Barbara A Mikulski

The Bipartisan Effort to Make Senate History
Lack of Senate retirements could be unprecedented

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein appears more likely to run for a fifth full term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For all of the moaning and groaning about Washington being dysfunctional, members of Congress aren’t exactly tripping over each other to get out of town.

So far, all of the Republican and Democratic senators up for re-election this cycle seem intent on seeking another term. And if that trend continues, it would be historic. 

Women’s History Month Update on a Women’s Museum
Advocates say they are ‘closer than ever’ to making museum a reality

Joan Wages, left, and Susan Whiting are shown at a brunch for the the National Women’s History Museum in 2015. (Courtesy National Women’s History Museum)

Here is your Women’s History Month reminder that a National Women’s History Museum for the National Mall is still in the works. 

Just more than 20 years since the organization to build the museum was founded, there is a congressional commission to study its creation and a team of people ready to follow through if it gets greenlighted.

Tennessee, Texas Stand Out for Strengthened Hill Sway
In Roll Call’s Clout Index for this Congress, California delegation’s longtime hold on top spot is threatened

Party affiliation and longevity have helped propel members of the Tennessee delegation such as Sen. Bob Corker into positions that convey authority and power, Hawkings writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

No state in this decade has seen a more meaningful boost than Tennessee in institutionalized congressional influence.

Only eight states, all with much bigger delegations because they’re much more populous, have more overt sway at the Capitol this year. That is one of several notable findings from the new Roll Call Clout Index, which the newspaper uses to take a quantifiable measurement of every state’s potential for power at the start of each new Congress.  

Kamala Harris Aims for Influence as a Check on Trump
Even as a freshman, Calif. Democrat has started Senate career with a bang

California Sen. Kamala Harris has been sharply critical of President Donald Trump’s recent actions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Donald Trump received less than a third of the votes cast for president by California voters, and that’s something the state’s new senator, Kamala Harris, is well aware of.

Harris, the former state attorney general, had already spoken up on the Senate floor against the nominations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos by the time she gave her more traditional “maiden speech” Thursday. The freshman Democrat started by recounting how her mother, an Indian immigrant, chose to marry her Jamaican father in the U.S. instead of returning to India for an arranged marriage.

Bipartisan Mood as Congress Sworn in
Hugs, greetings across the aisle as contentious issues loom

Rep.-elect Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., waves to the gallery as she arrives on the House floor to take the oath of office on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

For many, their first day of work in Washington was dreary and puddle-filled, but in the Senate, there were no political parties for a brief moment.

During a full day of rain in the nation’s capital, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. returned to the Senate perhaps for the last time to swear in the 27 re-elected senators and seven newly elected ones.

Word on the Hill: Staffing Up
Cortez Masto taps Reid and Mikulski staffers

Nevada Sen.-elect Catherine Cortez Masto announced seven senior staff hires. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Newly elected senators are slowly but surely staffing their Capitol Hill offices.

Nevada Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, who is replacing retiring Sen. Harry Reid, announced seven senior staff hires this week.

Democrats Voting on Pelosi Are Older But Not Long-Tenured
A majority of the incoming caucus is 60 or older but most members have served 4 terms or less

.

The House Democrats who will decide this week whether it’s time for younger, less-tenured leadership have served in the chamber an average of close to six full terms, and nearly six in 10 are over the age of 60. 

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has drawn criticism for not fostering leadership opportunities for younger caucus members. The 76-year-old Californian, who has been the chamber’s top Democrat since 2003, is facing a challenge from 43-year-old Tim Ryan, a seven-term congressman from Ohio, who says that after four straight disappointing elections for House Democrats, it’s time for a change at the top. 

Busy Lame-Duck Session Ahead in the Senate
McConnell plans to act on a number of bills before the session ends

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is planning a busy lame-duck session. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

December is shaping up to be a busy month for the Senate, with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell intent on addressing six bills over the next three weeks, including a massive biomedical research package and the annual defense policy bill.

I would encourage colleagues on both sides to continue working together so that we can complete our work soon,” the Kentucky Republican said on the Senate floor Monday afternoon.

Van Hollen Named Chairman of Senate Democrats‘ Campaign Arm
Incoming Maryland freshman faces daunting 2018 electoral map for party

Maryland Sen.-elect Chris Van Hollen will chair the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the 2018 cycle. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen.-elect Chris Van Hollen of Maryland will chair the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the 2018 cycle, incoming Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced Friday.

Chris Van Hollen was our first choice for DSCC chairman because of his talents, his work ethic, and his experience,” Schumer said in a statement. “He has the confidence of our caucus and will do a great job for our candidates running in 2018. The map is tough for Democrats, but I have no doubt that Sen.-elect Van Hollen is up to the task.” 

Pence Previews Trump Priorities While GOP Seeks to Punt Funding Debate Into New Year
VP-elect tells members they should expect to work more next Congress

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan had a private meeting with Vice President-elect Mike Pence on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Vice President-elect Mike Pence previewed some of the incoming Trump administration’s priorities on Capitol Hill Thursday while Speaker Paul D. Ryan sought to accommodate the next president by laying plans to punt a government funding debate into next March.

With Pence present, Ryan told a House Republican Conference meeting that they would vote on a short-term continuing resolution in the lame-duck session.