democrats

Meet the key appropriations players of the fall
List includes budget war veterans as well as relative newcomers

Eric Ueland has been the White House legislative affairs chief since June. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s the behind-the-scenes work of top legislative aides that makes the Capitol Hill machinery work, and that’s never truer than when lawmakers are trying to hash out spending bills as Congress and the White House will be focused on this fall and winter.

After initial decisions by Republican and Democratic clerks — the top staffers on the Appropriations subcommittees — full committee staff will step in to help work out any remaining issues. Leadership staff will be on hand to address the most intractable disagreements and questions about what legislation can ride with the spending bills, and to make sure the measures have enough votes to pass.

Writing a speech for the boss? Two White House pros show you how to nail it
The best speechwriters are advocates for the audiences they’re trying to reach, Eric Schnure says

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s “comfort level with who she is” comes across in her speeches, former Al Gore speechwriter Eric Schnure tells Murphy. President Donald Trump is another effective communicator, Schnure says, with his ability to speak “visibly.” (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photos)

OPINION — Most job interviews for Capitol Hill speechwriters go something like this:  “The senator needs remarks for tomorrow. You need to write the remarks.” No interview. No preparation. Just a last-minute assignment and an equally fast turnaround for a legislative assistant, a legislative correspondent or whichever press office staffer picked up the phone first.

Over at the White House, speechwriting jobs usually come with more requirements than physical proximity, but not always. Eric Schnure scored his first speechwriting job for Vice President Al Gore when he was working in the White House mail room and helping Gore’s understaffed speechwriter, Bob Lehrman, before and after sorting letters.

For Jim Hagedorn, being staffer in the minority was formative time
Freshman congressman worked for a Minnesota Republican, and was son to another

Minnesota Rep. Jim Hagedorn got his first taste of life in Congress as the son of a former congressman and as a staffer to Minnesota Rep. Arlan Stangeland. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New hearing on D.C. statehood, same old partisan lines
Effort to provide D.C. residents with full congressional representation gains steam in House

From left, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, Mayor Muriel Bowser veteran Kerwin E. Miller, and Dr. Roger Pilon, attend the House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing titled “H.R. 51: Making D.C. the 51st State,” in Rayburn Building on Thursday, September 19, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The first House hearing on D.C. statehood in nearly 26 years revealed old battle lines over giving the District of Columbia’s 702,000 residents full representation in Congress. House Oversight Committee Democrats applauded statehood as a long-overdue correction of an anomaly, while Republicans said corruption made D.C. unfit for full voting rights and claimed the whole thing was unconstitutional anyway. 

Thursday’s hearing grappled with HR 51, a bill that would admit the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth, into the Union as the country’s 51st state, and provide it one House representative and two senators in Congress. The District is currently represented by a nonvoting delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat who introduced the bill.

Throwback: Clyburn remembers meeting wife

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., speaks at an April legislative retreat in Leesburg, Va. (File Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Majority Whip James Clyburn’s wife passed away Thursday morning at the age of 80. Over the years, the congressman has occasionally talked about their first time meeting … in jail during the civil rights movement. In a 2011 interview with South Carolina Education Television (SCETV), he remembered meeting Emily Clyburn when she brought him half a hamburger to his jail cell after he was arrested for his part in a 1960 student protest in Orangeburg, South Carolina.  He added to the story seven years later in an interview broadcast on C-SPAN, sharing his wife’s perspective on the events that lead up to their first meet.

Emotional Duffy send-off from Financial Services Committee

Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., takes her seat for the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on "NATO at 70: An Indispensable Alliance" on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Sean P. Duffy, R-Wis., spoke for what will likely be his last time as a member of the House Financial Services Committee Thursday. He took a moment at the end of remarks on border security to thank colleagues for “the friendships and camaraderie.”  Duffy thanked the Democratic committee chairwoman, Rep. Maxine Waters specifically for “always” treating him with respect. His comments spurred a collegial and impromptu tribute with Waters thanking him for the “good times and the bad times” and Rep. Ann Wagner choking up during her well wishes.

House passes temporary funding bill; Senate vote next week
The vote punts final decisions on fiscal 2020 to just before the Thanksgiving recess

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., departs from a press conference at the Capitol in Washington on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. The House passed an interim funding bill Thursday afternoon, extending appropriations through Nov. 21. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The House passed a stopgap spending bill that would continue government funding until Nov. 21, after spending the last few days arguing over aid to farmers caught up in the U.S.-China trade war.

The 301-123 tally saw just three Democrats vote ‘no’ and 76 Republicans supporting the measure. The strong bipartisan showing bodes well for quick Senate passage of the continuing resolution next week.

Rep. Ann Wagner’s ‘Big House Brew’ wins big at annual beer competition
Rep. Dan Crenshaw’s One Eye-PA won the popularity contest

Rep. Ann Wagner won Anheuser Busch's annual Brew Across America competition. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The results are in: Brews are definitely beer-partisan

The big winner at Wednesday’s second annual Brew Across America was Missouri Republican Rep. Ann Wagner with her “Big House Brew,” which might have had a home-state advantage.

Trump denies ‘inappropriate’ remark to foreign leader that prompted whistleblower complaint
Both intel committees to hear from acting DNI, intel community inspector general

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a joint news conference after their summit in Helsinki, Finland, in July 2018. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump denied reports that he made a promise to an unidentified foreign leader that prompted an intelligence community official to file a formal complaint with an inspector general.

“Is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially ‘heavily populated’ call. I would only do what is right anyway, and only do good for the USA!” the president tweeted Thursday morning.

Pelosi says key component of drug pricing bill not open to negotiations
Pelosi rejects idea of negotiating bill that doesn’t allow the government to negotiate prices

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House committee leaders started briefing members on Democrats’ drug pricing plan this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats on Thursday released the outline of a long-awaited drug price proposal, taking a step toward fulfilling one of the party’s signature campaign promises: requiring Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

The bill would allow commercial insurers to benefit from the Medicare-negotiated price as well, and base Medicare’s highest-acceptable price on the lower prices other wealthy countries pay.