staffers

Anonymous staffer meme accounts are taking over Capitol Hill
Anxious, bored, disgruntled? There’s a meme for that

@americas_staff_assistant and a group of meme accounts are finding a hilarious way to cope with Capitol Hill life. (Screenshot)

Updated, 11:05 a.m. | What happens when a creative young staffer with a monotonous job and hours to kill takes to Instagram? A hilarious meditation on Hill life told through the language of our time: memes.

Hungover mornings, angry constituents, awkward interactions and career anxiety are all being meticulously documented by a group of meme accounts taking over Capitol Hill. There’s one for almost every position in a congressional office — staff assistant, legislative correspondent, press secretary, communications director and scheduler. Even campaign fundraisers and committee staffers get a nod.

Rhonda Foxx on her ‘superwoman cape’
She was one of the youngest women of color to land a top job on the Hill — and now she’s trying for a repeat

Rhonda Foxx, former chief of staff for Rep. Alma Adams, is running for Congress in North Carolina’s 6th District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If you know where to look, you can spot Rhonda Foxx’s “superwoman cape.” Hint: It’s not draped behind her.

It’s worn on her wrist — a large metallic bracelet that she twists whenever she’s feeling self-doubt. “If you ever see me speak, you’re going to see me touch a cuff,” she told me on a recent Sunday night.

Move, Mitch, get out the way!
The Senate majority leader doesn't have time to be on time

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s ’burbs are creating a roadblock on Capitol Hill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Capitol Hill resident Maria Helena Carey was none too pleased Tuesday morning to find (what she believes are) Mitch McConnell’s two black ’Burbs illegally parked on her street AGAIN.

“Every single day these guys. Idling for 15-30 minutes at a time, waiting to pick up Mitch McConnell,” Carey tweeted before 9 a.m.

Think big, be humble and remember to serve coffee
Rep. Case recalls lessons from original Aloha State representatives

Hawaii Rep. Ed Case spent time as a House intern and staffer in the House and Senate before coming to Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Hawaii Rep. Ed Case relays a Grateful Dead lyric to describe his journey to Congress: “What a long strange trip it’s been.”

Case says his experiences as an intern and staffer in the House and Senate with his former boss, Spark M. Matsunaga, brought him from pondering his post-college plans to charting a course to Capitol Hill. Back in Congress after 12 years, he now holds the same Honolulu-area seat as Matsunaga did before he was elected to the Senate. (Case previously represented the 2nd District, which encompasses most of Oahu that is not Honolulu and the other islands.)

J. Brett Blanton on track to become next architect of the Capitol
Nominee was most recently deputy vice president for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

J. Brett Blanton, nominee to be architect of the Capitol, right, introduces his family to Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy Blunt, R-Mo., before the start of his confirmation hearing on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Most of J. Brett Blanton’s nomination hearing before the Senate Rules Committee to be the next architect of the Capitol on Thursday was essentially a one-on-one public interview between him and Chairman Roy Blunt, as the remaining 18 members of the committee were absent for the majority of the hearing.

No opposition to Blanton, a Virginia resident, is evident, making him likely to be confirmed as the 12th architect of the Capitol. If confirmed, Blanton said he expects to start leading the agency by mid-January.

Congress poised to pass paid parental leave for federal workers
Could the measure spur wider action in the private sector?

A provision in the defense authorization bill expected to be passed by Congress would give all federal employees 12 weeks of paid parental leave. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

About 2 million federal employees are about to be guaranteed 12 weeks of paid parental leave under a bill soon to be signed into law by President Donald Trump, but several experts say the cost of such a benefit may discourage Democrats’ hopes of it spurring broader adoption in private industry.

The provision, folded into a defense bill months in the working, would give all federal civilian employees three months of paid leave for the birth, adoption or fostering of a child. Democrats originally pushed for a broader set of benefits to cover family relations and illnesses but praised the measure’s inclusion. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, who chairs the Oversight and Reform Committee, touted the provision as “long overdue.”  

Campus Notebook: President nominates pick for Architect of the Capitol

The Cannon House Office Building renovation will be a tough issue to grapple with for Blanton. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Monday nominated J. Brett Blanton to be the next Architect of the Capitol for a 10-year stint.

If confirmed by the Senate, Blanton would provide stability to the helm of an agency that has been led by a succession of acting directors. Christine Merdon, an acting director, announced her resignation in August and was replaced by Thomas Carroll, who worked in the same capacity. The Architect of the Capitol is responsible for maintaining the facilities on the Capitol complex as well as renovations.

Staffers gripe about lack of communication during Capitol lockdown
House sergeant-at-arms acknowledges missteps regarding suspicious aircraft incident

Staffers are criticizing the lack of response from the Capitol Police amid Tuesday’s lockdown (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After reports of a possible aircraft in restricted airspace over Washington on Tuesday, U.S. Capitol Police halted access to Capitol grounds. But a lack of communication left staffers confused and in the dark.

Although the lockdown lasted nearly 50 minutes and was “cleared without incident,” according to a Capitol Police statement, several staffers relied on social media and word of mouth for information.

Hill leaders get high marks from Hill staffers
But aides aren’t happy about lack of legislative accomplishments, survey finds

Congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, Charles E. Schumer and Kevin McCarthy received high ratings from Hill staffers in the most recent Capitol Insiders Survey. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times file photo)

As Democrats prepared to take control of the House in 2019, some plotted against Nancy Pelosi, the presumed speaker. Lawmakers like Tim Ryan of Ohio and Seth Moulton of Massachusetts argued that it was time for new blood at the top and a generational shift in the Democratic Party.

Pelosi deftly squelched the revolt and a year’s worth of polling of congressional staffers by CQ Roll Call shows that she has consolidated her power. CQ Roll Call surveyed aides five times in 2019, in January, March, April, September and October, and Pelosi received glowing reviews from Democratic staffers for her job performance.

Tim Ryan was once a star quarterback, with Congress as his backup
Ohio Democrat recalls how he got his start on Capitol Hill

Before he was a congressman, Ohio’s Tim Ryan was an intern and a staff assistant for his predecessor, Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Tim Ryan “caught the bug” for Congress first as a summer intern in 1994 and then as a staff assistant the following year for a fellow Ohioan, the late and colorful Democratic Rep. James A. Traficant Jr.

He recalls meeting Traficant during his senior year in high school, when Ryan was the star quarterback of his team. The two bonded over their football experiences. Ryan was recruited to play for Youngstown State, but an injury cut short his college football career.