capitol-hill

Burr is giving senators fidget spinners to stay busy during trial
Impeachment arguments have tested lawmakers ability to sit still for hours at a time

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., leaves the Senate Republicans’ policy lunch in December. He hopes to help out his antsy Senate colleagues with a Carolina cookout. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Richard M. Burr is trying to help out his antsy Senate colleagues.

The North Carolina Republican is providing an assortment of fidget spinners and other gizmos to his GOP colleagues at this week’s Thursday lunch.

Campus Notebook: Sen. Bob Menendez spent over $5 million in legal fees associated with corruption scandal
Capitol Police arrested someone for assault with a broomstick

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., has depleted and terminated his legal expense trust. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Millions in legal expenses for Sen. Bob Menendez’s corruption scandal

The New Jersey Democrat spent $5.16 million on his defense, according to his legal expense fund filing with the Senate Office of Public Records. The trust was formed in 2014 at the beginning of Menendez’s legal woes. It allows people to make contributions to Menendez so he can fight his legal battles associated with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics inquiries and allegations of federal law violations associated with his role as a senator.

Do chatty senators really face jail time during impeachment?

Former Oregon Sen. Bob Packwood was arrested in 1988 after barricading himself inside his office, locking one door and blocking another with a chair in an attempt to prevent a quorum so that Republicans could stall debate on campaign finance legislation. The sergeant-at-arms escorted Packwood to the Senate chamber, and he was physically carried onto the floor. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Despite a dramatic daily warning, if senators fail to stay silent during President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, it’s unlikely that they’ll end up arrested. And no, there is not a Senate jail.

At the beginning of each trial day, Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger will declare, “Hear ye! Hear ye! Hear ye! All persons are commanded to keep silent, on pain of imprisonment.”

Impeachment trial security crackdown will limit Capitol press access
Press pens and ‘no walking and talking’ draw criticism from press corps advocates

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., talks with reporters in the Capitol after the Senate Policy luncheons on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate sergeant-at-arms and Capitol Police are launching an unprecedented crackdown on the Capitol press corps for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, following a standoff between the Capitol’s chief security officials, Senate Rules Chairman Roy Blunt and the standing committees of correspondents.

Capitol Police Chief Steven A. Sund and Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael C. Stenger will enact a plan that intends to protect senators and the chamber, but it also suggests that credentialed reporters and photographers whom senators interact with on a daily basis are considered a threat.

Rep. Billy Long fractures shoulder chasing daughter’s poodle
‘I fought the dog and the dog won,’ the congressman joked

Tex, a 6-month-old poodle belonging to Rep. Billy Long’s oldest daughter, Kaleen. (Photo courtesy of Rep. Billy Long’s office)

Rep. Billy Long returned to Capitol Hill last week with a new accessory — a sling. While he was in his hometown of Springfield, Missouri, for the holidays, the congressman fractured his shoulder while “wrangling” the family puppy.

The incident occurred on Dec. 20, while Long was dog-sitting his daughter’s 6-month-old poodle named Tex. In an email exchange with Heard on the Hill, the congressman remembers picking the canine up from “doggy daycare” and sitting “with him for over an hour, and within two minutes of picking him up to go inside, he bolted under the gate” and into the middle of the street.

Road Ahead: Impeachment trial imminent and war powers debate continues
Pelosi ready to send articles to Senate this week

Speaker Nancy Pelosi conducts her weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Impeachment action is bound for the Senate this week, ending the long standoff between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over the framework of President Donald Trump’s trial. Pelosi intends to send the House’s articles of impeachment to the Senate and name impeachment managers, launching a trial that could begin before the week is out.

The impeachment articles, which the House approved in December, charge the president with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Campus Notebook: Rick Scott’s lavish estates and exclusive clubs
Mitt Romney made a lot of money giving speeches, serving on corporate boards

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Florida Sen. Rick Scott has a solid setup when he’s not in Washington.

Scott’s home in Naples, Fla., is worth between $5 million and $25 million. He also has a boathouse there, which is valued between $100,000 and $250,000.

Between Iraq and a hard place: Congress
CQ on Congress, Ep. 181

Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., arrives to the Capitol Visitor Center for a briefing by administration officials for members of the House on the latest developments on Iranian airstrikes in Iraq. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

CQ on Congress begins 2020 by examining what's next after the targeted killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad. Host Shawn Zeller talks to two Iraq War veterans, Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., and Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., to get their takes on a House resolution that has reignited the debate over Congress' authority over acts of war, and policy towards Iraq and Iran.

President Jed Bartlet could be arrested in front of the Capitol
Martin Sheen to join Jane Fonda at weekly climate change protest Friday

Actor Martin Sheen plans to join Jane Fonda’s weekly climate protest on Capitol Hill on Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former “West Wing” star Martin Sheen is planning to join actress and activist Jane Fonda at a climate change protest Friday on the southeast lawn of the Capitol.

The event is part of Fonda’s weekly “Fire Drill Friday” demonstrations in support of the Green New Deal climate legislation sponsored by progressive lawmakers such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Fonda and friends are calling on Congress to create high-paying jobs in the renewable energy sector and end all new fossil fuel exploration and extraction.

Republicans come out against Iran language they previously supported
Many House members who supported amendments on War Powers now opposed

Language from Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., on authorizing military force that Republicans previously supported is unlikely to have that same kind of support as the GOP shifts its stance since the recent hostilities with Iran. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In July, 27 Republicans voted for an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to effectively prohibit the president from using military force against Iran without congressional approval. As the House readies to vote on a similar measure Thursday, few, if any, Republicans are likely to support it.

U.S. tension with Iran has escalated since July, resulting in recent attacks from both sides. President Donald Trump’s decision to kill Iran’s top general Qassem Soleimani has drawn praise from Republicans who believe the administration line about the Quds Force commander and criticism from Democrats who say the intelligence does not support that claim.