Katherine Tully-McManus

Congress, Waiting for an Omnibus to Arrive
Senate staying on banking legislation, House looks at votes on guns

Keep an eye out for the release of a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill this week. Negotiators are aiming to complete work on the sprawling bill and pass it before March 23, when the fifth stopgap funding measure of the fiscal year expires.

The bipartisan budget deal enacted last month freed up an additional $143 billion for discretionary programs in fiscal 2018 — $80 billion for defense and $63 billion for nondefense accounts.

House Approves Funding for Lantos Human Rights Panel
Move is a first for commission that holds hearings, briefings

The House for the first time will direct funds to the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, a panel of members that has operated on a volunteer basis since it was created nearly a decade ago.

The House Administration Committee on Wednesday by voice vote backed a $200,000 allocation from a reserve fund for commission operations and personnel. Chairman Gregg Harper, R-Miss., said the committee resolution was in response to a request from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

New Training Available for Hill Staffers Who Witness Sexual Harassment
Lawmakers implemented training requirements late last year

New training is now available for staffers on Capitol Hill on what to do as a bystander or witness to sexual harassment as offices move to comply with the new anti-harassment training requirements implemented by the House and Senate late last year.

“If you see something, say something” may work for unattended bags on  the Metro, but what to do when you’re witnessing sexual harassment in the workplace is less straightforward. The Office of Compliance, which oversees workplace rights and training for Capitol Hill is introducing trainings — both online modules and in-person — on bystander intervention and general training to combat workplace harassment.

Bulletproof Vests, Security Guards Approved for House Members
Hiring a security detail is “an ordinary and necessary reimbursable expense,” the new guidelines say

House lawmakers can use taxpayer funds to buy bulletproof vests and other security equipment, under a resolution approved by the House Administration Committee on Tuesday.

The resolution also allows members to hire security personnel for events such as town halls, to guard their district offices during business hours, and to accompany them on official business. 

House Adopts Rules to Curb Sexual Harassment
Members are now forbidden to have sexual relationships with their aides

In the wake of high-profile resignations over sexual harassment claims, the House on Tuesday approved sweeping changes to its internal rules intended to protect staffers, including a prohibition on sexual relationships between members and their aides. Lawmakers also passed a bipartisan bill to overhaul the process for investigating and resolving complaints by congressional employees regarding sexual harassment.

The House by voice vote adopted the rules change, which goes into effect immediately because it only pertains to the chamber. Representatives also passed by voice vote the bill that would revamp the twenty-year-old Congressional Accountability Act. That bill now heads to the Senate.

Not Coming Soon: The Federal Register
Spending law that ended shutdown hitched ride on bill to cut paper deliveries

The legislation that ended the recent shutdown not only turned the government’s lights back on, but also took a small step toward that most elusive of goals: the paperless office. 

That’s because the vehicle for the continuing resolution that funds the government until Feb. 8 was legislation that prohibits the Government Publishing Office from distributing free printed copies of the Federal Register to congressional offices or other government employees, unless specifically requested. When congressional leaders needed a vessel to move their spending cargo, they hitched it to this otherwise innocuous bill. 

Bill Aimed at Combating Sexual Harassment Unveiled
Legislation would make process more transparent

Updated 3:21 p.m. | A sweeping bill aimed at combating sexual harassment on Capitol Hill was introduced Thursday by House Administration Chairman Gregg Harper. The Mississippi Republican said he hopes the measure will be expedited through the chamber.

Lawmakers say the the bill will make the reporting, resolution and settlement process more transparent, while also protecting victims’ identities and providing options for House employees who come forward.

House Panel Approves Sexual Harassment Training Guidelines
‘Sea change’ in culture is sought

The House Administration Committee on Tuesday approved guidelines for implementing newly mandated sexual harassment and discrimination training, as members were set to unveil this week more legislation that would respond to allegations of sexual misbehavior on Capitol Hill.

The panel adopted by voice vote a set of regulations governing fulfillment of the training, including that it must be in person, have options for reporting complaints even from a bystander and that trainees must be allowed to ask questions anonymously. The House adopted a resolution Nov. 29 that mandated training for all House members and staff — but left the substance of the effort to the Administration Committee.

Congress Mandated Harassment Training; Now They Have to Pay for It
Costs, details of the popular resolution still up in the air


The House and Senate each adopted resolutions mandating harassment and discrimination training for employees of Congress and legislative agencies. Yet it’s not clear how much the training will cost and what it will include.

