John Moolenaar

How Poisoned Water Brought Democrats and Republicans Together
Flint lawmaker talks cross-aisle friendships, maintaining sense of urgency after spotlight dims

Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., shares a rare bi-partisan friendship with John Moolenaar, R-Mich., left, that involves an annual sandwich exchange. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Dan Kildee, a Democrat with leadership aspirations, was about to leave the House floor when a Republican colleague pulled him aside with an earnest question: How was the water in Flint?

It’s complicated. Despite miles of replaced pipes, people are still waiting in long lines for bottled water.

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.

Lawmakers Across the Aisle Fight Canadian Newsprint Tariffs
Import tax on paper is hurting local news, members tell International Trade Commission

Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., speaks with Roll Call in the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Nineteen members of Congress spoke Tuesday against the Commerce Department’s tariffs on Canadian newsprint, telling the U.S. International Trade Commission the import tax hurt local newspapers.

The bipartisan group of legislators asked the ITC to reverse tariffs the Commerce Department imposed on Canadian newsprint imports. Opponents of the tariffs say they would deal a major blow to local newspapers, which already struggle to stay afloat, by increasing the cost of newsprint.

It’s Congress vs. Lobbyists at the Congressional Basketball Classic

“Most of us are a few pounds overweight, a few years past our prime, but it’s a lot of fun.”

Members Lose Charity Basketball Game, but Honor Teammate Scalise
Lobbyists won 19th annual charity event for third year in a row

Dan Coen of KemPharm holds up the championship trophy after the lobbyists’ team defeated lawmakers, 49-41, in the 19th annual Congressional Basketball Classic on Tuesday. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

The members’ team lost the Congressional Basketball Classic in one of the biggest showings of bipartisanship and Capitol Hill spirit since the Congressional Baseball Game.

Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was shot while practicing for the baseball game, has been a staple of the basketball game. Although he was on the roster, he wasn’t able to attend the game while still in recovery.

Norman Makes Congressional Sports Debut at Charity Basketball Game
The 19th annual Member of Congress Charity Basketball Game is Tuesday

Rep. Ralph Norman was elected to replace director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney in June. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Ralph Norman came to Congress at a pivotal time for congressional sports.

The South Carolina Republican was sworn in on June 26, just 11 days after the Congressional Baseball Game and 12 days after the shooting at the GOP team’s practice. Now, he is making his congressional sports debut as a rookie lawmaker at the 19th annual Member of Congress Charity Basketball Game on Tuesday.

Word on the Hill: Semi-Recess Week
Your social calendar for the week

A television monitor at the TV stakeout shows proceedings on the floor as the House votes to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House staffers get a bit of a break this week.

While the Senate is in session, the House is on recess following a long and stressful week that culminated with the passage of the Republican health care bill. 

Some GOP Lawmakers Push Back Against EPA Cuts
Decimating environmental agency could hurt — even in Trump country

President Donald Trump’s recent budget blueprint proposes eliminating roughly 3,200 positions at the EPA along with 50 programs. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

As President Donald Trump introduces a series of budget cuts and regulatory rollbacks that would cripple the Environmental Protection Agency, he faces one unpredictable obstacle: resistance from fellow Republicans.

A small but vocal number of GOP lawmakers have rallied in support of popular programs in their districts, including clean water programs in the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay, that are among the biggest losers in the budget Trump proposed to Congress last month.

For 20, a New Year’s Boost in House Legislative Sway
How the winners of top committee assignments made their own luck

Keep an eye peeled for these House members with plum new committee assignments, from left to right, first row: Pete Aguilar, Earl L. “Buddy” Carter, Katherine M. Clark, Ryan A. Costello, Carlos Curbelo; second row: Suzan DelBene, Debbie Dingell, Brian Higgins, John Moolenaar, Grace Meng; third row: Dan Newhouse, Scott Peters, Mark Pocan, Raul Ruiz, David Schweikert; fourth row: Terri A. Sewell, Scott Taylor, Tim Walberg, Jackie Walorski and Mimi Walters. (Bill Clark, Meredith Dake-O’Connor and Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photos. Scott Taylor courtesy Scott Taylor for U.S. Congress)

Specialization seasoned with seniority is the surest recipe for a meaningful legislative career in the House, which is more than big enough to swallow all the dilettantes and short-timers without a trace. It’s finding a substantive niche, then fitting in over the long haul, that proves perennially frustrating for many members. 

But the goal of becoming a successful and substantive lawmaker just got a whole lot easier for a score of them.

Word on the Hill: Swearing In
Events surrounding the first day of the new Congress

Former Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, right, conducted a special swearing-in ceremony with Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Ill., in the Capitol in September. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Happy 2017 and welcome back!

Congress is in full force today with Senate and House swearing-in of the 115th Congress. Stay tuned for Roll Call’s coverage all day.