Katherine Tully-McManus

Senate Democrats prepare marathon floor session on gun violence
Late night is expected as 22 senators are prepared to call for legislation

Nearly two dozen Senate Democrats plan to make it a late night on Tuesday, speaking out on the Senate floor about the impact of gun violence and legislative proposals Congress could explore.

The speeches are expected to begin around 5:30 p.m. and run late. Connecticut Democrat Christopher S. Murphy is leading the effort, spurred by mass shootings in Texas and Ohio during the August recess and the lack of clear response from the White House on what, if any, gun control measures they could agree to.

House Republicans’ 2020 strategy is all about Trump
At retreat, GOP hypes up president as key to their effort to win back the majority

BALTIMORE — House Republicans are embracing President Donald Trump as a critical asset in their effort to win back the majority in 2020 and are building their policy agenda and campaign strategy around him.

During a 48-hour retreat here Thursday through Saturday, GOP lawmakers lauded Trump for helping them win a North Carolina special election and said they looked forward to riding his coattails in districts across the country next year.

Trump, House Republicans met by protests in Baltimore
McCarthy defends president, saying his visit symbolizes that Trump cares for the city

As House Republicans gathered in Baltimore on Thursday night to hear from President Donald Trump, protesters outside the retreat venue made clear the president’s disparaging remarks about their city were still on their minds. 

Trump in July called the Baltimore-based 7th District of Maryland “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess,” on Twitter while slamming its longtime congressman, Maryland Democrat Elijah E. Cummings, who is African American.

McCarthy: Addressing debt would be Republicans’ top priority if they take back House
Environment, technology and privacy rights would also top agenda, McCarthy says

BALTIMORE — As House Republicans kicked off a 48-hour retreat here Thursday afternoon to plot their path back to the majority, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters the GOP’s top priority if it retakes the chamber in 2020 would be to address the national debt.

“First thing we would do is make sure our debt is taken care of,” the California Republican said. “This is continuing to grow.”

House Republicans to discuss path back to majority at Baltimore retreat
GOP members to talk politics and policy Thursday through Saturday at their delayed annual retreat

Fresh off two crucial special election wins in North Carolina, House Republicans head to Baltimore on Thursday for their delayed annual retreat, prepared to spend some quality time discussing how they plan to win back the majority in 2020.

Some of that planning will most certainly involve policy discussions about contrasting their proposals on jobs and the economy, health care, technology, energy and the environment, and other issues with what they often refer to as the Democrats’ “socialist” ideas. But a good chunk of the gathering, which will run from Thursday afternoon through Saturday morning, will be about assessing the political landscape. 

Trump closes in on background check decision, key senators say

President Donald Trump may soon announce whether he will support a yet-to-be-written Senate bill expanding background checks for commercial gun sales, a bipartisan group of senators said Wednesday.

Trump spoke for about 45 minutes by phone with the trio of members at the center of background check talks. Sens. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., and Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn., told reporters the president discussed options for securing a potential deal.

Tammy Baldwin’s latest bill is especially for Green Bay Packers fans
Wisconsin Democrat says 13 counties in the state get out-of-state broadcasts, including sports

Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin is taking a stand to try to ensure that all football fans in her state can watch their beloved Green Bay Packers play, even if they’re in a separate media market for the NFL.

Baldwin’s proposal would fix a dilemma faced by sports fans in 13 border counties in Wisconsin. The approximately 400,000 Wisconsinites in these counties are assigned to the Minnesota TV market, meaning that Minnesota Vikings games are broadcast rather than Packers games when the teams play at the same time.

GOP leadership lowers expectations for North Carolina special election
Republican House Whip Steve Scalise calls the NC-09 a ‘swing district’

Republican leadership lowered expectations for the outcome in Tuesday’s North Carolina’s 9th District special election, calling it a “swing district.”

President Donald Trump carried this district by 12 points in 2016, but Republican outside groups have spent more than $6 million on the race, which Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates Toss-up.

Term limit rules targeted by Trump aren’t tipping scale on House GOP retirements
POTUS wants to discourage retirements, but life in the minority is also a factor

President Donald Trump has an idea he thinks would quell the growing list of House Republicans who say they won’t run for another term, but the president’s proposal might not get to the root of the GOP retirements.

In a tweet early Monday, Trump urged House GOP leaders to alter conference rules to allow committee chairs (and ranking members if in the minority) to hold their posts for more than six years.

Ethics Committee releases more details on allegations against David Schweikert
Arizona Republican is already facing inquiry by House panel

The House Ethics Committee has released information on an expanded list of allegations against Rep. David Schweikert. The Arizona Republican is under investigation by the panel, which made public a second referral from the Office of Congressional Ethics. 

