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Sledders cheer up Capitol Hill while shutdown stalemate continues

Children cut the rancorous mood in Washington and flew down Capitol Hill on sleds.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When up to a foot of snow walloped Washington over the weekend, it gave joyful kids a reason to play, sledding down Capitol Hill and cutting the rancorous mood over the partial government shutdown. 

Furloughed federal workers have been stuck at home for weeks, and those required to work are going without paychecks. But many found that sledding down the massive slope on the West Front under the Capitol Dome is a great way to blow off steam. And it doesn’t cost a thing.

We’ve peered into the void of Beto’s mouth. Now what?
Hell hath no fury like a bunch of reporters scorned

Beto O’Rourke bared all (of his mouth) this week. The media wasn’t happy. But were they the only ones to care? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

What do Beto O’Rourke and I have in common besides the hot Irish blood running through our veins? We both spent Thursday morning at the dentist. While my hygienist knows this about me, thousands (millions?) know this about O’Rourke, thanks to Instagram.

The former congressman turned failed Senate candidate from Texas, now reportedly eyeing the presidency, took to Instagram Live to broadcast his dental cleaning and speak with his supporters. You know, just Regular Guy stuff.

Another baby ‘M’ for Rep. Brian Mast
Florida Republican and his wife keep the alliteration going with the birth of their fourth child

Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., already has three kids beginning with “M.” With the addition of baby Major, make that four. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Brian Mast is barely a week into the new Congress, but he’s already added another title — fourth-time dad.

The Floridan Republican missed House votes this week, and on Thursday he revealed why. Baby Major arrived at 9.3 pounds, 20.5 inches, he tweeted.

Hello Congress, goodbye Twitter followers
Official member accounts must follow different set of guidelines than campaign ones

New lawmakers will be starting from scratch to build their following on newly minted official accounts. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As new House members say hello to their new life on Capitol Hill, they’re also saying goodbye (for now) to their campaign social media accounts and the hordes of followers they’ve amassed.

Newly elected members have been sharing their experiences on social media, giving their followers a look at what it’s like to transition into Congress. But some of their social media fluency will be reined in to conform with strict guidelines on how officials can use their platforms.

Moments from opening day of the 116th Congress
Pelosi gets speaker’s gavel, kids dab and floss, and Delgado frames the words they threw at him

Incoming Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez takes a selfie with, from second left, Reps. Barbara Lee, Anne McLane Kuster and Jan Schakowsky. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The 116th Congress opened today with new members being sworn in and Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California reclaiming the speaker’s gavel eight years after she lost it when Republicans took control of the House.

Despite friction from the standoff over funding President Donald Trump’s border wall that led to a partial government shutdown, now in its 13th day, new members crossed the aisle to be greeted by old ones and celebrate with other freshmen.

Office Nameplates Go Up, Incoming Lawmakers Get Giddy
Noobs won’t have access until January

The name plates went up outside the offices of incoming House lawmakers and they're giddy about their workspaces coming together. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers admired their new digs coming together this week as Hill workers posted nameplates outside offices.

Newcomers picked their offices back during orientation and got to tour them, but they still had someone else’s name out front. This week the traditional plaques with new member’s names and districts are being installed outside their offices. And the freshman class of the 116th Congress is psyched.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
Crenshaw reaches out to troubled comic, Lankford in a boot, and Corker on Peyton Manning

Sen. Tom Cotton’s 2-year-old son Daniel makes friends with Sen. Susan Collins as the two walk to a vote on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for it. We look, but we don’t find everything. We want to know what you see too.

Did Tax Reform Scrooge the Holiday Party Spirit?
Political Theater, Episode 49

The holiday party circuit was a bit subdued this year. Did Congress take away incentives to live it up during this time of the year? (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Whether it was a cramped schedule, the funeral of a president, changes to the tax code or overall crankiness, the holiday party scene this year seemed a little, um, meh. CQ Roll Call's Niels Lesniewski, Kate Ackley and Peter Cohn crash the party that is Political Theater to discuss the wine, song and tax deductions of the Washington holiday party circuit. 

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
Pillow talk, Senator Hatch’s Office has spoken, and staffer shuffle

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for it. We look, but we don’t find everything. We want to know what you see too.

Listen to the New Sing-Song Warning for Senate Subway Riders
A new disembodied voice now rings out in the Russell trains

New audio warnings have been added for riders on the Senate subway. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

There’s a new soundtrack in the Senate basement this week, with the addition of audio warnings for riders on the Russell trains.

“Stand clear, the doors are closing,” says the announcement, which follows a few musical tones.