Sam Johnson

How Committees Got Their Staffers
Ways and Means and Senate Finance were first panels to receive staff

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, right, and Texas Rep. Sam Johnson during a markup of the GOP tax bill in November. In the background, David Stewart, the panel’s majority staff director at the time, and Karen McAfee, the minority staff director. The Ways and Means Committee was the first one in the House to receive staff. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Recent estimates have put the number of staffers in the House and Senate at about 15,000. In 1789, there was one. 

Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania had just been made speaker, and the second order of business was to elect Virginia lawyer John Beckley as House clerk, the first of 35 people who have served in the role. 

John McCain’s Cellmate: No More ‘Hell on Earth’
Hanoi Hilton survivor taps out a tribute to his late colleague

Sen. John McCain greets fellow Vietnam veteran Rep. Sam Johnson in 2008. The Texas Republican honored his colleague Thursday. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Retiring Rep. Sam Johnson saluted his fellow former prisoner of war, Sen. John McCain, on the House floor Thursday night.

“John was more than just a colleague in Congress. We were friends, and that friendship was forged in the infamous Hanoi Hilton,” Johnson said. The two shared a cell.

Images From John McCain’s Capitol Memorial
Arizona senator lies in state in Capitol Rotunda before services on Saturday

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan turns to address Sen. John McCain’s mother Roberta McCain and daughter Meghan McCain as he pays respects as the senator lies in state in the Capitol Rotunda on Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senator John McCain paid a last visit to the Capitol on Friday before services Saturday at the Washington National Cathedral.

The longtime Arizona senator, who died from brain cancer on Aug. 25, was borne into the Capitol by representatives from the different branches of the armed services before former colleagues, friends and family paid their respects.

Opinion: Rethinking Social Security Numbers in the Modern Age
Traditional safeguards are no longer enough

Americans are at greater risk when it comes to having their Social Security number stolen — and traditional safeguards are not enough, writes Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas.  (iStock)

Did you know that last fall at least 145.5 million Americans’ Social Security numbers were stolen in a data breach at Equifax? Worse, this was just one in a series of recent breaches — don’t forget Anthem and the Office of Personnel Management, just to name others.

In this technological age, folks are at greater risk when it comes to having their Social Security number stolen — even if they do everything right. That’s because keeping your number a secret, leaving your Social Security card in a safe, and shredding all documents containing your number are now antiquated efforts for stopping the modern hacker.

Maybe They’re Too Rich for Congress?
Seventeen members departing the Capitol are millionaires

California Rep. Darrell Issa is not running for a 10th term this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The wealthy are heading for the exits.

So far, 44 current lawmakers, or one in 12, have announced they are retiring at the end of the year or seeking new offices away from the Capitol. And collectively, they now account for nearly a third of the $2.43 billion in cumulative riches of the 115th Congress.

Anger Management in the 2018 Midterms
Who will turn out to vote? Depends on who is angry

Midterms getting you down? Let Stu Rothenberg and Bridget Bowman provide some context. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Howdy from Political Theater, Roll Call’s newsletter and podcast on the spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

“Voters who are angry tend to vote in midterms,” Roll Call political analyst Stu Rothenberg says in the latest “Political Theater” podcast. “In bad times, everybody’s angry and everybody wants to send a message,” he continues.

Sam Johnson Donates Items From POW Camp
Texas congressman donates tin cup and toothpaste he smuggled out of ‘Hanoi Hilton’ to Smithsonian

Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas, donated a tin cup and tube of toothpaste from his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam (Smithsonian's National Museum of American History).

Texas Rep. Sam Johnson donated possessions from his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam to the Smithsonian Institute.

The Republican donated a tin cup and a tube of toothpaste he smuggled from the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” prisoner of war camp from his seven years held captive after he was shot down.

Old Photos That Current Candidates Might Not Want You to See
A Throwback Thursday to four familiar faces

Nevada Republican Danny Tarkanian campaigns door to door with his daughters in Las Vegas in May 2010 in his ultimately unsuccessful race against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Since the internet has deemed Thursday the appropriate time to turn back the clock, I dug through Roll Call’s extensive photo archives for some old photos of current candidates who previously ran for another office. Not only is there a little more gray hair this time around, but it’s a good lesson in perseverance.

Back in 2006, Texas Republican Van Taylor received national attention as an Iraq War veteran running for Congress as the war was becoming increasingly unpopular. He lost in the blue wave to Democratic Rep. Chet Edwards. But Taylor was subsequently elected to the state Legislature and is now the prohibitive favorite for Texas’ 3rd District seat, which is open because Republican incumbent Sam Johnson is not seeking re-election.

Photos of the Week: A House Tax Marathon as Senate Starts Action
The week of Nov. 6 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

From left, Rep. Sam Johnson, Chairman Kevin Brady and ranking member Richard Neal open a House Ways and Means Committee markup of the Republicans’ tax overhaul plan in Longworth Building on Monday. Rep. David Schweikert also appears. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House Ways and Means Committee finished its marathon markup of the GOP tax overhaul plan Thursday, as attention shifted to the Senate, which will be marking up its own version of the bill next week. 

Here’s the entire week in photos:

Republican Jeb Hensarling Not Running for Re-Election
Texas congressman says he has stayed far longer than originally planned

Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling will not seek a ninth term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Texas Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling said Tuesday he will not run for re-election next year.

“Today I am announcing that I will not seek reelection to the US Congress in 2018. Although service in Congress remains the greatest privilege of my life, I never intended to make it a lifetime commitment, and I have already stayed far longer than I had originally planned,” the eight-term congressman said in a statement.