congressional-operations

House Judiciary Democrats eye campaign finance measures
FEC member points out need for more commissioners

Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., continues to champion his Democracy for All Amendment to the Constitution that would essentially undo the 2010 Citizens United v FEC decision. “The deeply rooted problem of money in politics requires a constitutional amendment,” Deutch said Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Federal Election Commissioner Ellen Weintraub, in testimony to a House Judiciary subcommittee, tried to draw attention to her agency’s current predicament: It’s lacked enough commissioners for a quorum for more than five months.

“While I know this is not within the House’s purview, the FEC could really use some new commissioners to restore our quorum and let us do our job,” she said during a hearing of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties. “So tell your friends.”

Suspicious substance investigated outside of Schiff’s office
Capitol Police cleared the incident just before noon

Capitol Police officers block off a hallway as they investigate a reported suspicious substance in the Rayburn office of Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., on Thursday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

A suspicious substance was found outside lead House impeachment manager Adam B. Schiff’s congressional office Thursday morning but was ultimately deemed not hazardous and cleared by the Capitol Police, casting a cloud of grim reality over Schiff’s earlier comments expressing grave concern for his staffers.

The incident comes just a day after President Donald Trump was acquitted by the Senate in his impeachment trial on both charges: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Schiff, a California Democrat, spent days presenting the case for Trump’s removal from office.

Network overhaul shores up House Wi-Fi for State of the Union
Bandwidth boosted after years of unreliable access

Media covering President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address had an improved internet situation. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

A massive revamp of internet infrastructure in the House chamber and press galleries ahead of Tuesday’s State of the Union was born out of chaos in preceding years and aimed to facilitate improved media coverage of the speech, spin and surrounding pomp and circumstance.

It seemed to make a difference Tuesday, allowing reporters to fire off tweets and file story updates during the speech from inside the chamber. That hasn’t been the case in previous years and was a pleasant surprise for those in the chamber.

U.S. border officers ordered to vet Iranian American travelers, memo shows
Jayapal seeks Customs and Border Patrol meeting over agency's 'leaked' directive

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., called the practice of targeting U.S. citizens and residents at the border "absolutely unacceptable." (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal said Thursday that her office was working to confirm what appears to be a Customs and Border Protection directive to field officers asking for additional scrutiny of Iranians, Palestinians and Lebanese at the U.S. border. 

“This document, if verified as coming from the Seattle CBP Field Office, matches exactly the process described by CBP leadership in a briefing last week, our own sources inside CBP, and the credible and powerful accounts from travelers who faced extreme profiling at the U.S.-Canada border,” the Democratic lawmaker said in a statement that linked to a local paper in Washington state that published the directive. 

Print or online? New GPO director Hugh Halpern is a publishing ‘agnostic’
After decades as a Hill staffer, he’s presiding over information in the digital age — but he can still geek out over print

Government Publishing Office Director Hugh Halpern looks over copies of the Congressional Record as he gives a tour of the GPO on Jan. 22. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After three decades of trying to blend into the woodwork, Hugh Halpern comes to the office and sees his own face on the wall. His picture is hanging in the lobby.

The new director of the Government Publishing Office spent 30 years as a congressional aide, and pushing down his “staffer instincts” has so far been one of the hardest parts of the job.

Deficit widens, economic growth slows in new CBO outlook
Repeal of health care taxes the largest driver of 10-year deficit increase, according to projections

Under new Congressional Budget Office estimates, the federal deficit is projected to fall slightly to $1 trillion in fiscal 2021 and then commence a steady rise to $1.7 trillion in 2030. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Congressional Budget Office projects higher deficits for this year and the coming decade, with a fiscal 2020 deficit of $1.015 trillion — $8 billion higher than the agency estimated last August.

The fiscal 2019 deficit was $984 billion, by comparison.

Impeachment news roundup: Jan. 28
GOP senators met Tuesday to gather input on whether to call witnesses

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham speaks with reporters before the start of the Senate impeachment trial proceedings Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

File updated 5:30 p.m.

The president’s defense team has completed its presentation.

Key Votes 2019: Amid partisan acrimony, legislative wins in Congress were hard to come by
House and Senate veered in opposite directions

The House and Senate veered in different directions in 2019, as CQ Roll Call’s analysis of key votes shows. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

All throughout 2019, Democrats sang from the same hymnal: We sent hundreds of bills with bipartisan support over to the Senate, where they went to die.

And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has taken pride in referring to himself as the “Grim Reaper” presiding over a legislative graveyard, arguing that he is serving as a bulwark against “radical, half-baked, socialist” legislation being churned out in the House.

Photos of the week: Trump's impeachment trial begins
The week ending Jan. 24 as captured by Roll Call’s photojournalists

House impeachment managers Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., at podium, flanked by, from left, Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., Val Demings, D-Fla., Sylvia R. Garcia, D-Texas, Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and Jason Crow, D-Colo., address the media in the Capitol on the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Impeachment cellphone ban gives Senate pages a workout
Teens stay busy relaying messages, fetching water, even pouring glasses of milk

Senate pages are getting in their steps this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Trump’s impeachment trial may be requiring senators to stay seated hour after agonizing hour, but there’s one group getting lots of exercise: Senate pages.

The blue-jacket-clad teens have been running all over the Senate floor, relaying messages between senators and staff, fetching water and even pouring the occasional glass of milk.