Katherine Tully-McManus

Merdon out at AOC, Thomas Carroll named new acting architect
Search continues for permanent Architect of the Capitol

Christine Merdon is out as acting Architect of the Capitol, and Thomas J. Carroll has been named to lead the agency on an acting basis as the search for a permanent AOC continues.

In an internal notice to AOC employees, Merdon said she had accepted a job outside of the agency.

Engel wants staffers to warn foreign governments about spending at Trump’s hotels
New memo instructs staff on interactions with foreign governments

A new directive this week from House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot L. Engel instructs staffers to warn foreign governments that spending at Trump-owned properties could violate the Constitution’s emoluments clause.

The memo, released Monday, issues guidelines for staff engaging with foreign governments. The directive signed by the New York Democrat is aimed specifically at the committee’s majority staff. Republican staffers were not given the same instructions.

So much for Whistleblower Appreciation Day; Capitol Hill workers still unprotected
Employees of legislative branch agencies don't have the same protections as other federal workers

The Senate had declared July 30 as “National Whistleblower Appreciation Day,” but that apparently is for other people, since senators’ own staffers and other legislative branch employees are not protected equally compared to other federal workers.

The discrepancy has been in place for years, but legislation to expand protections for employees of the House and Senate, Library of Congress, Capitol Police and other agencies hasn’t moved forward.

Jamba smoothie chain coming to the House
Smoothie joint will join cafeteria options in the Longworth building

A deal to bring the Jamba smoothie chain to the House side of the Capitol is “in the works,” according to the Office of the House Administrative Officer.

At an all-staff meeting Wednesday, Darnell Lee, deputy chief of human resources at the CAO, told the agency’s workforce that the smoothie chain would join the growing number of brand-name food offerings in the House.

Retiring page school principal honored by McConnell
After 26 years, Kathryn Weeden is leaving the job

A behind-the-scenes force on Capitol Hill is retiring after 26 years on the job. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell paid tribute Tuesday to Senate Page School principal Kathryn Weeden in a speech on the floor.

“For more than a quarter century, principal Weeden has been a constant anchor in a place where rotation and change are par for the course,” the Kentucky Republican said.

McConnell bristles at ‘hyperventilating hacks’ criticizing his blocking of election security legislation
Senate majority leader calls critiques ‘modern-day McCarthyism’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did something Monday he rarely does — he got riled up and responded directly to criticism as he defended his decision to block election security bills last week that Democrats attempted to bring to the floor by unanimous consent.

He took particular aim at a recent Washington Post opinion item by Dana Milbank titled “Mitch McConnell is a Russian asset,” calling it a “smear.”

Pelosi downplays Democratic divides following meeting with Ocasio-Cortez
Speaker enters August recess with message of unity following weeks of tension

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez huddled on Friday, giving Pelosi the chance to tout Democratic unity following weeks of tension between progressives and House leadership.

Pelosi said the meeting with Ocasio-Cortez went well and praised the New York freshman, calling her “a very gracious member of Congress.” She said the pair discussed issues facing their districts in California and New York, along with the challenges facing the nation on issues of immigration.

House clears bill to relieve onslaught of robocalls plaguing Americans
The House voted to pass a bill that would require phone companies to offer screening technology to customers at no cost

Lawmakers and their constituents are fed up with the bombardment of nuisance and scam calls plaguing their cell phones and on Wednesday the House passed a bipartisan measure to combat robocalls.

The House voted 429-3 to pass a bill that would require phone companies to offer screening technology to customers at no cost that would identify and block spam robocalls. It would also double, to four years, the time period that parties can be prosecuted for illegal robocalls.

Senators advance effort to curb congressional pensions
Measure that would allow lawmakers to opt out clears committee

Any member of Congress who has served for at least five years is eligible for a pension, but a proposal to allow lawmakers to opt out of their congressional pension while keeping other benefits made it through committee Wednesday. 

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved the bill by voice vote for floor consideration, but it’s not clear if it will get there. Heading into the committee markup, the measure — sponsored by Indiana Republican Mike Braun — didn’t have any co-sponsors.

Trump sues House, New York to block his state tax return disclosure

President Donald Trump is suing the House Ways and Means Committee and New York state officials in an effort to block the disclosure of his state tax returns.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court in Washington, seeks an injunction that would block the application of a new New York state law that could allow the Ways and Means panel, chaired by Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Mass., to obtain the president’s state tax records.

