Florida

War on Christmas (decorations) comes to Capitol Hill
The 'Cold War' is heating up

Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., poses with the inflatable snowman outside his office on the second floor of the Longworth Senate Office Building on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. A friendly holiday decorations rivalry with his hallway neighbor Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo. has evolved into a floor-wide contest. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Val Demings was overheard this week telling a reporter she felt “pressure” to step up her office’s holiday decorations after fellow Florida Rep.  Charlie Crist displayed a quintessential light-up palm tree and flamingo outside his.

The 7.5-foot inflatable holiday Mickey Mouse (she represents the Orlando area, home to Disney World) that guards her door declined to comment on the matter — perhaps because he heard about the unfortunate fate of a nearby air-filled brethren.

Try again: Lofgren rejects House Clerk’s eyebrow-raising choice
2018 college graduate recommended to lead staff after Rep. Sean Duffy resignation

House Administration Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., rejected a request by House Clerk Cheryl L. Johnson to hire a 2018 college graduate as chief of staff for the vacant office of Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Sean Duffy left Congress months ago, but his office remains without a chief after a key lawmaker rejected an attempt to install a recent college graduate with no legislative experience and who is the daughter of a House official.

Duffy’s last chief of staff, Pete Meachum, departed the post on Dec. 6.

Impeachment news roundup: Dec. 13
Judiciary Committee sends articles of impeachment to the House, White House condemns ‘desperate charade’

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler prepares to speak to the media after the committee passed two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

After a 14-hour marathon on Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee took less than 10 minutes to approve the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Friday.

Both articles were approved on 23-17 party-line votes.

Gaetz's 2008 DUI resurfaces during impeachment debate

Rep. Matt Gaetz speaks Thursday during a House Judiciary Committee markup of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., cited a New Yorker profile of Hunter Biden during amendment debate Thursday during the House Judiciary Committee’s markup on articles of impeachment. The profile alleged crack cocaine use by Hunter Biden, which Gaetz read out loud to the panel.

Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., was quick to respond, saying, “The pot calling the kettle black is not something we should do.” The idiom was a nod to Gaetz’s 2008 arrest for driving under the influence.

At the Races: Walking and chewing

By Bridget Bowman, Simone Pathé and Stephanie Akin

Michigan Democratic Rep. Haley Stevens reminded a group of reporters yesterday, “It’s sort of the metaphor of walking and chewing gum at the same time that everybody likes to use around here.”

After months of delay, DeVos touts limited student loan forgiveness plan
House Democrats press Trump's education chief over relief for defrauded students

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in the Capitol in July, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos sought to defend her department’s 18-month delay in processing rising numbers of student loan forgiveness claims, saying at a Thursday hearing that officials lacked a proper process to review them.

Roughly 240,000 claims remain outstanding as DeVos has sought to change the department’s process to allow students who have been defrauded by colleges to have their federal student loans canceled.

Nadler pushes votes on impeachment articles to Friday morning
Expected approval amid partisan fighting will line up a contentious House floor vote next week

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., left, and ranking member Doug Collins. R-Ga., speak with their aides before the start of the House Judiciary Committee markup of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, in the Longworth Building on Thursday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The House will come one step closer to impeaching President Donald Trump Friday when the Judiciary Committee is expected to approve charges of obstruction of Congress and abuse of power.

The panel abruptly recessed after 11 p.m. Thursday night after more than 14 hours of debate just before they were expected to take final votes on the articles, extending the impeachment markup into a third day.

Voting rights, a partisan issue? Yes, Republicans have fallen that far
‘Party of Lincoln’ seems to believe it can only win by placing as many obstacles to voting as possible

Reps. John Lewis, right, and Terri A. Sewell and Sen. Patrick J. Leahy at a news conference before the House passed the Voting Rights Advancement Act on Dec. 6. Only one Republican voted for the bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Stacey Abrams has it right, for right now. She lost her 2018 race to be the governor of Georgia to Republican Brian Kemp, who as secretary of state was in charge of the election, a situation that would not pass the sniff test in North Korea.

OK, that comparison is a little far-fetched, but only a little.

As Super Bowl LIV draws near, Congress still tackling one of the event’s biggest problems
Florida Rep. Donna E. Shalala leads human trafficking hearing ahead of the big game in Miami

Katherine Fernandez Rundle, state attorney for Miami-Dade County, flanked by Rodney Barreto, chairman of the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee, and Kathy Andersen, executive director of The Women’s Fund Miami-Dade, addresses the media in Miami on Nov. 6 as they unveil a campaign by local, state and federal agencies and partners meant to combat sex trafficking leading up to and beyond Super Bowl LIV. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)

The question of whether the Super Bowl attracts higher volumes of human trafficking in its host city has long been debated. At the least, it provides a megaplatform, and opportunity, for awareness.

“We do have a comprehensive approach for Miami-Dade, and that’s been put together over the years, but the advantage of the Super Bowl for us is to educate the entire community,” Rep. Donna E. Shalala told HOH.

With scores to settle, Trump slams ‘crooked bastard’ Schiff over impeachment
President calls abuse of power, obstructing Congress articles ‘impeachment lite’

President Donald Trump holds an umbrella as he speaks to journalists before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on Tuesday. He was headed to a campaign  rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS — President Donald Trump went to Hershey, Pennsylvania, with a few scores to settle hours after House Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment they appear poised to pass next week.

For more than an hour, Trump railed against House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff and Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a throng of supporters inside the Giant Center booed, cheered and laughed — depending on the insult of the moment. He dubbed Schiff a “dishonest guy” and a “crooked bastard” and claimed the speaker has “absolutely no control” over a caucus that has lurched dramatically to the left.