Sean Patrick Maloney

Chao Goes Off the Rails on New York-New Jersey Project

Secretary of Transportation nominee Elaine Chao testifies as her husband Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., looks on during her Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee confirmation hearing on Jan. 11. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao came to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to answer questions about the administration’s infrastructure proposal Tuesday. But she spent much of the time confirming and defending the administration’s attempt to kill a New York and New Jersey rail program.

“Is the president of the United States personally intervening with the speaker to kill this project?” asked Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., referring to a weekend report in The Washington Post that President Donald Trump asked Speaker Paul D. Ryan to kill funding for the Gateway Program.

House Democrats Divided on Backing Budget Deal Without DACA
Pelosi vows “to make sure we do everything” to get immigration vote

From left, DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján, Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley and Democratic Caucus Vice Chairwoman Linda T. Sánchez conduct a news conference in the Capitol on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats are divided on whether to support a sweeping budget deal that includes a lot of their spending priorities but provides no path forward on immigration.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi held the House floor for eight hours Wednesday to make it clear that she wouldn’t support the deal without a commitment from Speaker Paul D. Ryan for an immigration vote that would be “bipartisan” and “transparent.”

NRCC Launches Digital Ads Targeting Democrats After Shutdown
Facebook ads take aim at 10 Democrats

Iowa Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack, center, is a target of the NRCC’s new post-shutdown ads. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee wants to make sure Democrats don’t forget the three-day government shutdown. The group launched digital ads Tuesday that target 10 House Democratic members.

The ads, which will run on Facebook for one week, are part of a “five-figure buy,” according to details provided first to Roll Call. Five of the Democratic targets represent districts that President Donald Trump carried in 2016.

House Administration Adopts Ad Change Aimed at Open Enrollment

Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., right, seen here with Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., signed off on the change to franking procedures. He chairs the Franking Commission.. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Administration Committee unanimously adopted on Wednesday a change in the member handbook that could help Democrats seeking to promote

The new rule allows lawmakers to promote and link to federal government websites besides their own. Democrats had encountered the hurdle while attempting to promote the federal health insurance exchange through taxpayer-funded advertisements, known as franking.

Limiting Sexual Harassment Payouts ‘Complicated,’ Lawmakers Say
Funding limitation could be one response to sexual misconduct scandals roiling Capitol Hill

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said using the appropriations process to restrict settlement payouts was complex. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated, 4:05 p.m. | Lawmakers have been quick to express their disgust with sexual harassment payments that come out of federal coffers to cover the cost of elected officials’ behavior. But members are more guarded when asked whether they would take action by attaching a funding limitation to a spending bill — a common instrument used by lawmakers in appropriations.

Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, a top Republican appropriator, sounded cautious after last week’s revelation that the Office of Compliance has doled out tens of thousands of dollars since 2013.

LGBTQ Women Balance Opportunity, Possible Extinction in Congress
Close calls, impossible races, and evolving bench contribute to low numbers

If Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema vacates her 9th District seat to run for Senate, there could be no LGBTQ women in the House in the next Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s been almost 20 years since Tammy Baldwin’s historic election, yet just one woman has followed her through the LGBTQ glass ceiling. And if both women lose competitive races in 2018, the next Congress could be without any LGBTQ women.

While the lack of LGBTQ women in Congress is inextricably linked to the dearth of women on Capitol Hill, the story of lesbian candidates includes some close calls, quixotic races, and a movement still evolving to position more qualified LGBTQ women to run for higher office.

Word on the Hill: Week Wrap Up
Tennis tournament results, Baby Desk report, bossy staffers

A Capitol employee pushes a cot towards Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s suite of offices in the Capitol on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It’s the end of a very long congressional week.

Senators spent the night in the Capitol and I’m sure many of you reading this now are running on little — or no — sleep.

Democrats Plan to Push ‘Better Deal’ Over August Recess
Party seeks feedback from voters about its economic plan

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, center, joined top Democrats at a rally in Berryville, Va., on Monday to unveil their party’s “Better Deal” economic agenda. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats are confident they will be able to hammer home their newly unveiled economic agenda, even as health care and Washington drama dominate the news. And they’re planning to use the upcoming August recess to do just that.

“I’m branding our entire August district work period as ‘A better deal for the heartland,’” Rep. Cheri Bustos said. 

Democrats Stick to Health Care Message Amid Russian Intrigue
Party sees health care as more salient campaign issue

Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., says health care is the issue that concerns her constituents the most, adding that she has gotten “zero questions about Russia.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Despite the daily drip about Russia and the Trump administration, national Democrats who hope to exploit Republicans’ vulnerabilities in 2018 are focusing their messaging squarely on health care before the July 4 recess.

Just minutes after former FBI Director James B. Comey concluded his testimony Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee — in which he said the president lied to the America people — the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee blasted out a release.

Some Democrats ‘Adopt a District’ to Talk Health Care
At least 4 House Democrats have held or plan to hold events in GOP districts

New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney talks with constituents during a town hall in Newburgh, N.Y., on June 11, 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

One House Democrat was in enemy territory Monday night, and he was on a mission.

“I’m Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney,” the New York lawmaker told a crowd gathered at an industrial event space in Kingston in a neighboring Empire State district. “Where the heck is your congressman?”