Under House Ethics rules, the committee is required to release OCE referrals one year after they are sent to the House.

Ex-Rep. Aaron Schock off the hook after concluding deal with feds over fund misuse
Illinois Republican left with clean record, leaving open a political comeback

Former Rep. Aaron Schock was officially cleared Wednesday of criminal charges alleging he used his campaign funds as a personal piggy bank, six months after the Illinois Republican struck a deal with federal prosecutors.

The deferred prosecution agreement, first announced in March, required Schock to pay $42,000 to the IRS and $68,000 to his congressional campaign fund. His campaign committee, Schock for Congress, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of failing to properly report expenses. Schock admitted to overbilling the House of Representatives for mileage as he drove around his district for both official and campaign purposes.

Ted Cruz takes ‘deep state’ gospel to establishment Washington
After pro forma duties, Texas Republican rails against State, Treasury departments

During a quick swing through Washington, Sen. Ted Cruz took time Tuesday to tout his belief that the so-called deep state within the Treasury and State departments is working to confound the Trump administration’s efforts to end the Iran nuclear deal.

After presiding over an uneventful pro forma session at the Senate, the Texas Republican spoke at an event at the Hudson Institute focused on foreign policy and tensions between conservatives who believe in intervention and those who take a more isolationist approach.

Cherokee Nation prepares vote on its first congressional delegate
The tribe’s newly elected principal chief, Chuck Hoskin Jr., has named Kim Teehee as the potential delegate

The Council of the Cherokee Nation is expected to endorse its first ever delegate to Congress when the tribal nation’s governing body meets on Thursday.

The tribe’s newly elected principal chief, Chuck Hoskin Jr., has named Kim Teehee as the potential delegate, a position the tribe says will honor United States treaty obligations that precede Oklahoma statehood in 1907 — when Cherokees became state citizens.

Background checks are still on the table for Trump, Chris Murphy says
Connecticut Democrat has doubts about a deal, calling the chances ‘less than 50/50’

Sen. Chris Murphy is working with the White House to keep alive conversations about a potential deal on expanded background checks for gun purchases.

The Connecticut Democrat said Friday he is willing to work with President Donald Trump because lives are at stake, but admits that he sees the chances of passing broad gun control legislation as “less than 50-50.”

Coming soon to Fairport, NY: The Louise and Bob Slaughter Post Office
President Trump signed legislation naming the facility for the late New York Democrat

A post office in Fairport, N.Y. is on its way to being named for the late Rep. Louise Slaughter and her late husband Bob. President Donald Trump signed into law this week legislation to rename a postal facility in the couple’s hometown. 

Slaughter, who died at age 88 in March 2018, was a trailblazer in the House. First elected in 1986, she was the first woman to chair the Rules Committee, mentored female lawmakers, pushed for the Violence Against Women Act and was a founding member of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus.

Merdon out at AOC, Thomas Carroll named new acting architect
Search continues for permanent Architect of the Capitol

Christine Merdon is out as acting Architect of the Capitol, and Thomas J. Carroll has been named to lead the agency on an acting basis as the search for a permanent AOC continues.

In an internal notice to AOC employees, Merdon said she had accepted a job outside of the agency.

Engel wants staffers to warn foreign governments about spending at Trump’s hotels
New memo instructs staff on interactions with foreign governments

A new directive this week from House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot L. Engel instructs staffers to warn foreign governments that spending at Trump-owned properties could violate the Constitution’s emoluments clause.

The memo, released Monday, issues guidelines for staff engaging with foreign governments. The directive signed by the New York Democrat is aimed specifically at the committee’s majority staff. Republican staffers were not given the same instructions.

So much for Whistleblower Appreciation Day; Capitol Hill workers still unprotected
Employees of legislative branch agencies don't have the same protections as other federal workers

The Senate had declared July 30 as “National Whistleblower Appreciation Day,” but that apparently is for other people, since senators’ own staffers and other legislative branch employees are not protected equally compared to other federal workers.

The discrepancy has been in place for years, but legislation to expand protections for employees of the House and Senate, Library of Congress, Capitol Police and other agencies hasn’t moved forward.

Jamba smoothie chain coming to the House
Smoothie joint will join cafeteria options in the Longworth building

A deal to bring the Jamba smoothie chain to the House side of the Capitol is “in the works,” according to the Office of the House Administrative Officer.

At an all-staff meeting Wednesday, Darnell Lee, deputy chief of human resources at the CAO, told the agency’s workforce that the smoothie chain would join the growing number of brand-name food offerings in the House.