staffers

Senate Moms group balances parenting and politics

Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, here in April 2018 with her newborn baby, Maile, is just one of many moms working in the Senate. A staffer group Senate Moms meets every second Tuesday of the month to discuss parenting issues. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

On Tuesday afternoon in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, nearly 30 women from various Senate offices gathered over lunch, and you’d hardly know they worked in opposing offices. Republican and Democratic policies weren’t necessarily among the topics of conversation, but “co-sleeping,” on the other hand, was.

That was part of the conversation in the most recent “Senate Moms” group which convenes on the second Tuesday of every month (with the exception of August) and while it sounds like a club exclusive to mothers, it’s far from maternal-only; Dads and expecting parents are welcome, too.

GOP group defends ad showing burning image of AOC during Democratic debate
Elizabeth Heng said ad “is about fighting the socialist agenda”

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized as racist the ad by a new GOP group that ran during Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The founder of a new Republican group is defending an ad that aired during Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate that featured a burning image of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The New York Democrat criticized the spot as racist. 

New Faces GOP was founded by Elizabeth Heng, who lost a House race in California last cycle. Heng, who is the PAC’s executive director, was featured in the 30-second TV ad, which ran both during and after the debate on ABC. 

Rep. Chris Collins pleads not guilty to revised indictment, trial still set for February 2020
New York Republican was indicted last August on charges of insider trading and lying to the FBI

Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., pleaded not guilty Thursday to a revised set of charges related to insider trading and lying to the FBI. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Chris Collins pleaded not guilty to a revised indictment on Thursday in New York, where he, his son Cameron Collins and Stephen Zarsky, the father of Cameron Collins’ onetime fiancee, were initially indicted in August 2018 on insider trading charges and lying to the FBI.

Prosecutors have dropped three of the original eight securities fraud charges against Collins and two against his son and Zarsky in order to speed up the pretrial process in time for the trial slated for Feb. 3, 2020.

Eastern Market can haz ‘Eat Brgz’
Concept burger shop stretches boundaries with custom menu

Eat Brgz owner Brandon Gaynor discusses with Heard on the Hill his take on burgers and milkshakes. (Nathan Ouellette/CQ Roll Call)

Brandon Gaynor didn’t completely know the “how” behind opening a restaurant, but he had a good feeling about the “when.”

The launch of his Eastern Market burger shop during August recess “allowed us a little bit of a ramp-up period,” the former investment analyst-turned-restaurateur told me as we sat down in his new joint at 250 7th Street SE.

With Congress back, Trump tells staff he doesn’t want another shutdown
Hill envoy details to-do list, which could face obstacles, including from White House

President Donald Trump has told his staff to avoid a government shutdown, but several obstacles remain to getting spending deals, as well as other legislative priorities. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House has an ambitious autumn and winter legislative agenda that includes avoiding another government shutdown and winning approval of a sweeping trade pact — but a key official says legislation aimed at preventing mass shootings is not certain to move this year.

Both chambers returned Monday from a rather bloody August recess in which more than 40 people died during mass shootings in four states. Members of both parties say they want to move some kind of bill aimed at curbing gun violence amid polling that shows large majorities of Republican and Democratic voters want Washington to act. But no plan that could pass the House and Senate — and get President Donald Trump’s signature — has emerged.

Biden and Beto are like night and day — except when they’re potato-potahto
Just ask the Carolinas, where one woman says she’d ‘vote for a tree stump’ over Trump

Democratic voters have plenty of choices, as different as night and day — or Joe Biden and Beto ORourke. But to say the two candidates were on different tracks in their recent, though certainly not last, Carolinas swing does not tell the whole story, Curtis writes. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — It was a difference in styles and generations. In a Carolinas swing, first there was Beto O’Rourke with a town hall at a brewery in Charlotte, North Carolina — more like an informal gathering among many new friends. The next day there was Joe Biden with a large crowd at a historically black college in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

It was a day and a world apart last week, though in both cases, supporters uniformly praised a certain quality in their chosen candidate — authenticity.

‘American Idol’ tryouts test patience of DC federal workers
Some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this. Others think it’s ‘bulls---’

The American Idol bus parked outside the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. (Clyde McGrady/CQ Roll Call)

If you enjoy hearing people randomly shout-sing ballads and practice Mariah Carey-like vocal runs, then Wednesday morning at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington was your own personal heaven.

“American Idol,” now in its 18th (!) season, held open auditions at the federal building named after a president who knew a thing or two about performance.

Ted Cruz takes ‘deep state’ gospel to establishment Washington
After pro forma duties, Texas Republican rails against State, Treasury departments

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz on Tuesday warned of deep state influence while speaking at the Hudson Institute in Washington. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

During a quick swing through Washington, Sen. Ted Cruz took time Tuesday to tout his belief that the so-called deep state within the Treasury and State departments is working to confound the Trump administration’s efforts to end the Iran nuclear deal.

After presiding over an uneventful pro forma session at the Senate, the Texas Republican spoke at an event at the Hudson Institute focused on foreign policy and tensions between conservatives who believe in intervention and those who take a more isolationist approach.

Ghost town: Capitol Hill edition

A sign in front of Cups & Company is pictured in Russell Building during congressional recess on Thursday, August 29, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

August recess is drawing to a close, and we found ourselves wondering just how empty the Capitol is while all the members and staffers are gone.

Democratic voters just want to beat Trump. Why are their leaders making it so hard?
Biden’s mix-ups aren’t great, but they’re nothing compared to Trump. The man just tried to buy Greenland

Democratic candidates should stop cudgeling each other and keep their eye on the presidential prize, Murphy writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Paging all Democratic candidates, campaign staffers and activists: Do yourselves a favor before it’s too late. Repeat after me: “But that’s nothing compared to Donald Trump.” Use this simple phrase every time you feel the need to criticize another Democratic candidate, or even your own candidate (you know who you are) in the press.

Because lately, two standards for 2020 contenders have emerged in the narratives that dominate campaign coverage. First, there’s the higher, tougher, almost impossible-to-meet standard used for Democrats. And then there’s the lower, he-always-does-that-so-what-do-you-expect measurement saved for the president they’re all trying to replace. If you’re not careful, your critiques of each other’s unfitness for office will send each other’s negatives soaring before Trump even has to get started on the job.