new hampshire

Disability Rights Advocates Concerned After DeVos’ Hearing
Came after cagey responses on integrated education

Disability rights advocates were concerned about DeVos' lack of understanding of law that governs education for students with disabilities (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call).

Disability rights advocates raised concerns after Education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos' confirmation hearing that she might not be committed to enforcing educational access for students with disabilities.

During the hearing for President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to run the Department of Education, Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., asked about whether schools that received federal money should have to comply with the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act.

Parsing New Senate Committee Rosters for Future Career Moves
Senators with 2020 ambitions, or 2018 re-election worries, hope for help from new assignments

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker have both landed plum committee assignments that could bolster their 2020 presidential prospects. (Bill Clark/Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photos)

There’s little doubt about committees being a stronger force for shaping legislation in the House than in the Senate. That is why so many lobbyists and lawmakers had their ears pressed to the door Wednesday while the Republican Steering Committee started filling openings on the most influential House panels. 

But when it comes to shaping national political careers, it’s the Senate where such assignments often represent the biggest value. That is why everyone already pondering the next Democratic presidential campaign, and before that, the senatorial balance of power after the 2018 midterms, has been parsing the committee rosters finalized this week.

Is There Space for a Republican EMILY’s List?
Litmus tests might not work the same way on the right

Alabama’s Martha Roby is one of only 26 Republican women in Congress. Some party members wonder if they need their own version of EMILY’s List to increase that number. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As recently as the second Reagan administration, Republicans had more women in Congress than Democrats. Then EMILY’s List took hold.

The political action committee, founded in 1984, dedicated itself to electing Democratic women who support abortion rights, becoming an influential force in primaries even when it clashed with the wishes of party leaders. Now, of the 104 women in the 115th Congress, 75 percent are Democrats.

Hail to the Chiefs
Incoming members look to different corners for chiefs of staff

Minh Ta, former chief of staff to Wisconsin Rep. Gwen Moore, is moving over to freshman Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester‘s office to serve as her chief. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With President-elect Donald Trump rounding out his Cabinet, new members of Congress have been going through a similar — although more predictable — process of filling out their congressional offices. 

The first and most important hires are almost always the chiefs of staff, who come from all walks of political life. Most commonly, new members tap their campaign managers or the chiefs of departing members. They also often retain members of their kitchen cabinets, or close personal advisers, as their chiefs. 

Word on the Hill: And They’re Off
115th Congress is underway

An aide walks on the fourth floor of the Russell Senate Office Building on the first day of the 115th Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It was the last Senate swearing-in for Joseph R. Biden Jr., and by now you’ve seen many photos and videos of the famously friendly vice president conducting the day. 

Word on the Hill’s favorite is a moment at the mock swearing-in in the old Senate chamber when Biden went in for a full kiss on the lips with Barbara Grassley, Iowa Republican Charles E. Grassley’s wife.

Here’s Whose 2016 Sucked the Most in Washington
From Hillary Clinton to Paul Ryan to Senate Democratic candidates

2016 in a word? Meh. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

DSCC Names First Female Executive Director
Mindy Myers ran the organization's independent expenditure efforts

Myers is the first woman to lead the DSCC. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Veteran operative Mindy Myers has been named the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s new executive director, becoming the first woman to lead the organization.

Myers oversaw the DSCC’s independent expenditure efforts during the 2016 campaign cycle. She has also managed Senate campaigns and worked for Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.

Pro-Gun Control Democrats Prep for Trump, GOP Congress
Democrats pushing to address gun violence remain hopeful

Connecticut lawmakers, from left, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Sen. Christopher S. Murphy and Rep. Elizabeth Esty, have been pushing Congress to address gun violence. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats pressing for legislation to address gun violence are reassessing their strategy after a year in which they staged high-visibility demonstrations in the House and Senate to demand action.

With Republicans in control of both chambers and the White House next year, Democrats and advocates predict they will have to pivot and block measures that expand gun owners’ rights. 

Trump Picks Tillerson For Secretary of State
Concerns arise about ties to Vladimir Putin

Rex Tillerson, chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp., was nominated by President-elect Donald Trump for secretary of State. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team early Tuesday announced that he would nominate ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to serve as his secretary of State.

“His tenacity, broad experience and deep understanding of geopolitics make him an excellent choice for Secretary of State,” Trump said in the announcement. “He will promote regional stability and focus on the core national security interests of the United States.”

K Street Eyes Outgoing Lawmakers for Jobs
Premium on figuring out Trump and who knows who

Nebraska Rep. Brad Ashford says he hadn’t determined whether K Street would be the right fit for him. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The more than 50 lawmakers who will be jobless in a few weeks may encounter an unpredictable market on K Street, should they consider taking a spin through the revolving door.

Business interests feel bullish on next year’s potentially frenzied legislative agenda, stocked with tax and health care overhauls and debate over new infrastructure projects. But most lobbying groups have a tenuous rapport with the incoming Trump administration and are evaluating their hiring through that lens.