Photos of the Week: Waiting for Spring in Washington
The week of March 12 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

Evelyn Black, two-and-a half, of Capitol Hill, walks through about 7,000 pairs of shoes displayed on the East Lawn of the Capitol on Tuesday to represent the approximately 7,000 children who were killed by guns since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Tariff Fallout Could Shape Midterm Battlegrounds
Political observers in both parties are taking stock of potential effects

President Donald J. Trump with Rick Saccone speaks to supporters at the Atlantic Aviation Hanger on March 10 in Moon Township, Pa. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

The Trump administration’s controversial plan for new tariffs may seep into the debates of competitive House races — well beyond Pennsylvania steel country — that will determine in November which party controls the chamber.

Opponents of the tariffs on steel and aluminum also warn that if the administration carries through with the proposal and if other nations retaliate, the issue could spill into even more congressional districts, including in Republican-leaning farm country.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?

Servers prepare drinks before the start of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s reception in honor of Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, in the Rayburn Room of the Capitol on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating and this is the place for those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

In Like a Conor Lamb
Democrats are over the Moon (Township) over the returns in Pennsylvania

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., at Wednesday's anti-gun violence rally at the Capitol, in animated. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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As Democrat Conor Lamb zeroed in on an unlikely victory in the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, his likely future colleagues back in Washington could hardly contain their glee. 

House Democrats Punt on Leadership Question After Anti-Pelosi Candidate Wins
Caucus members say individual candidates should decide whether to run on calls for a leadership change

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., left, hosts a reception in honor of Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, in the Capitol on Wednesday. The Democrats’ most likely new member ran amid promises to not support her as caucus leader. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After four straight elections falling short of the majority, House Democrats have had their fair share of discussions about their caucus leadership and whether it’s time for a change. But with momentum on their side in the current cycle, they’re not yet ready to revisit those talks — even after the strong special election performance of a Democratic candidate who pledged not to support Nancy Pelosi in another bid for Democratic leader.

Democrat Conor Lamb led Republican Rick Saccone in Pennsylvania’s 18th District special election, with all precincts reporting but the final outcome still undetermined at press time. Lamb’s expected victory is significant in a district President Donald Trump carried by nearly 20 points in 2016, although Republicans downplayed the chances of Democrats replicating that success in similar districts.

In Shift, White House Embraces Art of the Possible
GOP source: ‘You’re just not going to pass legislation in 2018’

President Donald Trump speaks at Republicans’ retreat in West Virginia on Feb. 1 as Speaker Paul D. Ryan and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise look on. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump and White House officials, with their modest response to school shootings and in other recent remarks, have shelved bold demands of Congress for asks rooted more in the art of the possible.

The president started 2018 by pushing members of both parties to swing for the fences on a sweeping immigration deal, even offering them political cover when he told them he would “take all the heat you want to give me.”

Opinion: Building a Water Workforce for America’s Future
Infrastructure investment must include training for those who manage our critical water systems

It is critical to invest in training for the engineers and technicians  who keep the nation’s critical water systems in operation, Tonko writes. Pictured above, the Kensico Dam and Reservoir in Valhall, N.Y. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images file photo)

America faces a tough reality when it comes to our drinking water infrastructure. Eighty-six percent of U.S. households today depend on public water, and the EPA has estimated that nearly $400 billion will be needed in the coming decades just to keep those systems in working order.

Unfortunately, underground pipes and pumps aren’t the only critical components of these systems that are being overlooked. Even as water system failures hit communities all across the U.S., the professionals who keep these beleaguered systems operating safely are aging too. Many are already approaching retirement. In fact, some 37 percent of water utility workers and 31 percent of wastewater utility workers are expected to retire in the next decade.

Senate Passes Bank Deregulation Bill, House May Seek Additions
More than a dozen Democratic senators joined all Republicans

Senate Banking Chairman Michael D. Crapo sponsored the measure that would ease regulations on all but the biggest banks. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate voted Wednesday to pass a bill that would be the biggest bank deregulation since 1999 and would roll back parts of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul.

More than a dozen Democrats joined the Republicans to pass the bill, sending it to the House, where conservative Republicans may seek to attach further provisions to roll back the 2010 law. Republicans will be trying to straddle the line between the extensive reversal of bank regulation that they seek and keeping on board the Senate Democrats who will be needed to clear the measure.

Republicans Downplay Pennsylvania Race, But Note Tough Road Ahead
GOP huddled Wednesday to discuss the special election

Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, chairs the NRCC and addressed the conference Wednesday morning. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans downplayed Tuesday’s special election in Pennsylvania, where a Democrat is poised to win in a solidly GOP district. But it’s another reminder of the tough midterm election cycle ahead, they said.

The race in Pennsylvania’s 18th District had still not been called late Wednesday morning. Democrat Conor Lamb currently leads GOP state Rep. Rick Saccone by 627 votes in a district President Donald Trump carried by 20 points in 2016. Republicans were bracing for a loss in the final days of the race and were already placing blame on Saccone’s lackluster fundraising.

Trump Upends GOP Plan to Avoid ‘Scary’ Appearance
‘This is the commander in chaos,’ Sen. Robert Menendez says

President Donald Trump talks with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn after his State of the Union address in January. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The ousting of a secretary of State once elicited more than shrugs from lawmakers, but not in the era of Donald Trump. His erratic approach to the presidency has become the norm, and that could run counter to the best efforts of his party’s congressional leaders.

Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday morning via a tweet, announcing he would replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. The move, in the works for months as the two clashed, came as House and Senate Republican leaders were hoping for several weeks of legislative progress — and even some high-profile bipartisan votes. For instance, the Senate was preparing for votes on a financial regulation bill that had broad support among Republicans and the backing of key Democrats.