The House's Fresh Face Already Taking Shape
Partisan districts mean 29 open-seat winners are for sure, and they're a diverse lot

Those who would revive the moribund term limits movement as a prod against congressional dysfunction, Donald Trump newly among them, might be surprised at this statistic:

Come January, 11 percent of the members of the House of Representatives will be brand new — at an absolute minimum. They’ll be the 46 freshmen who have secured open seats, meaning their elections had nothing to do with anti-incumbent sentiment.

Ep. 26: Women Could Make Up a Quarter of the Senate Next Year
The Week Ahead

If Democrats sweep on Election Day, the group of newly elected U.S. senators will be disproportionately female, better educated and not as white as the current Senate, says Roll Call senior editor David Hawkings. Find out who are the likely newcomers that will add a touch of diversity to the chamber that has been dominated by white, middle age or older men.

More Diverse Senate Would Come with a Democratic Sweep
Of 18 potential freshmen in 14 states, none are GOP women or candidates of color

The election is three weeks off, the size of any anti-Trump congressional wave is not precise enough to calibrate, but the look of the next year’s Senate is nonetheless starting to come into view.

Regarded from a high altitude, the north side of the Capitol will retain the same appearance it’s had throughout history. No matter what happens Nov. 8, there’s no getting around a continued oversample of white male senators in middle age or older, meaning the chamber of 2017 will once again look less like America than like the lobby of a venerable law firm from the “Mad Men” era.  

Most Trump Defectors Aren't Running for 2016 Cover
Majority of his swollen roster of congressional GOP opponents have safe seats

As he continues fomenting the Great Republican Civil War of 2016, one of Donald Trump’s myriad outraged narratives is this: Everyone in the growing posse of his congressional opponents has turned tail for shortsighted and selfish reasons.

Like so many other times during the Trump campaign, what he’s emphatically asserting is not supported by the facts.

What's a Lame Duck? Once Rare, Now a Norm

Congress went home to campaign for re-election, but they're planning a post-election session beginning Nov. 14. Why is that, and why have these so-called lame-duck sessions become the norm in recent history? Senior Editor David Hawkings explains....
Debate Left One Would-Be VP Better Positioned to Run on His Own
And it's not Pence...

One of the guys who just made his nationally televised debating debut will be a heartbeat away from the presidency in less than four months — and the other will be on every list of presidential prospects for 2020.

Tuesday night’s interrupt-a-thon actually helped put Tim Kaine in the better position than Mike Pence to go for the No. 1 job next time if the No. 2 thing doesn’t work out this time.

Recent Past Offers Clues About the Veep Showdown
Need Kaine and Pence insights? Look at their Hill voting records and 2012 debates

No doubt, there’s never as much portent in a running mate debate as when the two presidential nominees square off, and the rhetorical fireworks won’t come close to what we’ve already seen from the ticket toppers.

But this time looks to be special for other reasons, mainly having to do with genuine substance, which is why undecided voters and Beltway insiders have good reason to devote 90 minutes to watching television Tuesday night.

When Campaigning Means Not Knowing About Your Potential Job
Another wave of outsiders attack insiders for justifiable behavior in Congress

The Phi Beta Kappa biochemist doesn’t press for admission to medical school by deriding its faculty as lazy and the curriculum as behind the times. And the collegiate business whiz doesn’t bid for a spot in a Wall Street training program by labeling the current partners as self-serving and their investment strategy as all wrong.

What makes the would-be member of Congress so different? When did it become more than tolerable for these candidates to base their campaigns not only on derision and disrespect for Capitol Hill — but also on outright ignorance of the place where they hope to make their new careers?

There's Plenty Left to Talk About in the Next Clinton-Trump Debate
Both candidates shortchanged substance, many attack lines sidelined

Since they got all the way through the all-important Rosie O’Donnell issue by the end of their first debate, maybe they’ve run out of things to talk about next time?

Hardly. And for the next dozen days, Hillary Clinton will be making a list, and Donald Trump a much longer list, of subjects they want to introduce at their second encounter.

