Mazie K Hirono

When Flowers Blossomed on the Congressional Floors and Why They Were Banned
Once a fixture in the chambers, the adornments are now so rare

Flowers bloom in the concrete planter at the intersection of Delaware Avenue and D Street NE in Washington on April 9. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

“The proceedings were dull, but the flowers were bright and fragrant, and in profusion, and the air was full of the odor of roses, hyacinths, carnations, and geraniums.” No, this isn’t a description of a spring trudge around the Tidal Basin, but The New York Times’ description of the opening of a congressional session in the winter of 1893.

In modern times, the beginning of a session of Congress is marked by procedural votes and political grandstanding. And it was much the same at the turn of the 20th century, except with an infusion of scent and color.

Trump Orders New Syria Strikes After Assad Chemical Attack
U.S. warns Assad there will be further retaliation for future chemical attacks

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross fires a tomahawk land attack missile during a Trump administration strike on Syrian government targets last April. (Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert S. Price)

The U.S. military — together with French and British forces — struck three targets inside Syria on Friday night, just days after Bashar Assad’s government allegedly carried out a chemical attack on a Damascus suburb and amid new U.S.-Russia tensions.

In a televised address, President Donald Trump announced that strikes against Assad's forces were “now underway.”

Dems See ‘Unhinged’ Trump, GOP Split After Mueller Rant
Firing special counsel would be ‘like when Nixon fired Cox,’ Sen. Kaine says

President Donald Trump has mulled firing special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is investigating whether the Kremlin colluded with the president's 2016 campaign. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic lawmakers see a “desperate” Donald Trump lashing out at special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Republicans are split, with some defending a frustrated president and others warning him to calm down.

Members of Trump’s own party had little desire to spotlight the Monday evening rant in which he slammed the Mueller-led Justice Department probe into Russia’s 2016 election meddling and possible collusion with his campaign.

With Expectations Low, Select Budget Panel Prepares to Meet
Committee has broad mission, but few hard deadlines

Rep. Steve Womack, the new House Budget Committee chairman, is head of the select budget panel. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The select committee tasked with overhauling the budget and appropriations process is mandated by law to meet for the first time this week. But what they plan to talk about remains a mystery.

The law establishing the committee instructs the 16 members to provide “recommendations and legislative language that will significantly reform the budget and appropriations process” before Nov. 30, with an initial meeting to be held by March 11.

Senate Democrats Picked for Select Budget, Pension Committees

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer picked his choices for the bipartisan committees looking for solutions to budget and pension issues. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on Monday named eight senators to the select committees tasked with overhauling the budget and appropriations process as well as providing recommendations for restoring the solvency of multiemployer pension plans.

The New York Democrat selected Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Michael Bennet of Colorado, and Brian Schatz and Mazie K. Hirono, both of Hawaii, for the budget panel.

Blumenthal Dubious of White House Interim Security Clearance Trend
Between 30 and 40 White House staffers have not been issued full security clearance

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic lawmakers have grown increasingly concerned — and frustrated — over the White House’s position on matters of security confidentiality.

Last week, President Donald Trump withheld the release of a Democratic House Intelligence Committee memo rebutting one from the Republican side, citing the need for heavy redaction to protect national security interests.

Gosar Asks Capitol Police, DOJ to Arrest ‘Illegal Aliens’ at State of the Union
At least 27 Democratic lawmakers have invited ‘Dreamers’ as guests

Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar has asked the Capitol Police to arrest any “illegal aliens” at President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Paul Gosar has asked the Capitol Police and the Department of Justice to “consider checking identification” of everyone attending President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address and “arresting any illegal aliens in attendance,” the Arizona Republican announced Tuesday on Twitter.

The move is presumably aimed at so-called Dreamers who will be in attendance.

Schumer Told Franken Wednesday Morning That He Needed to Go
Calls by Senate Democrats for Franken to resign came after new allegations

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer told Minnesota Sen. Al Franken on Wednesday morning that he needed to resign. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer knew it was time for Minnesota Democrat Al Franken to leave the Senate even before the public calls for his resignation Wednesday.

The New York Democrat told Franken in a phone call that he needed to resign after Wednesday morning’s publication of further allegations of sexual misconduct by the senator, according to a person familiar with the conversation.

Cascade of Senate Democrats Call on Franken to Resign
Messages for Franken’s departure appear coordinated

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.,is facing new calls for his resignation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Nearly simultaneously, a series of Senate Democratic women issued calls for Democratic Sen. Al Franken to resign Wednesday morning including Patty Murray, a trusted lieutenant to Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and rising star Kamala Harris.

They were followed quickly by several Senate Democratic men and the head of the national Democratic Party.

Word on the Hill: Dine With the Presidents
Cummings sends off grads, and honoring veterans

“Dads of Democracy.” (Courtesy District Winery)

This weekend, why not eat with all the presidents watching you? District Winery’s new restaurant, Ana, has unique artwork in its dining area featuring 44 presidents.

Ana is located in Navy Yard on Water Street SE.