Kurt Schrader

Ugly Gerry wants you to know the ‘ugly’ truth about gerrymandering
Two guys in Chicago are drawing their weapons in D.C. politics

Gerrymandering activists gather on the steps of the Supreme Court as the court prepares to hear the Benisek v. Lamone case on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ben Doessel is “not a huge picture guy,” he told me when I asked if he had any photos with his creative partner — and the other guy behind Ugly Gerry — James Lee.

But pictures of oddly-shaped congressional districts? He has twenty-six of those.

House Democrats show improved response to Republican messaging votes
Democrats easily defeated a Republican motion to recommit Friday to their HR 1 government overhaul

Rep. Max Rose, D-N.Y., center, had voted for several Republican motions to recommit this year but he argued against the one the GOP offered to HR 1 Friday, calling it a “joke.” Rep. Joe Cunningham, D-S.C., right, meanwhile was one of six Democrats who voted with Republicans on that motion. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats seem to have sharpened their response to Republican motions to recommit after the GOP twice bested the new majority using the procedural tool this year.

The improved messaging and whip operations around motions to recommit, or MTRs, since Democrats lost a second one early last week on a priority gun control bill seem to have quelled an immediate desire to overhaul the procedural tool.

New Democrats launch task forces to help craft the House majority’s policy agenda
Task forces focus on issue areas like health care, infrastructure, climate change, national security, trade and technology

Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., will co-chair the New Democrat Coalition’s health care task force, one of eight policy-focused work groups the centrist Democrats have launched this week. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The New Democrat Coalition is ready to help the House majority craft its policy agenda for the 116th Congress, launching eight issue-focused task forces to develop proposals on party priorities such as health care, infrastructure and climate change. 

The group of centrist Democrats has used task forces to develop policy proposals in past Congresses, but they’re particularly excited about the work the task forces will do this session now that their party is in the majority.

30 Democrats suggest Pelosi give Trump a vote on wall funding if he reopens government
Letter designed to provide clear process, timeline for debate, not guarantee passage

Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., led a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday, suggesting she allow a vote on President Donald Trump’s border security funding request if he reopens the government. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Thirty Democrats sent a letter Wednesday to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, suggesting she guarantee President Donald Trump a vote on his border security funding request if he reopens the government. 

Led by freshmen Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia, the letter lays out a process that would guarantee a House vote — but not passage — on the $5.7 billion Trump has requested in border wall funding, as well as other funding he is seeking for border security needs. 

Here are the 15 Democrats who didn’t vote for Pelosi as speaker
Some Democratic House ran on pledge for new blood in Democratic leadership

A man wearing a "Madame Speaker" pin leaves the Speaker of the House office suite before the start of the 116th Congress on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Nancy Pelosi of California was elected speaker of the House on Thursday, returning the gavel to her hands eight years after she lost it when Republicans took control of the chamber in 2011. 

There were 15 Democrats who voted against her in the roll call vote.

Shutdown, House Democrats’ divisions set tone as new era of divided government begins
As 116th Congress begins, partial shutdown, rules package, speaker defections cast a pall

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is interviewed by Savannah Guthrie for the Today Show in the Capitol on day 12 of the partial government shutdown on January 2, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A new era of divided government has arrived. Democrats officially take control of the House on Thursday as the 116th Congress convenes on the 13th day of a partial government shutdown.

The day’s floor proceedings will offer a preview of what’s to come over the next two years as House Democrats define how far left their caucus will tilt heading into the 2020 cycle and decide whether there’s any room to cooperate with President Donald Trump as he seeks re-election.

House Primaries on the Horizon for Democrats in 2020
Illinois’ Dan Lipinski is most likely to face intraparty challenge

Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., narrowly beat back a primary challenge earlier this year. He’s unlikely to go unchallenged in the next cycle, Gonzales writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

We already know the Democratic presidential primary is going to be crowded and crazy as a few dozen candidates battle for the right to take on President Donald Trump.

But at least a handful of 2020 House primaries are also on the horizon for Democrats as the party fights over ideology and loyalty. And there’s still plenty of time for more intraparty races to take shape.

Term Limits Talks Roil House Democrats
Talk of compromise on matter comes amid consternation

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has been involved in talks with a few Democratic opponents to her speaker bid about term limits on party leaders and committee chairs, an idea opposed by many in her caucus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats are at odds over whether to adopt intraparty term limits for their elected leaders and committee chairs, even as it offers them a way out of their current impasse on the race for the speakership.

The House Democratic Caucus has long wrestled with the idea of term limits. House Republicans adopted a rule in 1995 to limit committee chairs to serving three terms. Democrats kept that rule in place when they took the majority in 2007 but then decided two years later to get rid of it.

House Democrats to Wait ’Til Next Year in Term Limit Discussion
Hard talk will have to wait for incoming freshmen in 116th Congress

The large freshman class will have a chance to weigh in on the House Democrats' rules package, an and specifically whether to have term limits for leaders and committee chairs. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With the current impasse on the upcoming speaker election as backdrop, House Democrats on Tuesday discussed the concept of term limiting their elected leaders and committee chairs, but decided to postpone until January when the incoming freshmen will be present to participate.

“We’re going to talk after the New Year,” Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters.

Pelosi Not Interested in Compromising on Succession Plan for Her Speakership
Speaker hopeful says her opponents shouldn’t get to dictate when she retires

From left, Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., talk after the incoming House Democratic leadership team posed for a group photo in the Rayburn Room in the Capitol on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said Friday she doesn’t see a way in which she’d compromise with the group of members who oppose her speaker bid unless she specifies a clear succession plan. 

“Between saying when I’m going to retire or not? I don’t think so,” the California Democrat said when asked whether there is a middle ground to be found on the question of when she will relinquish the speaker’s gavel if members vote Jan. 3 to give it to her again.