3 Things Clinton and Trump Might Cover in the Next Debate

Following the most watched presidential debate of all time, Senior Editor David Hawkings lays out what topics candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump didn’t cover, looking ahead to what voters might expect from the two remaining primetime showdowns. The next debate is Sunday, Oct. 9....
Roll Call's Guide to the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Senior Editor David Hawkings and Heard on the Hill reporter Alex Gangitano discuss their experience previewing the new Smithsonian museum opening Sept. 24th. In an attempt to manage crowds and a large interest from the public, the museum has issued "timed passes" and many weekday passes are taken through mid-November (you'll have to wait even longer for weekends.) If you can't make it to the museum for awhile, Roll Call has your in with this video....
Planning Your Visit to the African American History Museum Way, Way Ahead
No weekend passes available through the end of the year

The National Museum of African American History and Culture will be the 20th facility operated by the Smithsonian Institution, and the first to open since the National Museum of the American Indian a dozen years ago.

Interest in visiting has been overwhelming — so much so that a system of timed passes has been put in place to regulate the crowds. And, as of Wednesday morning, the earliest available tickets that could be reserved online were a handful at midafternoon on Election Day, Nov. 8, with nothing at all available on weekends through the end of the year.

How a Museum Struggled to Overcome Years of Gridlock
Story behind newest Smithsonian museum echoes African-American struggle

There’s a long and convoluted creation story for most important civic institutions, but the tale behind the National Museum of African American History and Culture is in a category of its own.

This backstory is easy to read as a metaphor for the very narrative the newest part of the Smithsonian wants to tell, because the museum’s progress toward its triumphant opening has been set back so often by enervating experiences familiar to black Americans: Passive aggression, overt discrimination, willful ignorance, simple neglect, ethnocentrism, broken promises, financial shape-shifting and political pandering, to name a few.

The 15th Anniversary — of a Functional Congress
Big, bipartisan things got done in the 10 weeks after 9/11

At the Capitol, this Sept. 11 heralded more than the 15th anniversary of the worst terrorist strike on American soil. It also revived memories of one of the most intense surges of big-ticket policymaking in modern times.

Congress was so infused with a sense of national resolve — mixed with more than a small amount of abject fear — it operated with a measure of apolitical collaboration that’s barely imaginable in the paralytic partisan atmosphere of today.

Mike Pence Makes Surprise Visit to Pentagon 9/11 Memorial
Spends about a half-hour at memorial after speaking in Washington

On the eve of the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence spent half an hour Saturday afternoon on an unannounced visit to the memorial at the Pentagon.

Pence, the Indiana governor, and his wife, Karen, laid a bouquet of white roses at the portion of the memorial honoring Army Lt. Gen Timothy Maude.

Ep. 21: Funding Feud, Political Plotting & Deadly Drugs
The Week Ahead


Three weeks before the government runs out of money, Congress has two options: a three-month extension of current spending favored by most lawmakers or a six-month fix pushed by a group of House conservatives, says CQ Roll Call’s Budget and Economics editor Jane Norman. Each option has political advantages and pitfalls, which CQ Roll Call’s senior editor David Hawkings spells out. On another front, soon after lawmakers passed a bill to deal with the epidemic of opioid abuse, they’re confronted with the dangerous presence of lab-made synthetic drugs like fentanyl, blamed for hundreds of overdoses, including that of music icon Prince.

What Is a Continuing Resolution?
Stopgap spending bills are now the norm to keep federal agencies running

The twinned letters on the Capitol’s collective lips this month are C and R. Together they stand for “continuing resolution,” the colloquial name for legislation that keeps money flowing to federal programs whose regular spending bills are unfinished.

Anywhere from two to 21 of these stopgap measures have been required in each of the previous 19 years to maintain regular operations for some time in most, if not all, agencies and departments. The last time not a single CR was needed was two decades ago, in 1996, because Congress had enacted every one of the regular spending bills by the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1.

David Hawkings' Whiteboard: Continuing Resolutions

Roll Call Senior Congressional Editor David Hawkings breaks down Congress' favorite budgetary procrastination tool: the continuing resolution.

Fall Forecast: What to Look for as Congress Returns

With Congress back in action, Senior Congressional Editor David Hawkings previews what the House and Senate must get done in the month of September, as well as leadership and political issues at play in the two chambers....
What to Expect From the Final Days of the 114th Congress
Congress faces a budget hurdle as it speeds toward Election Day — but then what?

Congress is returning with its pre-election finish line, and just one immovable hurdle, already in sight just three weeks from now.

After the longest summer break in modern times, lawmakers are required to accomplish a single legislative task before leaving again. But it’s a job far more politically fraught than it is procedurally simple: Assuring normal government operations continue through the end of this budgetary year and into the new one.