Barbara Lee

Another Judicial Pick Gets Hearing Despite Home-State Concerns
Top Democrat warns Senate is ceding its advice and consent role to the White House

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa,  and ranking member Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., have different views about blue slips for a judicial pick. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For the third time in the Trump administration, Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley has moved forward with a confirmation hearing for an appeals court nominee over the objections of Democratic home-state senators.

The Iowa Republican set a Wednesday confirmation hearing on Ryan Bounds to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, even though Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley have declined to give their consent through the committee’s traditional process.

House Appropriators Vote to End Perk for Former Speakers
Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi both back ending office space, funding for former speakers

Legislative branch operations would get a boost under legislation the House Appropriations Committee advanced, despite the bill’s deletion of a perk for former speakers of the House. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Appropriations Committee advanced its $3.8 billion fiscal 2019 Legislative Branch spending bill to the floor Tuesday, after adopting an amendment to eliminate funding for a Capitol Hill office perk for former speakers.

The panel backed the bill, 47-0, after adopting by voice vote a manager’s amendment from Legislative Branch Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Yoder of Kansas, which would end taxpayer funding for an office for former House speakers, along with staff and other resources.

Photos of the Week: State of the Union, GOP Retreat Continues After Crash
The week of Jan. 29 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan arrives in the Capitol on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans carried on with their annual retreat this week, after member-doctors sprung to action when the Amtrak locomotive pulling GOP lawmakers to their West Virginia destination collided with a garbage truck on Wednesday, killing one of its passengers.

The previous night, President Donald Trump stayed on track during his first State of the Union address in the House chamber. 

Democrats Respond (and Respond) to Trump’s State of the Union
Handful of Democratic responses highlighted by Sanders and a Kennedy

Massachusetts Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III delivered the official Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s speech, but he was joined by others, unofficially. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Before an audience of students at a vocational high school in an old Massachusetts manufacturing city, Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III offered the official Democratic response to the State of the Union.

But he had plenty of company in reacting to Trump on camera.

Democrats Skipping State of the Union for Separate Women’s Event
Pair of Democrats attending ‘State of OUR Union’ with women’s rights activists instead

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., is slated to speak at an event of women activists Tuesday night instead of attending President Donald Trump's State of the Union address. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

At least 11 Democratic lawmakers will skip President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address Tuesday.

Instead, at least two of those absentees plan to take part in a separate event in Washington, the “State of OUR Union,” put on by leading women activists to “offer an alternative view and vision for the country” from Trump’s.

A Dozen Democrats Will Skip Trump’s State of the Union Address
Cohen says president is ‘unworthy of the podium, the position and the power’

Reps. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., left, and Danny Davis, D-Ill., right, will not attend President Donald Trump's State of the Union address. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated Jan. 30 2:10 p.m. | Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen on Tuesday was the 12th Democratic member of Congress to announce that he would boycott President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address.

“I’ve spent 38 years in elected public office, helping make government work and speaking out against corruption because I believe, as President John F. Kennedy believed, that politics is an honorable profession,” Cohen said in a statement. “The current President is the antithesis of that sensibility: a man who appears determined to tear government down, harm the most vulnerable, benefit the rich and destroy foundational institutions such as the Department of Justice and the FBI.”

Play on Congress’ Power to Declare War Gets a Showing in the Capitol
Reps. Jones and Lee to be honored as part of ‘Republic For Which We Stand’ performance

Scenes from “Republic For Which We Stand” performed in May. (Courtesy Stone Hill Theatrical Foundation via Facebook)

A playwright is bringing to the Capitol his message that the power of declaring war needs to remain in the hands of Congress.

“Republic For Which We Stand” by John B. Henry will be shown in the Congressional Auditorium Tuesday evening. Henry is one of the founders of the Committee for the Republic, a group of citizens which has been meeting to talk about war since George W. Bush sent troops into Iraq.

Word on the Hill: Hobbit in Congress?
AUMF play, McCain’s had it with his boot, and Scott hosts Carson in South Carolina

Sean Astin, who played Samwise Gamgee in J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, is looking to throw his hat into the ... Ring. (New Line Cinema)

Is there another celebrity waiting in the wings to join those who have thrown their names in the ring to run for public office?

As if Congress wasn’t nerdy enough, J. R. R. Tolkien’s famous hobbit of the Shire, Samwise Gamgee, tweeted at a fan that being a member of Congress would be a “dream come true.”

Women — and the Power of the Purse — Will Be Key in 2018
Female donors are skyrocketing and more women are considering runs

From left, Reps. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Katherine M. Clark of Massachusetts and Joyce Beatty of Ohio raise their fists during a photo op for the House Democratic women on Jan. 4. (Cliff Owen/AP file photo)

Democratic lobbyist Anne MacMillan recalls sitting at small political fundraising dinners not long ago, with men filling all the chairs around her.

“Generally, the conversation would circle around hunting or fishing or golf, or something I couldn’t even participate in,” said MacMillan, a former aide to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Linda Sánchez: It’s Time for New House Dem Leaders
Caucus vice chairwoman wants leaders to make room at the top

California Rep. Linda T. Sánchez became the highest ranking Democrat to suggest the party’s top three lieutenants leave their posts next Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democratic Caucus Vice Chairwoman Linda T. Sánchez is ready to move up in the ranks, and she’s not afraid to say so on television. 

On Thursday, the California Democrat called on House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer and Assistant Minority Leader James E. Clyburn to leave their posts after the 2018 election and make way for up-and-coming lawmakers, like herself, to have a chance at the top.