Joe Courtney

Do-Nothing Amendments Give Lawmakers Bragging Opportunity About Successes
Provisions have no real-world impact

Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-Ariz., is among the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents this midterm cycle. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House adopted amendments on a two-bill spending package last week purporting to redirect sums ranging from $100,000 to study the impact of a mineral found to cause cracking in concrete home foundations, to $36 million for “public safety and justice facility construction” at the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

There’s just one catch: the provisions simply give the illusion of moving money around — with no real-world impact on agency funding priorities. The net financial impact of all 14 such amendments considered during debate on the $58.7 billion Interior-Environment and Financial Services measure — out of 87 total floor amendments on the bill — was precisely zero.

Proposals Would Help Homeowners, Make Ex-Presidents Pay for Office Supplies
Financial Services spending bill amendments also could affect local post offices

Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., wants to bar the U.S. Postal Service for expanding its offering of financial services. Other proposed amendments to the Financial Services spending bill would help homeowners with bad foundations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Local post offices would be barred from offering most banking services, homeowners with crumbling foundations would get some help and ex-presidents would have to pay for their own office supplies under proposals to amend the House’s fiscal 2019 Financial Services spending bill.

Proposed amendments also include some of the usual suspects: keeping the District of Columbia from enforcing certain local laws, allowing federally insured banks to take deposits from companies in the marijuana industry, and barring federal funds from being spent at properties owned by President Donald Trump.

Republican Golfers Relax on the Links, Beat Out Democrats
GOP prevails in the 17th annual Congressional Challenge golf tournament

Reps. Luke Messer R-Ind., Rick Allen, R-Ga., right, play against Reps. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., and Albio Sires, D-N.J., during the First Tee’s Congressional Challenge annual golf tournament at the Columbia Country Club golf course Monday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

In a rare moment in this divisive Congress, a bipartisan group of members spent a peaceful morning just putting around.

They whispered conversations while waiting for a teammate on the green, told each other “nice shot” or laughed at a bad one, and otherwise enjoyed a quiet morning bonding over their love of golf.

Roll Call’s 2018 March Madness — The Final Four
Four Republicans and four Democrats left standing

We are down to the final four teams in both the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments. 

NRCC Targets Democrats on Tax Overhaul in New Digital Ads
Republicans see taxes as a potent campaign issue

Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolanis one of the Democrats targeted in the latest NRCC ads. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee is launching new digital ads targeting Democrats who voted against the tax overhaul that passed the House on Thursday. No members of the minority party voted for the legislation.

The 15-second videos, provided first to Roll Call, will start running on Facebook on Friday and target 25 House Democrats. The NRCC ad buy was described as “five figures” and the ads will run online for a week.

Word on the Hill: Dine Out and Donate
Free events for staffers

Dine Out For Life supports the nonprofit group Food & Friends. (Promotional photo)

If you eat at certain restaurants in the area today, at least a fourth of your check will go to meal delivery and nutrition services for D.C. area residents living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other illnesses.

Food & Friends’ annual Dining Out for Life event had over 70 restaurants sign on and pledge to donate between 25 percent and 110 percent of their sales to the nonprofit group.

Guest List: Who Members of Congress Are Taking to Trump’s Address
President to make first speech to joint session of Congress on Tuesday

The guest lists are out for President Donald Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump will hold his first joint session address to Congress on Tuesday and every member is able to bring a guest to sit in the gallery.

Oftentimes, those invited are a part of what is driving the news of the day.

NRCC Goes After Blue-Collar Districts in 2018
GOP campaign arm releases list of 36 initial targets

Rep. Tim Walz speaks with guests during a campaign event in Duluth for fellow Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolan last fall. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee’s initial list of offensive targets for 2018 includes 36 Democrat-held districts, many in blue-collar areas of the country.

If Democrats are targeting the well-educated suburbs (see New Jersey’s 11th District, for example), where Donald Trump either barely won or underperformed, Republicans are going after many rural districts where Hillary Clinton underperformed the congressional ticket. 

House Democrats Bring Sit-In to an End
John Lewis, who started the protest, ends with a call to 'keep the faith'

Georgia Rep. John Lewis, left, and Vermont Sen. Patrick J. Leahy talk in the Capitol's Statuary Hall Wednesday before heading to a House Democrats' sit-in. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. John Lewis closed out the Democrats sit-in at 1 p.m. Thursday, thanking members for the 25-hour siege  and calling on them to keep fighting for gun control legislation.  

"It is a struggle but we're going to win the struggle," the Georgia Democrat, told members gathered on the House floor. "We must never ever give up or give in. We must keep the faith. We must come back here on July 5 more determined than ever before."  

Gun Control Activists Gather Outside Capitol to Support Sit-In
Area residents share stories, light candles into the night

Demonstrators outside the Capitol late Wednesday to support the House Democrats' sit-in (Rep. Joe Courtney/Twitter)

Julie Miller-Breetz hasn't been directly touched by gun violence. But she feels it all around her.  

Her grandfather committed suicide with a gun.