For 20, a New Year’s Boost in House Legislative Sway
How the winners of top committee assignments made their own luck

Specialization seasoned with seniority is the surest recipe for a meaningful legislative career in the House, which is more than big enough to swallow all the dilettantes and short-timers without a trace. It’s finding a substantive niche, then fitting in over the long haul, that proves perennially frustrating for many members. 

But the goal of becoming a successful and substantive lawmaker just got a whole lot easier for a score of them.

Parsing New Senate Committee Rosters for Future Career Moves
Senators with 2020 ambitions, or 2018 re-election worries, hope for help from new assignments

There’s little doubt about committees being a stronger force for shaping legislation in the House than in the Senate. That is why so many lobbyists and lawmakers had their ears pressed to the door Wednesday while the Republican Steering Committee started filling openings on the most influential House panels. 

But when it comes to shaping national political careers, it’s the Senate where such assignments often represent the biggest value. That is why everyone already pondering the next Democratic presidential campaign, and before that, the senatorial balance of power after the 2018 midterms, has been parsing the committee rosters finalized this week.

How to Watch the Quirky Congressional Opening Day
Look for unusual traditions, cacophony and a few moments of bipartisanship

If the last fall’s orientation period for the newest lawmakers was the Capitol Hill equivalent of freshman days at college, then the formal convening of the 115th Congress on Tuesday is the first day of school.  

And so it may be useful, for the congressional community as well as the throngs of well-wishers in town just for the festivities, to be reminded of some of the curious ways in which the customs of the day are different from all the others.

Saying Goodbye to the Departing Members of the 114th Congress

Around 55 members of Congress will be leaving the Hill for good (at least for now) at the end of 2016. They include the longest-serving woman in congressional history, two former Peace Corps volunteers and a senator whose race came down to 1,011 votes. Here are some notable facts about just some of these soon-to-be former lawmakers....
Milder Persona, Same Hard Line from New Freedom Caucus Chairman
Mark Meadows is eager to back Trump, but only when he adheres to the House GOP conservative group’s views

A defining principle for the House Freedom Caucus can be summarized this way: The painful short-term political consequences for the Republican Party from provoking internal discord must be steadfastly disregarded in the name of long-term conservative purification.

The second lawmaker to lead the group, Mark Meadows of North Carolina, has a reputation as one of the friendliest and folksiest newcomers to influence in Congress. But he is signaling no interest in deviating from that combative rubric even in the coming era of unified GOP control over Washington, born out of an election where voters signaled an intense desire to end the capital norms of backbiting gridlock.

A New Democratic Gatekeeper on the Trump Agenda
Neal at Ways and Means, one of House minority’s 3 new bigwigs, positioned as key legislative field director

The most important changes in the House Democratic power structure so far look more like a tectonic shift than a dramatic upheaval.

Counterintuitively, a caucus where white men have been reduced to a two-fifths plurality will be represented by three baby boomer white men as the fresh public faces confronting the new Trump administration on the biggest domestic policy debates of next year, from highways to health care.

Balancing Risk and Reward in Trump’s Surprising First Hill Battle
Delaying budget finish until he’s president means his priorities must wait, creates an opening for Democrats

Donald Trump’s presidential transition is already salted with plenty of big surprises. For Congress, the most unsettling may be his decision to start his legislative agenda-setting by ignoring this famous life lesson:

“Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today,” goes the aphorism often attributed to one of Trump’s most accomplished predecessors, Thomas Jefferson.

Roll Call Decoder: How Does New Member Orientation Really Work?
 

The newly elected members of Congress are back for more orientation after a break for Thanksgiving. Roll Call senior editor David Hawkings explains what these freshmen do during their time learning about the workings on Capitol Hill....
Why Trump’s Term Limits Push Is DOA in Congress
President-elect’s executive assertions have senior Republicans leery of ceding sway

It makes increasingly perfect sense why President-elect Donald Trump wants congressional term limits. And it makes just as much sense why his putative Republican helpmates on the Hill will overlook short-term political expediency and take the lead in rebuffing him.

