Pete Olson

With Minority Looming, Could More Republicans Be Headed for the Exits?
After the 2006 Democratic wave, 23 Republicans retired

Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., says he will decide next year about running for an 18th term. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Life in the minority will be a new experience for most House Republicans next year. And many of them may not remember what happened the last time the GOP lost the House.

After the 2006 Democratic wave, about two dozen Republicans opted to retire the following cycle instead of languishing in the minority. And some in the party are worried about a repeat. 

House Republicans to Consider Changing the Way They Select Committee Leaders
Proposal is part of a broader Thursday debate over internal conference rules

Reps. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., left, and Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., want to change the way the House Republican Conference selects its committee leaders. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Update Thursday 5:01 p.m. | House Republicans on Thursday will consider changes to their internal conference rules, with several amendments targeting the process for selecting committee leaders. 

The biggest proposed change comes from Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher, who wants committee members to be able to choose their own chairmen or ranking members. 

Right Up Until His Death, He Told Barbara Lee to ‘Keep Breaking Through’
California Democrat was often the only African-American and woman in the room

Rep. Ron Dellum, right, is pictured with staff members, including Barbara Lee, in an undated photograph. (Courtesy of Barbara Lee)

Rep. Barbara Lee spent her birthday with her former boss, the late Ronald V. Dellums, just two weeks before the fellow California Democrat died in July.

Their relationship dates back to 1974, when she interned with him during the hectic Watergate summer.

How a ‘Card-Carrying National Security Nerd’ Got to Congress
Mike Gallagher applies the ‘lance corporal test’ to everything he does

On working on Syria issues, "you peer behind the witness curtain and no one’s there. It’s just you," Gallagher said. (Courtesy of Gallagher)

Mike Gallagher preferred to be locked in a room, away from the cameras, writing white papers.

After the Wisconsin Republican got out of the military, he went to work for the Senate Foreign Relations panel, handling Middle East, North Africa and counterterrorism issues under Chairman Bob Corker.

Floor Charts for the Floor Show
Our favorite garish visual aids from a month of congressional floor-watching

(Courtesy of @FloorCharts screenshot of C-SPAN)

Guilty headshots, crumb debates and George Washington’s face— watching the action on the House and Senate floors can be a thankless task. But the floor charts make it all worthwhile.

Lawmakers like these oversized and sometimes garish visual aids because they help them get their points across. The Twitter handle @FloorCharts posts some of the daily highlights, and Roll Call now provides a monthly roundup of the best of the best.

The Investigation Will Be Televised
Ken Buck was 27 years old when he staffed the Iran-Contra investigation. Now he could ‘never be a tyrant’

Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., left, worked for then-Rep. Dick Cheney, R-Wyo., right, as a counsel on the Iran-Contra Investigation. (Courtesy Ken Buck)

As his father watched him from a hospital bed, 27-year-old Ken Buck sat behind Dick Cheney while history was being made.

The Colorado Republican was the assistant minority counsel on the Iran-Contra investigation, working for Cheney, then a Wyoming congressman.

Do-Nothing Amendments Give Lawmakers Bragging Opportunity About Successes
Provisions have no real-world impact

Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-Ariz., is among the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents this midterm cycle. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House adopted amendments on a two-bill spending package last week purporting to redirect sums ranging from $100,000 to study the impact of a mineral found to cause cracking in concrete home foundations, to $36 million for “public safety and justice facility construction” at the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

There’s just one catch: the provisions simply give the illusion of moving money around — with no real-world impact on agency funding priorities. The net financial impact of all 14 such amendments considered during debate on the $58.7 billion Interior-Environment and Financial Services measure — out of 87 total floor amendments on the bill — was precisely zero.

Clarke Knows the ‘Tricks of the Trade’ From Her Internship
New York Democrat interned in the mid-1980s for her predecessor

Rep. Yvette D. Clarke, D-N.Y., got to work on trade issues affecting the Caribbean region during her Hill internship. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Former New York Rep. Major R. Owens may not have known he had an intern who was going places when he assigned college student Yvette D. Clarke to work on trade legislation in the mid-1980s.

Clarke was studying government and public policy at Oberlin College and was eager to learn more about the mechanics of Congress. About two decades later, she ended up challenging Owens in a 2004 Democratic primary — and lost. When Owens retired two years later, Clarke ran again — and won.

Pete Olson on Respect in Congress: ‘We’ve Lost That’
Texas Republican shares what he learned as a staffer

Rep. Pete Olson, R-Texas, was Sen. John Cornyn’s first chief of staff. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Pete Olson tries to make sure his staffers get home at a reasonable hour because he remembers long nights on the Senate floor, endless debates and the chaos of 9/11.

Before he ran for Congress in 2008, the Texas Republican worked for Sen. Phil Gramm and his successor John Cornyn, now the majority whip.

Democrats Get Preferred Candidates in House Races in Texas
GOP sees mixed fortunes for establishment candidates in runoffs

Air Force veteran Gina Ortiz Jones won the Democratic nomination for Texas’ 23rd District. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

General election matchups in Texas were set following Tuesday’s runoffs, including a few expected to be competitive in the fall. 

Democrats saw new opportunities in the Lone Star state after Hillary Clinton carried three Republican-held seats in 2016. Each of those races on the Democratic side went to a runoff after no one took more than 50 percent of the vote in the March 6 primary. A slew of Republican retirements sparked crowded GOP primaries, which led to runoffs in five open seats. The winners of most of these contests are likely to come to Congress from the Republican-leaning districts.