Congress

That ’70s Show: Biden edition
Political Theater, Episode 93

Former Vice President Joe Biden arrives for his 2020 campaign kickoff rally at the Eakins Oval in Philadelphia on May 18. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Say this for the Democratic presidential field: Voters certainly have choices. From former vice presidents to tech entrepreneurs, from senators to mayors, from wizened veterans to young upstarts.

Out of this crowded roster, Joe Biden is arguably the most recognizable. The affable No. 2 to President Barack Obama and longtime former senator is among the most known political quantities.

Rolling Thunder gets new life, new focus, new name
Advocacy group AMVETS says it will also address veterans suicide as well as POW/MIA awareness to 33rd annual Memorial Day ride

A motorcyclist rides in the 32nd Rolling Thunder in Washington in May. Previous organizers said in December that the 2019 ride would be the last. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The annual military veterans motorcycle run from the Pentagon parking lot to the Vietnam Memorial on the National Mall will continue next Memorial Day weekend under the leadership of a different veterans organization.

Military veterans advocacy group American Veterans (AMVETS) has taken the torch of organizing the motorcycle rally after Rolling Thunder, a group that honors prisoners of war and missing in action service members, decided last year that it would no longer sponsor the event after 32 years.

Rep. Tom Reed leaves hospital ‘with a prescription for a few days rest’ after collapse
Reed says he had an undiagnosed case of pneumonia after release from hospital

Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., does a television news interview in the Capitol in July 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Tom Reed was discharged from a Washington hospital Thursday evening a few hours after collapsing in the Cannon House Office Building.

The Republican congressman from New York said in a statement Friday that he had an undiagnosed case of pneumonia.

Meet the key appropriations players of the fall
List includes budget war veterans as well as relative newcomers

Eric Ueland has been the White House legislative affairs chief since June. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s the behind-the-scenes work of top legislative aides that makes the Capitol Hill machinery work, and that’s never truer than when lawmakers are trying to hash out spending bills as Congress and the White House will be focused on this fall and winter.

After initial decisions by Republican and Democratic clerks — the top staffers on the Appropriations subcommittees — full committee staff will step in to help work out any remaining issues. Leadership staff will be on hand to address the most intractable disagreements and questions about what legislation can ride with the spending bills, and to make sure the measures have enough votes to pass.

For Jim Hagedorn, being staffer in the minority was formative time
Freshman congressman worked for a Minnesota Republican, and was son to another

Minnesota Rep. Jim Hagedorn got his first taste of life in Congress as the son of a former congressman and as a staffer to Minnesota Rep. Arlan Stangeland. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Member lapel pins out, necklaces in, say women in Congress
Fashion sense, practicality cited as reasons for growing trend

Florida Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell says people are noticing female lawmakers wearing their member pins as necklace pendants because there are more women in the House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While big jewelry and bold statement chains made headlines last week during New York Fashion Week, an increasing number of women in the House are starting a fashion trend of their own: wearing their member pins as a necklace pendant.

Traditionally, the House member pin, given out to lawmakers to distinguish them from staffers and visitors, is worn pierced through fabric as its menswear name suggests — on a suit lapel. While members are not required to wear them, the pins can be an easy way for the Capitol Police to identify the freshman class of lawmakers each Congress — or perhaps some of the more obscure members of the House.

Wardrobe rentals may be just what staffers need
Cost, diversity and environmental impact all led to popularity of service

Florida Rep. Stephanie Murphy, center, has been renting clothing from Rent the Runway since before she came to Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The black bags pile up at the UPS drop-off spots across the Capitol’s campus, whether it’s the weekend after the White House Correspondents Dinner or the Monday that Congress is set to return from a long recess.

Filled with evening gowns, cocktail dresses, or a blouse or blazer that might have been worn to sit behind a boss during a high-profile hearing, the bags are en route back to a Rent the Runway facility. If the number of bags that pop up in Capitol office buildings are any indication, more and more women on the Hill are using the clothing rental service to supplement their work wardrobes.

New hearing on D.C. statehood, same old partisan lines
Effort to provide D.C. residents with full congressional representation gains steam in House

From left, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, Mayor Muriel Bowser veteran Kerwin E. Miller, and Dr. Roger Pilon, attend the House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing titled “H.R. 51: Making D.C. the 51st State,” in Rayburn Building on Thursday, September 19, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The first House hearing on D.C. statehood in nearly 26 years revealed old battle lines over giving the District of Columbia’s 702,000 residents full representation in Congress. House Oversight Committee Democrats applauded statehood as a long-overdue correction of an anomaly, while Republicans said corruption made D.C. unfit for full voting rights and claimed the whole thing was unconstitutional anyway. 

