congressional-operations

Hurricane Irma Forces House Vote Cancellations
Citing absences, leadership postpones votes until Tuesday

Hurricane Irma has prompted the House to cancel Monday votes. (Wikimedia Commons)

The House has canceled Monday votes, with leaders citing the large number of absences by lawmakers who are staying home in their districts because of Hurricane Irma.

The chamber will instead begin debating suspension bills on Tuesday and then resume debate on an omnibus appropriations package for fiscal 2018, according to a release from the office of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy

Congressional Funding an Issue for the 2020 Census
GAO includes it on ‘high-risk list’ of programs facing peril

In this photo provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, tabulators in Washington record the information from the more than 120,000 enumerators who gathered data for the 1940 U.S. Census. (AP/National Archives and Records Administration File Photo)

The United States Census Bureau is facing a host of challenges with 2020 on the horizon, from budget shortfalls and cost overruns to a shakeup atop the agency — the sudden resignation of Director John H. Thompson in June. There’s apprehension among some groups that President Donald Trump’s hard-line stance on immigration could depress participation, though questions are not asked about immigration status.

It all adds up to one central fear: a census that falls short of an accurate count of the population. The data from that decennial survey is used to map congressional districts, inform policymaking and steer billions of dollars in government resources where they’re needed.

Closed-Door Process Might Threaten Tax Timeline in Senate
Lack of consensus on budget could push back tax overhaul deadline

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson is among the Republicans calling for more information about the tax overhaul effort. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The closed-door process under which Republican congressional leaders and the Trump administration are crafting an overhaul of the United States tax code could impede the Senate’s timeline for the effort.

Lawmakers say they have yet to receive key details, making it difficult to craft a fiscal 2018 budget resolution that will ultimately serve as the vehicle to advance the tax bill.

Harvey Aid Bill Creates Dilemma for Texas Republicans
Most oppose move to tack debt and CR to disaster relief

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer struck a rare deal with Republican President Donald Trump on Thursday (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A measure that would provide Hurricane Harvey disaster relief to Texas has politically perplexed members of the Lone Star State’s congressional delegation, some of whom plan to vote against it.

That’s because it includes a debt ceiling extension and only three months’ worth of government funding — a deal struck by President Donald Trump with House and Senate Democratic leaders.

Capitol Ink | High Water Mark

Capitol Ink: High Water Mark

Opinion: Career Advice for Restless Capitol Hill GOP Staffers
Stay put — Congress will be the center of action for rest of Trump’s term

Now is not the time for Republican staffers on Capitol Hill to contemplate working in the Trump White House, Shapiro writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

This column is written for every Republican staffer on Capitol Hill who — even now — is debating whether to join the Trump administration. It is also directed at those who have already followed their dreams of striding along the corridors of power and entered the White House.

My advice to you sounds like the dialogue in a disaster movie: “Don’t do it. Run. Get out now. It’s the only escape.”

Ethics Committee Extending Conyers Review
OCE recommends panel investigate $50,000 paid to staffer on leave

The House Ethics Committee is looking into whether Michigan Rep. John Conyers Jr. paid a longtime staffer part of her salary while not performing official duties. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Ethics Committee announced Wednesday it would extend its review of an inquiry into whether Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers Jr. paid a longtime aide more than $50,000 over a four-month period when the staffer might not have conducted official business.

A report from May by the Office of Congressional Ethics, with which the inquiry originated, detailed Conyers’ decision to place his then-chief of staff Cynthia Martin on leave without pay after she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor on March 30, 2016.

CBO Would Disclose Research Models, Data Under Lee Measure
Utah Republican latest to target Congress’ budget scorekeeper

Utah Sen. Mike Lee wants the CBO to ‘show how its models work.’ (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The hits keep coming for the Congressional Budget Office, as Republicans in Congress continue to lash out against the nonpartisan scorekeeper following its unflattering analysis of recent GOP health care proposals.

Republican lawmakers and White House officials in recent months have accused the CBO of partisan bias; called for slashing its budget; singled out individual employees; and suggested the agency is now obsolete.

Congress Is Broken, and Staff Members Know Why
Survey reveals dissatisfaction with key performance measures

Staff members rated key areas of congressional dysfunction in a survey released Tuesday, including the low level of staff experience, a lack of time for members to focus on important issues and a paucity of access to nonpartisan reports. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Members of Congress will return in September to a glut of complex and technically challenging tasks, including tax policy, the debt ceiling, and Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

But they won’t have the staff expertise, time or outside resources to do the job.

New House Art Contest Controversy Swirls
Finalist’s painting depicts Statue of Liberty as a Muslim woman

Members of the group We The People Rising posted a video of their meeting with Rep. Lou Correa’s staff asking that a controversial painting in the annual House student art competition be removed from his district office. (We the People Rising via YouTube)

A new congressional art competition controversy is swirling around California Rep. Lou Correa after his office selected a painting of the Statue of Liberty depicted as a Muslim woman.

We the People Rising, a group that advocates stricter enforcement of immigration, is arguing that the picture hanging in Correa’s district office in Santa Ana as a finalist for the annual competition is a violation of separation of church and state, the Orange County Register reported.