Stories by David Hawkings:
Feb. 23, 2015
The firing of Atlanta’s fire chief has already become a flashpoint in the debate over how to balance the religious beliefs of public officials against the civil rights of their constituents. Now the argument has spread to the Capitol — prompting questions about proper congressional roles in local controversies, especially when statewide electoral and legislative consequences lie just below the surface.
Feb. 18, 2015
Taxpayer dollars have been used to pay chaplains of the House and Senate since the spring of 1789, when the first of 106 different ordained Christian ministers were elected to those jobs.
Feb. 12, 2015
It looks like a refresher course is in order on how Congress handles a veto, procedurally and politically.
Feb. 11, 2015
If you believe the two most conservative justices, then the Supreme Court can nearly be counted on to declare that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to get married. And if their expectation proves true, that decision may well go down as the most significant nationwide expansion of civil rights where Congress was on the sidelines.
Feb. 10, 2015
Not often do a congressman and an anchorman see their careers simultaneously lurching onto parallel and perilous tracks. But that’s one way of looking at what’s happening with Aaron Schock and Brian Williams.
Feb. 9, 2015
Even at the center of the Beltway’s echo chamber, the preoccupation with a presidential election almost two years away is starting to sound a bit crazy. So maybe the best antidote is to start talking about an important political occasion more than five years in the future.
Feb. 5, 2015
Rand Paul is looking to run the most serious presidential campaign ever by a physician, but in the early going his medical degree is proving more of a complication than a benefit.
Feb. 3, 2015
In divided government, it’s nothing special for a presidential budget to be immediately dismissed as dead on arrival in Congress. It’s much rarer for the president himself to whack an important piece of his budget a full week before delivery.
Jan. 29, 2015
Yet another measurement of the current congressional polarization, and yet another reminder that nothing happens on the Hill without suspicion of political motive, arrived Wednesday on the op-ed page of the Akron Beacon Journal.
Jan. 28, 2015
You have to read to the 128th page of the 131-page rulebook governing the public’s movements and behavior on Capitol Hill. But there it is in Section 16.2.90, tucked between admonitions against flying a kite or taking a nap in the shadow of the Dome.
Jan. 27, 2015
The first voting is almost a full year away, and already the presidential campaign is upsetting the regular rhythms of Congress.
Jan. 25, 2015
This is one of the most pivotal weeks in Harry Reid’s personal life, not to mention his congressional career.
Jan. 22, 2015
On the topic of authorizing the use of military force against the Islamic State, the state of play between Congress and President Barack Obama is reminiscent of some famous cartoon humor from a century ago.
Jan. 21, 2015
Hours before he took the podium, whatever President Barack Obama said Tuesday night was getting eclipsed on the Hill by all the excited chatter about the next person likely to speak before a joint meeting of Congress.
Jan. 20, 2015
This year there are more defensible rationales than ever for members of Congress to miss the State of the Union address. But there doesn’t seem to be any groundswell of absenteeism in the works.
Jan. 15, 2015
“We got magic to do, just for you, we got foibles and fables to portray as we go along our way.”
Jan. 13, 2015
The dead giveaway, if it wasn’t a total head fake, was when Paul D. Ryan showed up to begin his ninth term in the House sporting a blossoming beard.
Jan. 13, 2015
It’s safe now to forget about the “red state four,” the quartet of Democrats whose defeats in conservative-leaning states last year assured the Senate GOP takeover. And the inevitable creation of the next “gang of six” (or eight, or 12, or whatever) is at least one legislative impasse in the future.
Jan. 12, 2015
The House Democrats undeniably remain the fourth and smallest wheel in the congressional machine. And they’re still struggling to apply enough internal political grease to get their pieces of the legislative engine out of neutral.
Jan. 7, 2015
With the House once again preoccupied by Speaker John A. Boehner’s future, the snowy hoopla of opening day looks to have been the final event that sealed Steve Scalise’s fate: He is going to survive as majority whip for the indefinite future.
Jan. 6, 2015
If freshman week back in November was the Hill’s equivalent of college orientation, then the formal convening of each Congress is the Capitol’s analogue to the first day of school.
Dec. 22, 2014
The final flurry of activity aside, it remains undeniable that members of the outgoing Congress accomplished precious little as legislators. Less noticed, but almost as clear, is how the “do-nothing” label also may be affixed to their efforts at policing themselves.
Dec. 11, 2014
For a sense of what this climactic week for the 113th Congress feels like, a well-timed visit to the Capitol’s main subway platform will do the trick.
Dec. 9, 2014
Now that Louisiana’s voters have added their crushing coda to this year’s Republican sweep, many of the ways in which next year’s Senate will be different have locked in place.
Dec. 8, 2014
With Senate Republicans meeting Tuesday to debate how to handle the filibuster in the 114th Congress following last year's "nuclear option," Roll Call looks at a June 2013 speech from Minority Leader Mitch McConnell threatening to maintain a reduced threshold for advancing legislation if Democrats changed Senate rules.
“There’s not a doubt in my mind that if the majority breaks the rules of the Senate to change the rules of the Senate with regard to nominations, the next majority will do it for everything,” McConnell said on the floor on June 18, 2013. “I wouldn’t be able to argue, a year and a half from now if I were the majority leader, to my colleagues that we shouldn’t enact our legislative agenda with a simple 51 votes, having seen what the previous majority just did. I mean there would be no rational basis for that.”