senate

Memorial Day reading: Tom Cotton busts a myth of Arlington’s Old Guard
Arkansas Republican senator, who served with the unit, documents battlefield history

An Honor Guard bears the coffin of Capt. Russell Rippetoe, 27, the first soldier killed in Iraq to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in April 2003. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Most people know the Old Guard as the Army regiment that protects the Arlington Nation Cemetery and its Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. But it has a long combat history too.

Before he was a senator, Tom Cotton served in the storied regiment. He unearths its forgotten past in “Sacred Duty,” published earlier this May by the William Morrow imprint of HarperCollins.

‘I can work with the speaker,’ Trump declares amid war of words with Pelosi
President will deploy 1,500 U.S. troops to Middle East amid tensions with Iran

President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., on Monday night. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump on Friday contended he is willing to work with Speaker Nancy Pelosi after the two traded sharp criticisms following him blowing up a Wednesday meeting about a now-scuttled possible infrastructure plan.

“I can work with the speaker,” he said. “Did you hear what she said about me long before I went after her? … I just responded in kind. You think Nancy’s the same as she was? She’s not. I think we can all say that.”

Why does Alexa save transcripts of user conversations? This senator asked Amazon
Sen. Chris Coons wants to know why Amazon Echo users’ conversations are being saved to company servers

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, center, is pictured in the Capitol in June 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Democratic senator sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Thursday requesting information about why the company retains transcripts of conversations recorded by Amazon Echo devices, even after users have pressed “delete.”

Amazon’s voice-controlled operating system Alexa transcribes the conversations it picks up after users say a “wake word” — “Alexa,” “Echo,” “Amazon” or “computer” — or press a button to enable the Echo, according to a report by CNET. And the company saves those text files on its servers even after users opt to “delete” the audio files from the cloud, a CNET investigation revealed.

Pressure mounts on expiring Medicaid programs for U.S. territories, safety net hospitals
Advocates worry the two programs will need more funding by the end of the fiscal year

Participants hold signs during the Senate Democrats’ rally against Medicaid cuts in front of the U.S. Capitol on June 6, 2017. Advocated are worried about two Medicaid programs that need additional funding before the end of the fiscal year — U.S. territories’ programs and funding for safety net hospitals. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Advocates are worried about two Medicaid programs that need additional funding before the end of the fiscal year — U.S. territories’ programs and funding for safety net hospitals.

The end of September marks a number of government deadlines, but advocates and government officials worry that a lack of funding for these two Medicaid programs would be worrisome and could be overlooked.

3 things to watch: ‘Low expectations’ for Trump’s trip to meet Japan’s new emperor
‘I don’t think that the purpose of this trip is to focus on trade,’ administration official says

President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hold a news conference at Mar-a-Lago in April 2018. The two leaders will spend another few days together when Trump visits Japan Saturday through Tuesday. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump will land in Japan on Saturday for a series of high-level meetings, but White House officials and experts say to expect a trip heavy on pomp-and-circumstance and light on substance.

In a sign of how important the U.S.-Japanese relationship is to the Asian country, Trump will become the first foreign leader to meet its new emperor, Naruhito. He will also meet several times with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for discussions on a list of issues ranging from trade to North Korea.

Senate mourns deaths of two beloved staffers
Barber David Knight and document room employee Bud Johnson both died recently

David Knight, here with, from left, barber Kim Coleman and manager Cindi Brown, cut hair in the Senate barbershop for 36 years. (Courtesy Senate Hair Care Services)

David Miles Knight spent 36 years as one of the Senate barbers, and he was a familiar face to everyone in the basement of the Russell Building, which has long played host to the barber shop.

Over the weekend, he lost his long fight with cancer, just a day before another longtime Senate employee, Berner Richard Johnson III, succumbed to his injuries from a violent attack, leaving the Senate family in mourning. 

How to kill time on the Hill
Because sometimes there’s more people than work

An intern for Maryland Democrat Chris Van Hollen pets a dog in 2012. Take it from us: Killing time on the Hill is even easier than it looks. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

First off, congratulations! Landing an internship is a big deal — whether you’re here because you applied through a rigorous selection process with essays and interviews, or because your donor father, while teeing up his ball on the ninth hole, casually mentioned to your home-state senator that you’d like to “try out” D.C.

Everyone says the Hill is busy, busy, busy, but here’s the dirty little secret: Most days are filled with LOTS of mind-numbing drudgery and boredom. There are only so many angry phone calls you can take. There are only so many four-page constituent letters ending with 10 exclamation points you can respond to. Eventually, you need a mental break. Chances are you’re reading this because you’re taking one now (or you’re bored).

When McGovern interned for McGovern (no relation)
Massachusetts Democrat’s internship in the 1970s led to staff position and eventual election to the House

Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern on how George McGovern influenced him: “Politics should be about principles and conviction, not solely about political calculation.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Jim McGovern’s career has been profoundly shaped by another (unrelated) McGovern: George.

As a 12-year-old middle schooler, Jim McGovern, inspired by the candidate he shared a last name with, joined his teachers to hand out leaflets and bumper stickers for the elder McGovern’s 1972 presidential campaign.

How to dine like a boss on a tight budget in D.C.
Hill reception circuit offers a lifeline for cash-strapped interns

People grab food provided at the Organic Trade Association’s Organic Week Reception on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Receptions are the lifeblood of the broke Capitol Hill intern’s diet. Besides being a great place for meeting people (ABN: always be networking) they provide a bounty of free food and drinks, and usually the spreads are halfway decent. I once went a whole week without paying a dime for dinner. And honestly, with enough dedication, I could have stretched that to a month.

Besides not wearing your intern badge on your lapel, the earliest lesson you learn working on the Hill is that almost every industry has an association in D.C. to represent it. Whether it’s cement, hydrogen energy or guns, if somebody has an interest before Congress, you can bet it has a lobby organized to influence lawmakers.

Trump, Pelosi engage in 29-hour war of insults worthy of ‘Veep’ storyline
HBO series has wrapped, but president and speaker keep its spirit alive as relationship sours again

President Donald Trump and Speaker Nancy Pelosi argue over border security in the Oval Office on Dec. 11. They are back it, engaging in a war of words after he abruptly ended a meeting Wednesday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

ANALYSIS — HBO’s hit series “Veep,” with its hysterically dysfunctional depiction of official Washington, wrapped its seven-season run earlier this month. Or did it?

The president called the speaker of the House “crazy” after she pleaded for White House aides and his family members to hold an “intervention” for the leader of the free world. No, that’s not a scene from the Julia Louis-Dreyfus-starring show. It’s just the latest shenanigans from two of the most powerful officials in Washington — and on the entire planet, for that matter.