congressional-operations

Opinion: America Doesn’t Care How the Sausage Is Made
Both parties need to outline the outcomes of their policies first

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy at a news conference in March 2017. It was easy for Republicans to call for repealing the 2010 health care law, but defining its replacement and the outcomes it would deliver was harder, Winston writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Process rather than outcome has become the new definition of governing in D.C. and that’s not good for America.

The inside story of how a controversial bill is passed or a presidential decision is reached has historical value. But when day-to-day political discourse thrives on gossipy renditions of process as we see now rather than focusing on the outcomes these actions will deliver, a disillusioned electorate is the unfortunate consequence.

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

Senate Immigration Debate to Begin With Blank Slate
“The amendment process will be fair to all sides,” McConnell says

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised a “level playing field” for the immigration debate likely to take place next week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday he will kick off next week’s debate over the fate of 690,000 “Dreamers” with a shell bill that does not include immigration-related language.

The debate “will have an amendment process that will ensure a level playing field at the outset,” the Kentucky Republican said on the Senate floor.

Capitol Ink | Congress X

Five Continuing Resolutions? Par for the Course on Capitol Hill
Fiscal 2018 isn’t an outlier, yet, when compared to recent years

The late Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, as Appropriations chairman, presided over 21 continuing resolutions in fiscal 2001. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Frustration is high among lawmakers being asked to vote for yet another continuing resolution, the fifth of its kind for the current fiscal year that began on Oct. 1.

None of the 12 annual appropriations bills have been enacted, and the reliance on interim funding at prior-year levels leaves agencies operating on outdated, and in some cases lower, budgets that don’t reflect new priorities and needs identified over the course of the previous year.

ACLU Challenges Lawmakers Who Block People on Social Media
Reps. Gosar, Lewis among group’s targets

Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., is the defendant in a lawsuit for blocking a constituent on social media. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging Democrats and Republicans for blocking constituent social media, citing constitutional free speech protections.

The group has assumed the case of a woman who filed suit against Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar last September for blocking her access to his Facebook page.

Critics Point to Problems With Sexual Harassment Bill
Measure is intended to create more protections for Hill staffers

People rally against sexual harassment outside Trump International Hotel on Dec. 9 in New York City. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images file photo)

A bipartisan measure meant to increase protections for congressional employees who complain of sexual harassment and other workplace discrimination could make the process more cumbersome and less transparent, experts on employment law and advocates for victims and government transparency said this week.

Critics agree that the 23-year-old Congressional Accountability Act is long overdue for reform. But they said this one — expected to get broad support when it comes before the House as early as next week — could introduce more problems than it solves, possibly because it was compiled in a rush to respond to the #MeToo movement and the resulting wave of sexual harassment allegations in American institutions.

Correspondence With Congressional Offices ‘Through the Roof’
Offices get hundreds of calls each day, from drunk calls to ‘racist’ rants to threats

Interns struggle to wheel a 20,000-page tower of health care rules and regulations from the Capitol to the Russell Building in March 2013. Interns and staffers are struggling with an increased load of correspondence and calls from constituents, many of them angry. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Schumer: Trump On 'Sidelines' As Shutdown-Ending Deal Forged
President has been 'managing' shutdown and calling members, spox says

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer confer after recent Senate policy lunches in the Capitol. Both have been critical of White House adviser Stephen Miller and other top Trump aides in recent days. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate’s top Democrat and White House aides on Monday offered contrasting assessments of President Donald Trump’s involvement in talks to end a government shutdown.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, while announcing his Democratic caucus would vote on a three-week stopgap agreed to by Senate GOP leaders along with a vow to hold a floor debate on the DACA program and other immigration measures in coming weeks, described Trump as uninvolved over the weekend.

Senate Breaks Shutdown Logjam and Advances Three-Week CR
Chamber votes 81-18 to end debate on short-term stopgap measure

Hill staffers and others wait in a long line to enter the Dirksen Building on Monday. Only certain doors to office buildings were open while Congress worked to end the government shutdown. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate on Monday cleared a key procedural hurdle to advance a three-week stopgap funding measure, signaling a likely end to the three-day government shutdown.

The chamber voted 81-18 to end debate on the short-term continuing resolution.