Why Are the Dreamers Called the Dreamers?
 

Congress is continuing its debate on immigration this week during an ongoing furor over the Trump administration’s family separation approach to border security. Senior editor David Hawkings takes a look at the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy put in place by President Barack Obama and rescinded by President Donald Trump and how it affected the so-called Dreamers, named for a long-embattled bill that was never signed into law.

Below is a transcript of the video.

Court’s Gerrymandering Punt Looks to Land in North Carolina
Current House map was drawn by partisan greed, its author says. Is that unconstitutional?

When it sidestepped an opening to decide the future of partisan gerrymandering this week, the Supreme Court may have turned a tobacco grower and farm equipment dealer into one of the most important people in American politics.

The farmer and John Deere salesman, 47-year-old David Lewis, is also an influential state legislator who represents the rural geographic center of North Carolina — the state that will now be Ground Zero in the three-decadeslong debate over whether electoral boundaries can ever be drawn with so much partisan motivation that they’re unconstitutional.

How Mark Sanford Proudly Failed His Loyalty Test
No regrets from second House Republican ousted by someone claiming stronger Trump allegiance

Today’s Congress deserves its reputation for uniformity in the ranks. Gender and ethnicity aside, the place is overrun with members priding themselves on their message discipline, policymaking tunnel vision and personal lives scrubbed and shielded from public view. And for the Republicans, of course, unflinching loyalty to President Donald Trump is now the core of the homogenized brand.

So is Hill survival even possible anymore for a member capable of thoughtful departures from his partisan talking points, open to ideological subtlety, with a home life that’s been a national melodrama — and who on top of all that has called out the president on more than one occasion?

Podcast: Will a Minibus Rescue Hill’s GOP?
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 12

Republicans would love to avoid shutdown drama before the midterm but a tight timetable stands in the way. CQ’s appropriations reporter Kellie Mejdrich explains why the budgetary salvage vehicle is called a “minibus” and why it just might work.

For 2020, Hill’s Democrats Won’t Be So Super
Activists pushing to neutralize nominating say-so of members of Congress and other party insiders

Does it make sense to tell the folks responsible for bringing the tribe back to the Promised Land that they’re losing some of their clout to help keep it there?

That’s one way of phrasing the question the Democratic National Committee has started to answer in recent days.

What Is a Discharge Petition Anyway?
 

Senior editor David Hawkings breaks down the seldom-used House tactic that members are wielding to try to force an immigration vote to the floor: the discharge petition.

Below is a transcript of the video:

Sometimes, the Dissidents Do Leadership a Solid
As immigration debate shows, rare House discharge petitions can force the majority out of a self-made jam

It sounds like something that might be overheard at the congressional appliance dealership: Power abhors a vacuum, especially when there’s a political mess overdue for cleanup, and a great tool for fixing all that is a discharge petition.

It’s also an apt summation of what’s going on now with the Republican catharsis over immigration — which is notably similar to what went down three years ago, during the last House majority leadership interregnum, and also to another fabled GOP rift back in 2002.

GOP Slips Past Another Senate Custom, and Democrats Turn Blue
Home-state senators’ sway over judicial nominees is quickly disappearing

The latest threat to what’s made the Senate the Senate for generations can be illustrated with a sheet of paper the color of cornflowers.

First to go was the reverence for compromise. It went out the window a decade or so ago, the start of the current era when the most conservative Democrat is reliably positioned to the left of the most liberal Republican. Then the veneration of minority-party rights got obliterated, five years ago, with a blast of “nuclear” limits on filibuster powers.

What’s a Senate Blue Slip and Why Is It Losing Power?
 Roll Call Decoder with David Hawkings, wonky explainers from a Capitol Hill expert

It’s a literal blue slip of paper that for decades meant a senator could block a president’s nominee to a federal judgeship in their home state. These days, however, the Senate’s blue slip might be becoming defunct. Senior editor David Hawkings explains.

Below is a transcript of the video:

A Steady Flow of Political Royal Blood to Congress
Hill dynasties don’t last so many generations any more, but plenty of family members still try to stay in electoral business

Saturday’s wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is creating another surge of American royal mania, and with a particular twist — besotted chatter about their offspring someday running for Congress, or even president, while remaining in the line of succession to the British throne.

