Ryan Kelly

Some House Members Face Toss-Up Races — And New Voters, Too
New district lines, shifts in voter registration complicate re-elections

A court ruling last November forced Pennsylvania to redraw its congressional districts in advance of the 2018 elections. So members like Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick are left scrambling to win over thousands of new voters (in Fitzpatrick’s case, nearly 50,000 of them) in order to keep their seats.

Fitzpatrick isn’t the only one dealing with an unpredictable, unfamiliar electorate. Of the 16 races rated Toss-ups by Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales as of Thursday, nine were in states where voters register as members of a political party, providing a window on changes in the voter population and alliances in those contests. All nine seats are being defended by Republicans.

It Can Take Years for a Lawmaker to Get a Bill Enacted
Candidates freely share ideas for bills they’d like to pass, but then reality sets in

Congressional candidates are crisscrossing the campaign trails with less than two months until the election, pitching voters their ideas for bills to pass. But those who make it to Washington will likely have a long wait before seeing their legislation become law.

Less than a third of the current members of the House had one of their bills signed into law in their first term. The Senate, with fewer members and generally more legislative experience, has a steeper learning curve. Only 12 of the current senators completed or went past their first term with a law to their name.

What Has Congress Done Lately? Name Post Offices
About a fifth of enacted laws were little more than a federal name game

In recent years, about a fifth of the enacted laws did little more than designate names for federal property.

Texas Democrat Henry Cuellar leads members of the House with six bills to name federal buildings. He has proposed naming five post offices for veteran communities and a courthouse after George P. Kazen, a district court judge who retired after serving 40 years on the bench.

15 Weeks That Changed America: How Roll Call Reported on the Watergate Hearings
Reporter’s Notebook: An executive summary of Roll Call’s biggest stories, from the reporters themselves

Forty-five years ago, the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities gaveled in, beginning a series of hearings that eventually led to the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon. Roll Call data reporters discuss their special report retelling the story of those hearings with previous coverage, video and audio straight from the Russell Building. View the full report here....
Nancy Pelosi Claims Record for Longest House Floor Speech
And a brief history of the chamber’s ‘filibuster’

Updated 6:11 p.m. | House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi claimed the record for longest ever House floor speech Wednesday. Democrats clapped when she announced the new record.

Republicans can thank John A. Boehner.

From the Archives: A Boehner 2009 Protest on Floor Paved Way for Pelosi ‘Filibuster’
 

It appears John Boehner set the precedent for Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s remarks on the House floor today. Back on June 26, 2009, then-Minority Leader John Boehner talked for over 20 minutes and received a ruling from the chair, when Democrats tried to interrupt him, that “it’s the custom of the House to hear the leader’s remarks” during morning hour speeches. Watch for more....
Will 2018 Be the New Year of the Woman?
With new senator, the 115th Congress now boasts the most women to date

With the seating of Minnesota Democrat Sen. Tina Smith on Tuesday, Jan. 3, the 115th Congress is now able to claim 106 female members — the most of any Congress to date.

Smith is the 51st woman to serve in the Senate since the first was appointed in 1922. There are currently 22 female senators serving, an all-time high for the chamber, and 84 women serving as voting representatives in the House (just one below the record of 85 set in 2015).

So Long, Insurance Penalty: Here’s Where the Most People Were Paying
A provision in the tax bill signed Friday repeals a key component of Obamacare

Because of a key provision in the tax overhaul bill President Donald Trump signed Friday, those without health insurance will no longer have to pay a penalty. The fee, known as the individual mandate, was one of the most contested aspects of the 2010 health care law and was intended to compel people to buy insurance

House Freedom Caucus Has Mulvaney's Ear
Small group of conservative members wield outsized influence with Trump's OMB director

Though known members of the archconservative group represent only 9 percent of House Republicans, Freedom Caucus members make up nearly a quarter of the scheduled contacts of their former founding member, Mick Mulvaney, in his first six months as Office of Management and Budget director.

Despite the fact that no House Freedom Caucus members are in positions of committee or party leadership, they've got Mulvaney’s ear.

By the Numbers: Harassment Claims on Capitol Hill Peaked in 2011
2016 saw the lowest number of claims over the last 10 years

With two Democrats, Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota and Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, facing allegations of sexual misconduct in and outside the workplace, Hill watchers may be wondering just how many sexual harassment complaints get filed each year in the Capitol. 

