Washington

Amid Liberal Protests, More Democrats Holding Town Halls This Presidents Day Recess
Republicans have held more than Democrats in recent years

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden plans to hold eight town hall meetings during the upcoming recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With increasing reports of liberal demonstrators filling the theaters and high schools where lawmakers give their constituents a chance to question them in town halls, next week’s Presidents Day recess is a chance for Republicans to either face the opposition or to try to avoid explosive headlines that have resulted from these recent meetings.

Democrats, though, seem happier than usual to open themselves up this year.

Ted Nugent vs. Kid Rock in Michigan Race?
Motor City Madman threatens Senate run

The Michigan Republican committee member who floated the idea of Kid Rock as a Senate candidate said he has no inside info on whether the musician is interested in running. But another Michigan rocker is threatening to jump into the race.

Cory Booker’s Mysterious Mission to Texas
New Jersey senator spent recent weekend visiting a private prison

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker has been one of the leading voices of the congressional effort to overhaul the criminal justice system. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As most of his colleagues headed home last weekend, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker spent Friday night on a journey to the center of the country.

After flying from Washington to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on Feb. 10, one of the rising stars in the Democratic Party sat unnoticed at a charging station, at the far end of Terminal B, where small regional jets arrive and depart.

Rep. Reed Surprises Sit-In Participants
New York Republican has two-hour discussion at district office

Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., surprised constituents who were requesting a town hall. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., surprised people staging a sit-in at a district office when he dropped by Thursday after a meeting with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in Washington.

Six people from Ithaca Catholic Workers began the sit-in on Tuesday to highlight that Reed not holding a town hall since May 2, 2016. Reed arrived around 10:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Chaffetz Wants Charges for Former Clinton Aide
Former State Department employee who set up private email server refused to testify

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, was criticized by ranking Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, who said apparently Chaffetz and President Donald Trump “are the only two people in Washington today who think we should still be investigating Secretary Clinton.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Jason Chaffetz is seeking charges for a former State Department employee who helped Hillary Clinton set up her private email server.

Chaffetz, R-Utah, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking to convene a grand jury or charge Bryan Pagliano, The Associated Press reported.

Bob Michel, Last Leader of the ‘Old School’ House GOP, Dies at 93
Compromise and collegiality were hallmarks, but got him pushed aside by his caucus in the 1990s

Illinois Rep. Robert H. Michel, pictured at a news conference on Aug. 2, 1989, served as House Republican leader for nearly 14 years. (Laura Patterson/CQ Roll Call Archive Photo)

Robert H. Michel, who as the House minority leader from 1981 until his 1994 retirement became the longest-serving congressional Republican leader who never experienced majority power, died Friday. He was 93 and had lived on Capitol Hill much of the time since stepping down after 19 terms representing central Illinois.

Michel epitomized the congressional Old School in nearly every way, which worked to his advantage for almost all of his four decades in office. He prized collegiality, collaboration, civility and courtesy as essential political virtues. He evidenced a steady reverence for the institutional prerogatives, customs and limitations of what he fondly termed “the people’s House.”

Word on the Hill: Muslim Group Advocacy Day Focuses on Refugees
Senate majority leader has birthday on Presidents Day

Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern will address the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA before its advocacy day on Capitol Hill on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The seventh annual “Day on the Hill” for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA today will highlight its “True Islam” campaign and “#MuslimAlly” hashtag.

The group maintains it is the oldest Muslim organization in America, and 75 chapters from across the country are expected to meet with hundreds of congressional offices. Its focus this year is on discussing threats to homeland security and refugee processing.

Pro-Pot Lawmakers to Join Forces, Launch Cannabis Caucus
Move comes amid uncertainty for state marijuana laws under Trump

Inventory including “Merry N’Berry” on display at the medical marijuana dispensary Takoma Wellness Center, in Washington, D.C. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers looking to draw attention to pet issues have formed groups in favor of everything from auto care to zoos. Now, there’s a caucus for cannabis. 

Rep. Earl Bluemenauer said the move — to be announced at a press conference Thursday — is a sign of how mainstream the drive for marijuana legalization has become.

Trump Travel Ban Crashes Texas Wedding Plans
Texas native with Iranian roots presses lawmakers on executive order

Shervin Taheran is concerned that some of her relatives from Iran would be unable to attend her April wedding in Texas if President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration is reinstated. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump has repeatedly said his approach to preventing terrorist attacks on U.S. soil won’t always be tidy. That’s especially true when it affects things like the already delicate task of compiling a wedding guest list. Just ask Shervin Taheran. 

If reinstated by the judicial branch, Trump’s travel ban may prevent many family members and friends from entering the United States to celebrate personal milestones with their loved ones.

Word on the Hill: Trailblazer Awards
Astronaut is testifying in the House

Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings will receive a Trailblazer Award from the Congressional Black Associates. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

This Black History Month, the Congressional Black Associates will honor five people for their contributions to the community in their annual Trailblazer Awards ceremony.

This year’s awardees are Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., and Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black, and Hill veterans Michael McQuerry, Jaqueline Ellis (posthumously) and Jennifer DeCasper.