Jeff Fortenberry

One Foot in Congress, the Other in Grad School
Staffers starting your higher education, you’re in good company

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., received his law degree from Georgetown University. Here he is addressing the law center in 2012. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As orientation kicks off for graduate school programs, staffers who are going part time and keeping their Capitol Hill jobs begin the balancing act.

Those higher knowledge-seekers are not alone. It’s common for staffers to get degrees on top of work.

Fight Over Food Stamps Among Big Hurdles Facing Farm Bill
As a fall deadline looms, Congress keeps stewing and squabbling

A sprinkler irrigates farmland in Palmdale, Calif., on May 26. Lawmakers have two options as the farm bill nears expiration: reach a compromise or extend current law through an expected lame-duck session in late fall or into 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If everything goes according to plan this month, House leaders will round up the necessary Republican votes to pass the chamber’s 2018 farm bill after an unexpected defeat on the floor put the legislation on hold.

The failed May 18 vote marked the second time in five years that a farm bill ran into obstacles in the House. In the Senate, meanwhile, leaders have indicated they want to pass the bipartisan legislation by the July Fourth recess.

House GOP Immigration and Leadership Battles Entwined
Results of June attempt to pass immigration legislation will affect current GOP leaders, future candidates

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks alongside Speaker Paul Ryan at the House Republican Leadership Press Conference on Tuesday morning. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans are on the precipice of a major win or an embarrassing loss on immigration. Either outcome will have lasting impacts for the current leadership team and future contenders for those jobs.

But the prospect of an immediate backlash against Paul D. Ryan’s speakership over anything that could be perceived as an immigration failure appears minimal at best. The House is preparing to take up sweeping immigration legislation the third week of June for the first time since Republicans took control of the chamber eight years ago.

Ryan Disputes Assertions He Fired House Chaplain Over Prayer
Speaker addresses controversy over ouster of Rev. Patrick Conroy to Republican conference

Rep. Mark Amoedi said Speaker Paul Ryan told the Republican conference that he asked House chaplain Rev. Patrick Conroy to resign because people were saying “their pastoral needs weren’t being met.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan told the House Republican Conference on Friday that he did not come to the decision to fire House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy lightly and disputed assertions that it was related to a prayer the Jesuit priest gave during the tax overhaul debate.

“He assured us that had nothing to do with it,” Rep. Mia Love of Utah said.

Let Us Now Praise President Donald Trump
Republicans describe their rally with president

President Donald Trump makes a brief statement to the media as Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left, and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, right, look on, after a meeting with the House Republican Conference in the Capitol to discuss the GOP’s tax reform bill on November 16, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“Unbelievably engaging.”Mark Meadows, N.C.

Word on the Hill: Kaine and Alexander’s Bipartisan Jam
Free fries, and kickball for Harvey recovery

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, left, and Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander have a concert on Friday. (Courtesy bristolrhythm.com)

Music lovers can catch Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., on the harmonica and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., on the piano this Friday night.

Their band The Amateurs are performing at the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, a music festival this weekend in Bristol, a community that straddles the Virginia-Tennessee state line. The dynamic duo goes on stage at 5 p.m.

After Shooting, Members ‘Numb’ — And Defiant
Some argue game must go on

Texas Rep. Joe L. Barton, center, and his sons, board the Rayburn subway in the basement of the Capitol after a shooting at the Republicans’ baseball practice in Alexandria, Va., on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Members of Congress reacted to the shooting at the Republican baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, on Wednesday morning with a mixture of sadness, shock and defiance. 

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, along with a Capitol Police officer, a lobbyist and a staffer were shot. Another Capitol Police officer was injured, as was Rep. Roger Williams of Texas.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise Will Need Additional Surgeries After Shooting
Four others wounded at Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game practice, gunman died from injuries

Cones, police tape and emergency medical bags are seen at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Va., where House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot during baseball practice on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 10:00 p.m.House Majority Whip Steve Scalise remains in critical condition and will need additional surgeries beyond what he underwent Wednesday after he was shot in the early morning by a gunman who opened fire at the Republicans’ congressional baseball practice.

“Scalise sustained a single rifle shot to the left hip. The bullet traveled across his pelvis, fracturing bones, injuring internal organs, and causing severe bleeding,” said the statement from MedStar Washington Hospital Center. He was transported “in shock” to the hospital, a Level I trauma center, the statement continued.

Word on the Hill: Celebrate the New Year Again
Nebraska school gets a coin

From left, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, current Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, and Arizona Sen. John McCain attended last year's Norwuz celebration on the Hill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A celebration of “Nowruz,” the Iranian new year, which also marks the beginning of spring, will be hosted today on Capitol Hill by the Organization of Iranian American Communities.

This year, Nowruz falls on March 21, but the group is getting started early with a Persian dinner and pastries for guests.

Word on the Hill: Happy Holidays
See you in 2017!

Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin, right, gives a tour of the Capitol Rotunda to friends on Tuesday. Let us know what other members are up to over the holidays. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Whether you’re staying in D.C. or traveling, I hope you enjoy the holidays and have a Happy New Year!

Word on the Hill will be on a break until Jan. 3, 2017.