The answer is less than clear because Congress’ Office of Compliance releases only topline numbers on the complaints filed with the agency each year. In the OOC annual report on the state of the congressional workplace, harassment is one line item, which could include sexual and other types of hostile workplace harassment. 

Tax Cut Bills Face Increasing Partisanship: Recent Tax Votes in One Chart
Democrats more likely to oppose Republican presidents’ tax plans

The House on Thursday passed a bill to answer President Donald Trump’s call for a big tax cut without the support of a single Democrat.

Tax cut votes have historically been bipartisan affairs, with both parties supporting cuts signed by presidents Eisenhower, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton and Obama.

How Governors’ Races Will Shape the Future of Congress
House majority largely depends on who redraws the districts

The Virginia governor’s race Tuesday is not the only one that could have an effect on the future makeup of Congress.

Over the next four years, the parties will fight state by state to determine the next decade of congressional power — 36 of those governorships are up next year.

Senior Class: Members of Congress Getting Older
A look at the generational makeup of the 115th Congress

Of the Senate’s three oldest members, two — 84-year-old Dianne Feinstein of California and 83-year-old Orrin G. Hatch of Utah — are facing re-election races next year, along with four other members of the silent generation.

The average age in the current Senate is 62, while the average age in the House is 58. Here’s a look at how the age at election has slowly increased over the years:

How Graham-Cassidy Stacks Up, in One Chart
Comparing the Senate GOP's latest plan, and the House-passed option, to current law

Senate leaders are considering an attempt next week to pass a repeal of the 2010 health care law, while chamber rules still allow for a 50-50 vote option. Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Bill Cassidy, R-La., put together a proposal — after the chamber considered and rejected multiple other options this summer — that they hope will get the repeal over the finish line.

How the Health Care Industry Has Been Giving to Congress
FEC reports show millions of dollars spent already this year

BY SEAN MCMINN AND RYAN KELLY

As health care came to the forefront this year in Washington, groups focused on the issue continued using their political action committees to attempt to influence the debate.

Gillibrand Leads Democrats in Opposing Trump’s Nominees
Parties largely split along partisan lines on president’s pics

On the last day before the August recess, the Senate confirmed 65 of President Donald Trump’s nominees with a single bipartisan voice vote.

That has been a marked difference from the way Democratic senators have approached Trump’s picks for his team. 

Priebus Was One of Shortest-Tenured Chiefs of Staff in History
President Donald Trump’s first chief of staff lasted only 189 days

At 189 days, President Donald Trump’s first chief of staff had the shortest tenure of any who was not serving in an interim capacity or leaving with their president. The position was formally established in 1946.

The next shortest tenure among initial chiefs of staff belongs to President Bill Clinton’s childhood friend, Mack McLarty, who is generally remembered as having been out of his league. McLarty lasted nearly three times as long as Priebus.

How Climate Change Impacts Congressional Districts Over Next 80 Years
A Roll Call analysis also reveals how concerned people are, by district

Two recent studies explored the climate debate at the local level. The authors of a report by Climate Impact Lab, published in Science magazine, ran 29,000 simulations to project the economic damage that could result from climate change between 2080 and 2099 in the U.S.

Researchers at Yale and George Mason universities created a model that estimates opinions on climate change in specific communities. Roll Call combined the two in this analysis, by congressional district.

Spicer’s Departure is Quickest Resignation for Press Secretary Since 1974
Trump’s first press secretary will leave after 223 days in the role

Sean Spicer said on Friday that he would step down next month after just 223 days as White House press secretary. It will be the quickest voluntary exit for the position since Jerald terHorst resigned in 1974 after just a month — in protest of President Gerald Ford’s pardon of former president Richard Nixon. 

Who Can Afford McCain’s Surgery?
What his procedure would cost under different insurance types

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain is currently recovering at home from a supraorbital craniotomy performed at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix on Friday to remove a two-inch blood clot in his brain.

With insurance, the average cost of his surgery is estimated to be anywhere from fully covered to $5,000, depending on the patient’s income and the annual deductible of the insurance plan. Without insurance, the surgery would cost the patient around $100,000.