Patrick T McHenry

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.

North Carolina ratings changes offer a taste of redistricting to come
After seats held by Holding and Walker lean more Democratic, one retires with the other deciding

North Carolina GOP Rep. George Holding announced his retirement after the makeup of his district changed dramatically. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ten years is long enough to forget the chaos of covering campaigns during redistricting. But North Carolina, bless its heart, was kind enough to offer us an early taste of the upcoming craziness of a redistricting cycle.

First, new congressional lines can put new pressure on members.

Bill Huizenga: Our beer is better than your beer
Michigan Republican touts Grand Rapids brew over Asheville, N.C.

Is Rep. Bill Huizenga, right, talking about beer, Harry Potter or campaign finance with Capitol Hill personality Rick Hohensee? Perhaps we'll find out more as the ethics investigation into the congressman unfolds. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Bill Huizenga’s interview with the Office of Congressional Ethics regarding an investigation into whether he complied with campaign finance rules yielded some other interesting insights about his diet at Harry Potter World and whom he trash-talks with about beer.

During his July 10 interview, the Michigan Republican was asked by OCE what happens when a member of Congress is invited as a special guest to support a colleague’s fundraiser and who benefits from the funds donated.

Washington Democratic Rep. Denny Heck not running for reelection
Heck said investigating Russian election interference and impeachment ‘have rendered my soul weary’

Rep. Denny Heck, D-Wash., is not running for reelection. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Denny Heck announced Wednesday that he is not running for reelection. The Washington Democrat, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, cited the impeachment investigation as part of the reason for his retirement.

“The countless hours I have spent in the investigation of Russian election interference and the impeachment inquiry have rendered my soul weary,” Heck wrote in a Medium post.

Libra’s regulatory hurdles appear taller after House hearing
Still to be decided: How the cryptocurrency would be regulated

Libra, known as a stablecoin, would be backed by a basket of dollars, euros and other traditional currencies called the Libra Reserve. (iStock)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg provided only a few additional details about the company’s proposed cryptocurrency to a House Financial Services Committee on Oct. 23 that generally didn’t like what it heard. 

Zuckerberg said Facebook wouldn’t proceed with the proposed Libra until it had satisfied regulators’ concerns. That pledge and the harsh criticism from lawmakers on both sides the aisle appears to narrow, if not eliminate, the company’s path to approval, at least for a project as sweepingly ambitious as Libra is.

Parker Poling’s job: Help win back the House for Republicans
As NRCC executive director she’s tasked with helping GOP pick up 19 seats needed to take back speaker’s gavel

NRCC executive director Parker Poling has tried to increase the committee’s outreach to House Republicans who don’t usually need help from the party’s campaign arm. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It was 2015 and Parker Poling was going all out to persuade fellow Republicans to support a top priority of President Barack Obama, a Democrat.

That sounds improbable, but at the time she was chief of staff to North Carolina Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, who was the chief deputy whip for the GOP majority. Republican leaders were trying to persuade skeptical lawmakers to give Obama fast-track authority to negotiate trade deals.

Zuckerberg threatened with Facebook breakup
At hearing, lawmakers press founder and CEO over Libra cryptocurrency plan

Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify at House Financial Services hearing on its cryptocurrency proposal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Comedian Hasan Minhaj rankles, entertains at student debt hearing
Congressional hearings can be dry but not today

Things got a little testy between Rep. Sean Duffy, seen here, and Hasan Minhaj at Tuesday's hearing. (CQ Roll Call Screenshot)

You may not think a hearing on solving the $1.6 trillion student loan debt crisis would provide many laughs, but comedian Hasan Minhaj racked up a few, to the annoyance of some Republicans, while testifying before the House Financial Services Committee.

Tuesday’s hearing wasn’t short on tense exchanges, either, even from the jump.

Lawmakers hint at regulatory models for Facebook cryptocurrency
Libra: ‘Which is it, fish or fowl?’

“This looks exactly like an exchange-traded fund,” said Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., (File photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House members suggested Wednesday that Facebook Inc.‘s proposed cryptocurrency could be deemed an exchange-traded fund, a currency or a commodity, all of which could require some degree of regulatory oversight.

“What we’re struggling with is: What are you?” said Democratic Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter summing up a four-hour House Financial Services Committee grilling of a company executive about the proposed cryptocurrency known as Libra.

Facebook cryptocurrency stirs worry and support in both parties
Top Democrat urges Fed and regulators to protect consumers and economy from Facebook’s ‘monopoly money’

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, right, was peppered with questions about how the Fed would deal with Libra, Facebook’s new cryptocurrency. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Facebook Inc. got a preview Wednesday of what to expect next week when executives come to testify about plans to launch Libra, a digital currency and online payment system.

At a hearing Wednesday morning, Democrats and Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee peppered Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell with questions about how the central bank would respond to Libra.