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Campus Notebook: Lawmakers to Prague, staff to Fargo, plus million-dollar trades
Lawmaker travel, stock trades, ethics complaints and other updates

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Campus notebook this week highlights where a former top law enforcement official went after he retired from the Capitol Police, international travel by members, domestic travel of staffers and substantial stock trades.

When celebrity luster gives cover to how America judges its own
Jessye Norman and Diahann Carroll remind us of the unfair burden placed on icons of color

People who hold up the late Jessye Norman, left, or Diahann Carroll as exemplifying America’s promise, that hard work will inevitably lead to reward, ignore the women’s own struggles , Curtis writes. (Gregg DeGuire/WireImage/Getty Images file photos)

OPINION — I am not one of those folks who see celebrities as larger-than-life icons to be worshipped and admired. Usually. But the recent deaths of Jessye Norman and Diahann Carroll hit me in the gut because those two amazing women were at once larger than life and so very real. The reactions to their accomplishments also illustrate an American or perhaps universal trait — the ability to compartmentalize, to place certain citizens of color or underrepresented citizens on a pedestal, at once a part of and apart from others of their race or gender or religion or orientation.

It allows negative judgment of entire groups to exist alongside denials of any racist or discriminatory intent. There are a lot of problems with that way of thinking. It places an unfair burden on the icons, a need to be less a human being than a flawless symbol. And it uses them as a rebuke to others who never managed to overcome society’s obstacles.

There goes the neighborhood … to lobbyists and fundraisers
Residents say they fear their neighborhoods are morphing into a commercial district

Jamie Hogan, owner of the house at 224 C St. NE, poses in the doorway of the house on Sept. 19, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Jamie Hogan and Amy Paul, partners in a Republican fundraising agency called HSP Direct, purchased a $1.5 million federal-style townhouse half a block from the Hart Senate Office Building back in January 2017. Now the residential property has become a subject of controversy.

Neighbors allege Hogan and Paul bought the home to serve as their Ashburn, Virginia, business’s Capitol Hill outpost — using the C Street Northeast pad to host fundraisers and other political or policy events.

Congress gets first win of the decade in charity football

The Mean Machine team, consisting of members of Congress, hold up the winning trophy after defeating the Guards team, made up of current and former U.S. Capitol Police members, during the annual Congressional Football Game for Charity on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Members of Congress snapped a four-game losing streak in the biannual Congressional Football Game for Charity on Tuesday night to defeat the Capitol Police, 14-4, behind a stellar defensive effort.

The Mean Machine, a bipartisan team of members of Congress and former NFL players, defeated The Guards, a team made up of Capitol Police officers sworn to protect lawmakers, for the first time since 2009.

D.C. evokes spirit of 1776 in battle for statehood
‘We’re coming for what is due us,’ mayor proclaims

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser rides a bus with 51 military veterans to a Monday rally on Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest ahead of this week’s House Oversight and Reform hearing on a bill that would make the District the 51st state. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton evoked the Founding Fathers to plead their case for district statehood while riding in a statehood parade to the Capitol on Monday.

The two D.C. political leaders were joined in front of the John A. Wilson Building, the seat of the District government, by high-spirited U.S. veterans from D.C. waving American flags with 51 stars and chanting “Fif-ty-one! Fif-ty-one!” The delegation then climbed onto a double-decker statehood bus for an 11-block trek that included a stop in front of Trump International Hotel.

Ken Cuccinelli wants to be a poet. First he needs a history lesson
It’s easier to rewrite Emma Lazarus than face up to the past

Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, has spent his week revising poetry — and evading history, Curtis writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — It happened like clockwork. Every few weeks, especially in the winter months, when snowbirds traveled to my then-home in Tucson, Arizona, from parts north that included Michigan and Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois, a letter to the editor would turn up at the paper where I worked. With slight changes, it would go something like: “I stopped in a store and overheard some people speaking Spanish. Why don’t they speak English?”

It took a little bit of time and a lot of convincing to explain that the families of many of these folks had been on the land the new arrivals so expansively and immediately claimed for generations, in the state since before it was a state, which Arizona didn’t become until 1912. It also has the greatest percentage of its acreage designated as Indian tribal land in the United States. And would it hurt you to know a word or two of Spanish?

New ‘public charge’ rule could affect millions of immigrants
The DHS rule gives officers new authority to deny citizenship, or other status based on past or future use of public benefits

Ken Cuccinelli, former Virginia Attorney General, does a TV interview on Jan. 20, 2015. Cuccinelli, now U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, announced a new rule giving immigration officers new authority to deny citizenship, or other status based on past or future use of public benefits. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A new Department of Homeland Security rule unveiled Monday seeks to do what pro-immigration advocates have long dreaded by giving U.S. immigration officers broad authority to deny applicants citizenship, green cards, visa extensions and changes in immigration status based on past or potential future use of public benefits.

The change covers people who may have used a wide range of benefits in the past such as food stamps, Medicaid and housing assistance, even if they were eligible for them. Furthermore, the government under the new rule can reject people if immigration officers deem it likely they could become reliant on such public assistance in the future.

USDA seeks to narrow eligibility for food stamps
Proposal looks to tighten eligibility for people who receive noncash benefits

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the draft rule will close a loophole that allows people with gross incomes above 130 percent of the poverty level to become eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and potentially qualify for food stamps. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration will push ahead with a proposal to tighten food stamp eligibility for people who receive certain noncash benefits from a federal welfare program, a move that could end aid for up to 3 million people.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the draft rule published in Tuesday’s Federal Register will end what he and congressional Republicans say is a loophole that allows people with gross incomes above 130 percent of the poverty level to become eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and potentially qualify for food stamps through the program.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn calls Snapchat ‘a child predator's dream’
In letter to Snap Inc. CEO, she urges action to protect minors from explicit content

Sen. Marsha Blackburn says the Snapchat app is a haven for predators and exposes children to explicit content. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Marsha Blackburn is urging tech company Snap to take steps to protect young users of the Snapchat platform from sexual predators and explicit content.

The Tennessee Republican penned a letter to Snap CEO Evan Spiegel on Monday, calling on the company to answer questions about the recommended age of Snapchat users and what the company is doing to prevent explicit content being shared with minors on the app.

Trump’s poverty proposal prompts alarms over cuts to Medicaid, Head Start
By changing the poverty threshold calculation, thousands would no longer be eligible for Medicaid and food stamps

Staffers set up signs for Sen. Bernie Sanders' event to introduce the Medicare for All Act of 2017 on Sept. 13, 2017. The Trump administration may roll out a memo using an alternative way to calculate the poverty threshold, potentially cutting eligibility for programs like Medicaid, Medicare subsidies, food stamps, Head Start education for young children. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Experts are voicing alarm about a Trump administration plan to change how the federal poverty level is determined and potentially cut eligibility for programs like Medicaid, Medicare subsidies, food stamps, Head Start education for young children and low-income energy assistance.

The comment period for the Office of Management and Budget proposal closes Friday. Then the agency could roll out a memo that would use an alternative way to calculate the poverty threshold.