Filemon Vela

Confidence Abounds Among Pelosi Supporters and Opponents — But One Side Will Lose
Anti-Pelosi contingent claims they have numbers to block Pelosi from becoming speaker

Nancy Pelosi is confident she will be the next speaker. Her opponents are confident they can block that. Someone is going to lose. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two big questions surround the contingent of House Democrats opposing Nancy Pelosi’s bid for speaker: Are they bluffing when they say there are enough members prepared to vote against the California Democrat on the floor? And if they’re not, will that opposition hold until the Jan. 3 vote?

Leaders of the contingent, including Reps. Tim Ryan of Ohio, Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, Filemon Vela of Texas and Kurt Schrader of Oregon, have all said they’re confident that when the 116th Congress begins on the third day of January, there will be more than enough Democrats ready to vote against Pelosi on the floor — not “present” or abstaining from voting — to prevent her from claiming the speaker’s gavel.

14 Democrats Push Back on Raising Caucus Threshold for Speaker Race
Caucus threshold should remain simple majority; members should unite behind winner, they say

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is expected to run for speaker again. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A group of 14 Democrats who support Nancy Pelosi for speaker are pushing back on a proposal from some of their anti-Pelosi colleagues to raise the caucus threshold for nominating a speaker candidate. 

House Democratic Caucus rules make all of their elected leadership positions subject to a simple-majority vote. Then, under House rules, the speaker nominee chosen by the caucus needs to win votes from a majority of the entire chamber — 218, if everyone is present and voting. 

One Foot in Congress, the Other in Grad School
Staffers starting your higher education, you’re in good company

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., received his law degree from Georgetown University. Here he is addressing the law center in 2012. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As orientation kicks off for graduate school programs, staffers who are going part time and keeping their Capitol Hill jobs begin the balancing act.

Those higher knowledge-seekers are not alone. It’s common for staffers to get degrees on top of work.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing Around the Capitol
Vela’s rebuttal to Trump; turkey with the troops; and holiday party rundown

Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Texas, wasn’t mincing words in his response to President Donald Trump’s assertion that the attack on a mosque in Egypt justified building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. And some of the best ones are those that we come across while reporting the big ones.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

Word on the Hill: Republicans Tour Jordan Airport
Pingree awarded, Veterans History Project discussion, and ‘The Long Road’

New York Rep. John Katko meets refugees at Zaatri refugee camp in northern Jordan. (Courtesy House Homeland Security Committee)

A delegation led by Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., over last week’s recess included a stop in Jordan. The group toured Queen Alia International Airport, the largest airport in the country, to observe aviation security procedures and employee screening.

The U.S. donated passenger screening equipment to Jordan and other countries in 2016 under the FAA Extension, Safety and Security Act.

Texas Members Respond to Hurricane Harvey
Others send best wishes and prayers to those in the path of the storm

Water churns from approaching Hurricane Harvey in Corpus Christi, Texas, on Friday. The storm has the potential to drop up to 3 feet of rain with 125 mph winds. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

While Texans stocked up on food and water, filled their gas tanks, boarded up their homes, and left the area ahead of Hurricane Harvey, their members of Congress were passing along the latest news and advice.

Some said they would ride out the storm in their districts.

Culture Before Politics Inspires Resistance to Trump’s Border Proposals
Border politics have never cleaved neatly along partisan lines

California Rep. Scott Peters has worked with his Republican colleagues to secure border infrastructure funding. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

California Democrat Scott Peters, a former environmental lawyer, represents a majority Anglo district near the Mexican border town of Tijuana.

Texas Republican Will Hurd, a 39-year-old former CIA officer who’s nearly two decades younger that Peters, represents a majority Latino district a thousand miles to the east that spans 40 percent of America’s border with Mexico.

Word on the Hill: It’s a Healthy Day
What's happening this week?

Maria Marlowe poses with author Dr. Mark Hyman and his newest book last year. (Brent N. Clarke/Getty Images file photo)

It’s the first day of national Health and Wellness Coach Week and to kick it off, Ivanka Trump’s former health coach is coming to Capitol Hill.

Maria Marlowe writes a monthly food column and is the founder of an integrative nutrition health coaching practice in New York. She will be joined by other health leaders for a congressional briefing at noon in the Capitol Visitor Center, Room 201AB.

House Democrats Round Out Leadership Posts
Minority party picks heads of campaign, messaging arms

House Democrats didn’t seem to put the blame for a disappointing Election Day on Democratic Congressional Campaign Chairman Ben Ray Luján, electing him unanimously to a post that had been appointed. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats on Monday chose who will fill out the additional leadership posts created by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in an effort to overhaul how the caucus conducts its business.

The Democrats re-elected Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Lujan's position had been appointed and, despite disappointing results on Election Day which saw the party pick up far fewer seats than projected, he ran uncontested and was elected by unanimous consent, according to a source in the room.

Gun Control Meets Congressional Dysfunction
Swing-district Republicans hold the key to any legislative breakthrough

Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo will need to convince more of his fellow Republican House colleagues to support his gun control proposal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

This is the week when the American people decide if the extraordinary House sit-in is remembered as the sound of gridlock breaking, or the latest evidence of gridlock calcifying.  

Energized advocates for gun control predict it will prove to be the former. Experience says it will be the latter.