congressional-staffers

Senate and Marines begin Christmas toy drive for disadvantaged kids
Annual Toys for Tots drive runs until Dec. 4

Sens. Jon Tester of Montana, left, and Johnny Isakson of Georgia during last year’s toy drive. (Courtesy U.S. Office of Senate Photography)

The Senate is teaming up with the U.S. Marines for its annual mission to provide Christmas toys for disadvantaged children during the holiday season.

The chamber on Tuesday night unanimously approved a resolution introduced by Sens. Johnny Isakson of Georgia and Jon Tester of Montana that allows the Senate to collect toys for the Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots drive.

How a Capitol Hill staffer and a James Bond screenwriter dramatized ‘The Report’
Political Theater, Episode 101

Journalists follow Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein as she leaves her office on her way to the chamber floor to speak about the CIA torture report being released by the committee on on Dec. 9, 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report in 2014 was a compelling episode in American history, detailing as it did the CIA’s use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques on suspected terrorists and their lack of effectiveness. That doesn’t mean the seven-year investigation that led to the report automatically lends itself to high drama, particularly when one considers that many of those seven years were spent reading sensitive CIA documents in a windowless room. That makes the new movie “The Report” that much more of an accomplishment.

Director and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns had his work cut out for him, constructing a political thriller out of the efforts led by Intelligence Committee staffer Daniel J. Jones. Burns and Jones explained some of thinking that went into the film’s narrative, as well as the issues it explores, in the latest Political Theater podcast with CQ Roll Call senior staff writer Niels Lesniewski and me. 

Saga is not over for Katie Hill’s office, staff and constituents
California Democrat announced resignation plans over the weekend

California Democratic Rep. Katie Hill is resigning after just nearly nine months in office. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Timing, even in resignations, is everything.

Rep. Katie Hill has announced she will resign from the House, but the timing of her exit will determine a range of next steps — including her staffers’ future plans, how her constituents will be served in her absence and even her final paycheck.

Katie Hill pledges fight against revenge porn

Rep. Katie Hill speaks at a press conference outside of the Capitol in June. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Katie Hill addressed supporters in a video posted to her campaign's YouTube account, for the first time since announcing her resignation Sunday. Hill, D-Calif., said that she will “fight to ensure no one else has to live through what [she] just experienced.”

She said that her decision to step down from her seat after being the victim of what she characterized as “electronic assault” or “digital exploitation,” noting that some call it “revenge porn,” has been the “most difficult decision” of her life.

Pain and politics acknowledged at Cummings’ funeral
‘They were trying to tear him down,’ widow says of the president

Former President Barack Obama speaks during the funeral service for the late Rep. Elijah Cummings at the New Psalmist Baptist Church in Baltimore on Friday. (Julio Cortez-Pool/Getty Images)

The funeral of Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, simultaneously deeply personal and star-studded, was a celebration of his life, public service, moral vision and his beloved city of Baltimore.

Cummings’ home church in Charm City, the New Psalmist Baptist Church, was packed Friday for the nearly four-hour service for which he planned all the details. He selected a range of people to speak about him, including two former presidents, two daughters, one presidential candidate, mentors, mentees and his own pastor, among others.

Polling impeachment and remembering Elijah Cummings
CQ on Congress, Ep. 172

A memorial for the late House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., is seen in the committee’s Rayburn Building hearing room on. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Polls now show a majority of Americans favor impeaching President Donald Trump and removing him from office. Democratic pollster Brad Bannon explains how people should read the rush of new surveys coming in. We also remember Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Maryland Democrat who passed away this week, by reprising his 2017 interview with CQ Roll Call.

Modernization panel mulls overhaul of congressional calendar
Members weigh time in districts vs. in the District

Rep. Mark Pocan, a Wisconsin Democrat, suggested having the House in two for two full weeks, then away for two weeks.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Members of a panel to modernize Congress are floating proposals to overhaul the legislative calendar, including an option of being in session for two full work weeks and then recessing for a fortnight of district work time.

Reps. William R. Timmons IV, a South Carolina Republican, and Mark Pocan, a Wisconsin Democrat, both suggested such an option Wednesday during a hearing of the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, a temporary panel tasked with offering recommendations to update Capitol Hill technology and to improve working conditions for lawmakers and staff.  

House Republicans aim to force vote on Schiff censure
Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs is leading the effort, with GOP leadership backing

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., backed by House Republicans, will attempt to force a vote on a censure of House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff.

Rep. Andy Biggs will attempt to force a vote on his resolution to censure House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff on the House floor this week, having initiated the process Wednesday.

Biggs’ censure effort has the backing of House Republican leaders — an uncommon alliance between the party’s establishment and the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.

The three places where senators can ‘actually’ talk
Sen. Chris Coons’ favorite places to reach across the aisle

From left, Sens. Charles E. Schumer, D.N.Y., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Chris Coons, D-Del., share a laugh after a markup hearing on judicial nominations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

“We’re real people. We’re not just two-dimensional targets,” Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., told a lecture hall of law students at Notre Dame last week.Flanked by former Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., Coons talked about the hyperpartisan environment on Capitol Hill and the intention required to cut through it and work. For the Delaware senator, this means talking to his colleagues “in the three settings [he has] found where there [are] no lobbyists, no staff and no press.”

Joking that Flake spent more time in the gym than he did, Coons told the students about the senators-only gym — a place “you can actually chat as you’re working out.” While little information is publicly available about the gym, Roll Call learned more about the facility in 2013 by standing in the hallway outside it for several hours. 

At least half of Rep. Chris Collins’ full-time staff has left since he was indicted
New York Republican will fight the case in court, but some employees not waiting around

More than a handful of staffers for Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., have left his office since he was indicted in August of 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The trial of Rep. Chris Collins is in February, but some of his staffers aren’t waiting on the legal system to run its course.

Half of Collins’ full-time staff have left since he was indicted in August 2018 on fraud charges. Seven of 14 full-time staffers — among them his deputy chief of staff, Michael Kracker, communications director Sarah Minkel, and health policy adviser, Charlotte Pineda — are no longer working in the office, according to payroll records from May 2019, the most recent filing available in the Legislative Resource Center.