John Conyers Jr

Ta-Nehisi Coates wants you to stop laughing about reparations
Writer takes aim at reparation critics like Mitch McConnell

Author Ta-Nehisi Coates testifies about reparations for the descendants of slaves during a hearing before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties on Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Dave Chappelle has a sketch imagining a future in which African Americans are awarded reparative damages due from centuries of American slavery and discrimination. The routine features newly rich black people “blowing” their payments on rims, menthol cigarettes and rap record labels. The sketch is a smorgasbord of stereotypes conveying the message that the concept of reparations is so preposterous that it’s OK to make fun of it.

But fewer people are laughing now. And that’s largely because of writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and his 2014 landmark essay “The Case for Reparations.” The 15,000-word article, published in The Atlantic, didn’t just deal with chattel slavery; it focused on housing discrimination and predatory lending practices that robbed many black Americans of their wealth. According to reparations proponents, that legacy is largely responsible for the ongoing racial wealth gap, wherein the typical white family owns 10 times the assets of the typical black family.

Clay wants Congressional Black Caucus to snub George H.W. Bush statue
Rep. William Lacy Clay and his father oppose the new sculpture on historically black Hampton University’s campus

From left, Reps. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., Cedric Richmond, D-La., Alma Adams, D-N.C., William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., and John Conyers, D-Mich., speak in front of the painting by Missouri high school student David Pulphus after it was rehung, January 10, 2017. The painting was removed from the Congressional Art Competition display in Cannon tunnel by Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. William Lacy Clay Jr. and his father, a former congressman, are asking the Congressional Black Caucus to follow their lead and oppose a sculpture of George H.W. Bush on the campus of historically black Hampton University.

Last weekend, the Hampton, Virginia university unveiled its new Legacy Park, which commemorates the 41st president along with a host of black leaders including Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Frederick Douglass and Barack Obama.

Brenda Jones Sworn Into the House for Remainder of Lame Duck
Questions surrounded her unwillingness to resign from Detroit City Council

Michigan Rep. Brenda Jones was sworn in Thursday to the House for a short term that expires at the end of the 115th Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Michigan Democrat Brenda Jones was sworn into the House on Thursday for a brief term that will expire at the end of the 115th Congress. Her tenure is a break with more than 100 years of precedence since she will continue to serve in another elected office simultaneously. 

Jones won a special election in Michigan’s 13th District earlier this month to fill the unexpired term of former Rep. John Conyers Jr., a Democrat who resigned last December following accusations of sexual misconduct. Jones had also run for the full term that begins next year but lost in the August Democratic primary to Rashida Tlaib, who easily won the general election on Nov. 6. 

There’s Some WTF in This Lame Duck Session of Congress
Appointed, maybe and not-yet, maybe-never members dot the Capitol

Members-elect from the 116th Congress pose for the freshman class photo on the East Front of the Capitol on November 14, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Every lame duck session of Congress is special in its own way, and the current one, operating alongside the orientation session for newly elected members of Congress, has its share of oddities and weirdness. 

Speaker Paul D. Ryan swore in new members of the House on Tuesday, those who won special elections to fill out unexpired terms, Joseph D. Morelle, D-N.Y., and Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Pa. Oh, and also an “appointed” member, Republican Kevin Hern of Oklahoma.  

Think Your Thanksgiving Is Lively? These 4 Siblings All Work in Congress
Republicans. Democrats. Turkey bacon. Welcome to a Hervig family feast

From left, Angela Hervig, Daniel Hervig, Janelle Relfe, her husband Mitch Relfe, and Mary Beth Hervig. All of them work on the Hill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

What has four siblings, two parties and five careers at the Capitol?

The Hervig family. And don’t even get them started on Thanksgiving.

Former Hill Staffers Who Were Victims of Sexual Harassment Call for Leaders to Act
Differences still being worked out between House bill passed bill in February and Senate version passed in May

Seven former Capitol Hill staffers penned a letter Thursday urging action on sexual harassment policies in Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Seven former congressional staffers who experienced sexual harassment or assault while working on Capitol Hill sent a letter to House and Senate leaders Thursday urging them to enact changes to harassment and discrimination policies. 

“We write to remind you, and every member of the 115th Congress, not only of the pain we suffered, but also of the shame and humiliation that current staffers must bear when they too are victimized by harmful and discriminatory actions from a member of Congress, a supervisor, or a colleague,” wrote the seven women.

Meet More Likely New Members of Congress
For all of them, winning the primary was tantamount to winning the general election

Clockwise from top left, Ben Cline, Anthony Gonzalez, Deb Haaland, Dan Meuser, Rashida Tlaib, David Trone, John Rose, Andy Levin, Michael Guest and Madeleine Dean. (Courtesy Bill Clark/D.A. Banks/CQ Roll Call, Anthony Gonzalez for Congress, Meuser for Congress, Rashida Tlaib for Congress, David Trone for Congress, John Rose for Congress, Andy Levin for Congress, Friends of Michael Guest and Madeleine Dean for United States Congress)

With control of the House up for grabs and the number of competitive seats growing to 86, many congressional hopefuls have two more months of grueling politicking to look forward to as they barrel toward Election Day.

But not all of them.

Something Old, Something New, Someone Appointed, Neither Blue
Republicans Jon Kyl and Troy Balderson sworn in on Wednesday

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., left, conducts a ceremonial swearing-in for Rep. Troy Balderson, R-Ohio, second from right, before being sworn in on the House floor Wednesday Sept. 5, 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Congress grew by two Republicans on Wednesday when Jon Kyl was sworn on the Senate side and Troy Balderson over in the House. 

Shortly after the Senate convened at noon and voted to confirm Elad Roisman to be a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Vice President Mike Pence swore in Kyl, a former Senate minority whip who retired in 2013 but was appointed on Tuesday to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

Goodlatte Family Feud Not the First to Befuddle Congress
Between Bernie’s son and the Conyers family, this election cycle has seen some familial discord

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., doesn’t see eye to eye with his son, as a pointed tweet revealed this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When Bobby Goodlatte, son of the Virginia congressman by the same name, spoke out this week in defiance of his father, it struck some as odd. But it wasn’t the first family feud to play out in Congress. Here are a few of the ones we’ve seen this year: 

Things got a little awkward for retiring Republican Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte over the weekend, after his son announced he had donated the maximum amount allowed to the Democrat running to replace him.

At the Races: Blizzard of Charges Hits Chris Collins
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Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter by subscribing here. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman