Brian Higgins

With Levin Leaving, Dan Kildee Seeks Ways and Means Spot
Third-term Michigan Democrat spent the weekend lobbying leadership

Rep. Dan Kildee, second from left, is angling for a spot on the Ways and Means Committee now that fellow Michigan Rep. Sander M. Levin, second from right, isn’t seeking re-election in 2018. Also pictured, from left, Virginia Rep. Robert C. Scott and Michigan Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With longtime House Ways and Means member Sander M. Levin announcing Saturday he won’t run for re-election next year, his fellow Michigan Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee spent the weekend lobbying leadership for a spot on the influential panel.

Kildee sent letters to each member of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, which is responsible for making committee assignments after the midterms.

Word on the Hill: It’s November
Congress in costumes, and McCaskill’s husband’s heart ‘working better’

The last month of fall is here. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Happy November! Now that Halloween is over, Thanksgiving is only 23 days away.

November brings a recess in both chambers — on the 10th for Veterans Day, and the week of the 20th for Thanksgiving.

Word on the Hill: Practice Mindfulness on Your Long Weekend
Chief of staff band warms up for the Nationals, and meatless dining in D.C.

The statue of Christopher Columbus is framed by wreaths left over from the 2014 Columbus Day celebration at Columbus Circle in front of Union Station in Washington, D.C. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate staffers have the opportunity to work on being mindful today.

Mindcare: Mindfulness at Work, hosted by the Employee Assistance Program, is the first of several guided instruction sessions to help establish a mindful practice. It’s for Senate employees only from 11 a.m. to noon in the Capitol Visitor Center, Room SVC-215. Call 202-224-3902 to register.

For 20, a New Year’s Boost in House Legislative Sway
How the winners of top committee assignments made their own luck

Keep an eye peeled for these House members with plum new committee assignments, from left to right, first row: Pete Aguilar, Earl L. “Buddy” Carter, Katherine M. Clark, Ryan A. Costello, Carlos Curbelo; second row: Suzan DelBene, Debbie Dingell, Brian Higgins, John Moolenaar, Grace Meng; third row: Dan Newhouse, Scott Peters, Mark Pocan, Raul Ruiz, David Schweikert; fourth row: Terri A. Sewell, Scott Taylor, Tim Walberg, Jackie Walorski and Mimi Walters. (Bill Clark, Meredith Dake-O’Connor and Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photos. Scott Taylor courtesy Scott Taylor for U.S. Congress)

Specialization seasoned with seniority is the surest recipe for a meaningful legislative career in the House, which is more than big enough to swallow all the dilettantes and short-timers without a trace. It’s finding a substantive niche, then fitting in over the long haul, that proves perennially frustrating for many members. 

But the goal of becoming a successful and substantive lawmaker just got a whole lot easier for a score of them.

Word on the Hill: Red Carpet for Reagan
Khizr Khan and TV celebrities are all in town

Tim Matheson plays Ronald Reagan in the film adaptation of Bill O'Reilly's book "Killing Reagan." (Courtesy National Geographic Channel)

Ronald Reagan and Bill O’Reilly are bringing celebrities to Washington.

The National Geographic Channel's TV-movie, “Killing Reagan,” based on the book by its producer, O’Reilly, has its red carpet world premiere tonight.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Survives Primary from Left
Former DNC chairwoman defeated Bernie Sanders-backed candidate

Former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz won the party's primary in Florida's 23rd District on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz fended off a primary challenge from Bernie Sanders-backed law professor Tim Canova in Florida's 23rd District on Tuesday night. 

The incumbent won 57 percent of the vote to Canova's 43 percent with 56 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Associated Press. 

Why They Didn't Show Up to Sit In
The 11 Democrats who didn't participate in last week's gun control protest

Some 176 members of the House Democratic caucus – or 94 percent – took part in the sit-in last week to protest inaction on gun control legislation. (Courtesy Rep. John Yarmuth's Twitter page)

Organizers said they started last week’s extraordinary sit-in on the House floor without knowing how many other House Democrats would join them to demand votes on legislation to tighten background checks and prevent suspected terrorists from buying weapons. By the time the protest ended, nearly 26 hours later, 176 members of the caucus — or 94 percent — had taken part in the demonstration.  

[ Gun Control Meets Congressional Dysfunction ]