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New Push for Senators to Pay Their Interns
Advocates say the time is right for offices to stop relying on free labor

A majority of Senate offices do not offer paid internships, according to data from nonprofit advocacy group Pay Our Interns. (Illustration by Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

Ideas to boost diversity on the Hill have been thrown around, and the numbers are slowly improving. But what if the solution was right in front of everyone, sitting at tiny shared desks in congressional offices?

Paid interns.

Heritage Action Poised for Transition Amid CEO’s Exit
Michael Needham is leaving to become Sen. Marco Rubio’s chief of staff

Heritage Action produces an annual scorecard on how lawmakers voted on issues important to conservatives. (Screenshot/Heritage Action for America)

Change is coming to Heritage Action for America, the political arm of one of the nation’s best known, and often controversial, think tanks.

Heritage Action for America has boosted its presence on Capitol Hill during CEO Michael Needham’s tenure, and his upcoming departure from the conservative outfit has fueled speculation about whether the uptick in advocacy will continue.

Collins Looks Back on His Technology-Less, Reception-Dependent Intern Days
‘At night, I would get to call my girlfriend, who’s now my wife, from the WATS line, and I got to sit in Ed’s chair’

As a 20-year-old, Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., left, interned for Rep. Ed Jenkins, D-Ga., in 1987. (Courtesy Rep. Doug Collins’ office)

Intern tasks, email aside, haven’t changed much since 20-year-old Doug Collins first came to the Hill in 1987. The same can’t be said for politics.

The Georgia Republican interned for the late conservative Democrat Ed Jenkins, who represented much of Collins’ current district.

Intern Success Story: How to Get Hired Right Away
‘I tried to add value to whatever I did,’ former Perdue intern Jenni Sweat says

Jenni Sweat, from the office of Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., took online classes and independent studies to finish college. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Jenni Sweat was such a stellar intern that she stayed in Sen. David Perdue’s office instead of returning to school for her last semester of college.

Sweat started her unpaid internship in the Georgia Republican’s office in January 2017. She was a 20-year-old junior at the University of Georgia and received a scholarship to be part of her college’s internship program.

Paid Internships Were Victim of Clinton Era Deficit Reduction
The LBJ internship program was suspended in 1994 after 20 years

An internship program, named after President Lyndon B. Johnson, once funded two interns for every House office. (Courtesy the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library)

There was a time when all House members paid their interns. But that ended more than 20 years ago, the victim of a Clinton-era push for more deficit-cutting. 

The LBJ Congressional Intern program, named to honor the recently deceased President Lyndon B. Johnson, was authorized by a House resolution in 1973. It provided funds for lawmakers to hire two LBJ interns per year.

Floor Charts for the Floor Show
Our favorite visual aids from congressional floor-watching

(Courtesy @FloorCharts screenshot of C-SPAN)

From tributes to senators to hours of testimony from a tech giant, spring has been a visual mixed bag in Congress.

Lawmakers like these oversized and sometimes garish visual aids because they help them get their point across. The Twitter handle @FloorCharts posts some of the daily highlights, and we’re doing a monthly roundup of the best of the best.

Flashback Friday: Lame Duck
The term originated in Great Britain in the 17th century

Why do they call Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., a lame duck? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan is a lame duck speaker. He announced on April 11 that he would retire at the end of his current term.

Why do we call politicians “lame ducks” when they have one foot out the door?

At the Races: Get Ready for Another Special Election
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

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Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter by subscribing here. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman

Tammy Duckworth and Baby Cast Their First Senate Vote Together, Opposing NASA Nominee
But Bridenstine confirmed to lead space agency, leaving House seat vacant for months

Sen. Tammy Duckworth arrived with her newborn baby Maile to cast a vote on the Senate floor on Thursday afternoon. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Maile Pearl Bowlsbey made Senate history Thursday, becoming the first newborn allowed on the Senate floor.

Bowlsbey, the daughter of Illinois Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth, born just last week, came to the Senate floor the day after the Senate changed its antiquated rules to allow senators to bring in children under the age of one.