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David Hawkings


Senior Editor David Hawkings writes the “Hawkings Here” blog and column for Roll Call.

His aim is to provide penetrating, non-partisan and forward-looking analysis of policies being formed on Capitol Hill – and the people and politics driving the debates.

Hawkings has been a passionate Congress-watcher at CQ Roll Call for two decades.

Before his current assignment, he spent two years as founding editor of the company’s Daily Briefing and six years as managing editor of CQ Weekly.

He’s also been senior editor for legislative affairs; the magazine’s economics editor and its congressional affairs editor; and co-editor of “Politics in America,” the signature reference work on members of Congress.

He offers analysis every Monday and Friday on NPR’s Washington affiliate, WAMU, and is a regular guest analyst on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC.

Before joining the company, he was a correspondent in the Washington Bureau of Thomson Newspapers and a reporter, columnist and editor at the San Antonio Light.

He’s a native of New York and a graduate of Bucknell University.

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Stories by David Hawkings:

Capitol Hill's Women Hold Power Beyond Numbers

May 18, 2015

Almost every congressional campaign season opens with the potential for some political firsts. And, with just a few words uttered on the West Coast last week, this cycle has already made a bit of history and will have a shot at making even more.

Carper's High-Test Week, on Two Very Different Tracks

May 14, 2015

Thomas R. Carper is having one heck of a week.

Trade Votes of Past Point to Obama's Troubles Ahead

May 13, 2015

It’s too soon to label the first test vote in the great trade debate of 2015 as a harbinger of total collapse ahead. But the prognosticators, the party whips and the president already have some tally sheets providing strong evidence of a cliffhanger in the making.

After Supercharged Start, Tom Cotton Stands Alone (Video)

May 10, 2015

Tom Cotton marks two milestones this week. As of Monday, more than half of his senatorial career will have elapsed (63 days!) since his pugilistic letter warning Iran against cutting a nuclear deal with the Obama administration. And Wednesday is the Arkansas Republican’s 38th birthday, another reminder he’s the youngest senator in two decades.

Reid Bemoans 'Unconscionable' Backlog of Judicial Nominees

May 6, 2015

Ahead of a Wednesday Senate Judiciary hearing on nominees to fill federal court vacancies, Minority Leader Harry Reid slammed the “unconscionable” backlog, calling it an “injustice to the American people.”

“As of today, there are 55 federal court vacancies, 24 of which are classified as emergencies,” Reid said. “At the beginning of the year, there were only 12 judicial emergencies … It’s no wonder Republicans are scrambling for cover on judicial nominations. They are scrambling because they have been ignoring their constitutional duty.”

Reid also highlighted the delay on L. Felipe Restrepo’s nomination, who was chosen by President Barack Obama six months ago for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

“There’s no reason that he’s held up for six months, other than the Republicans just simply want to do everything they can to create problems for President Obama,” he said.

Former Speaker Jim Wright Dead at 92

May 6, 2015

Jim Wright, the 56th speaker of the House and the only one ever forced out of office by scandal, died Wednesday. He was 92 and died in his native Fort Worth, Texas, which he represented for more than 34 years until his resignation in 1989.

New Congress, New Round in Senate Fight Over Obama's Judges (Video)

May 5, 2015

In the long-running judicial wars between the Senate and the White House, the first skirmish of the year is flaring into the open this week.

Sanders Asks Democrats to Pick Proud Non-Democrat

April 30, 2015

Updated 11:05 a.m. | When Bernard Sanders declared his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination, he joined a lengthening roster of gadflies who have run in order to push the party to the left.

What Gay Marriage Briefs Tell Us About Congress

April 29, 2015

Though only a few lawmakers participated in the rallies during Tuesday’s oral arguments, more than half the members of Congress had already formalized their views on the same-sex marriage cases before the Supreme Court.

Early Votes Reveal Positioning for 'Blue State Five'

April 28, 2015

The nation officially has its 83rd attorney general with Loretta Lynch having taken the oath of office Monday morning. But before her five-month nomination odyssey fades into the rearview mirror, it’s worth noting the pivotal part played by an election 19 months down the road.

