Budget

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s call for a ‘living wage’ starts in her office
New York Democrat will pay staffers no less than $52,000 a year

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, center, and Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, third from right, arrive with staff members for a press conference on the Green New Deal outside the Capitol on Feb. 7. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Claudia Pagon Marchena, like so many Hill staffers, moonlighted at a Washington, D.C., eatery to pay her rent until she took a job with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She celebrated her last day at her coffee shop job that same week.

That’s because Ocasio-Cortez, who has called on fellow lawmakers to pay their staffs a “living wage,” is making an example out of her own office. The New York Democrat has introduced an unusual policy that no one on her staff will make less than $52,000 a year — an almost unheard of amount for many of the 20-somethings whose long hours make House and Senate offices run.

You have 48 hours to become a tech expert. If only this office could help
Gingrich slashed the Office of Technology Assessment. It’s time to bring it back

When Newt Gingrich wanted to cut the budget back in the 1990s, the lowest-hanging fruit was the Office of Technology Assessment, Moss writes.

OPINION — Silicon Valley loves picking on Washington, D.C., for being inept and slow. But what our friends in the Valley do not acknowledge is that while they can indulge in the “move fast and break things” mantra, when D.C. moves fast and breaks things, precedent is set and Americans suffer for generations.

This is the problem at hand: How do we ensure that our lawmakers — the ones policing Silicon Valley — do so in a measured, thoughtful way instead of crippling emerging industry giants just because Congress can’t keep up with them? As a former staffer who now works at a think tank that focuses on technology policy and capacity issues in Congress, I struggle with this question every day.

A reporter’s homage to government workers — unsung heroes of transparency
America needs information that presents an objective a version of reality

Michael Horowitz, inspector general of the Justice Department, testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee in the Hart Building in 2017. Government institutions such as inspectors general and the Government Accountability Office toil in obscurity but their work is critical for America, John Donnelly writes.  (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Whistle-blowers and internal documents are the lifeblood of journalism.

Without such sources, the full story of what’s happening in our country can’t come out.

Congress could block big chunk of Trump’s emergency wall money
Full funds likely to be unavailable from the sources president has identified

More than a third of the money President Donald Trump wants to redirect from other federal programs to build a border barrier is likely to be unavailable from the sources he identified. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

More than one-third of the money President Donald Trump wants to redirect from other federal programs to build a border barrier is likely to be unavailable from the sources he has identified.

As a result, it may be difficult for the president to circumvent Congress, even if a resolution disapproving of his “emergency” moves is never enacted.

Some Republicans with bases in their districts break ranks with Trump over wall funding
Money shouldn’t be diverted from necessary military construction projects, lawmakers say

Ohio Rep. Michael R. Turner is among the Republican lawmakers with a military base in their districts who opposes the president’s circumvention of congressional spending powers. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Though typically aligned with the White House, some Republicans who have military bases in their districts oppose President Donald Trump raiding $3.6 billion in military construction projects to finance walls along the southern border.

Recent polling finds that most Americans oppose Trump’s circumvention of Congress to divert already-appropriated funds to build a wall, and the percentage of voters who endorse the idea tracks closely to the president's approval rating. 

Echoes of the AUMF in Trump’s national emergency declaration
End run around Congress on domestic spending could diminish yet another power of the legislative branch

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., said both constitute an "unconstitutional power grab." (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When President Donald Trump declared a national state of emergency last week to get his way on funding for his border wall, legal scholars warned the move dramatically tilted the balance of power in favor of the White House.

In some ways it parallels the hobbling of Congress’ war authority 18 years ago.

Trump to nominate Jeffrey Rosen as Rosenstein replacement
Deputy attorney general has come under frequent criticism from the president

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein attends the Senate Judiciary confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Sept. 4. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House announced Tuesday night that President Donald Trump plans to nominate Deputy Transportation Secretary Jeffrey Rosen to replace Rod Rosenstein as deputy attorney general.

Rosenstein has been overseeing special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe of Russia’s 2016 election meddling and related actions by the president and his associates. He said earlier Tuesday he plans to leave in mid-March.

Outside influences seek to remake ‘This Old House’
Outside interests are mobilizing to influence the new House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress

U.S. Capitol dome as seen from the west. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress’ “This Old House” committee, a brand-new panel tasked with helping to update the legislative branch for the modern era, is already sparking attention off of Capitol Hill.

Outside interests — from government overhaul groups and think tanks to tech industry players — are mobilizing to influence the new House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. The year-long, 12-lawmaker panel will offer recommendations for rehabilitating Congress in such areas as technology and cybersecurity, procedures and scheduling, staff retention and executive branch oversight.

Trump Ignites New Budget Fights by Targeting Pentagon Programs
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 99

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter flies over a piece of border fence on Nov. 7 in Mission, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images file photo)

 

CQ defense reporter John M. Donnelly spells out how President Donald Trump's emergency action to raid Pentagon accounts to pay for a border wall could affect military facilities and programs already stretched thin.

Transparency advocates call on Capitol Police to improve public records policies
Group says it has tried, without success, to obtain documents considered public

A letter sent last week to Capitol Police Chief Matthew R. Verderosa calls for the department to publish its guidelines and procedures on public documents. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Capitol Police, a department of more than 2,000 employees with a budget topping $450 million, is facing new calls for increased transparency.

In a letter sent last week to Capitol Police Chief Matthew R. Verderosa,  progressive advocacy group Demand Progress called for the department to publish its guidelines and procedures on what it considers public documents that the public and news media have access to.