congressional-operations

New rules for Airbnb could squeeze intern housing options
New D.C. law tightening home-sharing rules could increase sticker shock for students looking to intern on Capitol Hill

A sign advertises an apartment for rent in D.C.’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. A new D.C. law tightening rules on home sharing services could increase sticker shock for students looking to intern on Capitol Hill.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Home-sharing services like Airbnb are facing a crackdown by D.C. lawmakers who want to stop real estate investors from using buildings as de facto hotels. But what impact will a potential crunch on short-term housing have for interns looking for rentals in the District?

It can be daunting for interns seeking a place to stay in one of the nation’s most expensive cities. The initial excitement of landing that dream internship can quickly turn into panic, especially for students who need housing on short notice.

How to kill time on the Hill
Because sometimes there’s more people than work

An intern for Maryland Democrat Chris Van Hollen pets a dog in 2012. Take it from us: Killing time on the Hill is even easier than it looks. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

First off, congratulations! Landing an internship is a big deal — whether you’re here because you applied through a rigorous selection process with essays and interviews, or because your donor father, while teeing up his ball on the ninth hole, casually mentioned to your home-state senator that you’d like to “try out” D.C.

Everyone says the Hill is busy, busy, busy, but here’s the dirty little secret: Most days are filled with LOTS of mind-numbing drudgery and boredom. There are only so many angry phone calls you can take. There are only so many four-page constituent letters ending with 10 exclamation points you can respond to. Eventually, you need a mental break. Chances are you’re reading this because you’re taking one now (or you’re bored).

From intern to ‘win’-tern: How to finish your Capitol Hill internship on top
Don’t sweat the small stuff while you’re sweating in the D.C. heat

This intern for Rep. Gregg Harper got stuck with sign-in duty in 2018. Approach every day like it’s your last one on the Hill, even if the tasks are menial, former interns say. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congratulations! You are minutes away from finishing your summer internship on Capitol Hill. Not only have you woken up at ungodly hours after too many margs at Tortilla Coast, but you’ve managed to beat everyone to the office by 30 minutes. You’ve mastered the fastest route between the House and Senate office buildings, and you’ve crushed coffee orders like the barista you could’ve been if it weren’t for this internship.

So, what’s next, you ask? You mean... you don’t have it figured out?

These Democratic women don’t want to be ‘show ponies’
Political Theater: Episode 73

Democratic House freshmen banding together to help each other raise money to keep their seats in 2020 are, from left, Reps. Mikie Sherrill, Abigail Spanberger, Elissa Slotkin, and Chrissy Houlahan, along with Rep. Elaine Luria. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Five Democratic freshmen, all women with military or intelligence backgrounds, are banding together to help each other fundraise for their 2020 races. They all flipped Republican districts in 2018, and they know winning districts like theirs is the key to holding and expanding the House majority in 2020. 

After a few months in Congress, they’ve figured out who are the “workhorses” and who are the “show ponies,” in the words of Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin, and they’re tired of the latter getting all the attention. Along with Slotkin, Reps. Elaine Luria and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey and Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania are fighting to hold the majority.

House Democrats telegraph policy priorities in Capitol Hill funding
Comparison of previous GOP, current Dem spending choices show differences

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., attends a news conference with House Democrats on March 12 to introduce the “Dream and Promise Act.” The new majority’s Legislative Branch Appropriations bill would allow Dreamers to get jobs on Capitol Hill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Empowered by their control of the House, Democrats are telegraphing their policy priorities in how they plan to spend taxpayer dollars on Capitol Hill, including exploring student debt relief options and employing Dreamers in Congress.

The fiscal 2020 House Legislative Branch Appropriations bill is signaling what types of issues Democrats want to be talking about and working on, both for their constituents back home and right here on Capitol Hill.

Just where is this secret House jail located?
A Capitol basement investigation yielded some answers

The Lincoln catafalque is seen Wednesday through bars in a chamber below the Capitol Crypt. Contrary to many a rumor, this is not the House jail. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi resurfaced one of the Capitol’s most enduring mysteries when answering a question about whether Democrats might imprison Trump administration officials who defy Congress: the House jail. But where is this mysterious cell?

“We do have a little jail down in the basement of the Capitol, but if we were arresting all of the people in the administration, we would have an overcrowded jail situation. And I’m not for that,” Pelosi said Wednesday at a Washington Post live event.

Lawmakers explore House-wide paid family leave policy
Appropriators request study of cost and feasibility

House lawmakers are exploring a paid family leave program for House employees. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House lawmakers are interested in what a chamber-wide paid family leave policy would look like and how much it would cost. And staffers are likely  curious, too. Currently, paid maternity and paternity leave for congressional staff remains entirely at the whim of individual members.

“There is interest among Members of Congress to investigate the feasibility of implementing a standard House-wide paid family leave policy,” reads the committee report to accompany the fiscal 2020 House Legislative Branch Appropriations bill.

Native American representation on Capitol Hill concerns House lawmakers
Appropriators take aim at what they call offensive art and disrespectful tours

House Appropriators are urging the Architect of the Capitol to work with the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian to contextualize portrayals of Native Americans on Capitol Hill. Former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo., a member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe and pictured here, spoke at the opening of the museum in 2004. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo.)

House lawmakers are raising issues about Native American representation in and around the Capitol — and they aren’t talking about the record number of Native American women in the 116th Congress.

A House Appropriations Committee report released Wednesday highlights disrespectful descriptions of Native Americans on Capitol tours and depictions in artwork around the Capitol campus, which “do not portray Native Americans as equals or Indian nations as independent sovereigns.” 

Lobbyists to Congress: Pay staffers better
Six ex-lawmakers offer recommendations on making Capitol Hill great again

The House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress heard from lobbyists and former colleagues at a hearing Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

K Street denizens and former members of Congress offered tips on Wednesday for making Capitol Hill great again to the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, including recommendations to help Congress keep pace with lobbyists like themselves.

Six ex-lawmakers — including Virginia Republican Tom Davis — suggested that Congress pay its staffers more money to better hold their own with experts from K Street and the executive branch. They also called for more civility on Capitol Hill, less emphasis on fundraising, and to invest more in technology and technological savvy within the legislative branch.

Barr will be a no-show at House Judiciary Committee
AG objects to staff asking questions about special counsel probe

Attorney General Bill Barr testifies during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the “Department of Justice’s Investigation of Russian Interference with the 2016 Presidential Election” on Wednesday, May 1, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Attorney General William Barr will not appear as scheduled before the House Judiciary Committee about the special counsel probe Thursday, as he objects to a format that would allow committee staff to ask questions, the Justice Department announced.

Earlier Wednesday, the House panel approved a plan to allow an extra hour of time — divided into equal 30-minute, unbroken segments for each party — for either lawmakers or committee staff to ask questions.