Thursday’s hearing grappled with HR 51, a bill that would admit the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth, into the Union as the country’s 51st state, and provide it one House representative and two senators in Congress. The District is currently represented by a nonvoting delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat who introduced the bill.

Federal agency ordered to investigate Homeland Security nominee
What happens next may rest with McConnell

What happens to the nomination of William N. Bryan to a senior Department of Homeland Security post may now rest with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. McConnell is shown here with Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Todd Young, R-Ind., and John Thune, R-S.D. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Department of Energy has been told to investigate allegations of corruption by William N. Bryan, the White House’s nominee for a senior post at the Department of Homeland Security, CQ Roll Call has learned.

Bryan joins a long line of Trump administration nominees who’ve faced controversy. Just this week, the White House withdrew the nomination of Jeffrey Byard to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

House passes temporary funding bill; Senate vote next week
The vote punts final decisions on fiscal 2020 to just before the Thanksgiving recess

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., departs from a press conference at the Capitol in Washington on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. The House passed an interim funding bill Thursday afternoon, extending appropriations through Nov. 21. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The House passed a stopgap spending bill that would continue government funding until Nov. 21, after spending the last few days arguing over aid to farmers caught up in the U.S.-China trade war.

The 301-123 tally saw just three Democrats vote ‘no’ and 76 Republicans supporting the measure. The strong bipartisan showing bodes well for quick Senate passage of the continuing resolution next week.

Rep. Tom Reed collapses in Cannon ahead of TV spot
An aide to the New York Republican said he is ‘fine’

Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., is escorted out of the Cannon House Office Building on a stretcher after collapsing in the building’s rotunda on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. (Chris Marquette/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Tom Reed collapsed in the Cannon House Office Building Thursday.

The New York Republican, first elected in 2009, was waiting for a television interview when he fell. 

Congress shares condolences over death of Emily England Clyburn, wife of House majority whip
House votes have been canceled Monday in light of funeral arrangements

The wife of House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, D-S.C., died Thursday morning. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Emily England Clyburn, wife of House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, D-S.C., died Thursday morning in Columbia, South Carolina at the age of 80. A cause of death has not been given.

The couple recently celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary. The two notably met while Clyburn was in jail “for campus activism,” according to a release. They both attended South Carolina State University.

Issa hearing delayed after dispute over background investigation
Democratic Sen. Menendez says White House has ignored its requests for additional information

Former Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., nominee to be director of the Trade and Development Agency, leaves the Dirksen Senate Office Building after his confirmation hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was postponed on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A confirmation hearing for former Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, who was nominated to a key trade post, was interrupted and then delayed on Thursday as the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee fought over information in Issa’s FBI file that could be potentially disqualifying.

Committee Chairman Jim Risch, R-Idaho, had decided to hold confirmation hearings for two nominees whose FBI background files contained classified and potentially disqualifying information that the White House declined to release to anyone other than Risch and ranking Democrat Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey.

Pelosi says key component of drug pricing bill not open to negotiations
Pelosi rejects idea of negotiating bill that doesn’t allow the government to negotiate prices

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House committee leaders started briefing members on Democrats’ drug pricing plan this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats on Thursday released the outline of a long-awaited drug price proposal, taking a step toward fulfilling one of the party’s signature campaign promises: requiring Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

The bill would allow commercial insurers to benefit from the Medicare-negotiated price as well, and base Medicare’s highest-acceptable price on the lower prices other wealthy countries pay.

State and local tax cap rollback included in year-end tax talks
Democrats leading SALT discussions say they hope to have legislation ready for markup in October

Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., and House Democrats are looking to roll back the cap on annual state and local tax deductions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A senior House Ways and Means Democrat said Wednesday that a full, though temporary, elimination of the current $10,000 cap on annual state and local tax deductions is among the proposals being discussed for a possible markup in the coming weeks.

Committee Democrats also discussed in a Wednesday caucus meeting how a “SALT” rollback and a raft of other tax legislation the committee has advanced or will soon consider might fit into a deal later this year with Senate Republicans, and what offsets might be offered as part of any package, said Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-New Jersey.