Steny H Hoyer

Is there consensus on the new House consensus calendar?
While seen as encouraging bipartisanship, some worry about unintended consequences

Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., is a supporter of the consensus calendar but does not want it to be used to get around other procedural rules like PAYGO. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Joe Wilson was the first member to take advantage of a new House rule designed to bring broadly supported bipartisan bills to the floor. The South Carolina Republican’s legislation to end the so-called widow’s tax received a vote Friday, but it was not the vote he envisioned.

Wilson’s bill, the Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act, would end a disparity between government payments made to surviving spouses of servicemembers who die on active duty. The “widow’s tax,” as the current complication in the law is known, requires the surviving spouses to forfeit much of their Department of Defense Survivor Benefit Plan annuity when they receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs by deducting from the former the value of the latter.

CBO: Raising the minimum wage to $15 could boost pay of up to 27 million workers
The agency found nearly doubling the federal minimum wage could cost 1.3 million jobs when fully implemented by 2025

Protesters demanding a $15 minimum wage for federal contract workers chant as they march through the cafeteria in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on June 7, 2016. The House is expected to debate legislation next week that would raise the minimum wage to $15 in six annual increments. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Congressional Budget Office said in a report released Monday that nearly doubling the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour could cost 1.3 million jobs when fully implemented by 2025, though millions would see higher wages and the number of Americans living in poverty would decrease.

The report made clear that its estimate of 1.3 million potential job losses, which would equal roughly 0.8 percent of the workforce, was a median forecast, and that job losses could be substantially smaller — or larger. In a worst-case scenario, some 3.7 million jobs could be lost, the agency said. On the other hand, wages could rise for as many as 27 million workers.

Citing disappointing fundraising and polls, Rep. Eric Swalwell ends presidential campaign
39-year-old who challenged Biden to ‘pass the torch’ has potential in House leadership

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., his wife, Brittany, their son, Nelson, 2, and daughter, Cricket, 7 months, in a May interview. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ending his bid for the presidential nomination Monday, Rep. Eric Swalwell said he will seek another term in the House by campaigning to end gun violence, fight climate change, and address student loan debt, the same issues he hoped would make him the favorite millennial in a crowded Democratic field.

The 39-year-old will also return to an appointed position in the House leadership as co-chair of the Steering and Policy Committee, which could help him advance whenever Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Majority Whip James E. Clyburn retire. Pelosi and Clyburn will be 80 and Hoyer 81 after the next election.

Congress returns to pressure to get spending deals done
Key to budget deal is agreement between Pelosi and Trump, GOP senator says

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby had hoped to start marking up fiscal 2020 spending bills after the July Fourth recess, but that looks unlikely now. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With only a month to go before the August recess and three months until the end of the fiscal year, House leaders will not bring the two remaining fiscal 2020 appropriations bills — Homeland Security and Legislative Branch — to the floor due to divisions within the Democratic caucus over those bills and diminishing floor time.

Some Democrats are opposed to an inflation adjustment to lawmaker salaries, as allowed in the Legislative Branch bill. Other Democrats are opposed to immigration and border funding provisions in the Homeland Security bill.

Lawmakers and a lawsuit bring new life to giving D.C. a vote in Congress
The bill would make D.C. the 51st state, and it calls for the election of two senators and one House representative

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., left, and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced on May 30 that the House Committee on Oversight and Reform would hold a hearing on D.C. statehood on July 24th. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers and a lawsuit with high-profile support are bringing renewed attention to something long sought by Washington, D.C., residents — a vote for the District in Congress. 

A lawsuit filed in federal district court in Washington last year offering a new legal theory for why voting rights should be granted has earned recent support from Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the League of Women Voters. 

House Democrats lose procedural vote to GOP minority for first time in months
Approval of Republican motion to recommit on Financial Services spending bill added a last-minute Iran amendment

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said the members of his caucus who voted for the GOP motion to recommit felt they had to support the Iran language. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Democratic majority on Wednesday lost a procedural vote to the Republican minority for the first time in four months, as 37 Democrats joined Republicans in adding a last-minute Iran amendment to the Financial Services spending bill.

The amendment was approved through a Republican motion to recommit, or MTR — a procedural tool of the minority used primarily for messaging.

9/11 survivors get Mitch McConnell's commitment for Senate vote on compensation fund
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand had announced the bill had 60 supporters in the Senate

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., says the 9/11 first responders and survivors fund reauthorization has 60 co-sponsors. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 6:09 p.m. | The Senate will be taking up 9/11 victims compensation fund legislation this summer, and the bill should be expected to reach President Donald Trump’s desk.

That was the word from first responders and their supporters after a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Capitol Hill.

House Democrats offer changes to woo liberals on border funds
Bipartisan Senate measure moving in that chamber, adding to flux

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., talks with reporters before attending a meeting with other House Democrats to discuss potential border bill changes at the Democratic National Committee on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 12:55 p.m. | House Democratic leaders sought to tamp down a rebellion among their party’s left flank Tuesday as they prepared for a floor vote on $4.5 billion in emergency funding for the surge of migrants at the U.S. southern border.

Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey offered a new manager’s amendment aimed at easing the concerns of Progressive Caucus and Hispanic Caucus members over the care of children who are in the custody of Customs and Border Protection. Her amendment would tack on requirements for CBP to develop standards for medical care, nutrition, hygiene and personnel training, as well as a plan to ensure access to translation services for individuals “encountered” by U.S. immigration agencies.

Congressional compensation: Isn’t there a select committee for that?
Panel tasked with modernizing Congress will look at staff but not member issues

Chairman Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., right, and vice chairman Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., during a Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress meeting in March. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As lawmakers engage in a contentious debate about whether to thaw a decadelong freeze on their pay, there’s a logical place where the underlying issues of member compensation and housing could be addressed — the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. 

But the panel currently has no plans to take up such matters, its chairman, Rep. Derek Kilmer, and vice chairman, Rep. Tom Graves, told CQ Roll Call. 

Pay debate raging on Capitol Hill ignores lowest-earning staffers
Boosting MRA would do most to address pay woes, Hill aides say

Boosting member pay could translate to higher salary caps for staffers, as House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer has pointed out. But what about those who make the least? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While Congress tussles over whether a legislative spending bill should allow a salary boost for lawmakers, their staffers agree that the Members’ Representational Allowance — which pays House staff salaries — needs more funding.

House Democrats this month pulled the Legislative Branch appropriations bill amid backlash from Republican campaign strategists and members of their own caucus.