Derek Kilmer

New Democrat Coalition Elects Derek Kilmer as New Chairman
Sewell, Peters, Kuster and DelBene will be vice chairs of pro-business caucus

Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., is the new chair of the New Democrat Coalition. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The New Democrat Coalition on Friday elected Washington Rep. Derek Kilmer to chair the centrist, pro-business caucus in the 116th Congress. 

Kilmer, who has served as a vice chair of the coalition, will succeed Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes

Katherine Clark Elected House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair
Massachusetts Democrat becomes second-highest-ranking woman, behind Pelosi

Rep. Katherine M. Clark, D-Mass., was elected to serve as the vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus in the 116th Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Massachusetts Rep. Katherine M. Clark was elected House Democratic Caucus vice chair for the 116th Congress, handily beating California Rep. Pete Aguilar

The vote tally was 144-90. 

House Democratic Factions All See Gains After Midterms
Progressive Caucus, New Democrats, Blue Dogs tout their expanding ranks

Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairman Mark Pocan expects his group to see a net gain of 13 members, not counting the uncalled races. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The two largest ideology-based Democratic factions in the House — the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the New Democrat Coalition — are both projecting they’ll have more than 90 members next year after the party picked up over 30 seats in last week’s midterms.

The growth comes at a time when numbers will matter for these groups, more than they have for the past eight years when their party has been in the minority. With the House in their hands next year, Democrats will get to set the legislative agenda and control what bills come to the floor.

Shutdowns Seem Normal Now. We’re Frustrated Too
Our joint panel is trying to fix Congress’ broken budget process — please take it seriously

Just because the budget process is broken doesn’t mean it is irrevocably broken, Kilmer and Arrington write. Above, a worker stacks budget copies at the Government Publishing Office’s plant on North Capitol Street. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — The American people have told us time and again — in the grocery store, at town halls, and through phone calls and emails — that they have lost faith in Congress’ ability to get things done. We share their frustration.

Over the past few years, Congress has routinely shirked some of its most basic responsibilities, including funding the government through a functioning budget process. Too often, Congress has defaulted to the politics of shutdowns and continuing resolutions, having a negative impact on all Americans. Both chambers have become so acquainted with it that it has become the norm.

Bipartisan Group Wants Labs to Disclose Where Research Animals End Up
Federal agencies asked for info on adoptions and retirements for dogs, cats and primates that survive experiments

Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., led a bipartisan group of lawmakers in sending a letter to federal agencies about testing on dogs, cats and primates. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Update 10:12 a.m. | A bipartisan group of lawmakers urged federal agencies and research labs to release information on what it does with cats, dogs and primates that survive experiments.

The letter first obtained by Roll Call was sent to the Department of Interior, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, the Smithsonian Institution, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Defense.

With Expectations Low, Select Budget Panel Prepares to Meet
Committee has broad mission, but few hard deadlines

Rep. Steve Womack, the new House Budget Committee chairman, is head of the select budget panel. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The select committee tasked with overhauling the budget and appropriations process is mandated by law to meet for the first time this week. But what they plan to talk about remains a mystery.

The law establishing the committee instructs the 16 members to provide “recommendations and legislative language that will significantly reform the budget and appropriations process” before Nov. 30, with an initial meeting to be held by March 11.

Senate Democrats Picked for Select Budget, Pension Committees

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer picked his choices for the bipartisan committees looking for solutions to budget and pension issues. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on Monday named eight senators to the select committees tasked with overhauling the budget and appropriations process as well as providing recommendations for restoring the solvency of multiemployer pension plans.

The New York Democrat selected Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Michael Bennet of Colorado, and Brian Schatz and Mazie K. Hirono, both of Hawaii, for the budget panel.

Word on the Hill: Spelling vs. Basketball
O’Rourke’s birthday surprise, Moulton’s wedding, and Jackson Lee’s partnership

Reps. Derek Kilmer of Washington, left, and Ted Deutch of Florida talk to the co-champions of the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee, Jairam Hathwar, second from left, and Nihar Janga, before last year’s National Press Club Spelling Bee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two longtime congressional competitions are taking place this evening: the National Press Club Spelling Bee, and the Member of Congress Charity Basketball Game. Which one will you attend?

The spelling bee, which pits members of the media against lawmakers, is at 7:15 p.m. at the National Press Club (529 14th St. NW). Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., is a late addition to the members’ team. Meanwhile, lawmakers take on lobbyists in the basketball game, starting at 7:30 p.m. at George Washington University’s Smith Center (600 22nd St. NW). The game follows a matchup between congressional staffers and lobbyists.

Word on the Hill: Hill 2 Houston
Intelligence conference, and save the date for basketball

hill2houston

Today is the Hill 2 Houston Kickin’ It For a Cause Charity Kickball Tournament organized by the Congressional Black Associates to help with Hurricane Harvey recovery.