HSEC

There’s Some WTF in This Lame Duck Session of Congress
Appointed, maybe and not-yet, maybe-never members dot the Capitol

Members-elect from the 116th Congress pose for the freshman class photo on the East Front of the Capitol on November 14, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Every lame duck session of Congress is special in its own way, and the current one, operating alongside the orientation session for newly elected members of Congress, has its share of oddities and weirdness. 

Speaker Paul D. Ryan swore in new members of the House on Tuesday, those who won special elections to fill out unexpired terms, Joseph D. Morelle, D-N.Y., and Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Pa. Oh, and also an “appointed” member, Republican Kevin Hern of Oklahoma.  

New Lame Duck, Same Lame Congress: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of Nov. 12, 2018

It’s a new day on Capitol Hill with the 2018 elections finally (mostly) in the past. Incoming members from across the country poured into D.C. this week for their first glimpse of their new jobs, while leadership elections began and incumbents returned to the House and Senate floors following a month of recess. See the video for Sen. Charles E. Grassley feeling shy, Rep. Liz Cheney talking about advice from her former vice-president father and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse deconstructing a Senate desk.

Black Caucus at Crossroads as Marcia Fudge Mulls Speaker Bid
Several CBC members still supporting Pelosi but Chairman Cedric Richmond predicts flips if Fudge runs

Reps. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, left, pictured at the 2016 Democratic National Convention with James Clyburn, D-S.C., is thinking about running for speaker. Clyburn said he’s not discouraged Fudge from running but that he’s still supporting Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The possibility that Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge might challenge Nancy Pelosi for speaker seems to have some of her colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus torn, despite many saying Thursday they still plan to support Pelosi.

But one notable member of the CBC would not make such a pledge, Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond.

Budget Overhaul Panel Can’t Pull It Together in Time for Thanksgiving
Lowey: Reporting out final product as-is would ‘doom it to failure’

Rep. Steve Womack, says that while the joint committee package does not completely satisfy every member of the panel, “that is no reason for us not to move forward and finish this.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The special select panel charged with overhauling the congressional budget process on Thursday punted a final vote on recommendations until after Thanksgiving amid disagreement by its two leaders over when the panel should act.

The committee is scheduled to reconvene at 2 p.m. Nov. 27, three days ahead of the Nov. 30 deadline for the committee to report a bill.

Democrats’ Draft House Rules Would Return Some Regular Order
All major bills going through committee is just one of many rule changes proposed

Incoming Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., presented draft proposals for overhauling House rules to the Democratic Caucus on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats’ draft proposals for overhauling the House rules would return at least some so-called regular order processes to the lower chamber by ensuring major bills go through committee before hitting the floor. 

The requirement that all bills being brought to the floor under a rule must have gone through a committee hearing and markup is just one of several notable changes Democrats are floating to House rules now that they’ll be in the majority. 

Grassley Gave McConnell Judges. Now He Wants His Criminal Justice Bill
‘I look at this in a very personal way,’ Grassley said

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has helped confirm a record number of judges. All he wants from Mitch McConnell now is a little “reciprocity.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley on Thursday leaned on his track record of processing judicial nominations to get a floor vote on a bipartisan bill he spearheaded to overhaul the nation’s criminal justice system.

In an unusual personal plea, the 85-year-old Iowa Republican said he wanted “reciprocity” from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for “what I’ve done in our unified effort on judges” during President Donald Trump’s administration.

Florida Senate Race Advances to Hand Recount
Deadline for recount is Sunday at noon

Florida is undertaking a hand recount in the race between Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and his Republican opponent, Gov. Rick Scott. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Florida’s Senate race is proceeding from a machine recount to a hand recount, the Secretary of State announced Thursday.

It’s the latest development in the drawn-out race between Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and his Republican opponent, Gov. Rick Scott, whose margin remains under the 0.25 of a percentage point that automatically triggers a hand recount. 

At the Races: The Wave Is Still Coming
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

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Welcome to At the Races! We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé, Bridget Bowman and Stephanie Akin

Mitch McConnell Upbeat About Path Forward for Border Funding After Meeting With Trump
Senate majority leader was among Republicans huddling with the president on Thursday

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell met with President Donald Trump about border security funding on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Returning from a meeting with President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was optimistic about a deal on finishing off remaining spending bills without a shutdown showdown over building a wall at the border with Mexico.

“We had a good discussion about funding the government and the other sort of end-of-year items, and we’re optimistic we’re going to be able to get that done, get the farm bill done and move on toward the conclusion of the session,” McConnell said.

House Republicans Adopt New Rules to Govern Themselves (and the Indicted)
Rule changes are timely, given GOP has two indicted members on its hands

House Republicans adopted rules to strip indicted members from committee and leadership roles in the next Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans in leadership positions in the next Congress will have to abdicate their positions if they announce a run for higher office. The GOP conference adopted their internal rules for the 116th Congress Thursday, including the proposal on leadership from New York Rep. Elise Stefanik.

The provision from Stefanik would preclude the situation that Rep. Luke Messer was in last year, when he served as the chairman of the Republican Policy Committee while also running for the Senate.