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Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
Cornyn, Sasse and Daines are not impressed by the first D.C. snow and Heitkamp is probably drinking iced coffee

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for it. We look, but we don’t find everything. We want to know what you see, too.

8 House Races, 1 Senate Race Still Uncalled as Florida Recount Deadline Nears
Some counties in Florida expected to miss Thursday’s machine recount deadline

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) addresses his election night party in Naples, Fla., where he declared victory in the Florida Senate race with incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., on November 6, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Officials have yet to determine the winners in one Senate contest and eight House races — a week and two days after the midterm elections.

If the 2000 presidential race is an indication, the outcome of the Florida Senate race could be weeks away as state election personnel recount votes for Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and his GOP challenger, Gov. Rick Scott. Nelson trailed Scott in the initial tally by less than 15,000 votes.

Catherine Cortez Masto to Lead DSCC for 2020, Report Says
A Nevada Democrat will be returning to the leadership table

Nevada Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, left, seen here campaigning in October with now Sen.-elect Jacky Rosen, is expected to be announced as the next leader of the DSCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Nevada senator is once again poised to be a key member of Senate Democratic leadership.

First-term Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is expected to be announced as the next chairwoman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on Thursday, according to the Nevada Independent.

Despite Evidence of Chaos, Trump Says White House ‘Running Very Smoothly’
But president ignores advice by lashing out at Special Counsel Mueller

President DonaldTrump heads for Marine One on the White House's South Lawn. On Thursday, he denied chaos has returned to the West Wing - then lashed out at Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III. (Photo by John T. Bennett/CQ Roll Call)

Despite evidence to the contrary, President Donald Trump on Thursday denied chaos has returned to the West Wing — then immediately fired off a broadside against Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

Trump was visibly agitated during a weekend diplomatic trip to Paris, including frustration with aides who advised that him canceling a Saturday trip to a cemetery where nearly 2,000 U.S. soldiers who died in World War I are buried would not become a major news story. It did and Trump reportedly let his staff know about his frustration.

Confidence Abounds Among Pelosi Supporters and Opponents — But One Side Will Lose
Anti-Pelosi contingent claims they have numbers to block Pelosi from becoming speaker

Nancy Pelosi is confident she will be the next speaker. Her opponents are confident they can block that. Someone is going to lose. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two big questions surround the contingent of House Democrats opposing Nancy Pelosi’s bid for speaker: Are they bluffing when they say there are enough members prepared to vote against the California Democrat on the floor? And if they’re not, will that opposition hold until the Jan. 3 vote?

Leaders of the contingent, including Reps. Tim Ryan of Ohio, Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, Filemon Vela of Texas and Kurt Schrader of Oregon, have all said they’re confident that when the 116th Congress begins on the third day of January, there will be more than enough Democrats ready to vote against Pelosi on the floor — not “present” or abstaining from voting — to prevent her from claiming the speaker’s gavel.

Federal Court Orders Capitol Police to Negotiate With Officer’s Union
Legal battle has roots in stalled talks over new contract, terminations

A federal court ordered the Capitol Police department to negotiate with the union. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A federal court has ordered the Capitol Police back to the bargaining table with the officers’ union.

In a decision last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit granted a petition to make the department and the union negotiate a new contract, while dismissing the Capitol Police’s appeal over whether the union could challenge employees’ terminations through arbitration.

Democrats Look for New DCCC Chair to Protect Majority
For the first time, competitive race will decide next head of campaign arm

Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., is one of four candidates competing to lead the DCCC next cycle. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For the first time, House Democrats are competing in an open race to lead the party’s campaign arm next cycle. And the new leader’s responsibilities will include something no predecessor has faced in a decade: protecting their chamber majority.

The race to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is currently a four-way contest between Reps. Cheri Bustos of Illinois, Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, and Denny Heck and Suzan DelBene of Washington. The DCCC chairmanship was an appointed position until 2016, after Democratic losses led to demands for changes at the committee. Current DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján is running for assistant Democratic leader.

The Cabinet Secretary Who Should Have Known Better
Nielsen’s loyalty, harsh immigration policies were apparently not enough for Trump

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will be mostly remembered as the smiling public face of the heartless family-separation policy at the border, Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — As a result of the natural tumult of politics along the corridors of power, Washington has always been filled with ambitious men and women plotting their next career move. This is Cinderella City where a few adroit steps can propel an anonymous staffer to the Cabinet in a golden coach.

At first glance, that is the story of 46-year-old Kirstjen Nielsen, who is nearing her first anniversary as secretary of Homeland Security. Championed by Donald Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly — for whom she had worked at DHS and in the White House — Nielsen was put in charge in late 2017 of a sprawling Cabinet department with nearly a quarter of a million employees.

They Bonded at Yucca Mountain. Now They’re Tackling Wi-Fi
Latta and McNerney say wireless networking is inherently bipartisan

Reps. Jerry McNerney, left, and Bob Latta, right, have been friends ever since they went to Yucca Mountain together. (Courtesy of Latta's office)

You’re probably reading this article thanks to Wi-Fi. That’s what brought Bob Latta and Jerry McNerney together too. 

The two lawmakers — one an Ohio Republican, the other a California Democrat — teamed up to form the bipartisan Congressional Wi-Fi Caucus, which they launched in October at the height of election turmoil and the partisan fight over who would control the House.

Midterms Were a Buffet Election for Democrats, Republicans
Each side can pick what it liked best from the results — and ignore warning signs

Sen.-elect Mike Braun, R-Ind., Sen.-elect Mitt Romney, R-Utah, Sen.-elect Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Sen.-elect Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla., and Sen.-elect Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., pose for a group photo in McConnell’s office in the Capitol on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When I was a kid in small-town Oregon, my family would occasionally go to King’s Table, and my sister and I would get free rein at the buffet.

I became famous in my own family for my condiment salad — an impressive collection of bacon bits, croutons, shredded cheese, sunflower seeds and plenty of ranch dressing. Essentially, my strategy involved choosing what looked and tasted good and avoiding anything of nutritional value.