Terri A Sewell

Hey Congress, there’s an app for that!
Students swarm Capitol Hill, showcase computer science skills

IMG_7684

#HouseOfCode, a Computer Science Festival on Capitol Hill, welcomed 232 students from 129 congressional districts who all assembled in a packed room inside Rayburn. These high-tech middle and high schoolers wore their “congressional app challenge” cotton tees with pride, favoring computer applications over the typical D.C. attire. The task was to showcase their contributions to computer science and, once I showed up, explain “coding.”

“Coding ... is a language where you’re trying to write an application,” high school senior Ryan Lee began explaining before his galactic-themed game, “Space Exploration,” caught my attention. (I’m a sucker for space and, full disclosure, he lost me at “language.”)

Democrats close but still short votes needed to pass $15 minimum wage
Proponents of bill to double existing minimum wage over five years confident they’ll get there

House Education and Labor Chairman Robert C. Scott, D-Va., is confident he can convince enough uncommitted Democrats to support his bill to incrementally increase the federal minimum wage to $15 over five years for it to pass the chamber. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Proponents of a $15 minimum wage are bullish about the prospects of the House passing a bill to incrementally double the current $7.25 federal standard over five years, despite Democrats seemingly being short the votes to do so.

“We’re working to make sure that we have consensus, but we’re going to pass that bill with enough Democratic votes to make sure that it passes out of the House,” House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer told reporters during House Democrats’ retreat in Leesburg, Virginia, earlier this month. 

Sarah Sanders won’t say if Trump really thinks ‘Democrats hate Jewish people’
In rare briefing, press secretary merely says president has ‘laid out clearly his position’

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did nothing Monday to walk back President Trump reportedly saying he thinks "Democrats hate Jewish people." (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday opted against walking back President Donald Trump’s contention that congressional Democrats are an “anti-Jewish party.”

Trump on Friday told reporters that recent controversial remarks about the influence of Jewish donors on politicians by freshman Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar’s recent comments show “the Democrats have become an anti-Israel party” and an “anti-Jewish party.”

‘I feel very badly for Paul Manafort,’ Trump says
Omar remarks, hate resolution show Dems are ‘anti-Jewish party,’ POTUS says

President Donald Trump speaks to the media before departing on Marine One from the White House on Jan. 10. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump expressed sympathy for his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who was sentenced to four years in prison Thursday — but he also used the judge’s ruling to again claim there was no “collusion” with Moscow in 2016.

Trump also said Rep. Ilhan Omar’s recent comments show “the Democrats have become an anti-Israel party” and an “anti-Jewish party.” He called a resolution the chamber passed in the wake of the Minnesota Democrat’s remarks about politicians being influenced by Jewish donors a “disgrace.”

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee to step down as chairwoman of Judiciary subcommittee and CBCF
She will temporarily step away from the subcommittee, and an aide said there's no timeline for her return

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee is temporarily stepping down from her leadership of a House Judiciary subcommittee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee is temporarily stepping down from her leadership of a House Judiciary subcommittee, following a lawsuit claiming she fired a staffer who said she was raped by a superior at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat, was chairwoman of the Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations subcommittee, where she has focused on protecting special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and gun violence prevention.

Former staffer sues Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee for firing her after rape allegation
In court filings, the staffer alleges a former intern coordinator raped her in October 2015

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, participates in a press conference with House Judiciary Committee Democrats on Thursday, April 12, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A former staffer for Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee claims in a new lawsuit that the Texas Democrat fired her after she planned to pursue legal action over an alleged rape by a former Congressional Black Caucus Foundation employee.

According to the court filings, the staffer alleges that Damien Jones, a former intern coordinator for the CBCF, raped her at his D.C.-area home in October 2015. The staffer, identified as Jane Doe in the lawsuit, was a 19-year-old intern for the CBCF when the alleged assault happened.

Vote Mama helps moms with young children to run for office
New York’s Liuba Grechen Shirley launches PAC to support progressive candidates

Liuba Grechen Shirley, shown here with her children Mila, left, and Nicky, persuaded the Federal Election Commission to allow her to use campaign funds from her House campaign to pay for child care expenses. (Courtesy Liuba Grechen Shirley)

Liuba Grechen Shirley attracted national attention when she persuaded federal election officials to allow her to use money she raised for her 2018 congressional campaign to pay for babysitting expenses.

She still lost her 2018 House campaign. So did the six other women with children under 2 who ran for Congress last year, she said, in spite of what has been universally recognized as a watershed moment for women in politics.

Photos of the week: 116th Congress sworn in as shutdown continues
The week of Dec. 31 as captured by Roll Call’s photojournalists

Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., is seen in the Capitol's House chamber before members were sworn in on the first day of the 116th Congress on Jan. 3. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The holiday season ended, the partial government shutdown continued and new members were sworn into the 116th Congress this week.

Here's the entire week of Dec. 31 in photos:

House adopts rules package with few Democratic defections over PAYGO provision
Package establishes two select committees, requires committee action before floor votes, among other changes

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., swears in members in the House chamber on the first day of the 116th Congress on Jan. 3, 2019. Later that afternoon the House adopted its rules package for new Congress. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House on Thursday adopted the bulk of a rules package for the 116th Congress that featured dozens of changes designed to restore more committee and bipartisan involvement in the legislative process, increase transparency and clamp down on ethics violations. 

The measure, adopted 234 to 197, was crafted by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rules Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., with input from members across all factions of the House Democratic majority.

New Democrat Coalition Elects Derek Kilmer as New Chairman
Sewell, Peters, Kuster and DelBene will be vice chairs of pro-business caucus

Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., is the new chair of the New Democrat Coalition. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The New Democrat Coalition on Friday elected Washington Rep. Derek Kilmer to chair the centrist, pro-business caucus in the 116th Congress. 

Kilmer, who has served as a vice chair of the coalition, will succeed Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes