Jim Costa

Capitol Hill Figures Out What to Do With 280 Characters
Members finding creative ways to use Twitter’s expanded limit

Members of Congress are already making the most of the 140 extra characters available for tweets. (Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers are experimenting with new ways to communicate with the extra characters Twitter has given them.

The increased 280-character limit for tweets is already being used to post full statements, Q&As with experts or the member, more hashtags and longer lists in a single posting, instead of a series of tweets.

House Defeats Amendment to Cut One-Third of CBO Staff
‘It was CBO’s reluctance to change their erroneous forecasts’

Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., offered the amendment that would have gotten rid of an 89-person CBO budget analysis division. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House on Wednesday night rejected, 116-309, an amendment that would have eliminated one-third of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The amendment, offered by Virginia Republican Morgan Griffith to the four-bill appropriations minibus the House is currently debating, would have abolished CBO’s 89-employee budget analysis division and saved a total of $15 million in salaries. Roughly half of Republicans joined Democrats in voting down the amendment.

Word on the Hill: Another D.C. Easter Egg Roll
The art competition is coming back

Celebrate Easter with the Washington Nationals this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The annual White House Easter Egg Roll is no longer the only game in town.

The Washington Nationals are hosting their first-ever Easter Egg Hunt at Nationals Park on Sunday. It will take place on the field after the Nationals take on the Philadelphia Phillies at 1:35 p.m.

Chamber of Commerce Endorses Nebraska Democrat
Pro-business group rarely backs Democrats for federal office

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said Nebraska Rep. Brad Ashford "has put politics aside in order to deliver results." (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In a rare move, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce backed a Democrat for Congress on Monday.  

Nebraska Rep. Brad Ashford, one of this year's most vulnerable incumbents , earned the pro-business group's endorsement at an event in the state's 2nd District.   

California Ballot Lets Incumbents Define Themselves
And most have no problem highlighting their ties to Congress

Democratic Rep. Julia Brownley uses the very specific "Ventura County Congresswoman” as her description on the California ballot. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

   

With congressional job approval hovering in the low teens, giving incumbents the opportunity to choose three words to describe themselves, and to refer to their current office, might seem like asking them to choose the words for their tombstone. But it’s a biennial tradition for the California delegation.  

‘14 Losers Looking for Second Chance in ‘16
A dozen House candidates hoping to turn narrow losses into future victories

Illinois Democrat Brad Schneider is running against Rep. Robert Dold to reclaim his old seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In sports and in politics, losing by a little can be harder than losing by a lot. At least a dozen 2016 candidates are hoping that their close calls in 2014 were more than a mirage of a missed opportunity.  

California Republican Paul Chabot could barely get national GOP strategists to acknowledge his existence last cycle when he lost to Democrat Pete Aguilar, 52-48 percent, in the 31st District open-seat race.