Speaker Ryan

Some House members are contemplating retirement, according to history
GOP departures last cycle helped fuel Democrats’ takeover

The decision by Rep. José E. Serrano, D-N.Y., to retire isn’t likely to affect the 2020 election map, since Hillary Clinton carried his district by 89 points in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the unofficial kickoff of summer, Memorial Day is a time to remember the fallen, spend time with family and grill meats. But history tells us it’s also a time for more than a handful of members to reconsider their future in the House.

Going back to 1976, an average of 23 House members have not sought re-election or another office each election cycle. So far this cycle, just four have made that decision, which means more retirements will come and competitive open seats could change the fight for the majority.

Union Pub is like the ‘Matthew McConaughey of Capitol Hill’
Through renovations and name changes, beery refuge on the Senate side keeps staying the same

Patrons gather in the dining room of Union Pub on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Settled on the Senate side, a couple of blocks northeast of the Capitol, and nearly centered between the Hart Building and Union Station, sits a beery refuge that seems miles away.

“We’re in the business of hospitality and having a good time. We’re not in the business of trying to extend any kind of political discourse or our political feelings,” says Union Pub owner Matt Weiss.

What’s the state of play on intern pay on Capitol Hill?
Intern compensation funding is up for discussion again

Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn., says he expects intern compensation funding to continue in the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Securing intern compensation funding last year was a huge victory for lawmakers and advocates. Now they just have to figure out how to get the word out and expand the pie. 

As interns descend on Capitol Hill for a summer of public service, more will be paid for their work than ever before. But widespread paid internships are still in their infancy in Congress. This is the first summer that House and Senate offices have dedicated funding available to cut checks.

The fight for intern pay moves to 2020 campaigns
Eight presidential candidates have committed to paying interns, raising hopes that down-ballot candidates will follow

American University student Rolando Cantu will start a $15-an-hour internship in New Hampshire for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in June. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

It’s early enough in the 2020 campaign season that many candidates haven’t hired any interns.

But if the early months of the crowded presidential race are any indication, one thing is already clear: More of those offers will come with an actual paycheck. 

Bernhardt defends Interior public records review policy
Bernhardt said the so-called ‘awareness review’ policy was legal and ‘very long-standing in the department’

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt testifies during a Senate Appropriations on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the FY2020 budget proposal for the Interior Department in Dirksen Building on Wednesday, May 22, 2019. Bernhardt said to lawmakers the so-called “awareness review” policy was legal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt defended on Wednesday the agency’s policy allowing politically appointed officials to review and comment on public records requests that relate to them.

Appearing before a Senate appropriations subcommittee to testify about his department’s budget, Bernhardt said the so-called “awareness review” policy was legal.

Interior Department policy let political appointees review FOIA requests
So-called awareness review process could expose department to legal action

A public records request for emails between a National Park Service official and Lolita Zinke, above, wife of former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, was originally estimated to potentially yield 96 pages of communication. It ended up being 16 pages long after being put through the awareness review process.  (Scott Olson/Getty Images file photo)

The Interior Department has for about a year allowed political appointees to weigh in on which federal records are released to the public, creating delays that could violate open records law and expose the department to legal action.

“If political officials are becoming involved in the process and as a result of that causes the agency to not comply with its obligations” under the Freedom of Information Act, “that is a serious problem,” said Adam Marshall, an attorney for the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press.

These 8 Republicans voted for the Equality Act
3 House Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination did not vote

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., shown applauding during President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address in February, was one of eight House Republicans to vote for the Equality Act on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Eight House Republicans voted Friday with their Democratic counterparts for the Equality Act, which would broaden the definition of protected classes to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

The bill, a Democratic priority, passed 236-173 amid passionate speeches from both Republicans and Democrats. Debate over the bill was partisan, and at times, tense. 

Alice Rivlin, first CBO chief and Clinton budget director, dies

Alice Rivlin, the founding director of the Congressional Budget Office, former director of the Office of Management and Budget and a member of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, died Tuesday at the age of 88. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call)

Alice M. Rivlin, an economist, budget and health care expert respected on both sides of the aisle and the first director of the Congressional Budget Office, died Tuesday at the age of 88 after a battle with cancer.

The Brookings Institution, where she served as a senior fellow, confirmed Rivlin’s death.

The Pennsylvania special election you haven’t heard about
Voters in 12th District will pick a replacement for Tom Marino next week

Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., resigned in January shortly after being sworn in. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It wasn’t that long ago that a special election in Pennsylvania attracted national attention and millions of dollars. But this year, the race in the state’s 12th District has flown under the radar.

Voters head to the polls next Tuesday to replace Republican Tom Marino, who resigned just shortly after the new Congress began. This election hasn’t captured the national spotlight — a marked shift from 14 months ago, when the special election in Pennsylvania’s old 18th District grabbed headlines. Democrat Conor Lamb pulled off an upset there even though President Donald Trump carried the district by 20 points in 2016.

House Democrats telegraph policy priorities in Capitol Hill funding
Comparison of previous GOP, current Dem spending choices show differences

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., attends a news conference with House Democrats on March 12 to introduce the “Dream and Promise Act.” The new majority’s Legislative Branch Appropriations bill would allow Dreamers to get jobs on Capitol Hill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Empowered by their control of the House, Democrats are telegraphing their policy priorities in how they plan to spend taxpayer dollars on Capitol Hill, including exploring student debt relief options and employing Dreamers in Congress.

The fiscal 2020 House Legislative Branch Appropriations bill is signaling what types of issues Democrats want to be talking about and working on, both for their constituents back home and right here on Capitol Hill.