Jody B Hice

Lots of no-shows for impeachment inquiry depositions
Overall Democrats participated more than Republicans, who had complained about access

Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, left, and Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., make their way to votes in the Capitol on Friday. Jordan referred to the lack of attendance at the impeachment depositions in appealing for Gaetz to be able to attend. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated Nov. 21, 2:28 p.m. | Only a fifth of the 104 members on the three House panels that conducted the impeachment inquiry depositions attended and participated in a majority of the proceedings, according to a CQ Roll Call analysis of the available deposition transcripts.

The Intelligence Committee has released transcripts for 15 of the 17 depositions it has conducted with two other panels: Oversight and Reform and Foreign Affairs. 

Commerce watchdog will monitor efforts to keep 2020 census secure
GAO and lawmakers have raised security concerns over Census Bureau’s IT systems

The Commerce Department inspector general will be monitoring the Census Bureau’s efforts to keep the 2020 census secure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Commerce Department’s internal watchdog will take a look at the Census Bureau’s efforts to keep the 2020 census secure, the inspector general said in a letter Thursday.

The announcement follows a trail of security concerns about Census Bureau systems for next year’s count from the Government Accountability Office and members of Congress. Next year’s census will allow an online response option for most of the country for the first time, along with traditional mail and phone response.

Biggs to replace Meadows as Freedom Caucus chairman, effective Oct. 1
Meadows, who’d planned to transition out of the chairmanship this fall, will remain on caucus board

Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, left, has been elected to serve as the third chairman of the House Freedom Caucus. Also pictured, California Rep. Tom McClintock at a House Judiciary hearing in July. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Arizona Republican Rep. Andy Biggs will serve as the third chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, after the group of roughly three dozen hard-line conservatives elected him to take over its leadership effective Oct. 1.

The sophomore congressman will replace North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows next month — a fall leadership transition that Meadows had long been planning. Meadows has served as the group’s chairman for the past two and a half years following the two-year tenure of Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, the founding chairman.

Seven Republicans call for Ethics Committee investigation into Castro
Texas Democrat posted names and employers of Trump donors on Twitter

Seven Republicans wrote to the House Ethics Committee on Friday, calling for an investigation into Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro for publicizing the names of constituents who donated to President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Seven Republican members of the House Freedom Caucus are calling on the House Ethics Committee to investigate Texas Democrat Joaquin Castro for publicly posting on Twitter the names and workplaces of constituents who donated to President Donald Trump.

“Posting a target list of private citizens simply for supporting his political opponent is antithetical to our principles and serves to suppress the free speech and free association rights of Americans,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter sent to the Ethics panel Friday.

Republicans signal opposition to defense bill as floor debate kicks off
Amendments approved Wednesday included one to prohibit Pentagon from naming new DoD assets after confederate leaders or Civil War victories

“There is virtually no opportunity to improve the bill,” said Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, ranking member on the Armed Services Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House will continue its debate Thursday on the more than 300 remaining amendments offered to a wide-ranging defense policy bill, after adopting more than 100 noncontroversial amendments Wednesday.

Powerful Republicans signaled their displeasure with the typically bipartisan defense authorization bill, and with the amendments Democrats allowed for floor debate.

Trump aide sees room for talks on Democrats’ opioid bill
Trump’s top drug control official left the door open to a bipartisan deal on a bill authorizing billions to address opioid crisis

From left, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Reps. Peter Welch, D-Vt., Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., conduct a news conference in the Capitol on January 10, 2019. Cummings and Elizabeth Warren released a draft bill Wednesday that would authorize $100 billion over a decade to address the opioid crisis. Trump’s aide left the door open Thursday for a bipartisan solution with the bill’s sponsors. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats got a surprising compliment from the Trump administration’s top drug control official at a Thursday hearing as they discussed boosting opioid addiction treatment funding, while Republicans promoted efforts to stem illegal drugs through securing the southern border.

House Oversight and Reform Government Operations Subcommittee Chairman Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va., who presided at the full committee hearing, touted a draft bill that Chairman Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland released with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday that would authorize $100 billion over 10 years to address the crisis. The bill, which is supported by all of the committee’s Democrats, faces a tough path to becoming law without Republican support.

And the award for most laconic Mueller tweet goes to …
Sean Duffy doesn’t have time for 280 characters, and neither does Bobby Rush

Wisconsin Rep. Sean P. Duffy kept it simple Thursday on Twitter. He’d rather be podcasting, an aide said. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If you go on Twitter today (which we know you will), you’ll drown in the same tweets highlighting the same quotes from Attorney General William Barr’s press conference ahead of the highly anticipated release of the Mueller report on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

You’ll of course also find several members of Congress weighing in on said events, with wordy testimonies within multiple threads — which they are at liberty to do, given the First Amendment and the large platform to First Amendment on. Yes, we just made that into a verb.

House Republicans dig out another procedural tool to pressure Democrats
GOP is planning to file discharge petitions on a late-term abortion bill and the Green New Deal

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., is planning to file a discharge petition next week in an effort to force a vote on a bill to provide protections for newborns who survive abortions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans, boosted by some early procedural wins this Congress, are planning to try out another tool available to the minority to put pressure on Democrats — the discharge petition.

Discharge petitions can be filed by any member but are most commonly used by the minority party to highlight legislation the majority refuses to bring to the floor. If a discharge petition gets 218 signatures, the underlying measure can then be brought up for a vote over the objections of leadership.

The conservative House Freedom Caucus is launching a podcast series
Rep. Jody Hice, former conservative talk show host, will sit down to discuss policy and politics with HFC newsmakers

Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., will host a weekly podcast for the House Freedom Caucus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The conservative House Freedom Caucus is launching a podcast series, marking the first time an organized group in Congress will host its own show.

Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia, a former conservative talk radio host and the Freedom Caucus’ communications chairman, will sit down weekly with other members of the caucus, senators and grassroots leaders.

Jim Jordan Named Oversight Ranking Member After Dropping Out of Judiciary Contest
Ohio Republican said leadership made it clear he would not get the job

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, will not seek the top GOP slot on the Judiciary Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 8:07 p.m. | Rep. Jim Jordan, the Ohio Republican and a high-profile supporter of President Donald Trump, told Roll Call on Thursday that he would not seek the top GOP slot on the House Judiciary Committee.

“It’s been made clear to me, talking with leadership, that I’m not going to get that job, so I’m not going to do it,” he said. “It would be a waste of my time; a waste of their time, so I’m not going to pursue that. What they decide with ranking member on Judiciary is up to Leader McCarthy,” a reference to Kevin McCarthy of California, the outgoing majority leader who will be minority leader in the next congress.