House votes to raise federal minimum wage
Issue exposed rifts among Democrats. Legislation stalled in Senate

Updated 12:46 p.m. | The House voted 231-199 Thursday to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour incrementally over six years, but the Democratic effort was almost derailed by divisions between progressives and moderates.

Progressives on Wednesday had issued a last-minute warning to their moderate colleagues not to help Republicans make any last-minute changes to the bill through the procedural maneuver known as a motion to recommit, or MTR. If moderate Democrats helped the GOP add what the progressives considered poison pill language to the measure, members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus were prepared to vote against it, the group’s co-chairs, Reps. Mark Pocan and Pramila Jayapal, said. 

Sen. Isakson hospitalized with rib fractures after fall
Georgia Republican “is in pain, but resting and doing well,” spokeswoman says

Sen. Johnny Isakson was hospitalized after falling and fracturing four ribs in his apartment in Washington, D.C., his office said in a statement. 

The Georgia Republican was admitted to George Washington University Hospital on Tuesday night. 

Leahy casts his 16,000th vote, joining an exclusive Senate club
No currently serving senators have cast more career votes

“Just a little perspective, imagine taking 16,000 pennies and stacking them one on top of the other, they’d surpass the height of the Washington Monument. They’d more than double the height of the Capitol Dome,” said Schumer. “It’s a reminder that a multitude of smaller actions and the accumulation of smaller accomplishments over a lifetime of quiet dedication can amount to a great monument of achievement.”

After accolades and congratulations, Leahy had some words of his own. 

Pelosi, Mnuchin appear close to spending caps, debt limit deal
Agreement would likely include a two-year extension of the debt limit and spending levels

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are close to making an announcement about spending caps and the debt limit.

“We have a clear understanding of what we want to agree to, and I think that's progress,” Pelosi said Tuesday afternoon after speaking with Mnuchin, who was preparing to leave Wednesday for the G-7 meeting in France. “We'll have an announcement about something soon, one way or the other.”

House’s condemnation of Trump may just be the beginning
Now the debate is over push by some Democrats for impeachment

Although Tuesday’s long day of heated debate ended with the House voting to condemn President Donald Trump for racist tweets, the chamber’s brawl over the president’s behavior may be just beginning. 

The House voted, 240-187, to approve a nonbinding resolution that says the chamber “strongly condemns” Trump’s “racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.”

‘I abandon the chair’: House floor in chaos over Pelosi speech on Trump tweets

Amid debate over whether to condemn tweets by President Donald Trump as racist on Tuesday, the House descended into parliamentary chaos, with Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, who was presiding, abruptly dropping the gavel and saying, “I abandon the chair.”

It was an extraordinary moment on an extraordinary day, as the House considered a resolution condemning Trump’s tweets from the weekend that told four freshman Democrats from the House to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

McCarthy pitches monthlong debt ceiling stopgap, if deal can’t be reached
He suggested a 30-day extension to avoid default in early September, if a compromise on discretionary spending caps can’t be reached

The House’s top Republican suggested that lawmakers pass a 30-day extension of the debt ceiling to avoid default in early September, if Democrats and the White House can’t agree on compromise discretionary spending caps before leaving for the summer break.

“We should not leave for August without dealing with that. And I would say if we can’t get this done, we should do a 30-day [stopgap],” McCarthy told reporters Tuesday. He also said lawmakers ought to stay in town a few days past July 26, when House lawmakers are currently scheduled to leave town, if necessary. The Senate is slated to be in session for an extra week.

Pelosi announces resolution condemning Trump’s racist tweets
The president’s weekend tweetstorm has brought the sometimes-fractured Democrats together as they denounce his comments

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Monday a resolution in the House condemning President Donald Trump’s tweets over the weekend in which he instructed progressive congresswomen to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

The president’s weekend tweetstorm has brought the sometimes-fractured Democrats together as they denounce his statements, which have been condemned by many as racist.

Road ahead: Pressure rising for debt limit deal
Lawmakers face deadline on debt even as other priorities come to floor

Congress is set to consider several high-profile measures this week, including holding two Cabinet officials in contempt, raising the minimum wage and ratifying tax treaties, but lawmakers will be unable to avoid the contentious issue of raising the federal debt ceiling. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been speaking by phone, trying to reach agreement on avoiding a potentially calamitous debt default.

No one told the New England delegation it was cafeteria lobster week
Mainer who brought us the lobster emoji misses out on crustacean grilled cheese

Maine independent Angus King did not try the lobster grilled cheese that was on the menu at the Dirksen Senate Office Building cafeteria this week.

“I didn’t even know about it. My staff will be severely reprimanded,” the senator told Heard on the Hill.