Stories by David Hawkings:
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.”
Dec. 8, 2014
Beyond the sort of brinkmanship that always grabs public attention in the waning hours of the legislative year, one story out of Congress is going to fascinate the insiders and may infuriate the institutionalists.
Dec. 4, 2014
Perhaps the last important contribution Max Baucus made to the culture of the Senate, where he spent 35 years, was to offer a blunt truth before becoming the American envoy in Beijing.
Dec. 3, 2014
Yawner: Two first-term Republican senators announced Tuesday they’re seeking re-election in 2016.
Dec. 2, 2014
Maybe if it was called “the gridlock slayer” instead of “budget reconciliation,” more people in the Capitol’s orbit would be getting excited about the revival of a form of legislative magic that hasn’t been practiced in almost five years.
Dec. 1, 2014
One of the older truisms routinely applied to politicians is, “Where you stand is where you sit.” In other words, their ideology flows clearly from their life experience. And on Capitol Hill, there is this corollary: “Where you sit is what you do.”
Nov. 19, 2014
Maybe the lovers of congressional curiosities still haven’t mined the 2014 election results for all the political and institutional trivia pushed toward the surface.
Nov. 18, 2014
For those fond of congressional political and historical arcana (and count me among them) every second November produces a treasure trove of statistics and other fun facts — some that help illustrate the trends of the election past, others that point toward likely story lines of the Congress to come.
Nov. 17, 2014
The next two years may be when Joe gets his last, best chance to help run the show.
Nov. 12, 2014
The notion that Congress is like college usually gets highlighted a few times each year: When members are rushing to meet several legislative deadlines before a lengthy recess, they tend to act very much like students at the end of the semester — pulling all-nighters to cram for exams and churn out papers assigned months ago.
Nov. 6, 2014
Congratulations, all you members-elect. Now, about your freshman years: What is it you expect might actually get accomplished with the help of your “Yes” votes, or despite your presence in the “No” column?
Oct. 31, 2014
For those who have been immersed in the midterm campaign since its inception, the suspense in the final hundred hours is particularly intense. But even for people with only a passing (or late-blooming) interest, the wait for Election Day is starting to get acute.
Oct. 28, 2014
After the probability of a Republican takeover of the Senate (for the first time in eight years) and the possibility that more than six governors will be defeated (for the first time in 30 years) comes the other big subplot of the midterm elections: Will Republicans win more than 56 percent of House districts for only the second time since World War II?
Oct. 15, 2014
Twenty days out, and the sum of all the polling, computer modeling and intangibles says that both Senate storylines are still possible. The headline defining the midterm elections could end up being written by a few thousand people scattered west of the Mississippi and east of the Rockies — voters who may not decide until the afternoon of Nov. 4 whether to head to the local library or school cafeteria to cast the decisive ballots.
Oct. 7, 2014
They are matches made in Democratic political consultant heaven: More than a dozen statewide candidates whose fortunes could turn on turnout by women, each paired with the woman getting ready to run again toward what she’s dubbed “that highest, hardest glass ceiling in American politics.”
Oct. 1, 2014
The latest round of Cabinet handicapping is well underway, a welter of uninformed speculation (mixed with some White House trial balloons) about who might be nominated as attorney general. And the names of three Democratic senators keep getting bandied about — although they’ve all, with varying degrees of intensity, denied interest in the appointment.
Sept. 30, 2014
Even before the government started shutting down, one year ago Tuesday night, it seemed a sure bet that throughout the coming campaign congressional Republicans would be made to rue the political consequences of their showdown strategy.
Sept. 27, 2014
James A. Traficant Jr., an Ohio Democrat whose career as a colorfully combative congressional gadfly ended in 2002 when he became the fifth House member ever expelled, died Saturday at a hospital in his native Youngstown. He was 73 and had been critically injured Sept. 23, when the tractor he was driving at his family farm flipped over.