congressional-staffers

Modernization panel mulls overhaul of congressional calendar
Members weigh time in districts vs. in the District

Rep. Mark Pocan, a Wisconsin Democrat, suggested having the House in two for two full weeks, then away for two weeks.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Members of a panel to modernize Congress are floating proposals to overhaul the legislative calendar, including an option of being in session for two full work weeks and then recessing for a fortnight of district work time.

Reps. William R. Timmons IV, a South Carolina Republican, and Mark Pocan, a Wisconsin Democrat, both suggested such an option Wednesday during a hearing of the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, a temporary panel tasked with offering recommendations to update Capitol Hill technology and to improve working conditions for lawmakers and staff.  

House Republicans aim to force vote on Schiff censure
Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs is leading the effort, with GOP leadership backing

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., backed by House Republicans, will attempt to force a vote on a censure of House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff.

Rep. Andy Biggs will attempt to force a vote on his resolution to censure House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff on the House floor this week, having initiated the process Wednesday.

Biggs’ censure effort has the backing of House Republican leaders — an uncommon alliance between the party’s establishment and the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.

The three places where senators can ‘actually’ talk
Sen. Chris Coons’ favorite places to reach across the aisle

From left, Sens. Charles E. Schumer, D.N.Y., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Chris Coons, D-Del., share a laugh after a markup hearing on judicial nominations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

“We’re real people. We’re not just two-dimensional targets,” Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., told a lecture hall of law students at Notre Dame last week.Flanked by former Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., Coons talked about the hyperpartisan environment on Capitol Hill and the intention required to cut through it and work. For the Delaware senator, this means talking to his colleagues “in the three settings [he has] found where there [are] no lobbyists, no staff and no press.”

Joking that Flake spent more time in the gym than he did, Coons told the students about the senators-only gym — a place “you can actually chat as you’re working out.” While little information is publicly available about the gym, Roll Call learned more about the facility in 2013 by standing in the hallway outside it for several hours. 

At least half of Rep. Chris Collins’ full-time staff has left since he was indicted
New York Republican will fight the case in court, but some employees not waiting around

More than a handful of staffers for Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., have left his office since he was indicted in August of 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The trial of Rep. Chris Collins is in February, but some of his staffers aren’t waiting on the legal system to run its course.

Half of Collins’ full-time staff have left since he was indicted in August 2018 on fraud charges. Seven of 14 full-time staffers — among them his deputy chief of staff, Michael Kracker, communications director Sarah Minkel, and health policy adviser, Charlotte Pineda — are no longer working in the office, according to payroll records from May 2019, the most recent filing available in the Legislative Resource Center.

House employee survey shows discontent with pay
Racial figures comparable to national statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau

Philip Kiko, chief administrative officer of the House of Representatives, said the survey was designed to gain insight into the makeup of congressional offices. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Most employees in the House are not satisfied with their pay and almost half have considered employment elsewhere, according to a survey the Chief Administrative Officer of the House released Thursday.

House employees earn an annual average of $69,379 per year, but only 35.8 percent said they were satisfied with their pay. Average pay trends higher for those who work in committees, leadership and as House officers — those positions average $102,000 per year. Just under half — 44.7 percent — said they considered other employment elsewhere.

Capitol Insiders Survey: Democratic congressional aides prefer Warren
Biden may be ahead in many polls, but he’s trailing among Capitol Hill aides

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., high fives a fairgoer at the Iowa State Fair on August 10, 2019. Capitol Hill aides believe Warren, not former vice president Joe Biden, has the best chance of beating President Donald Trump in 2020. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In almost every poll, former Vice President Joe Biden has led the Democratic presidential field. But among the Democrats who work for representatives and senators, he’s behind.

Queried earlier this month by CQ Roll Call, those aides said by a margin of 45 percent to 39 percent that Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has the Democrats’ best shot at beating President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

Emotional Duffy send-off from Financial Services Committee

Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., takes her seat for the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on "NATO at 70: An Indispensable Alliance" on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Sean P. Duffy, R-Wis., spoke for what will likely be his last time as a member of the House Financial Services Committee Thursday. He took a moment at the end of remarks on border security to thank colleagues for “the friendships and camaraderie.”  Duffy thanked the Democratic committee chairwoman, Rep. Maxine Waters specifically for “always” treating him with respect. His comments spurred a collegial and impromptu tribute with Waters thanking him for the “good times and the bad times” and Rep. Ann Wagner choking up during her well wishes.

Your Hill Horoscope: brought to you by the letter ‘H’ (Street)
What to do in D.C. the week of Sept. 16-23

The H Street Festival, spanning 10 blocks of H Street Northeast, returns on Saturday. (Kate Patterson/Getty Images file photo)

One of D.C.’s favorite all-day block parties, the H Street Festival, returns on Saturday, Sept. 21. This year’s festivities will feature music of different genres, dance, an interactive children’s program, fashion and more. You can start making your merries at noon.

Planning a wedding? If so,“tie up loose ends before you tie the knot.” The Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel, located at 415 New Jersey Ave. NW, is hosting a wedding planning party on Monday from 4 to 8 p.m. There will be makeovers, fashion, and our personal favorite: cake and cocktails.

Two top Architect of the Capitol employees have left the agency after investigation
Senate Building Superintendent Takis Tzamaras and House Building Superintendent Bill Weidemeyer both left in July

Acting Architect of the Capitol Thomas Carroll. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two top employees at the Architect of the Capitol who oversaw building operations in the House and Senate are no longer working there, months after they were put on administrative leave while they were investigated for emails critical of Christine Merdon, the former head of the agency.

Senate Building Superintendent Takis Tzamaras and House Building Superintendent Bill Weidemeyer both left the agency in July. Tzamaras said he resigned and Weidemeyer said he retired.

Rep. Chris Collins pleads not guilty to revised indictment, trial still set for February 2020
New York Republican was indicted last August on charges of insider trading and lying to the FBI

Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., pleaded not guilty Thursday to a revised set of charges related to insider trading and lying to the FBI. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Chris Collins pleaded not guilty to a revised indictment on Thursday in New York, where he, his son Cameron Collins and Stephen Zarsky, the father of Cameron Collins’ onetime fiancee, were initially indicted in August 2018 on insider trading charges and lying to the FBI.

Prosecutors have dropped three of the original eight securities fraud charges against Collins and two against his son and Zarsky in order to speed up the pretrial process in time for the trial slated for Feb. 3, 2020.