Science

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

(Screenshot from C-SPAN)

Botched votes, eight-hour speeches, endless milling around — watching 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 point 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.

Bipartisan Praise, and Questions, About Thad Cochran
Omnibus spending measure, future awaits veteran Mississippi Republican

Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran has bipartisan support and respect, but also faces questions about how much longer he will be in office, even as he begins the task of moving an omnibus spending bill wrapping up the current fiscal year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An omnibus bill wrapping up fiscal 2018 spending could serve as a victory lap for Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran, who continues to battle questions over his health and stamina in the role.

Rumors have swirled quietly for months about the 80-year-old Mississippi Republican’s future. Those whispers became louder last year after Cochran took a prolonged absence from the Senate due to health issues.

Grayson Raking in Donations but Won’t Say Where He’s Running
Former Democratic congressman could be targeting his old seat in Florida’s 9th District

Former Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., could be looking to win back his old seat after a failed Senate campaign in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After raising nearly $60,000 in the last campaign filing quarter of 2017, it’s clear former Florida Rep. Alan Grayson is honing in on running for Congress in Florida again.

What’s unclear is where exactly he’ll spend his money.

Maryland Democrats Blast FBI HQ Plan
Cardin, Hoyer concerned about effort to put new FBI building at current location

Maryland lawmakers are criticizing the GSA and FBI plan to rebuild the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building on its current site. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Trump administration’s proposal to keep the FBI headquarters adjacent to the president’s hotel complex in downtown D.C., has raised the ire of Maryland lawmakers.

“Throughout the Bush and Obama Administrations, the FBI and GSA repeatedly told Congress that the FBI needs a new, fully consolidated headquarters, going so far as to stress the need for selecting a new site because the existing location does not allow the FBI to consolidate the almost 11,000 headquarters employees into one facility,” House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer said in a statement

House Appropriators Ready to Carve Up Budget Deal
Side deal among leaders would divide spending, and could divide members

House Appropriations member Steve Womack, who is also Budget chairman, said he and his fellow appropriators never like to have their work spelled out for them. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A side agreement among congressional leaders to allocate some of the new nondefense funding to opioid abuse prevention, infrastructure and several other priorities is complicating the plan to write a fiscal 2018 omnibus.

Even if that weren’t the case, appropriators say they don’t like being micromanaged.

GOP Face of Democratic DACA Demand Not Supporting Leverage Move
Hurd: ‘I don’t know why there’s reticence to having a vote on something like this.’

Texas Rep. Will Hurd doesn’t want to risk a government shutdown for a vote on his immigration bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats have a ransom problem. A key ally doesn’t support them holding this specific “hostage.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and some Democrats are trying to leverage the budget vote to extract a vote on an unrelated immigration bill.

Budget Deal Facing Senate Slowdown, House Objections
Second shutdown in as many months looms larger

Congress continued to lurch toward another government shutdown on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated at 6:47 p.m.Confidence quickly waned Thursday afternoon that a massive $320 billion budget package with stopgap funding needed to avert a government shutdown at midnight would pass quickly as senators lodged procedural objections.

And if House Democratic leaders move from a passive vote-counting effort against the package to an aggressive one — neither chamber may have the time or the votes to pass the package before the current funding bill expires.

Opinion: Acting on Opioids Is Easy. Recovery Is Hard
It’s time to save lives and take on the deadly opioid epidemic

Republicans and Democrats in Congress agree on the need to address the deadly opioid epidemic, Rep. Paul  D. Tonko, D-N.Y., writes. (John Moore/Getty Images file photo)

During his State of the Union Address last week, President Donald Trump repeated a promise that he has made many times: America is finally going to do something about its opioid epidemic. The issue could not be more pressing.

We are in the midst of a national public health crisis that cut short 64,000 lives in 2016 alone, a 21 percent increase in overdose deaths over the previous year. Given the devastating urgency of this issue, I want to believe that our president has not forgotten the tragedy of those lost and the pain of the loved ones they leave behind. But he has made similar promises in the past, nearly all of them abandoned and broken.

Senators Call for Special Committee to Investigate Olympic Abuse
Bipartisan group of 18 senators unveils resolution

From left, Sens. Tim Scott of South Carolina, Joni Ernst of Iowa and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire conduct a news conference Wednesday to announce a bipartisan resolution to form a Senate committee to investigate USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Two days ahead of the opening ceremonies for the Winter Olympics, a bipartisan group of senators is trying to set up a special committee to investigate the U.S. Olympic Committee.

The 18 senators, led by Republican Joni Ernst of Iowa and Democrat Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, unveiled their resolution Wednesday.

Cole’s Chief of Staff Dies Suddenly
Sean Murphy worked for Cole since 2007

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., put out a statement honoring his chief of staff. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Tom Cole announced Monday the death of his longtime chief of staff, Sean Murphy.

The Oklahoma Republican put out a statement saying Murphy died suddenly of natural causes.