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Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing Around the Capitol
Pups on parade, Scalise on next year’s Congressional Baseball Game starting lineup, and more holiday parties

Carter Reardon, 5, of Fredericksburg, Virginia, checks out the U.S. Botanic Garden's annual model train exhibit which features roadside attractions from around the nation including Rhode Island's Mr. Potato Head on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. And some of the best ones are those that we come across while reporting the big ones.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

Trump Poised to Set Record for Appeals Court Judges
Three more nominees set to be confirmed this week

Appellate nominee Steve Grasz, who is set to be confirmed by the Senate this week, was , nominee to be U.S. circuit judge for the Eighth Circuit, testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee nomination hearing in Dirksen Building on November 1, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans are set to confirm three more of President Donald Trump’s appeals court picks this week, a push that will help set a record for the most such appointments in a president’s first year in office.

The Senate is expected to confirm Steve Grasz for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, and James Ho and Don Willett for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, over the objections of Democrats who question whether they can be unbiased.

Senate Banking Advances Powell Nomination for Fed Chairman
Sen. Elizabeth Warren only senator to vote against recommendation

Jerome Powell earned the support of all but one member of the Senate Banking Committee to advance his nomination for Fed chairman. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate Banking Committee voted 22-1 Tuesday to recommend confirmation of Jerome Powell as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren voted against the recommendation.

Powell received the support of Chairman Michael D. Crapo, who had voted against him during his renomination to the Fed board in 2014.

Capitol Hill Figures Out What to Do With 280 Characters
Members finding creative ways to use Twitter’s expanded limit

Members of Congress are already making the most of the 140 extra characters available for tweets. (Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers are experimenting with new ways to communicate with the extra characters Twitter has given them.

The increased 280-character limit for tweets is already being used to post full statements, Q&As with experts or the member, more hashtags and longer lists in a single posting, instead of a series of tweets.

After Controversies, Members Want Kelly to Avoid Spotlight
Sen. Graham: Having an opinion ‘doesn’t mean you have to share it’

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly speaks during a White House briefing last month. Lawmakers from both parties say he should focus on running a less chaotic White House. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

Lawmakers from both parties, concerned that John F. Kelly has too often added to the White House chaos he was hired to tamp down, want the chief of staff to revert to managing President Donald Trump’s administration far away from the television cameras.

The retired Marine Corps four-star general and former Homeland Security secretary views his new job as that of an ultimate insider, according to senior White House aides who report to him. But in recent weeks, Kelly has at times taken on a different role — combative spokesman for the president. And that has only created more heartburn for the White House and its Republican allies on Capitol Hill.

Senators to Grill ABA on Rare Thumbs-Down for Grasz
Judiciary Committee members have questions about ”not qualified” rating

Steve Grasz, nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A controversial appeals court nominee from Nebraska, who received a rare unanimous “not qualified” rating from the American Bar Association, has revived concerns about whether the legal organization is biased. 

The organization has long conducted nonpartisan reviews of federal judicial nominees and rated them for the Senate Judiciary Committee. The vast majority of the time the group finds a nominee “qualified” or “well-qualified,” and has done so even with the numerous controversial judge picks President Donald Trump has made.

Heard on the Hilloween
We asked staffers to send us their costumes

Aides for Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., from left, Lindsay Black, Marcie Kinzel, and Katie Waldman, are seen in their costumes in their Hart Senate Office Building office on Wednesday. The three represent the 3 cows-to-1 person population ration in Montana. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

While most of the Halloween spirit around Capitol Hill was sported by dogs on Tuesday, some humans got into the spirit, too.

HOH asked staffers to send photographs of themselves at work in their Halloween costumes.

As GOP Passes Buck on Bump Stocks, ATF Pushes Back
Momentum to regulate the devices used in the Las Vegas massacre has stalled

Antoinette Cannon, who worked as a trauma nurse and treated victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, leaves a rose at each of the 58 white crosses at a makeshift memorial on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip earlier this month. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Efforts to ban bump stocks have come to a screeching halt, with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives once again indicating it does not have the authority to reclassify and regulate the devices.

The ATF wrote letters in 2010 and 2013 explaining how current laws — the Gun Control Act (1968) and National Firearms Act (1934) — do not provide an avenue for the bureau to regulate the gun attachments, which enable shooters to fire semiautomatic weapons at nearly the rate of automatic ones.

Congress Should Revise Base Closure Rules, Report Recommends
Heritage Foundation says lawmakers should authorize a new round

Congress should revise its rules on base closures, a new report from the Heritage Foundation recommends. (Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

Congress should revise the rules guiding base realignment and closure and authorize a new round, a new paper from a conservative think tank recommended.

Done properly, a round of base realignment and closure, or BRAC, is a good example of federal efficiency, wrote Frederico Bartels, an analyst with the Heritage Foundation.

Word on the Hill: King of the Hill
Senate Democrats celebrating birthdays

Team photograph of The RBIs of Texas after winning the King of the Hill softball championship game. (Courtesy Bill Christian)

The Senate is the King of the Hill. Well, at least in staffer softball.

The annual King of the Hill softball championship game was Thursday and the RBIs of Texas, the Senate team, beat the Texas Republic, the House team, 16-12.