It’s a fanciful notion, regardless of whether the Los Angeles actress retains dual citizenship after she passes her British citizenship test, because the Constitution prevents titled nobles from taking federal office.

San Antonio Not Looking for a Republican Invasion
GOP convention could produce intense anger — without a sure economic windfall — in Latino-majority city

SAN ANTONIO — Tourism and the military are bedrocks of a steady economic expansion here. Pro-business local power players have been pushing to host a party convention for decades. And President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign manager calls this city home. ...
What You Need to Know About Voter Registration and Turnout This Midterm Season
Roll Call Decoder with David Hawkings — Wonky explainers from a Capitol Hill expert

Who votes, and who doesn’t, will effectively decide control of the next Congress — and turnout has recently been weak in midterm elections. In part that’s because millions who could vote never get registered. But for 2018 there is still time to register nationwide.

Registration deadlines are about a month before the election in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

How Ryan and Pelosi Are Kicking Themselves to the Curb (Sort Of)
Removing modest perks for ex-speakers is good politics but enfeebles the speakership

The Incredible Shrinking Speakership is going to get just a little bit smaller.

The Constitution makes speakers unassailable as presiding officer in the House. Chamber rules vest the job with plenty of responsibility. And federal law places them second in the line of presidential succession.

Podcast: Of Politicians and Pastors
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 9

Voters Reward a Do-Something Congress. Wrong, Recent Results Show
Some midterm years are policy voids, others historic. Either way, voters tend to shake things up

Four years ago, the second session of the 113th Congress was widely identified as one of the most profoundly unproductive stretches at the Capitol in the run-up to a midterm election.

And yet the achievements of that divided Congress tower over the minimalist aspirations for this year held by the Republicans unilaterally in charge of the Hill. The limit on federal debt was raised in 2014, federal flood insurance premiums were rolled back, dozens of new waterway and environmental projects were authorized, a five-year farm bill was finished and, most notably, a generous deal was struck for improving veterans’ medical care.

Analysis: Missteps, Paul Ryan’s Had a Few
Reluctant speaker ceded the high ground, airbrushed history and napped on the job

He says there are still eight months left in his speakership, but it’s probably not too soon to come up with a roster of Paul D. Ryan’s biggest hits and misses during his tenure in charge of the House. 

If the Wisconsin Republican finds his stature in congressional history diminished, decisions like these could be why:

An Intense Reporter Turned Patient Editor: Steve Komarow Remembered
Few Capitol reporters and war correspondents make no enemies; CQ Roll Call’s top editor an exception

Steve Komarow, CQ Roll Call’s executive editor and senior vice president, accomplished something very rare in the often cutthroat worlds of Washington bureaus and foreign correspondence: Across a varied and accomplished career of four decades, his calmly confident news judgment and patiently clear-eyed managerial style produced nearly universal respect and virtually no lasting enmity.

At the Capitol and across several war zones, Komarow, who died Sunday at 61, stood out for his unruffled approach to the most dramatic developments, an equanimity in supervising high-maintenance reporters, an easy affect amid intense journalistic competition — and a cockeyed grin when confronted with the constant but mostly ephemeral melodramas of all four high-pressure newsrooms where he played pivotal roles.   

What’s a Joint Meeting of Congress and Who Gets the Honor?
Roll Call Decoder with David Hawkings — Wonky explainers from a Capitol Hill expert

French President Emmanuel Macron, fresh off a state dinner at the White House, will address Congress on Wednesday. Roll Call editor David Hawkings explains the pomp and circumstance of such affairs on the Hill....
Why the Hill’s Quitters Caucus Keeps Growing
Republicans, especially, are leaving Congress midterm to get a money-making head start

There are really just three ways to give up a seat in Congress on your own timetable: retire, resign or quit. And the method with the least attractive connotations has become particularly popular in the last decade, especially among Republicans.

Those who use the term “retirement” properly are lawmakers who decline to run for re-election but complete the term for which the voters chose them before returning to civilian life, whether as money-makers or golf club denizens. Departures are best labeled “resignations” when senators or House members are forced to up and leave by particularly good, or ruinously bad, professional circumstances — elevated to higher positions in public service, most often, or politically poisoned by moral exposures or criminal failings.