Garret Graves

The ‘Hell’ in Helsinki, Fist Bumps and Chickens in Alaska: Congressional Hits and Misses
 

“That was strange,” President Donald Trump said after the lights went out during his statement to a group of reporters and lawmakers that he had full faith in U.S. intelligence agencies. This was a day after Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland, which Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin said “put the hell back in Helsinki.” See that and more from members of Congress in this week’s Hits and Misses.

Lawmakers Scramble to Extend Flood Insurance Before Hurricane Season Peaks
Unless they act by July 31, parts of the program will lapse

Rep. Ed Royce, shown here in May, introduced a bill Tuesday with Earl Blumenauer that would extend flood insurance coverage for four additional months. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House, facing a July 31 deadline to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program, is considering legislation to extend it through Nov. 30 as the House and Senate try to resolve big differences in their proposals for the program.

Reps. Ed Royce, a California Republican, and Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat, introduced a bill Tuesday that would extend flood insurance coverage for the program’s 5 million policyholders for four additional months.

CBO: Harbor Tax Provision in House Water Bill Widens Deficit
Change could increase on-budget deficits by more than $5 billion over a 10-year period

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., included a provision in the water infrastructure bill that would allow spending directly from the fund without approval by appropriators. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A contested provision that could be in the water infrastructure bill scheduled for House floor debate this week would increase on-budget deficits by more than $5 billion over a 10-year period, the Congressional Budget Office estimated Monday.

The provision in the water resources development bill as it was introduced would allow for spending from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund without appropriations starting in fiscal 2029 and would increase direct spending by more than $2.5 billion and on-budget deficits by more than $5 billion in at least one 10-year window following its effect date in 2029, the CBO said.

Staffers Find Community Service Sees No Party Lines
‘We come from all different parts of the country but we call this place home’

The Capitol Hill Community Service Association did a cleanup at the John Taylor Elementary School in August 2017. School business manager Joe Brown, center, is flanked by, from left, Ron Hammond, Imani Augustus, Brad Korten, Kristen Siegele, Alex Erwin and Maureen Acero. (Courtesy CHCSA)

Congressional staffers who may not agree ideologically are finding ways to come together in service. The bipartisan Capitol Hill Community Service Association gives them a chance to volunteer in D.C.

“I was trying to find a way to help bridge the divide. We all know it can be very toxic here sometimes, not to the fault of staffers, obviously. We’re all here because we want to serve and I think community service is one of those places where we can find that common ground,” said the association’s co-leader Brad Korten, a legislative aide to New Jersey Democratic Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman.

Senate Confirms Army Corps Chief
Get-out-of-town vote was overwhelmingly bipartisan

Senators confirmed the new head of the Army Corps of Engineers and then headed home. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate voted 89-1 Thursday to confirm Rickey Dale “R.D.” James to lead the Army Corps of Engineers, which will serve as the chamber’s get-out-of-town vote after a long haul of days that involved the government shutdown over the weekend. 

Earlier in the week, the chamber had expected to approve James by voice vote on Wednesday before a roll call vote on the nomination was scheduled for Thursday afternoon. Afterward, senators headed for the exits. 

Murphy Says Key to Success Is Good Heels and Running Shoes
Florida Democrat shares what makes her a ‘mom boss’

Murphy stretches during her morning run, with the Capitol in the background. (Bian Elkhatib/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Stephanie Murphy typically takes a run down the National Mall as the sun is rising over the Capitol. A few hours later, she is there in high heels walking to votes.

In her first term in Congress, the 39-year-old Florida Democrat calls herself a “mom boss.” The term comes from the 2016 book “Mom Boss: Balancing Entrepreneurship, Kids & Success” by Nicole Feliciano and is something of a movement, with women adding the hashtag #MomBoss to online discussions of how they balance children and work.

Lawmakers Watch Eclipse From Back Home
With Congress on recess, members watched the show with friends, family, and constituents

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas,  watches Monday’s eclipse from San Antonio, where he was visiting the Chamber of Commerce. (Sen. Ted Cruz via Twitter)

Unlike President Donald Trump, many lawmakers listened to the warnings and wore solar eclipse glasses to look at the sun on Monday.

The president briefly looked skyward before putting on his protective glasses when he and first lady Melania Trump joined millions of Americans to view the solar eclipse.

Facebook Features Connect Lawmakers With Constituents
Goal is to help citizens engage

Louisiana Rep. Garret Graves said he regularly hosts online town halls through Facebook Live. (Griffin Connolly/CQ Roll Call)

Facebook users now have the option to pin “constituent badges” to their profiles, letting friends — and members of Congress — know which district they live in. And users can now search for articles, links, and posts that other residents in their districts engage with most frequently.

“When we think about civic engagement, we think about building communities of people,” said Erin Egan, Facebook’s vice president of U.S. public policy. “And this is about making sure that people engage with government.”

Word on the Hill: Pelosi, Others to Screen Gun Violence Film
Time to lace up your running shoes

In the film “Making a Killing: Guns, Greed, and the NRA,” William Ranta, right, recalls asking his father not to shoot his mother, Kate, background. (Courtesy Brave New Films)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Reps. David Cicilline, D-R.I., Robin Kelly, D-Ill., and Katherine M. Clark, D-Mass., on Wednesday will host a screening of the documentary “Making a Killing: Guns, Greed, and the NRA.”

The film tells the story of families who have lost loved ones to gun violence and draws a line from their stories to the National Rifle Administration.

Louisiana Lawmakers to Determine Flooding Response
Garret Graves hopes floods spark broader discussion over disaster response

Louisiana Rep. Garret Graves says he will keep working to overhaul the way the country responds to natural disasters like this month's devastating floods in his home state. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Flood waters were rising, so Rep. Garret Graves threw his kayak and paddle board on his truck, just in case.

As floods tore into the Louisiana Republican's Baton Rouge-area district on Aug. 13, he joined what he called the "Cajun Navy," hopping in his kayak to pull people from their homes. Residents in their own boats helped rescue neighbors as their houses flooded. Graves said that without these residents taking the initiative, the death toll would probably have been higher.