Jim Costa

More Problem Solvers Members Pledge to Tie Speaker Vote to Rule Changes
Bipartisan caucus now has 19 members ready to oppose a candidate for speaker if they don’t back process changes

Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., and the other members of the Problem Solvers Caucus say they are gaining support for the effort to revamp House rules. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Trying to show their push to amend House rules to create more bipartisan legislative processes is serious, the Problem Solvers Caucus announced Thursday that 19 of its members are willing to oppose any speaker candidate who won’t bring about change.

The bipartisan caucus unveiled a package of proposed House rules changes in July called “Break the Gridlock” and has been coalescing support for it on both sides of the aisle. Some of the caucus members have decided to add some oomph to their sales pitch by pledging not to support a candidate for speaker unless that person commits to enacting the rules package.

Stivers Thinks House GOP Can Grow Number of Women but That’s Unlikely
Six GOP women aren’t running for re-election to the House

Republican Diane Harkey is running in California’s 49th District to succeed GOP Rep. Darrell Issa. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo).

Despite a quarter of the women in the House Republican Conference not running for re-election, the head of the House GOP’s campaign arm said he is “very confident” the party can increase its female members in the chamber next year. 

But looking at the number of female GOP lawmakers leaving the House and how few Republican women won nominations in open seats this year, just breaking even might be hard for House Republicans. 

John McCain’s Cellmate: No More ‘Hell on Earth’
Hanoi Hilton survivor taps out a tribute to his late colleague

Sen. John McCain greets fellow Vietnam veteran Rep. Sam Johnson in 2008. The Texas Republican honored his colleague Thursday. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Retiring Rep. Sam Johnson saluted his fellow former prisoner of war, Sen. John McCain, on the House floor Thursday night.

“John was more than just a colleague in Congress. We were friends, and that friendship was forged in the infamous Hanoi Hilton,” Johnson said. The two shared a cell.

Blue Dogs See Single-Digit Majority as Their ‘Sweet Spot’
Moderate Democratic caucus hoping to regrow its power through midterm gains

Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore, who heads the Blue Dog Coalition’s political arm, says a single-digit majority is a sweet spot for the group, which is looking to rebuild its influence next Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The nearly moribund Blue Dogs, the coalition of moderate-to-conservative House Democrats, are looking to rebuild influence in the next Congress — and they think they’re in an especially good position to do so if the November midterms result in a single-digit House majority. 

The leaders of the Blue Dog Coalition, speaking with a small group of reporters Wednesday, said they obviously prefer a Democratic majority, but they think they will have power even if Republicans hold on to the majority with just a handful of seats. 

Capitol Hill Figures Out What to Do With 280 Characters
Members finding creative ways to use Twitter’s expanded limit

Members of Congress are already making the most of the 140 extra characters available for tweets. (Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers are experimenting with new ways to communicate with the extra characters Twitter has given them.

The increased 280-character limit for tweets is already being used to post full statements, Q&As with experts or the member, more hashtags and longer lists in a single posting, instead of a series of tweets.

House Defeats Amendment to Cut One-Third of CBO Staff
‘It was CBO’s reluctance to change their erroneous forecasts’

Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., offered the amendment that would have gotten rid of an 89-person CBO budget analysis division. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House on Wednesday night rejected, 116-309, an amendment that would have eliminated one-third of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The amendment, offered by Virginia Republican Morgan Griffith to the four-bill appropriations minibus the House is currently debating, would have abolished CBO’s 89-employee budget analysis division and saved a total of $15 million in salaries. Roughly half of Republicans joined Democrats in voting down the amendment.

Word on the Hill: Another D.C. Easter Egg Roll
The art competition is coming back

Celebrate Easter with the Washington Nationals this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The annual White House Easter Egg Roll is no longer the only game in town.

The Washington Nationals are hosting their first-ever Easter Egg Hunt at Nationals Park on Sunday. It will take place on the field after the Nationals take on the Philadelphia Phillies at 1:35 p.m.

Chamber of Commerce Endorses Nebraska Democrat
Pro-business group rarely backs Democrats for federal office

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said Nebraska Rep. Brad Ashford "has put politics aside in order to deliver results." (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In a rare move, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce backed a Democrat for Congress on Monday.  

Nebraska Rep. Brad Ashford, one of this year's most vulnerable incumbents , earned the pro-business group's endorsement at an event in the state's 2nd District.   

California Ballot Lets Incumbents Define Themselves
And most have no problem highlighting their ties to Congress

Democratic Rep. Julia Brownley uses the very specific "Ventura County Congresswoman” as her description on the California ballot. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

   

With congressional job approval hovering in the low teens, giving incumbents the opportunity to choose three words to describe themselves, and to refer to their current office, might seem like asking them to choose the words for their tombstone. But it’s a biennial tradition for the California delegation.  

‘14 Losers Looking for Second Chance in ‘16
A dozen House candidates hoping to turn narrow losses into future victories

Illinois Democrat Brad Schneider is running against Rep. Robert Dold to reclaim his old seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In sports and in politics, losing by a little can be harder than losing by a lot. At least a dozen 2016 candidates are hoping that their close calls in 2014 were more than a mirage of a missed opportunity.  

California Republican Paul Chabot could barely get national GOP strategists to acknowledge his existence last cycle when he lost to Democrat Pete Aguilar, 52-48 percent, in the 31st District open-seat race.