Atop Trump’s “drain the swamp” campaign platform was the promise to push restrictions on time served in the House or Senate, although he’s not specified how short the maximum congressional tenure should be.

A Tale of Two Democrats
Minority leader candidate more collaborative, DNC candidate a liberal and never a Trumper

The losers dominate the soul-searching after every election. And the strategic, ideological, generational and even regional identity crises confronting the Democrats are all embodied in the pair of congressmen most overtly ready to springboard to the party’s dispirited national forefront after years as insider players.

Should Rep. Tim Ryan end up running a credible race for House minority leader in two weeks, even if he’s unsuccessful, that will be a sign the party is ready for a deal-making and somewhat centrist approach to the Trump administration.

The Week When the Capitol Is Like College in the Fall
Freshman orientation: a time of wide-eyed wonder, bureaucracy and savvy positioning

While the capital remains convulsed over Donald Trump’s astonishing election and transfixed by every aspect of his presidential transition, the second-most important transfer of federal power will have a straightforward start this week.

The freshly elected members of the House arrive on Capitol Hill on Monday to begin an elaborately choreographed and photographed orientation, while incoming senators are expected Tuesday to begin an indoctrination that’s both less formal and more secretive.

Trump, Hill GOP Must Get Along and Produce — Fast
An angry electorate demands results, uninterested in ideological infighting

They broke it. Now they own it.

Republicans have won total control over the federal government for the first time in a decade. Two interconnected revolutions have shattered the old order in Washington and brought the country to a fresh political juncture: The tea party movement that gave a new breed of confrontational conservative decisive sway on Capitol Hill starting six years ago, and now the extraordinary triumph of the infuriated outsider personified with the election of Donald J. Trump.

Trump, Hill GOP Must Get Along and Produce — Fast
An angry electorate demands results, uninterested in ideological infighting

They broke it. Now they own it.

The Republican Party has won total control over the federal government for the first time in a decade. Two interconnected revolutions have brought the country to this juncture: The tea party movement that gave a new breed of confrontational conservative decisive sway on Capitol Hill starting six years ago, and now the extraordinary triumph of the infuriated outsider in the form of Donald J. Trump.

Election 2016 Video Blog: A Good Night For Republicans

Get insight into this year's congressional races straight from the Roll Call newsroom as Senior Editor David Hawkings hosts political reporters Alex Roarty and Simone Pathé every hour....
Election 2016 Video Blog: More on Democrats’ Net House Gains

Get insight into this year's congressional races straight from the Roll Call newsroom as Senior Editor David Hawkings hosts political reporters Alex Roarty and Simone Pathé every hour....
Election 2016 Video Blog: Wisconsin Senate Surprise

Get insight into this year's congressional races straight from the Roll Call newsroom as Senior Editor David Hawkings hosts political reporters Alex Roarty and Simone Pathé every hour....
Election 2016 Video Blog: More on Democrats’ Net House Gains

Get insight into this year's congressional races straight from the Roll Call newsroom as Senior Editor David Hawkings hosts political reporters Alex Roarty and Simone Pathé every hour....
Election 2016 Video Blog: More on Democrats’ Net House Gains
 

Get insight into this year's congressional races straight from the Roll Call newsroom as Senior Editor David Hawkings hosts political reporters Alex Roarty and Simone Pathé every hour....
Election 2016 Video Blog: Senate Makeup Taking Shape
 

Get insight into this year's congressional races straight from the Roll Call newsroom as Senior Editor David Hawkings hosts political reporters Alex Roarty and Simone Pathé every hour....
Election 2016 Video Blog: Indiana Senate Trending Toward Young

Get insight into this year's congressional races straight from the Roll Call newsroom as Senior Editor David Hawkings hosts political reporters Alex Roarty and Simone Pathé every hour....