elections

With Opponents Dug In, Pelosi Has Little Room to Negotiate on Speaker Votes
At least 15 Pelosi opponents say they remain firm and will not vote ‘present’

Reps.-elect Max Rose, D-N.Y., left, and Jason Crow, D-Colo., pictured fist bumping at the new member office lottery on Nov. 30, are among the Democrats firmly opposed to Nancy Pelosi’s speaker bid. Rep.-elect Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., is among those who voted against Pelosi in caucus elections but appears open to supporting her on the floor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

At least 15 Democrats resisting Nancy Pelosi’s speaker bid are holding firm in their opposition and say they plan to vote for someone other than the California Democrat during the Jan. 3 speaker election, providing Pelosi with little room to negotiate a victory.

With the House poised to have 235 Democrats seated on the opening day of the 116th Congress when the speaker election takes place, Pelosi can only afford to have 17 Democrats vote and say a name that is not hers to meet the 218-vote majority threshold. 

3 Takeaways for Trump as Mueller Details Russia’s ‘Political Synergy’ Offer
Special counsel adds intrigue to House Democrats’ expected investigations of 2016 campaign

President Donald Trump arrives back at the White House on Friday from a trip to Kansas City without taking questions from reporters. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump was watching television Friday evening when he reached for his phone after a subdued trip to Kansas City. Though federal court documents did not name him, he felt the need to declare his innocence.

“Totally clears the President. Thank you!” Trump wrote.

Harvard Tradition Agitates Democrats’ Left Wing
Number of lobbyists, not identifying some as such, at orientation for incoming Democrats draws criticism

New York Democratic Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke out against the many corporate interests present at the Harvard Bipartisanship Orientation for New Members. (Mario Tama/Getty Images file photo)

A prestigious, 50-year-old orientation for new members of Congress at Harvard University predicated on the virtues of bipartisanship and civility has drawn intense criticism this week for the presence of lobbyists and business executives — evidence of the growing influence of the left wing of the Democratic Party that has abstained from corporate PAC money.

Most incoming members of Congress attend the storied Bipartisan Program for Newly Elected Members of Congress, which ran from Tuesday to Thursday. Since 1972, the Harvard Institute of Politics has hosted more than 700 current and former representatives, according to the school’s website.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill
Scalise has a new floor director, Mink is honored in Hawaii, and Corker sends off grads

Dominic Gregoire, 10, holds a picture of Tyrel Wheeler, who was killed in a 2011 Massachusetts shooting, at an event with lawmakers and victims to call on Congress to act on gun violence prevention on Thursday. Dominic's aunt, Nina Bradley, was also killed by a gun. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for it. We look, but we don’t find everything. We want to know what you see too.

Expect Two Wildly Different Stories After James Comey’s House Testimony
Former FBI director not bound by confidentiality agreement, can speak freely after interview

Former FBI Director James Comey will speak with House members behind closed doors Friday but will not be bound by a confidentiality agreement unlike previous witnesses. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former FBI Director James B. Comey is speaking with lawmakers behind closed doors Friday after reaching a compromise with House Republicans who subpoenaed him to testify about his recommendation in July 2016 not to prosecute Hillary Clinton for using a private email server to conduct official government business.

But unlike all previous witnesses who interviewed with the joint panel of House Judiciary Committee and Oversight and Government Reform Committee members for their probe into potential bias at the FBI and Justice Department in 2016, Comey will not be bound to silence by a confidentiality agreement after the meeting.

Sen.-elect Josh Hawley Faces Misuse of Taxpayer Money Investigation
Secretary of state says it will investigate, AG calls allegations ‘meritless’

Sen.-elect Josh Hawley, R-Mo., faces an investigation into the misuse of taxpayer money to boost his own profile. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Missouri Secretary of State’s office will investigate allegations that incoming Sen. Josh Hawley improperly tapped state resources to boost his public profile ahead of his campaign to unseat Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill

Within days of Hawley becoming the state attorney general, two political consultants based in Washington began instructing his taxpayer-paid staff on how to shape his image ahead of a campaign for the Senate, according to a Kansas City Star report shortly before Election Day.

Roger Ailes, the Connection Between Bushworld and Trumpworld
The 41st and 45th president had in common the legendary GOP fixer and Fox News boss

President Donald Trump salutes as First Lady Melania Trump holds her hand over her heart at former President George H.W. Bush's casket in the Capitol Rotunda on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

For all of the contrasts drawn this week between President Donald Trump and President George H.W. Bush, and there are many, the two chief executives did share one thing in common that helped assure their electoral successes: Roger Ailes.

This week’s tributes to Bush, with their emphasis on his gentlemanly public service, optimism and affability, diverge sharply with the current president’s dark, transactional demeanor and outlook. But for all their superficial and substantive differences, they both were aided greatly by Ailes: Bush as an employer of his skills as a strategist and political ad man in the 1988 race and Trump as a recipient of his authority to provide a ready platform on the country’s premiere conservative news channel: Fox News.

9 New Members Who Previously Served at the Pleasure of a President
Newcomers to 116th Congress bring bevy of executive branch experience

There’s a group of new members of the 116th Congress who have served former presidents, including Reps.-elect Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., and Colin Allred, D-Texas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group of newcomers to Capitol Hill is bringing experience from the executive branch to the 116th Congress. 

They draw from a cast of former White House or Cabinet staffers and high-ranking officials from the administrations of the past two Democratic presidents. These new members, who once had to defend their administration’s policies, now find themselves on the other side of the table, promising oversight of the executive branch. 

Congress Lauds Amazon HQ2, But Staffers Worry About Making Rent
An influx of wealth could magnify the city’s housing problems, with big implications for the Hill

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, center, is pictured in the Capitol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Amazon received a warm reception on Capitol Hill when it announced a new major outpost in the Washington area, with senators lauding the online retail giant’s entry just across the Potomac. But privately, some congressional staffers fume that “HQ2” will further escalate rents.

Congressional staffers have already been crushed by stagnating wages and climbing housing costs. And they worry Amazon’s new headquarters will mean they’ll have to allocate a larger chunk of their paycheck to their landlords. Some have taken up second jobs, and anticipate tough decisions about the future.

The Dingell-est Things John Dingell Said in His #AMA
Longest-serving member of Congress pulls no punches

Former Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., hosted a Reddit AMA session Thursday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Rep. John Dingell, the longest-ever serving member of Congress, is known for his frankness and wit.

The former Michigan lawmaker lived up to that reputation in a refreshingly honest Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) session Thursday, dishing on President Donald Trump, the inanity of term limits, and how the Senate and Electoral College are inherently undemocratic institutions.