Brian Schatz

Trump Defense Boost Would Mean Big Gains for Some States
Democrats likely to hold line for parity with nondefense programs

Brian Schatz, whose state of Hawaii is the No. 3 recipient of per-capita defense spending, says there must be parity in domestic spending to go with any boost to national security programs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A request from the Trump administration for a double-digit increase in defense spending could be largely decided by lawmakers whose states are far from equal players when it comes to the benefits of a bigger military budget.

That’s long been the case, as geographic, historic and strategic differences across the country result in more of an economic boost in certain states. But the differences are even more starkly displayed in a new Pew Charitable Trusts analysis that shows the funding split across all 50 states and the District of Columbia on a per-capita basis.

Senate Democrats Adopt Staff Diversity Rules
New rules will increase the diversity in caucus staff, Schumer says

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, center, and Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz have been pushing for more diversity among Senate staff. Also pictured, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Democrats have taken a formal step to codify their push for staff diversity in the Senate. 

Lawmakers approved new conference rules at the Democrats’ policy lunch last Tuesday, which encourage offices to use the NFL’s “Rooney Rule,” the requirement named after the Pittsburgh Steelers’ owner Dan Rooney that teams interview at least one minority candidate for head coaching vacancies. Democratic offices are now formally encouraged to consider at least one minority candidate when interviewing for an open position.

Nevada’s Hill Sway Sinks While Other Small States Surge
New Roll Call Clout Index reveals big disconnects between population and Capitol influence

With the retirement of former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, the Nevada congressional delegation has lost much of its legislative leverage, Hawkings writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Harry Reid may have masterminded one of 2016’s biggest statewide Democratic sweeps as he headed toward retirement, but the Nevada congressional delegation he left behind has lost much of its legislative leverage as a result. 

In fact, only two delegations have less collective influence at the Capitol this year than the six lawmakers from the Silver State, the newest Roll Call Clout Index reveals.

Word on the Hill: Muslim Group Advocacy Day Focuses on Refugees
Senate majority leader has birthday on Presidents Day

Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern will address the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA before its advocacy day on Capitol Hill on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The seventh annual “Day on the Hill” for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA today will highlight its “True Islam” campaign and “#MuslimAlly” hashtag.

The group maintains it is the oldest Muslim organization in America, and 75 chapters from across the country are expected to meet with hundreds of congressional offices. Its focus this year is on discussing threats to homeland security and refugee processing.

It’s Huge: Trump Administration Sets Record with Empty OMB Director Slot
S.C. Republican Rep. Mick Mulvaney still waiting for confirmation

Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., President Donald Trump’s nominee to be director of the Office of Management and Budget, testifies during his Senate Budget Committee confirmation on January 24, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate’s slow pace in confirming Cabinet nominees appears to be holding up lawmakers’ work on major fiscal legislation while they wait for President Donald Trump’s budget shop to get up and running.

The White House needs to move on budget priorities and discretionary spending levels for fiscal 2018; a wrap-up of fiscal 2017 appropriations; and supplemental funding requests to boost military spending and begin construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Joe Biden and the Selfies
Vice president presides over mock Senate swearing-in ceremonies one last time

Vice President Joesph R. Biden Jr., takes a selfie with Sen. Richard Blumenthal and his children Claire and David during a mock swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“It won't be the same without you,” Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune told Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., while gathering family members for the ceremonial re-enactment of his swearing-in on Tuesday.

Because the vice president’s term runs until noon on Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, it is the departing Biden who got one last chance to kiss wives, hug babies, and offer dating advice on the first day of the new Congress.

Schumer Backs Senate Staff Diversity Effort
Unclear if resolution will be taken up on the floor

Schumer is the incoming minority leader. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The next Senate Minority Leader is backing a measure to establish a permanent office focused on boosting staff diversity in the next Congress.

New York Democrat Charles E. Schumer supports a resolution that the Senate Black Legislative Staff Caucus recommended to Senate offices last month. It would establish a nonpartisan office to assist in developing and implementing plans to diversify the ranks of Senate aides.

Year-End Drama a Preview of Democratic Strategy Under Trump?
Democrats attempted to goad president-elect into taking sides in the congressional standoff

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y.,  is the next Democratic leader. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats hope to drive a wedge between President-elect Donald Trump and Republicans on the Hill. And they think they may have figured out a way to do it.

The Democrats want to highlight areas where Trump is more aligned with their policies, particularly on populist economic issues. They’re hoping that Trump will weigh in and distance himself from Republican members of Congress. If Trump doesn’t, they’re prepared to call him out.

Photos of the Week: The Holidays Kick Off on the Hill, Pelosi Survives Leadership Challenge and Pence Visits Paul Ryan
The week of Nov. 28 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, at podium, speaks with the media in Longworth Building after losing the race for Democratic leader to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congress returned from Thanksgiving and began decorating for the holidays (inside and outside the Capitol Building), prepping for office moves for the 115th Congress and deciding where freshman House members’ will have their offices.

In addition to housekeeping items, the House Democratic Caucus re-elected Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, as its leader following a challenge from Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan.

Senate Staff Diversity Efforts Turn to New Congress
While lawmakers are more diverse, their staffs are not

Senate staffers work in the Hart Senate Office Building. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate is about to become more diverse with a new crop of senators, but staffers who work behind the scenes are clamoring for more diversity in their own ranks.

For current and former staffers, the start of a new Congress is a unique moment to bring varied perspectives to Senate offices where staffers advise their bosses and play a role in shaping policy.