Covering the Capitol: Adjusting to New Realities

Getting quickly from one part of the sprawling Capitol Building to another has always meant negotiating a labyrinth of stairwells and hallways, but these days more places tend to be off-limits due to security concerns at a moment’s notice. Four CQ and Roll Call journalists talk about how critical access to lawmakers is becoming more of a challenge....
Following Senate, House Mandates Sexual Harassment Training
Bipartisan measure comes after allegations against Conyers, Franken

The House on Wednesday adopted by voice vote a resolution that would require all House employees — including all members — to be trained annually on workplace harassment and discrimination.

The bipartisan measure comes on the heels of allegations against Democratic Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, the longest serving member in Congress, and Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota. As those cases work through the congressional ethics process, there’s a renewed focus on how sexual harassment can be reported on Capitol Hill.

FEC Votes to Allow Campaign Cash for Security
House members could use funds for “nonstructural” security systems

The Federal Election Commission on Thursday approved by voice vote a request to allow House members to use campaign contributions for certain types of security.

The action by the five commission members follows the shooting at a Republican baseball practice last month, in which House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was wounded, along with four others. 

FEC Could Allow Campaign Funds for Security
Proposal would grant allowance for residential security systems

Lawmakers could soon use campaign contributions to for security, according to a draft advisory opinion released by the Federal Elections Commission. 

The proposal would grant a blanket allowance for members of congress to use campaign funds to install or upgrade residential security systems, as long as the primary purpose is not to increase the value of the members’ homes. 

Security Boost in House Legislative Branch Bill Approved
More funding for Capitol Police and sergeant-at-arms, among others

House appropriators have approved a fiscal 2018 Legislative Branch spending bill that would boost security both at the Capitol and in members’ districts.

The House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee at a brief meeting on Friday approved by voice vote the $3.58 billion fiscal 2018 Legislative Branch measure. No amendments were offered.

House Republicans Bolster Member Security Funding
Funding will extend to lawmakers’ districts

House Republicans are moving quickly to address concerns about lawmaker safety after last week’s shooting incident at the GOP baseball practice, including by making fiscal 2017 funding available for security at congressional events in members’ districts. ...
House Could Allow More Spending on Member Protection
Wednesday shooting spurs interest in more security

Language is being drafted that would allow rank-and-file House members to spend money from their office accounts on personal security expenses, in the wake of Wednesday’s shooting attack on Republican lawmakers, according to House Appropriations Committee staff.

The language is under consideration for possible inclusion in the fiscal 2018 House Legislative Branch Appropriations bill, staff said. The measure, which has yet to be made public, funds members’ official expenses, the Capitol Police, the Library of Congress and other Capitol Hill offices.

Capitol Police, Library of Congress Get Boost in Omnibus
Bill would provide an additional $77 million compared to fiscal 2016

Updated 5:00 p.m. | The Capitol Police and the Library of Congress would both get a boost in the $4.4 billion Legislative Branch title of the fiscal 2017 omnibus bill released early Monday. The bill would provide an additional $77 million compared to the fiscal 2016 level.

The bill would provide $632 million for the Library of Congress, which is $32 million more than the fiscal 2016 enacted level. The extra funds would be used to upgrade the library’s technology infrastructure to support growing storage needs and for increased cybersecurity measures for the institution, according to House Democrat and Republican summaries.

Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots Visit White House Without Brady
Other players declined invitation in protest of Trump presidency

President Donald Trump welcomed the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots to the White House Wednesday, along with his longtime friend and Patriots owner, Robert Kraft.

“They’ve won more division titles, conference championships, and Super Bowl wins than any other team. No team has been this good for this long,” the president said.

Cybersecurity a Top Priority for the Capitol
‘There is no doubt we are a target,’ says House CAO Philip Kiko

House officers, the Capitol Police, the Library of Congress and the Architect of the Capitol have all made cybersecurity a top priority for fiscal 2018, officials told a House committee at hearings through Tuesday on their Legislative Branch spending bill budget goals. 

“The increased amount of state-sponsored activity waged against the United States underscores the serious threat posed by malicious actors, constantly attempting to exploit IT vulnerabilities,” House Chief Administrative Officer Philip G. Kiko told the House Administration Committee. “There is no doubt that we are a target.”

House Passes Legislative Branch Spending Bill
Partisan vote followed fights over immigration vocabulary, ethics

The House on Friday passed, 233-175, the $3.5 billion fiscal 2017 Legislative Branch spending bill with substantially less support than the last year's version, as election-year tensions over immigration caused rifts on even the smallest of the annual appropriations bills.  

The amended measure was the first appropriations bill this year to come to the House floor under a structured rule that limited amendments to just 13. This was seen as abandonment of an open amendment process promised by Republican leadership, but structured rules have been typical on Legislative Branch spending in previous years.