Lawmakers Push for Sexual Harassment Bill in Spending Package
Bipartisan coalition, Speaker want legislation included in omnibus

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wisc., left, and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., arrive to hold a press conference following the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans and Democrats are making a last-minute bid to add legislation that would address the sexual harassment of staffers by members of Congress on the omnibus appropriations bill.

With dozens of policy issues still in flux as part of the full-year fiscal 2018 spending package, some lawmakers are upset by indications a bill that would implement robust sexual harassment policies in Congress is currently not part of the omnibus. The House passed the anti-sexual harassment measure, as well as sweeping rules changes aimed at protecting staffers, by voice vote on Feb. 6.

After Dog Dies On United Airlines Flight Sen. John Kennedy Proposes Bill
‘Violators will face significant fines. Pets are family.’

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., will propose legislation to prevent airlines from putting animals in overhead storage bins. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. John Kennedy, like most Americans, was outraged when he read the news an English bulldog puppy had died in overhead storage on a United Airlines flight this week.

So outraged that he is proposing legislation to outlaw airlines from putting dogs and other animals in overhead bins. Officials would face significant fines if they do not comply.

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.

Rep. Patrick Meehan, Staple of the Game, Missing From Congressional Hockey Roster
The 10th annual game puck drops Thursday

Pennsylvania Rep. Patrick Meehan, right, battles for the puck during the fourth annual Congressional Hockey Challenge in 2012. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers are gearing up for the 10th annual Congressional Hockey Challenge on Thursday with one major teammate missing from their roster.

Arguably Congress’ biggest hockey fanatic and a former professional hockey referee, Rep. Patrick Meehan is not slated to play. The Pennsylvania Republican is facing accusations of sexual harassment and using taxpayer funds to settle a misconduct case with a former staffer. He is not running for re-election.

Humor on a Congressional Curve
Separating the ridiculous from the non-ridiculous with Alexandra Petri

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., CNN's Deirdre Walsh and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., yuk it up. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Welcome back to Political Theater, Roll Call’s newsletter and podcast on the spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

Humor is sometimes the only way to deal with serious topics.

Companies, Nonprofits Put Brakes on Foreign Lobbying Bills
Despite momentum to revamp foreign lobbying disclosures, opposition remains

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s indictment has revived interest in the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bipartisan group of senators on Thursday introduced an overhaul to foreign lobbying rules, while a similar, once fast-moving measure appears temporarily stalled in the House amid pressure from outside interests.

The new bill from Texas Republican John Cornyn and California Democrat Dianne Feinstein indicates that momentum to revamp foreign lobbying disclosures persists as the Russia probe has kept concerns about international influences in the spotlight. But opposition remains.

Trump Chides GOP Senator for Being ‘Afraid of the NRA’
President signals support for bill raising age limit on assault rifle purchases

President Donald Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday. He met with lawmakers Wednesday about gun violence and school safety. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump said Wednesday he would seriously consider signing legislation raising the age limit for assault rifle purchases, and chided a key GOP senator for being “afraid of the NRA.”

He also urged lawmakers who have authored various bills to address school shootings and gun violence to consolidate their ideas in a single bill that he can sign into law.

Bulletproof Vests, Security Guards Approved for House Members
Hiring a security detail is “an ordinary and necessary reimbursable expense,” the new guidelines say

House Administration Chairman Gregg Harper, shown here in November, had a busy Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House lawmakers can use taxpayer funds to buy bulletproof vests and other security equipment, under a resolution approved by the House Administration Committee on Tuesday.

The resolution also allows members to hire security personnel for events such as town halls, to guard their district offices during business hours, and to accompany them on official business. 

Senators Target Physicians, Drugmakers in Opioid Bill
Bipartisan group hopes to make headway on drug crisis

Sens. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., right, and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., were among the senators introducing legislation to address the opioid crisis. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bipartisan group of senators on Tuesday introduced legislation that would waive limits on physicians treating addiction patients and place restrictions on how long a provider could initially prescribe opioids to patients.

The bill, known as CARA 2.0, would address the opioid epidemic from several angles, including both health care providers and drugmakers. It aims to build on earlier opioid legislation, which cleared in 2016 as part of a broader health care measure that included mental health changes and aimed to spur new medical treatments.

House Concealed-Carry Reciprocity Measure Still Roadblock to Gun Legislation
House GOP leadership not committing to decoupling concealed-carry measure from background check bill

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., holds the door as he arrives for the House GOP leadership press conference following the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A measure that would allow citizens with concealed-carry permits in one state to carry their guns into states with stricter gun laws looms as a roadblock for legislative action to bolster the criminal background check system for gun purchases.

The Republican-controlled House passed a bill in December mostly on party lines that attached the so-called concealed-carry reciprocity measure to the Senate’s “Fix-NICS” bill aimed at bolstering enforcement of the current federal background check system.