Erin Franczak

Flashback Friday: Christmas Tree Bill
When there’s something in a measure for nearly everyone

For less astute observers of Capitol Hill, the term “Christmas tree bill” might conjure up festive images of twinkling lights and tinsel, candy canes and cookies. But in reality, the term refers to seasonal indulgence of a different sort. A Christmas tree bill is a piece of legislation, loaded with “ornaments” — unrelated, and often, excessive amendments.

The term is said to date back to a March 1956 Time magazine article on the debate over the farm bill. New Mexico Sen. Clinton P. Anderson, frustrated by the number of amendments added to the measure, was quoted as saying, “This bill gets more and more like a Christmas tree; there’s something on it for nearly everyone.”

Capitol Christmas Tree Glows After Delay in Honor of Bush
Speaker Paul Ryan lights up the ‘People’s Tree’ for his fourth and final time

As Speaker Paul D. Ryan flipped the Christmas switch for the last time on Thursday, he paid tribute to a man he called a “beacon of joy.”

“This is my fourth and final time leading this event, and each time the tree is more stunning,” Ryan said before lighting the Capitol Christmas tree.

She Won Two Elections in One Day
Take 5: Susan Wild just took the oath. Come January, she’ll do it all over again

Susan Wild got elected to Congress this fall. Twice.

A resignation and a bout of redistricting paved the way for her dual wins. The Democrat got sworn in Nov. 27 to replace Charlie Dent, who had resigned to take a television gig

Ryan Pleased With Budget Committee Portrait — Even if Artist Was a Minnesotan
Speaker served four years as chairman of House Budget panel

Outgoing Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s farewell tour continued Thursday with the unveiling of his House Budget Committee chairman portrait, commemorating the four years he spent at the helm of the panel. 

After current Budget Chairman Steve Womack pulled back the curtain on the portrait at a ceremony in the Capitol’s Rayburn Room, Ryan joked, “It looks like me.”

Roll Call’s List of Holiday Parties on the Hill
How do you like your eggnog? Hopefully with a side of schmooze

If you’re looking for the best holiday parties D.C. has to offer, here’s your one-stop shop.

The cheer-fest starts this week and goes through the end of the year, courtesy of nearly every lobbying shop and communications firm in town. Cue the tiny finger foods and insufferable background music.

It’s a Capitol Hill Gingerbread-Off
Get ready for 175 pounds of icing and 225 pounds of gingerbread dough

For the second year in a row, the White House has some serious competition for the best gingerbread replica. For their annual winter-wonderland-themed spectacle, the executive pastry chefs chose the National Mall.

But Fred Johnson, executive district chef of the House of Representatives, took on the challenge last year of crafting a massive gingerbread model of the Capitol, and now he has done it again, only this time bigger and better.

Sweet Surprise: Gingerbread Masterpiece Kicks Off Holiday Season at the Capitol
 

A year-end spending bill isn’t the only thing that the House of Representatives is cooking up this holiday season. A six-foot-long gingerbread model of the Capitol Building is currently on display just outside the members-only dining room. Sodexo Executive Chef Fred M. Johnson III told Roll Call that sampling the masterpiece is suspended until January 3....
What Will Happen to All Those Beto Signs?
The election cleanup in Texas could take awhile

Campaign signs are like Halloween decorations; what went up must come down. In Texas, where losing Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke blitzed the state with his iconic logo, it might take awhile.

“Just driving around, the signs are still everywhere,” graphic designer Tony Casas said Thursday. “He inspired a lot of people, and a lot of people still feel that way after the election.”

Word on the Hill: Election Day
Where to watch Election Night in DC, inauthentic authenticity, and campaign 2018 in photos

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for it. We look, but we don’t find everything. We want to know what you see, too.

These Democrats Already Lost. Here’s What They Learned
We caught up with 3 also-ran candidates from high-profile House races

The campaign signs are in the trash and the ads have gone dark. The midterm elections may not be over yet, but these defeated Democrats have had plenty of time to think about what went wrong.

A surge of Democratic energy earlier this year led to crowded primaries around the country, and that meant more losers than usual. Now first-time candidates like Laura Moser, Sam Jammal and Pat Ryan — a deep-blue activist, a son of immigrants and a moderate veteran, respectively — are looking at their dashed campaigns in the rearview mirror.

If He Can’t Be Governor, He’ll Try for Town Selectman
Mike Michaud spent 12 years in Congress. Now he’s running for local office in Maine

While many candidates on the ballot Tuesday are trying to climb the electoral ladder, one man is hoping for the opposite.

Mike Michaud was a congressman for 12 years. Then he ran for governor. And now? He’s running for Board of Selectmen in his hometown of East Millinocket, population 1,700.

Tuesday Is the Voter Registration Deadline in These States
For Maryland and D.C. residents, it’s the last day to register online

If you live in one of 18 states and haven’t registered to vote, you’ve already missed your chance to cast a ballot in the midterm elections on Nov. 6.

Other deadlines are fast approaching. Virginia residents, get your postmarks going. Monday is the last day you can register online, in person or by mail.

Dems Have Walked Out Over Guns, and Now Kavanaugh
Kamala Harris and Mazie Hirono aren’t the only ones to make a dramatic exit in the Trump era

As a group of Democrats strode out of the hearing room Friday morning, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley wasn’t pleased.

“You folks who are photographers know that you’re supposed to sit down,” he said over the clicking cameras.

Dozens of Protesters Arrested as Brett Kavanaugh Speaks
Capitol Police arrest 57 after sit-in in front of the Supreme Court

As nominee Brett Kavanaugh was delivering a fiery, tear-filled statement before the Senate Judiciary panel, police were getting out the zip ties in front of the Supreme Court. 

Dozens of protesters were arrested Thursday as crowds flooded the Capitol. After a sit-in on First Street NE, Capitol Police officers removed what appeared to be a clerical collar as they confiscated one detainee’s belongings.

‘I See You, Senators’: Kavanaugh Protesters Pour Into the Capitol
Supporters of Christine Blasey Ford sing, raise fists, invoke regression analysis

All was not quiet on the East Front of the Capitol on Thursday.

As a Supreme Court nominee and his accuser prepared to testify at a Senate Judiciary hearing, hundreds of protesters milled and marched around the Capitol grounds.