Signs of Life, but Don't Expect Bipartisan Bloom

April 26, 2015

If there was ever a sound reason for a congressional leader from one party to plant a kiss on the cheek of a leader from the other side, it was in the Rose Garden last week.

A Few Delegations Newly Punching Above Their Weight

April 23, 2015

The newest Roll Call Clout Index reveals that, even more than before, the largest potential for influence belongs to the states with the most people and therefore the biggest delegations. So it’s worth paying special attention to the smaller places with lawmaker contingents positioned to punch highest above their weight.

Delegation Clout Shifts in Aftermath of Earmark Era

April 22, 2015

Four years after lawmakers gave up earmarking, the last of the billions once dedicated to pet projects has effectively been spent, and one result is a changed roster of states laying claim to the most clout in Congress.

Vote Studies Track Presidential Hopefuls in Real Time

April 20, 2015

Eight years ago, the last time sitting senators launched competing quests for a presidential nomination, each touted their congressional records as evidence they were more the true agent of change than the other one.

Where Graham Sees Room for a Fourth GOP Senator in White House Field

April 15, 2015

The GOP presidential field is now, officially, thicker with senators than at any time in the past two decades. All three with declared candidacies have viable paths to the nomination — underscoring the bewilderment about why a fourth Senate Republican, who would be among the longest of long shots, is considering joining the hunt.

Four Reasons Republicans Seem Reticent in Menendez Case

April 13, 2015

It’s the first federal bribery indictment of a sitting senator in almost a quarter century, and the defendant is among the most combative and combustible Democrats in the Capitol. So why have Republicans spent the better part of the past two weeks with their hands over their mouths?

Can Ex-Members Sustain Success as Mayors?

April 1, 2015

It’s not only the season’s most consequential political event, but also a rare local election with a big rooting interest on the Hill. Voters in the nation’s third-biggest city are deciding next week if they still want to be led by a onetime member of congressional leadership.

Voting Marathon: More Test Marketing Than Attack Ads

March 26, 2015

Senators readying their patience, their reading material and even their bladders for the annual ritual known as the “vote-a-rama” may rightfully be getting ready to ask, “Will it be worth it?”

Why the 'Doc Fix' Deal Has Senate in Something of a Fix

March 25, 2015

The odds have crested the 50-50 threshold for what would surely become one of the year’s biggest legislative achievements — an overhaul of how doctors and other Medicare providers get paid. And the usual encrusted ideological positioning, at both ends of the political spectrum, is no longer the biggest obstacle.

A History of Curiosities, Clout for Wisconsin Delegation

March 24, 2015

The death last week of Robert W. Kastenmeier, who evolved in the House from a prominent peace crusader into a premier intellectual property protector, is the freshest reminder of an odd truth about the modern Congress.

Why the GOP Will Likely Attack the Potemkin White House

March 23, 2015

If budget resolutions are aspirational, sketching the big picture Congress envisions for government, then spending bills are the polar opposite: Blueprints that lawmakers micromanage down to the smallest line item.

Republican Budget Is Governance Test

March 18, 2015

The annual budget resolution has several purposes. In theory, it’s a mission statement on the proper role of government and a mirror on priorities for the coming decade. At a more practical level, it decides the limit on lawmaker-driven spending for the coming year and smoothes the path toward ambitious changes in federal policy.

Lessons for This Year in Voting Patterns of Last Year

March 16, 2015

Given that old adage, “You can’t tell where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been,” casting a close eye over last year’s congressional voting patterns is in order.

Republican Opposition to Lynch Might Make History

March 12, 2015

The most amazing thing about the Loretta Lynch story is that the congressional community no longer views it as amazing.

GOP Aim: Make Menendez's Troubles About Reid

March 10, 2015

Republicans may not realistically smell another Senate seat about to become available, but they’re moving quickly on the very real scent of political blood. And their nose for scandal has them salivating at more than the fate of Sen. Robert Menendez, who may be only weeks from facing federal corruption charges.

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