Illinois

A Father Drops Off His Son for Congress’ Freshman Orientation
Andy Levin, who will succeed his father in the House, was one of dozens of new members in Washington to learn the ropes

Members-elect from left, Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., Colin Allred, D-Texas, and Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., arrive for New Member Orientation at the Courtyard Marriott in Southeast Washington on Nov. 13. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Retiring Rep. Sander M. Levin drove away from the Courtyard Marriott in Southeast Washington, leaving his son on the curb in front of the hotel.

It was a true first day of school moment for Michigan Rep.-elect Andy Levin, who will be succeeding his father. As the Democrat made his way into the lobby around 9 a.m. Tuesday morning, the official orientation for new members of Congress was just getting started.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger ‘Disgusted’ By Trump Mocking Unseated Republicans
‘Some of them lost because people, frankly, were voting against the president,’ GOP congressman says

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger said some Republicans suffered losses on Election Day because of backlash to the president. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As President Donald Trump the day after Election Day read off a list of defeated Republicans whose losses he attributed to not embracing his endorsement on the campaign trail, Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger watched in disgust.

“I wish the president had shown some more grace in that and said ‘Thank you for your service,’ instead of ‘It’s because you didn’t back me,’” the 16th District congressman said in an interview with CNN Tuesday. “I was very disgusted when I heard that.” 

Most House Democrats Will Be in Majority for First Time Ever
In contrast, most House Republicans have never been in the minority

New York Reps. Hakeem Jeffries and Grace Meng have never served in the majority, with both first elected in 2012. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Most House Democrats in the next Congress will be new to the majority and an overwhelming majority of Republicans will be new to the minority — a dynamic that could create a steep learning curve for members as they grapple with party strategy and messaging changes under the new power structure.

Even more significant is that a majority of leadership candidates for both parties have not served in a Democrat-led House.

With Divided Congress, Health Care Action Hightails It to the States
Medicaid expansion was the biggest winner in last week’s elections

As health care debates raged over the last few years, Congress was smack dab in the middle. After Tuesday’s elections, most of the action moves to the states. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Newly-elected leaders in the states will be in a stronger position than those in Washington to steer significant shifts in health care policy over the next couple of years as a divided Congress struggles with gridlock.

State Medicaid work requirements, prescription drug prices, insurance exchanges and short-term health plans are among the areas with the potential for substantial change. Some states with new Democratic leaders may also withdraw from a multistate lawsuit aimed at killing the 2010 health care law or look for ways to curb Trump administration policies.

Steaks and Scotch Can Restore Sanity, According to One Hill Staffer
An invitation to the Bipartisan Dinner Group is mysterious and vague

The late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., right, is the inspiration behind the Bipartisan Dinner Group for staffers. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Michael Hardaway was in an elevator with the late Sen. Ted Kennedy when he was just a young Senate staffer. He seized the opportunity to ask the liberal giant for advice on navigating D.C.

“Sen. Kennedy told me that members in the old days were able to pass bills and get things done because of friendships formed after hours, when members often gathered for steaks and scotch,” said Hardaway, now communications director for New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries.

14 Democrats Push Back on Raising Caucus Threshold for Speaker Race
Caucus threshold should remain simple majority; members should unite behind winner, they say

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is expected to run for speaker again. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A group of 14 Democrats who support Nancy Pelosi for speaker are pushing back on a proposal from some of their anti-Pelosi colleagues to raise the caucus threshold for nominating a speaker candidate. 

House Democratic Caucus rules make all of their elected leadership positions subject to a simple-majority vote. Then, under House rules, the speaker nominee chosen by the caucus needs to win votes from a majority of the entire chamber — 218, if everyone is present and voting. 

From Speaker on Down, Here’s Who’s in the Hill Leadership Hunt
House and Senate Republican conferences set to vote this week

The race to lead the House Republicans next Congress comes down to California’s Kevin McCarthy, center, and Ohio’s Jim Jordan, right, who face off in a Wednesday GOP caucus vote. Also pictured above, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated Tuesday, 3:44 p.m. | With the midterms — mostly — behind us, attention has shifted to the intraparty leadership elections on Capitol Hill for the House and Senate. 

Here’s a look at the various positions that members of both parties and chambers will be voting on in the coming weeks. 

Sean Patrick Maloney Fourth Candidate to Enter DCCC Chair Race
N.Y. Democrat joins Bustos, DelBene and Heck in race for campaign chief

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., is running to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney on Saturday became the fourth candidate to enter the race to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee heading into the 2020 cycle. 

The position to head up the House Democrats’ campaign arm is quickly becoming the most coveted leadership slot, even though the party will be defending a number of seats in traditionally Republican districts in two years time. The current DCCC chairman, New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján — coming off a strong midterm election that has seen the party pick up over 30 seats and take back the House — is running for assistant Democratic leader.

Cheri Bustos Drops Out of Assistant Leader Race to Run for DCCC Chair
Illinois Democrat’s decision avoids face-off with current DCCC chairman Luján

Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., is dropping out of the assistant Democratic leader race to run for Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos announced Friday that she was dropping out of the race for the next assistant Democratic leader and would instead seek to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. 

“One of the greatest challenges we face in the next Congress is defending and expanding our majority,” Bustos said.

House Republicans Launch Quick Campaigns for Leadership Elections Next Week
Contested races emerge for minority leader and conference chair

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, waits to do a television news interview in the Capitol on Wednesday. Jordan is making his case to his House Republican colleagues that he should lead them as minority leader in the next Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After a disappointing midterm performance, House Republicans spent Wednesday gearing up for their leadership elections next week, with candidates promising they’ll spend the next two years helping their party reclaim their lost majority.

“I helped build a majority from a deeper hole than this, and I have what it takes to do it again,” California Rep. Kevin McCarthy said in a letter to colleagues. “That is why I have decided to run for Republican Leader and humbly ask for your support.”