Elizabeth Esty

Photos of the Day: High School Students Rally at Capitol on Gun Policy
The protest as captured by Roll Call's photographers

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., greets demonstrators while attending a rally on the West Front of the Capitol to call on Congress to act on gun violence prevention. Students around the country participated in walkouts on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As senators heard testimony Wednesday on the aftermath of the Feb. 14 shooting at Parkland, Fla., high school students were outside the Capitol Building  to rally against gun violence.

Several lawmakers joined the students, who were part of a nationwide school walkout seeking action from states and the federal government following the Florida shooting that left 17 dead. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., entered the protest to loud cheers from the students. 

Chao Goes Off the Rails on New York-New Jersey Project

Secretary of Transportation nominee Elaine Chao testifies as her husband Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., looks on during her Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee confirmation hearing on Jan. 11. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao came to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to answer questions about the administration’s infrastructure proposal Tuesday. But she spent much of the time confirming and defending the administration’s attempt to kill a New York and New Jersey rail program.

“Is the president of the United States personally intervening with the speaker to kill this project?” asked Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., referring to a weekend report in The Washington Post that President Donald Trump asked Speaker Paul D. Ryan to kill funding for the Gateway Program.

LGBT Staff Association Has Republican on Board for First Time in Decade
Professional development director is Jayson Schimmenti from Rep. Tom MacArthur’s office

The LGBT Congressional Staff Association got a little more diverse after a Republican legislative assistant was elected to its board. (Group photo taken in Oct. 2017 for National Coming Out Day, courtesy of the association)

It’s been at least a decade since a Republican served on the board of the LGBT Congressional Staff Association, but this year Jayson Schimmenti, legislative assistant to New Jersey Rep. Tom MacArthur, stepped up.

Schimmenti, 28, was elected professional development director last week. In that role, he hopes “to help LGBTQ Republicans tap into the professional development resources of our organization here on the Hill.”

Which House Members Voted Against Their Leadership on the Budget Deal
Both Democrats and Republicans bucked their party's leaders

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., was able to deliver enough of his GOP colleagues to pass the latest stopgap spending bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House’s early Friday morning passage of a bill to reopen government after a brief shutdown was not your typical budget deal vote.

Unlike similar measures Congress has passed in recent years to lift sequestration spending caps and suspend the debt ceiling, this one drew a limited amount of Republican opposition and minimal Democratic support.

Here’s What Members Are Doing With Their Salary During Shutdown
Withholding, returning and donating, lawmakers say they’re refusing salary while government is shut down

Signs are posted outside of the Library of Congress in Washington on Sunday notifying visitors that all Library of Congress buildings will be closed to the public during the government shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A government shutdown always unleashes a cascade of political histrionics, and chief among those is lawmakers “refusing” their salaries.

Scores of senators and House members sent out news releases over the weekend defiantly proclaiming what they would do with their salaries while the government remains shuttered.

NRCC Targets Democrats on Tax Overhaul in New Digital Ads
Republicans see taxes as a potent campaign issue

Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolanis one of the Democrats targeted in the latest NRCC ads. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee is launching new digital ads targeting Democrats who voted against the tax overhaul that passed the House on Thursday. No members of the minority party voted for the legislation.

The 15-second videos, provided first to Roll Call, will start running on Facebook on Friday and target 25 House Democrats. The NRCC ad buy was described as “five figures” and the ads will run online for a week.

Congress’ Gun Massacre Caucus
Dealing with mass shootings is becoming all too familiar for many members

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, center left, with Rep. Mark Sanford to his right and then-Gov. Nikki Haley, second from right, attend a memorial service commemorating the anniversary of the 2015 mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images file photo)

On Dec. 14, 2012, Elizabeth Esty was attending a social media workshop for new members of Congress at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. She had been elected to represent Connecticut’s 5th District a month earlier.

“I raised my hand and I said, ‘Here’s an example right now — I’m getting texts and alerts that there’s been a shooting and we don’t know what happened,’” she said.

Word on the Hill: Franken’s ‘SNL’ Friends on Franken vs. Trump
Stabenow makes rounds, Cruz award, Johnson shows flexibility, Biden’s book and Scalia event

Dana Carvey, left, Kevin Nealon, second from left, and Sen. Al Franken, right, mock the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings (with Phil Hartman, center, and Chris Farley) on “Saturday Night Live” in 1991. (NBC Universal)

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., could give President Donald Trump a run for his money. Or at least fellow “Saturday Night Live” alums Kevin Nealon and Dana Carvey think so.

“Will Al Franken run for president?” Nealon asks Carvey on his Twitter video series “Hiking With Kevin.”

House Sends Veterans' Appeals Bill to Trump's Desk
Measure aims to pare down backlog appeals for disability benefits

House Veterans Affairs Chairman Phil Roe, R-Tenn., right, seen here earlier this year with Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., left, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., applauded passage of the veterans' measure Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House during a pro forma session Friday cleared a bipartisan bill aimed at paring down a massive backlog of appeals for veterans’ disability benefits.

Passage of the measure brings to three the number of major veterans’ bills that now await President Donald Trump’s signature. In addition to the appeals bill, Congress before leaving for the August recess cleared a $2.1 billion funding patch for a private medical care access program, and the “Forever GI Bill,” which extends education benefits to future veterans for an entire lifetime instead of the current 15-year window.

Photos of the Week: Protests and Selfies on the Hill as House Hands Senate Health Care
The week of May 1 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., photographs protesters on the East Front of the Capitol on Thursday after the House passed the Republicans' bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House has headed out on recess — they’re scheduled to return May 16 — after a busy week passing both an omnibus spending bill and a repeal and replace plan for the 2010 health care law. 

The Senate also passed the omnibus this week but debate remains on the health care plan.