Alaska

Flashback Friday: ‘A Series of Tubes’
Here’s a phrase from the past that you might not know the story behind

The late Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens once described the internet as “a series of tubes.” (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Here’s a congressional throwback — a phrase or part of Capitol Hill culture that a younger generation of Hill staffers may not know or appreciate.

Why do people sometimes talk about the “tubes” of the internet? Well, it dates back to the late Sen. Ted Stevens, who once used the term to express his opposition to net neutrality.

DCCC Expands to 101 Targets in 2018
All of the seven new targets are considered solidly Republican districts

Volunteers for Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff arrive at his campaign office in Atlanta one day before the April special election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee now has more than 100 targets in this year’s midterms, the committee announced Thursday. It has added seven more GOP-held districts to its target list. 

A DCCC memo released Thursday detailing the new targets said the expanded target list is the committee’s most expansive one in at least a decade. Democrats are now targeting 98 Republican seats, and three open Democratic seats, bringing the total to 101. 

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bills have been enacted, and the reliance on interim funding at prior-year levels leaves agencies operating on outdated, and in some cases lower, budgets that don’t reflect new priorities and needs identified over the course of the previous year.

Pence Talks Stocks, North Korea
Vice president leads delegation to Olympics

Vice President Mike Pence, en route to Asia on Monday, discusses the stock market swoon and North Korea. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Photos of the Week: A Government Shutdown, Several Protests and a January Barbecue
The week of Jan. 27 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Protesters cross Constiution Avenue in Washington on Saturday as they arrive for the Women’s March one year after the inauguration of President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It’s not yet March, but the week of Jan. 22 came in like a lion and out like a lamb.

Action on Capitol Hill throughout the previous weekend and on Monday saw a government shutdown, multiple protests, long lines to get to work at Hill office buildings and more.

Cold Snap Showed Grid Resilience, Lawmakers are Told

Tourists walk past the U.S. Capitol as snow flurries blow in heavy winds in Washington on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018. A bomb cyclone winter storm battered the east coast of the United states with heavy winds, snow, and frigid temperatures. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The recent cold snap and “bomb cyclone” weather event that chilled much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast this month appears to have showed the reliability and resilience of the electric grid as currently operated, energy officials said Tuesday at congressional oversight hearing.

But it also showed some of the vulnerabilities to the grid, especially as they relate to energy infrastructure, including natural gas pipelines, as wholesale market consumers saw high prices in response to record demand.

Senate’s Radical Reasonable Caucus Finds Its Moment
Will a group of 20 senators be able to gain influence?

A bipartisan group of Senators hold a new conference in the Capitol on Monday after they voted to end debate on a continuing resolution to reopen the government. From left, Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, Tim Kaine, Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Donnelly, Joe Manchin III, Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, Lisa Murkowski, Amy Klobuchar and Maggie Hassan. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In a Senate environment where party discipline has been the norm, a group of senators that lobbied leadership to accept a resolution to end the government shutdown Monday now has leverage, if they decide to use it.

“One of the good outcomes is that we had a group of 20 … that built a lot of trust with each other. So it could create an environment, at least over the next month or so, where some really positive things happen,” Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, a GOP participant, said Monday. “On the Democratic side, it was necessary to have a large group of Republicans [who] were committed to try and resolve these issues.”

Holds on Energy and Environment Nominees Pile Up — Again
Procedural roadblocks reflect concerns about Trump administration policies

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski says the process for environment-related nominees has become “a little more complicated this year.”

A series of energy- and environment-related nominees are stuck in limbo as procedural roadblocks, or “holds,” pile up over concerns by Republican and Democratic lawmakers about policy implementations by the Trump administration.

The holdups — five announced last week — have almost become a rite of passage for Trump nominees looking to take positions within the Energy Department, Interior Department and the EPA.

Bipartisan Group of Senators Hoping for Breakthrough on Shutdown
Group of 20 presenting options to break stalemate to leaders

From left, Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., leave a meeting in Sen. Susan Collins’s office with other Senate moderates as they try to find a way to end the government shutdown on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

There is growing optimism that the Senate will be able to muster the votes necessary to advance a three-week funding measure to reopen the federal government, Republican and Democratic aides and lawmakers say.

The deal is a central discussion of a coalition of roughly 20 bipartisan members that have been meeting Saturday and Sunday. The group is discussing the offer with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y. 

House Lawmakers Ready to Carve Some Pork
Optimistic chatter around earmarks draws cheers, cringes

Alaska Rep. Don Young still defends the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere.” The bridge “should have been built,” he said at a Rules subcommittee hearing Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The U.S. House of Representatives appears ready to welcome back earmarks with open, bipartisan arms.

During a Rules subcommittee hearing Wednesday, lawmakers sounded optimistic that Congress will wrestle back a portion of its spending authority from the executive branch — though there was some discord over when and how earmarks should return.