Bill Pascrell Jr

Revealed: An Exclusive Ways and Means Secret Tradition
Committee members whose names start with P have passed along guardianship of a cactus for 25 years

The Pease Cactus sits in the Rayburn Building office of Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., on Thursday after it was given to him by Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congress is an institution full of secret traditions, but perhaps the most secret is the 25-year-old bipartisan one of handing down a cactus to certain members of the Ways and Means Committee.

Owners of the Pease Cactus, named for Ohio Democrat Don Pease and called the “Ps Cactus” for short, are an exclusive group of seven past and present committee members. So exclusive that Chairman Kevin Brady didn’t even know about the tradition until now.

Meet Pat Tiberi, the Latest Soon-to-Be-Ex-Congressman
Ohio policy wonk liked his bocce

Pat Tiberi succeeded his former boss in the House, John Kasich. (Ian Wagreich/Roll Call)

Rep. Pat Tiberi, the Ohio Republican who announced it was quitting time on Thursday, is a serious policy wonk with deep political roots in the Buckeye State and a big fan of bocce, befitting his celebration of his Italian heritage.

An unapologetic Midwestern Rotary Club-type Republican in the mode of his political patrons, former Speaker John A. Boehner and Gov. John R. Kasich, Tiberi will leave Congress by Jan. 31 — before his ninth term in the House ends — and become head of the Ohio Business Roundtable.

The Vermin Occupying Capitol Hill
Pest control service has been coming to the House every day for the last 15 years

Rep. Jim Banks disposes of a mouse caught in a trap in the Cannon House Office Building. (Courtesy Tanner Spencer via Twitter)

Pests on Capitol Hill aren’t limited to stubborn Republicans or recalcitrant Democrats. There have always been real vermin roaming around the Capitol complex, dating back to the days when cats used to stalk the halls to keep them under control.

Recently, a flurry of mouse sightings have reportedly disturbed the House side. The rodents have been spotted in members’ offices. They have scurried through the Rayburn House Office Building cafeteria. In the Longworth House Office Building, they have broken up coffee breaks in the Dunkin’ Donuts, which opened in 2016.

Beyer on the Words That Made His Spelling Bee Career
Virginia Democrat tries to win back his National Press Club Spelling Bee title

Members of the politicians’ team after the National Press Club Spelling Bee in 2015. From left, Rep. Brad Ashford of Nebraska, Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. of New Jersey, the winner Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr. of Virginia, Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, and Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota. (Courtesy Noel St. John/National Press Club)

In one of Washington’s most beloved nerdfests, members of Congress will take on members of the D.C. media in the National Press Club Spelling Bee on Tuesday.

Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr., who won for the politicians’ team in 2015, has redemption on his mind.

King Won’t Hold Cruz and Cornyn Votes on Sandy Against Texas
Cruz spokeswoman says Sandy bill was ‘chock-full of pork’

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. said New York won't abandon Texas even though its senators voted against emergency funding in 2012 for New York and New Jersey. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New York Rep. Peter T. King said New York won’t hold Texas responsible for its senators’ vote against aid to Superstorm Sandy when it comes time to vote for emergency aid for Hurricane Harvey.

King tweeted that despite “Ted Cruz & his Texas cohorts” voting against emergency aid for New York and New Jersey after the two states were devastated by Sandy in 2012, he would vote to assist Texas.

Democrats Down Republicans, Both Down the Rhetoric
Emotional evening at Congressional Baseball Game

Steve Scalise fans waves signs before the start of the annual Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park in Washington on Thursday, June 15, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When winning Democratic manager Rep. Mike Doyle gave the Congressional Baseball Game trophy to his counterpart, Rep. Joe L. Barton, to put in Rep. Steve Scalise’s office while he is recovering, it summed up the feeling of the evening.

“It’s so awesome to show everyone that we actually get along and I want that to be the message that everyone takes away tonight,” Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis said after the game.

New Faces on Congressional Baseball Teams — Including a Woman
2016 election leads to some roster moves on both sides

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, left, and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise celebrate after the Republicans' 8-7 victory in the 55th Congressional Baseball Game in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There will be a few new faces on the field at the 56th annual Congressional Baseball Game on June 15.

The teams begin practice with a few freshman lawmakers on their rosters and some players lost in the shuffle of the 2016 election.

Playing Chicken With Trump’s Tax Returns
Saturday tax marches protest president’s refusal to release filings

Democrats and liberal advocates plan to use the annual tax filing deadline as a showcase to demand the release of President Donald Trump’s tax returns and to call for more electronic tax filing, as Republicans focus on a legislative overhaul.

Pileup of Ethical Issues Gives Democrats Powerful Weapon Against Trump
Fog of suspicion continues to dog president on all sides

President Donald Trump faces a motivated Democratic opposition aiming to weaken his power and thwart his administration’s policy agenda at every turn. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

A small, previously obscure federal ethics office has catalogued a burst of inquiries and complaints from the public — more than 30,000 — since Donald Trump’s election as president, compared to a few hundred in all of fiscal 2015.

The huge increase in public outreach to the Office of Government Ethics reflects an administration with unprecedented corporate entanglements and an outwardly blase approach to ethics statutes and the truth, as well as a flair for scandal and drama.

After Health Care Defeat, Brady Schedules Markup on Trump Tax Returns
Democrats using procedural tool to force committee vote

House Ways and Means chairman Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, announced that the committee would mark up a “resolution of inquiry” into President Donald Trump’s tax returns. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hours after House GOP leaders and President Donald Trump on Friday made the decision to finally pull their ill-fated health care plan, one of the bill’s architects made an interesting pivot to Trump’s tax returns.

But not by choice.