrian crisis during a news conference on Capitol Hill in December 2015. At left, Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump may be forced to change his mind — again. But this time, an about-face on Syria would likely bring accolades from many lawmakers who have been frustrated by his ever-shifting stances.

Another example of Trump going off course only to return to it days later could emerge early this week with the situation in Syria. Reports of a chemical weapons attack by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s military on the rebel-held area of Douma might prompt Trump to alter his stance of pulling U.S. forces from the war-torn country.