Mark Pocan

Word on the Hill: Embassy Chef Competition
Wreath-laying for women in the military

Belgium is one of the countries represented in the Embassy Chef Challenge this evening. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Decide for yourself which embassy has the best cuisine.

Thirty-nine chefs from countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas are competing in Events DC’s Embassy Chef Challenge at 6 p.m. today. Last year’s winner was the chef from the Embassy of the Philippines, and in 2015, the Embassy of Barbados took home the trophy.

Paul Ryan Still Wants to Re-do Medicare
Speaker has long championed changes to elderly health plan

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said the House could tackle Medicare changes in the next fiscal year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Friday it is possible the fiscal 2018 budget resolution could propose changes to the Medicare program.

Speaking on WISN 1130, a conservative radio station in Milwaukee, Ryan said he’s long championed changes to the federal health insurance program for people 65 and older.

Political Reaction to Comey Strikes Familiar Pattern
Democrats see opportunity, Republican responses vary

FBI Director James B. Comey’s firing has appeared to knock the issue of the GOP health care bill off the front pages. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A familiar pattern emerged after President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James B. Comey: Democrats pressured Republicans to weigh in, vulnerable Republicans tried to distance themselves, and others stayed quiet.

With the 2018 midterms still 18 months away, political operatives in both parties say it’s difficult to predict what issues will dominate the campaigns. But what followed Comey’s dismissal suggests that both parties may be continuing strategies they developed during last year’s elections: Democrats seek to tie Republicans to Trump, and Republicans try to stay above the the fray of the ever-changing news cycle. 

Some Democrats ‘Adopt a District’ to Talk Health Care
At least 4 House Democrats have held or plan to hold events in GOP districts

New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney talks with constituents during a town hall in Newburgh, N.Y., on June 11, 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

One House Democrat was in enemy territory Monday night, and he was on a mission.

“I’m Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney,” the New York lawmaker told a crowd gathered at an industrial event space in Kingston in a neighboring Empire State district. “Where the heck is your congressman?”

Mark Pocan to Talk Health Care in Paul Ryan’s District
House Democrats up the ante by heading to speaker’s home turf

Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan has accepted an invitation to attend a town hall in Kenosha on Friday despite it being in a neighboring congressional district represented by Speaker Paul D. Ryan.  

Members Show School Spirit as Sweet 16 Games Begin
Manchin, Cortez Masto go head-to-head while other members are torn

The Sweet 16 round of the NCAA March Madness starts today and members are showing their school spirit. And talking a little smack.

Sen. Joe Manchin III is the only member of Congress who is an alumnus of West Virginia University — he graduated with a business administration degree.

DCCC Announces 2018 Leadership Team
Expanded team includes returning members and some fresh faces

Washington Rep. Denny Heck will return as DCCC recruitment chairman for the 2018 cycle. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Luján announced his leadership team for the 2018 cycle on Thursday.

The 20-person team, shared first with Roll Call, is an expanded group from previous cycles. 

Republican Members Hear from Obamacare Supporters
Democrats hold rallies to defend Obama’s signature law

Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., called a swarm of Obamacare supporters at a constituent event "partisan activists." (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican members of Congress heard from constituents supportive of the Affordable Care Act over the three-day Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend as they take steps to repeal the law.

Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., saw hundreds of people at a constituent meeting event at a library in Aurora, according to one eyewitness account to 9News.

For 20, a New Year’s Boost in House Legislative Sway
How the winners of top committee assignments made their own luck

Keep an eye peeled for these House members with plum new committee assignments, from left to right, first row: Pete Aguilar, Earl L. “Buddy” Carter, Katherine M. Clark, Ryan A. Costello, Carlos Curbelo; second row: Suzan DelBene, Debbie Dingell, Brian Higgins, John Moolenaar, Grace Meng; third row: Dan Newhouse, Scott Peters, Mark Pocan, Raul Ruiz, David Schweikert; fourth row: Terri A. Sewell, Scott Taylor, Tim Walberg, Jackie Walorski and Mimi Walters. (Bill Clark, Meredith Dake-O’Connor and Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photos. Scott Taylor courtesy Scott Taylor for U.S. Congress)

Specialization seasoned with seniority is the surest recipe for a meaningful legislative career in the House, which is more than big enough to swallow all the dilettantes and short-timers without a trace. It’s finding a substantive niche, then fitting in over the long haul, that proves perennially frustrating for many members. 

But the goal of becoming a successful and substantive lawmaker just got a whole lot easier for a score of them.