capitol-hill

Tempers flare as leaders, White House fall short on spending deal
Failure to reach agreement after top-level meeting in Capitol

Senate appropriators, led by Chairman Richard Shelby, right, and Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy have held off on beginning their regular process of moving spending bills pending some agreement among the House, Senate and White House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A meeting of top White House officials and congressional leaders broke up Wednesday without agreement on topline funding allocations for appropriators, raising fresh doubts over their ability to avert another fiscal crisis later this year.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, accused Democrats of upping the ante on nondefense spending from what they’d put on the table previously.

James Inhofe and the art of the bipartisan joke
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 78

Senate Armed Services Chairman James M. Inhofe and ranking member Jack Reed have a warm relationship that enables them to move bipartisan legislation, something Inhofe discusses in the latest Political Theater podcast. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. James M. Inhofe is one conservative guy, and he is proud of it, trumpeting vote-tracking organizations that peg him as the most right-wing in the chamber. And yet, the Oklahoma Republican has an equally proud history of working with some of his most liberal colleagues on bipartisan legislation. 

As chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, he and Rhode Island’s Jack Reed, the panel’s ranking Democrat, constructed the highly popular defense authorization bill the last two years. And before that, he worked quite productively with California Democrat Barbara Boxer, the yin to Inhofe’s yang on environmental issues, as leaders of the Environment and Public Works Committee. This, despite Inhofe writing a book that claimed global warming was, as the title attested, “The Greatest Hoax.” And yet, “We prided ourselves in getting things done,” he says. 

Public to get rare look inside the Congressional Research Service, with attrition, morale points of contention
Former employees knock management as stifling quality work, innovation

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., center, chairs the House Administration Committee, which will hold a rare public examination into the Congressional Research Service. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Clarified 3:05 p.m. | Thursday’s House Administration Committee oversight hearing into the Congressional Research Service is the first in more than a decade — and is long overdue, according to former employees who say the agency is mismanaged, stifles expert research and results in a lesser work product.

The hearing will examine increasing attrition rates, low employee morale and a lack of diversity at the agency, among other issues, according to a committee spokesperson. Since 1914, the Congressional Research Service, or CRS, has provided expert policy and legal analysis to staff, members and committees in the legislative branch.

Rep. Duncan Hunter’s defense could be a ‘loser,’ legal experts say
Wife’s plea agreement is a blow to congressman’s campaign finance case

Rep. Duncan Hunter faces felony charges of misappropriating campaign funds. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Duncan D. Hunter will rely on what experts called a shaky legal defense as he battles charges of illegally using campaign money to subsidize overseas vacations, expensive dinners and extramarital “personal relationships.”

Hunter’s legal case was dealt a blow last week when his wife, Margaret Hunter, pleaded guilty to one count of corruption in the couple’s pending case.

Another Democratic challenger announces bid to unseat Sen. Thom Tillis
Cal Cunningham drops out of North Carolina lieutenant governor race for Senate run

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., arrives in the Capitol for the Senate policy luncheons on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Thom Tillis will face a Democratic opponent with some name recognition next year in the battleground state of North Carolina.

Former state senator and Army Reserve counsel Calvin Cunningham III will challenge the first-term Republican, The Associated Press reported Monday. Tillis was already one of the more vulnerable Republicans facing re-election next year. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Tilts Republican.

Steven A. Sund named US Capitol Police chief
New chief, who has been with agency since 2017, previously directed special operations for D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department

Capitol Police Assistant Chief Steven A. Sund, left, and Chief Matthew R. Verderosa place flowers in honor of fallen police officers during the Washington Area Law Enforcement Memorial Service on May 6. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Steven A. Sund is the new chief of the U.S. Capitol Police.

The Capitol Police Board, which oversees the force that provides law enforcement for the Capitol and members of Congress, made the announcement Friday, elevating Sund from his previous role as the department’s assistant chief.

Her antidote to Trump: A greeting card company
Veteran operative Jill Rulli left politics to get into the card business. Hallmark it is not

(Courtesy The Thought)

All you need is ribs: Isakson barbecue brings hungry senators together
Leadership may have hated it at first, but the lunch is now a big hit

South 40 Smokehouse from Marietta, Ga., serves up brisket, pulled pork and ribs Thursday in the office of Sen. Johnny Isakson for his annual barbecue lunch. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The smell of pulled pork, Texas beef brisket, Saint Louis pork ribs, baked beans, and creamy mac and cheese wafting through the halls of the Russell Senate Office Building can mean only one thing: Johnny Isakson’s annual barbecue lunch.

Every year, for more than a decade, the senior senator from Georgia feeds his colleagues from both sides of the aisle a BBQ lunch prepared by a pitmaster from his home state. Despite being met with initial pushback from party leaders, the get-together has grown into a highly anticipated event.

Women senators ‘shame the guys to hurry up and vote’
Female lawmakers push their male colleagues to pick up the pace

Her female colleagues said it was Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s idea to shame their male colleagues into getting their business done in the time allotted. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The women of the United States Senate took their colleagues to task Wednesday for taking too long to vote.

In the middle of a vote series that typically would have appeared mundane— with members frequently leaving the floor during one vote and returning during the next, or sitting in the cloakroom on their cell phones — most of the women were seated at desks, calling for regular order in an attempt to speed up what have become increasingly long series.

Trump signs bill restoring retirement benefits for Senate dining workers
Law would remedy worker retirement benefits that have been flat since 2008

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, sponsored the legislation to grant Senate dining employees full benefits, which President Donald Trump signed into law on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Veteran Senate dining employees are getting their full retirement benefits restored after President Donald Trump signed into law a bill that lifts a freeze that had kept them stagnant since 2008.

Trump signed the bill on Wednesday, which makes technical corrections to the computation of average pay regarding the benefits for the dining workers in the Senate, a move that allows cafeteria workers to fully collect their due retirement.