congressional-staffers

Impeachment cellphone ban gives Senate pages a workout
Teens stay busy relaying messages, fetching water, even pouring glasses of milk

Senate pages are getting in their steps this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Trump’s impeachment trial may be requiring senators to stay seated hour after agonizing hour, but there’s one group getting lots of exercise: Senate pages.

The blue-jacket-clad teens have been running all over the Senate floor, relaying messages between senators and staff, fetching water and even pouring the occasional glass of milk.

Campus Notebook: Rick Scott’s lavish estates and exclusive clubs
Mitt Romney made a lot of money giving speeches, serving on corporate boards

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Florida Sen. Rick Scott has a solid setup when he’s not in Washington.

Scott’s home in Naples, Fla., is worth between $5 million and $25 million. He also has a boathouse there, which is valued between $100,000 and $250,000.

Between Iraq and a hard place: Congress
CQ on Congress, Ep. 181

Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., arrives to the Capitol Visitor Center for a briefing by administration officials for members of the House on the latest developments on Iranian airstrikes in Iraq. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

CQ on Congress begins 2020 by examining what's next after the targeted killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad. Host Shawn Zeller talks to two Iraq War veterans, Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., and Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., to get their takes on a House resolution that has reignited the debate over Congress' authority over acts of war, and policy towards Iraq and Iran.

After a busy week, Congress is ready for the holidays: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of Dec. 16, 2019

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney speaks with reporters as she passes the holiday sign in the basement of the Capitol as she leaves the House Democrats caucus meeting on Dec. 17. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McMorris Rodgers reproved by Ethics Committee for inappropriate use of funds
Washington Republican has to pay Treasury Department back $7,575

Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., was reproved by the House Ethics Committee and has to pay back $7,575. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For more than five years, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ offices exhibited a concerning pattern of using both taxpayer money and unofficial resources inappropriately and an indifference to laws governing the use of those resources, a House Ethics Committee report found Thursday, leading the panel to reprove her and force her to pay the Treasury Department back $7,575.

The Ethics panel found that the Washington Republican provided inappropriate compensation for consultant services from 2012 to 2017. She defrayed the cost of official services she got from the consultants with either political funds or the consultants’ voluntary provision of services, acts that are in violation of House rules because they incorporated unofficial office accounts. Further, Rodgers used official money for consultant services that would have been a violation of rules restricting the use of the office budget, known as the Members’ Representational Allowance, but the funds used to pay consultants were largely paid for by her House leadership office, which is not subject to the same regulations. This is a shortcoming that the committee discovered in leadership offices, and it referred the issue to the chamber’s inspector general.

Taiko drummer follows musical path to Capitol Hill office
Staffer for Rep. Meng blends her percussion and policymaking backgrounds

Erika Ninoyu, a fellow in Rep. Grace Meng’s office, performs on the taiko drum. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

How do you get to Capitol Hill? Practice, practice, practice.

At least that’s the path Erika Ninoyu has followed. She’s an avid percussionist, a music educator and fellow with the Asia Pacific Institute for Congressional Studies in New York Democrat Grace Meng’s office.

Think big, be humble and remember to serve coffee
Rep. Case recalls lessons from original Aloha State representatives

Hawaii Rep. Ed Case spent time as a House intern and staffer in the House and Senate before coming to Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Hawaii Rep. Ed Case relays a Grateful Dead lyric to describe his journey to Congress: “What a long strange trip it’s been.”

Case says his experiences as an intern and staffer in the House and Senate with his former boss, Spark M. Matsunaga, brought him from pondering his post-college plans to charting a course to Capitol Hill. Back in Congress after 12 years, he now holds the same Honolulu-area seat as Matsunaga did before he was elected to the Senate. (Case previously represented the 2nd District, which encompasses most of Oahu that is not Honolulu and the other islands.)

J. Brett Blanton on track to become next architect of the Capitol
Nominee was most recently deputy vice president for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

J. Brett Blanton, nominee to be architect of the Capitol, right, introduces his family to Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy Blunt, R-Mo., before the start of his confirmation hearing on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Most of J. Brett Blanton’s nomination hearing before the Senate Rules Committee to be the next architect of the Capitol on Thursday was essentially a one-on-one public interview between him and Chairman Roy Blunt, as the remaining 18 members of the committee were absent for the majority of the hearing.

No opposition to Blanton, a Virginia resident, is evident, making him likely to be confirmed as the 12th architect of the Capitol. If confirmed, Blanton said he expects to start leading the agency by mid-January.

Congress poised to pass paid parental leave for federal workers
Could the measure spur wider action in the private sector?

A provision in the defense authorization bill expected to be passed by Congress would give all federal employees 12 weeks of paid parental leave. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

About 2 million federal employees are about to be guaranteed 12 weeks of paid parental leave under a bill soon to be signed into law by President Donald Trump, but several experts say the cost of such a benefit may discourage Democrats’ hopes of it spurring broader adoption in private industry.

The provision, folded into a defense bill months in the working, would give all federal civilian employees three months of paid leave for the birth, adoption or fostering of a child. Democrats originally pushed for a broader set of benefits to cover family relations and illnesses but praised the measure’s inclusion. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, who chairs the Oversight and Reform Committee, touted the provision as “long overdue.”  

Campus Notebook: President nominates pick for Architect of the Capitol

The Cannon House Office Building renovation will be a tough issue to grapple with for Blanton. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Monday nominated J. Brett Blanton to be the next Architect of the Capitol for a 10-year stint.

If confirmed by the Senate, Blanton would provide stability to the helm of an agency that has been led by a succession of acting directors. Christine Merdon, an acting director, announced her resignation in August and was replaced by Thomas Carroll, who worked in the same capacity. The Architect of the Capitol is responsible for maintaining the facilities on the Capitol complex as well as renovations.