house

Special Election Kicks Off for Tim Murphy’s Seat
Murphy resigned his seat amid a sex scandal

Democrat Conor Lamb, left, and Republican Rick Saccone are competing for Pennsylvania’s open 18th District seat. (Courtesy Conor Lamb/Rick Saccone/Facebook)

The special election for former Pennsylvania Rep. Tim Murphy’s seat is kicking into gear now that each party has its candidate. Democrat Conor Lamb, a former Marine and federal prosecutor, will face Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone, a former Air Force special agent, in the March 13 election.

Murphy, a Republican, resigned his 18th District seat in the wake of a scandal that included an extramarital affair.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing Over Recess
Franken cut from Letterman special, star sighting, and supporting the home team

Gonna Fly Now: Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., runs up the House steps at the Capitol for the vote on tax reform on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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

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

Franking Fracas Hits Open Enrollment Ads
House Democrats accuse commission of playing politics

Democrats have asked Franking Commission Chairman Rodney Davis, shown here in 2014, to address complaints that the commission is unfairly blocking ads. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Attempts by House Democrats to promote open enrollment in the health care marketplaces are running up against arcane rules and what they call partisan politics. Lawmakers are seeking to compensate for reduced marketing on the part of the Trump administration with their own taxpayer-funded ads.

The Department of Health and Human Services earlier this year slashed advertising for HealthCare.gov by 90 percent, prompting cries of “sabotage” from Democrats and consumer advocates. House Democrats are trying to fill that gap through their own ads on social media and other outlets, but are being thwarted by Republicans on the Franking Commission who say the advertisements do not comply with congressional rules.

Tax Cut Bills Face Increasing Partisanship: Recent Tax Votes in One Chart
Democrats more likely to oppose Republican presidents’ tax plans

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise embrace during a news conference in the Capitol after the House passed the the GOP’s tax overhaul bill Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House on Thursday passed a bill to answer President Donald Trump’s call for a big tax cut without the support of a single Democrat.

Tax cut votes have historically been bipartisan affairs, with both parties supporting cuts signed by presidents Eisenhower, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton and Obama.

New $44 Billion Disaster Aid Request Paltry, Lawmakers Say
Extensive offsets could also prove controversial

Rep. John Culberson of Texas said the White House’s most recent aid request “would sabotage what has been an incredible response by President Trump to Hurricane Harvey up to this point.” (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In its third emergency aid request since August, the White House on Friday asked Congress to approve $44 billion for ongoing hurricane recovery efforts, a figure seen as insufficient on both sides of the aisle. 

At the same time, the White House asked lawmakers to consider a lengthy list of offsets, noting in a letter that the administration “believes it is prudent to offset new spending.”

10 Things to Watch as the Tax Bill Moves Forward
House passage just the first step

President Donald Trump arrives for a meeting with the House Republican Conference in the Capitol on Thursday to discuss the GOP’s tax bill. White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, far left, and House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D. Irving, foreground, also appear. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House passage of a tax code rewrite Thursday was just the first in a multistep process. Many changes are expected before a bill reaches President Donald Trump’s desk.

First, the Senate has to prove it can pass a tax overhaul after failing to do so on health care.

Communications Aide Trolls Brat Critics on Facebook
In-your-face style draws criticism from some constituents

Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., employs a communications consultant who trolls and talks down to his constituents on Facebook from her personal account. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sara James has performed communications consulting for Rep. Dave Brat’s campaign team since the summer of 2014. She now makes $4,000 per month after steady raises over the last three years, according to  FEC documents.

But James has been much more than a campaign manager and social media director: She has also served as Brat’s chief troll-slayer on Facebook, firing back at the Virginia Republican’s haters with the kind of snark and sneer you might expect from anonymous “eggs” on Twitter.

Lawrence’s Chief of Staff Resigns Over Harassment Allegations
Dwayne Duron Marshall was initially placed on leave after allegations emerged

Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich., said she would institute a “clearly defined communication process” for staffers to express concerns about the workplace environment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Dwayne Duron Marshall, the chief of staff for Michigan Rep. Brenda Lawrence, has resigned amid claims of sexual harassment. 

Last week, three former female aides told Politico that Marshall committed unwanted touching, asked about their dating lives and spoke about female staffers’ appearances. 

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing Around the Capitol
Sessions tries out his standup act; late night comics roast Franken; dumb D.C. news

Rep. Scott Taylor, R-Va., sits on the House steps to do a selfie video about his vote on tax reform on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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

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

Corrine Brown Asks for Mercy at Sentencing Hearing
Judge calls case a ‘complicated stew’

Former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown walks to the federal courthouse in Jacksonville, Florida, during her trial on federal fraud and tax charges in May. She’ll learn her fate when a judge announces her sentence next month. (Bob Self/The Florida Times-Union via AP file photo)

Hoping to avoid prison, former Florida Rep. Corrine Brownasked for mercy during her sentencing hearing Thursday.

Brown also asked that U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan consider her years of public service, the Florida Times-Union reported.