dc-hill-relations

What a Paul Ryan Speakership Means for D.C.

Ryan became speaker on Oct. 29. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., adjusts to his new role in the House, he also takes on a little-recognized responsibility: oversight of the District of Columbia.  

Ryan has not served on any of the spending or oversight committees with jurisdiction over D.C., so it is tough to gauge his record. But he has spent nearly half his life as a professional in Washington, and he goes to great pains to distance himself from the capital city. On ABC's "This Week" Sunday, he told Martha Raddatz: "I don't live in Washington, D.C. I never really wanted to live here. I just — I just work here," a talking point he reiterated throughout the day's media blitz.  

House Approves Boehner's D.C. Vouchers Bill

Boehner helped established the DC voucher program. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans rallied around outgoing Speaker John A. Boehner Wednesday evening to approve one of his pet projects: a school voucher program for the District of Columbia.  

The House approved reauthorizing the program, known as the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, by a mostly party-line vote of 240 191. Before the vote, Boehner took to the floor to make a rare speech, his voice breaking as he discussed the children who benefited from the program.  

Connolly: Metro Issues Caused 'Crisis of Confidence' in Riders, Congress

Connolly also pushed for more federal funding for WMATA. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

One Virginia lawmaker said Friday that safety and management issues surrounding Washington's transit system has caused a "crisis of confidence" among riders and lawmakers.  

“I think that one of the consequences of this drip, drip, drip of safety concerns is a crisis of confidence in the riders and in stakeholders, including stakeholders in Congress,” Rep. Gerald E. Connolly said on WAMU's The Kojo Nnamdi Show , when asked about the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's ability to request assistance from Congress. Connolly called for a permanent general manager and said the federal government should make a larger financial investment in the system, which services the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland.  

House Panel Approves Boehner's D.C. Vouchers Bill

Boehner has been a strong proponent of the DC vouchers program. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 2:30 p.m. | As the House Republican Conference continues to navigate an unpredictable leadership situation, outgoing Speaker John A. Boehner got one piece of good news Friday: his bill reauthorizing a D.C. school vouchers program moved forward.  

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved, on a party-line vote, a five-year reauthorization of the program Friday. Partisan divisions were on display during the markup. Roughly a dozen D.C. children dressed in their private school uniforms watched as lawmakers debated the faults and merits of their voucher program. A handful of the students hailed from Archbishop Carroll High School in Northeast D.C., where the committee held a field hearing on the program in May.  

D.C. Councilmembers Oppose Boehner's Vouchers Bill

Boehner has been a strong proponent of the voucher program. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Eight members of the District of Columbia City Council expressed their opposition Thursday to Speaker John A. Boehner's bill to reauthorize a D.C. school voucher program.  

In a letter sent to House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, the council members argued the program was ineffective and an affront to local governance. They said students in the program should be able to use them throughout high school, but the program should not be extended to new students. "It is insulting to our constituents, who vote for us but not any voting member of Congress, that some of your colleagues push their personal agendas on D.C. in a way they never do in their home state," the lawmakers wrote.  

Senate Panel Moves to Alter D.C. Metro Board

(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

One Senate committee took action Wednesday to wield congressional power over the District of Columbia's Metro system amid criticism over safety and service.  

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., introduced a bill last week to alter the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's board of directors, granting the Transportation Secretary sole authority to appoint the federal members of the board. On Wednesday, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved the bill, which both Maryland and Virginia senators support, by voice vote. “I will not rest until Metro produces safety results,” Mikulski said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “Enough is enough. I have demanded new leadership and a new culture of safety at Metro."  

John Boehner Introduces D.C. Vouchers Bill (Updated)

Boehner has championed the DC vouchers program. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 5:31 p.m. | Speaker John A. Boehner is poised to end his speakership the way he started it, by introducing a measure to reauthorize the District of Columbia school voucher program.  

On Monday, the Ohio Republican introduced the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act to reauthorize the vouchers, also known as the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, for five years. The program was the first bill Boehner introduced after he became speaker of the House in the 112th Congress. “There is only one program in America where the federal government allows parents to choose the best schools for their kids, it is right here in Washington, DC, and it is working,” Boehner said in a statement provided first to CQ Roll Call. “This program gets the kinds of results parents dream of for their kids."  

GOP Staffer Agrees to Testify in D.C. Superior Court (Updated)

Eidinger, left, is challenging his arrest during an April hearing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:03 p.m. | Outrage over Capitol Hill's meddling in the District of Columbia's affairs could soon come full circle.  

The Republican staff director of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has agreed to trek from the halls of Congress to a local courtroom on Nov. 19. Sean McLaughlin will testify in D.C. Superior Court on why he directed a D.C. activist to leave the panel's hearing room during an April 21 markup. After initially indicating he would fight the subpoena request , McLaughlin voluntarily agreed to testify about the disruption and his authority for asking Adam Eidinger to exit the room, according to court documents filed Monday. The committee will also produce a "substantial quantity of documents," House lawyers stated, including correspondence with Eidinger, a transcript and photos from the meeting where he was arrested, plus video of Eidinger discussing the incident.  

Safety Board Urges Federal Oversight Over D.C. Metro

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Transportation Safety Board has issued two urgent recommendations that the Washington, D.C., Metro system be placed under federal oversight in the wake of safety issues.  

“There is now a lack of independent safety oversight of Metrorail,’’ NTSB Chairman Christopher A. Hart said in a statement Wednesday. “This is an unacceptable gap in system safety.” In its recommendations, NTSB is urging the Department of Transportation to alter the definition of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority so the Federal Railroad Administration can "exercise direct safety oversight." NTSB also asked the DOT to develop a transition plan to shift oversight from the current body known as the Tri-State Oversight Committee to the FRA within six months.  

Gridlock to Governing: Staffer Joins D.C. Council Office

Austin is excited about her move to D.C. government. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Keenan Austin's work day now begins by climbing the steps of the John A. Wilson building, instead of the Cannon House Office Building.  

Austin recently became the latest congressional staffer to depart the gridlocked institution for the District of Columbia government, joining At-Large Councilmember David Grosso's office as his new chief of staff in September.