Heard on the Hill

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
McCain documents have a home, Senate identity theft, and Scalise’s remedy for school shootings

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., prepares for a House Rules Committee hearing in the Capitol on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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 those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Capitol Hill Staffers to Watch
Six staffers talk about how to get more AAPI staffers on Capitol Hill

Linda Shim, chief of staff for Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., says, “In the Asian culture, as you are growing up, you are told to respect your elders. That conflicted a lot with being a staffer on the Hill.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

To celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, six Hill staffers from the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community spoke about how they got to where they are.

They shared experiences from their internships, mentoring other staffers, and what it’s like to be the only person who looks like them in a room. 

Rayburn Press Room to Close, to Be Renovated for Member of Congress
Old press office shuttering at the end of 2018

The Rayburn Press Room will close at the end of the year and re-open as office space for a member of the House. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Rayburn Press Room, one of the spaces designated as workspace for the press in the Capitol complex, will close at the end of the year and be remodeled for use by a member of Congress. 

The Standing Committee of Correspondents, the journalists elected to represent the daily press galleries in the Capitol, on Monday sent a letter to credentialed members of the press galleries to inform them that the Rayburn Press Room, located on the first floor of the Rayburn House Office Building, will change hands.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
McCain plugs new book, weekend graduation speeches, and Akaka gets mural treatment

Tourists walk past the dome of the U.S. Capitol as rain falls on the Washington area last week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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 those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

New Faces on the Field for Congressional Baseball Game
Some veterans will be playing in the final game on June 14

Republican manager Rep. Joe L. Barton, R-Texas, right, talks with Democratic team manager Mike Doyle, D-Pa., before the 50th annual Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park in July 2011 (Tom Williams/Roll Call file photo)

Both Democratic and Republican teams have new faces on their rosters for the Congressional Baseball Game on June 14, while a few familiar stalwarts are getting ready to say goodbye.

The Democrats, reigning champions after their 8-2 win last year, have just one new addition — Freshman California Rep. Jimmy Gomez, whose district includes Dodger Stadium.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
Bike to Work Day, another Capitals loss and it's almost the Royal Wedding

The dome of the U.S. Capitol is seen through rain drops on the skylight of the Capitol Visitor Center on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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 those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

Congress Doesn’t Report Diversity Because It Doesn’t Have to
While federal agencies must report the diversity of their employees, there is no such requirement of Congress

Kemba Hendrix, director of the House Democrats’ Diversity Initiative, took on her role in November. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 10:30 a.m. with figures for House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer’s staff | If you ask a House or Senate office to break down the diversity of its staff, chances are it won’t. Because it doesn’t have to.

While the executive branch has to provide data on the racial and ethnic makeup of its staff for the public record, there is no rule mandating that congressional offices do the same.

Gomez on What He Learned From Being a Staffer for a Latina Member
California Democrat started his political career working for Rep. Hilda Solis

Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., chats with staffers in his office. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Jimmy Gomez learned firsthand how to network in bars, focus on the job and navigate the Hill’s degree-clogged pool of talent.

After graduating from Harvard in 2003, he was a staffer for Rep. Hilda L. Solis, a fellow California Democrat who served from 2001 to 2009.

Success Stories: Creating a More Diverse Capitol Hill
Jennifer DeCasper and Hope Goins on how they have done it

Hope Goins says half of her staff are women of color. (Bian Elkhatib/ CQ Roll Call)

Some offices on Capitol Hill make an extra effort to reflect the diversity of America. And while the lawmakers they serve might get the credit, the office directors in charge of hiring are the ones who make it happen.

“It’s been a huge priority of our office, just because our boss is obviously a diverse candidate, we come from a diverse state, and so our office needs to represent our state,” said Jennifer DeCasper, chief of staff for Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina. “Diversity means that it includes everything of value to your constituency. Our constituency is not homogeneous, and so my office should not be homogeneous.”

Trailblazers: African-Americans Who Challenged Segregation in the Senate
In 1947 and 1953, three pioneers knocked down color barriers on Capitol Hill

Christine McCreary worked for Missouri Sen. W. Stuart Symington Jr. in the 1950s. (Courtesy the Senate Historical Office)

Before the Civil Rights Act legally ended segregation, three African-Americans helped break down a few barriers to make the Senate more inclusive.

The first was Thomas Thornton, a World War II Army veteran. In February 1947, Illinois Republican Sen. C. Wayland “Curly” Brooks appointed him a mail carrier in the Senate Post Office. Early the next month, the new staffer went to lunch one day in the Senate cafeteria and sat down to eat.

Staffer Survey: Getting Substantive Things Done in an Election Year
How the midterms affect congressional offices

Senate staffers and visitors pass by models of the Capitol in the Hart Senate Office Building. Roll Call surveyed congressional staff about how busy they are in an election year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Floor Charts for the Floor Show
Our favorite visual aids from a month of congressional floor-watching

Rep. Mark Takano declared April 26 as International Chart Day. (@FloorCharts screenshot of C-SPAN)

Bunny ears, definitions and big red signs made up the best of floor charts this month. But, more importantly, charts got their own day, which was announced through a ... you guessed it, floor chart. 

The Twitter handle @FloorCharts posts some of the daily highlights, and Roll Call provides a monthly roundup of the best of the best.

Flashback Friday: A Page Right Out of History
The Senate page program was started as a way to keep local kids out of trouble

A Senate page with Sen. Charles Sumner from Edmund Alton’s 1886 book “Among the Law-Makers.”

Here’s a congressional throwback — a phrase or part of Capitol Hill culture that a younger generation of Hill staffers may not know or appreciate.

Senate pages are high school juniors, at least 16 years old, who help deliver correspondence, transport bills and prepare the chamber, all while attending the U.S. Senate Page School.

John McCain Hits the Big Screen
HBO documentary screened at the Capitol Visitors Center Auditorium

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. speaks before a HBO documentary about Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. (Alex Gangitano/CQ RollCall)

Sen. John McCain made it to the big screen in D.C. on Thursday.

HBO hosted a screening of “John McCain: for Whom the Bell Tolls” in the Capitol Visitors Center Auditorium for senators, journalists, staffers and members of the defense community, among others.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
We found your badge, Shaun; Virginia commuting woes; and royal wedding prep

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., arrives for a Senate Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the FBI’s 2019 budget featuring testimony by director Christopher Wray on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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 those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.