congressional-operations

Why Republicans Exempted Their Own Insurance From Obamacare Rollback
The unusual nature of staff and member health benefits

Sen. Ted Cruz has written a bill that would strike an exemption for senators’ health care. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate budget rules are giving opponents of the rollback of the 2010 health care law an easy way to attack Republicans for hypocrisy.

The Senate GOP may not really want to immunize their own member and staff health plans from their health care policy changes, but because they are seeking to bring their bill to the floor under the expedited budget reconciliation process, they have little choice.

Congress Still Grappling With Cybersecurity Concerns
Experts say networks on Capitol Hill lag in basic protections

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, seen here at a 2015 #Hack4Congress event at Google’s offices in Washington, is one of several lawmakers who have pushed for improved security for congressional computer networks. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers and their staffs have been aware for years that their internet communications could be prime targets for both foreign and domestic spies.

But after last year’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee by Russian operatives, many are reassessing security protocols that once seemed sufficient — even overbearing — and finding them lacking.

Budget Cuts Would Sting in Trump Country
Republicans shy away from proposed cuts to popular programs

Rep. Claudia Tenney, seen here with Georgia Sen. David Perdue and President Donald Trump in April, opposes certain cuts to social services programs vital to her upstate New York district. (Rex Features via AP Images)

CHITTENANGO, N.Y. — It would make sense that the hometown of L. Frank Baum, the creator of the Wizard of Oz, would be in a county that voted for President Donald Trump.

Trump easily carried this part of upstate New York, which contains places just as rural as Dorothy Gale’s Kansas. But despite the nearby Yellow Brick Road Casino in a converted strip mall, there’s no Emerald City. So Republican members of Congress who represent these parts have a particular challenge and have to fight for federal dollars for their districts.

Opinion: No Need to Be Up in Arms Over House Dress Code
Proper attire shows respect for institution, its people and work being done

As recent speakers, Paul D. Ryan and Nancy Pelosi have been responsible for enforcing rules governing attire in and around the House floor. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Thank God for the House dress code: If it were up to the general public, the rules might require reporters to be attired in sackcloth and ashes or tar and feathers.

By now, you’ve probably heard that Speaker Paul Ryan is taking heat because a female reporter was kicked out of the area adjacent to the House floor — the Speaker’s Lobby — when her outfit didn’t meet the standards laid out in the House rules. Apparently, like Michelle Obama and Melania Trump, she dared to bare arms.

GOP Wheeling and Dealing Takes Center Stage in Senate
A bonanza of options could signal a breaking point on health care negotiations

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz says Republicans are making "steady progress" toward bring their conference to agreement on their health care proposal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Deal-making was the name of the game Thursday as Senate Republican leaders met with skeptical lawmakers in an attempt to bridge deep policy divides among the GOP conference on their legislation to overhaul the U.S. health care system.

Vice President Mike Pence and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma were also on Capitol Hill, joining in the effort to rework a bill that would tighten the cap on federal funding for Medicaid over several years and alter the 2010 health care law’s subsidies that help individuals afford insurance.

CBO Score Makes GOP Health Care Slog Harder
Growing number of senators oppose bringing current bill to floor

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's plan to vote on a health care measure by the end of the week has been complicated by a Congressional Budget Office score that estimated millions would lose their health insurance under the measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan to pass a massive overhaul of the U.S. health insurance system that has virtually no support outside of Congress and the White House became even more difficult after the release of a damaging analysis of the legislation from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

And now, with several Republican members voicing opposition to the current proposal, even a vote on a procedural motion to start consideration of the legislation appears destined to fail.

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

Members will get a boost in security as part of a deal reached between appropriators and the House Administration Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Say What? Senators' Questions for Comey, a Roll Call Analysis
Trump's attempted influence on FBI investigations topped the list

BY SEAN MCMINN AND RYAN KELLY

Republicans did not shy away from surfacing the issue of the president’s potential obstruction of justice during former FBI Director James B. Comey's appearance on Capitol Hill on Thursday.

Gowdy or Russell? Steering Committee Set to Pick
House Republican Conference gets its say next week

House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz, left, speaks with South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, who is seeking the gavel that Chaffetz will lay aside when he leaves Congress at the end of the month. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican Reps. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina and Steve Russell of Oklahoma will make their pitch to the Republican Steering Committee Thursday to be the next chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The Steering Committee will then vote and relay its recommendation to the full House Republican Conference, which is expected to ratify the choice on Tuesday.

The Levin Legacy: Next-Gen Congressional Oversight
Retired Michigan Democrat’s center trains staffers on effective oversight

Former Michigan Sen. Carl Levin built a legacy of tough oversight as chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

More than 100 congressional staffers have now completed boot camps designed to boost the investigative skills of House and Senate staff, thanks in part to the retirement work of former Sen. Carl Levin.

The Michigan Democrat had a particular interest in oversight, wielding the gavel of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations through hearings on topics from the 2008 financial crisis, to oil and gas speculation, to “dirty bomb” vulnerabilities, and issues within the United Nations Development Program.