South Dakota

One congressman’s lonely quest to defund hobo festivities
Rep. Ralph Norman’s efforts have thus far met with little success

South Carolina Rep. Ralph Norman wants to prohibit federal funding for Hobo Day. Above, South Dakota State University broke out the banjos and makeup in 2014. (YouTube screenshot)

Rep. Ralph Norman is determined to put a stop, once and for all, to government funding for celebrations of hobos and hobo-related activity.

Earlier this month, the South Carolina Republican filed an amendment to an appropriations package that would prohibit a certain type of federal funding “to any school to celebrate Hobo Day,” which raises an obvious question: Is there a scourge of government-funded hobo bacchanalias?

Republicans eager to avoid getting stuck between Trump and tariffs on Mexico
There might be enough votes to terminate a national emergency

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., said, “I don’t think tariffs anywhere are a good idea.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congressional Republicans are caught between the Koch brothers and President Donald Trump on a closer-by-the-day trade war, and are uneasily weighing their options to nullify Trump’s proposed tariffs on Mexican imports. 

On Tuesday afternoon, the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity and the LIBRE Initiative sent a letter pushing congressional leaders to stand up against what they characterized as tens of billions of effective tax increases, including from Trump’s potential 5 percent tariffs on imports from Mexico (and which could grow to more than 25 percent).

Ex-Rep. Dana Rohrabacher joins ‘Craigslist of weed’ board
California Republican was a longtime champion of cannabis while in Congress

Former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., has joined the board of a company dubbed the “Craigslist of weed.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher has become a major shareholder and advisory board member of BudTrader, a California-based marijuana advertising website that has been christened the “Craigslist of Weed.

“I’m proud to announce I’ve joined [BudTrader] as a shareholder and advisory board member, so I may continue the fight for cannabis legalization on a national level,” the California Republican tweeted earlier this week.

When McGovern interned for McGovern (no relation)
Massachusetts Democrat’s internship in the 1970s led to staff position and eventual election to the House

Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern on how George McGovern influenced him: “Politics should be about principles and conviction, not solely about political calculation.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Jim McGovern’s career has been profoundly shaped by another (unrelated) McGovern: George.

As a 12-year-old middle schooler, Jim McGovern, inspired by the candidate he shared a last name with, joined his teachers to hand out leaflets and bumper stickers for the elder McGovern’s 1972 presidential campaign.

Senate backs bill to stem flood of robocalls plaguing cell phones
Bipartisan effort would increase civil penalties to $10,000 per call

Senate Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., sponsored the bill to tackle illegal robocalls. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers are fed up with the barrage of scam and nuisance calls plaguing them and their constituents and on Thursday, the Senate passed a bipartisan measure to combat robocalls.

Senators voted, 97-1, to pass a bill (S 151) designed to authenticate and block robocalls and enforce penalties on scammers who use automated equipment to pump phones full of bogus calls.

Adios, La Loma: Requiem for a Senate-side institution
Mitch McConnell calls it ‘the shutdown we all oppose!!’

La Loma, a popular Mexican restaurant at 316 Massachusetts Avenue NE, has closed. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Whether it was the convenient location a short walk from the Capitol, the bustling street-side patio or the tanker-sized margaritas, La Loma carved out a place in the life of Capitol Hill. And just like that, its 21-year Senate-side run on Massachusetts Avenue Northeast was over. 

If any place proved the real estate maxim of location, location, location, it was La Loma. Southwestern natives grumbled about the quality and execution of the fare, but it didn’t matter. Even the rain or cold wasn’t enough sometimes to keep people away from the patio, festooned with its green awning and multihued umbrellas, particularly during happy hour. And when the sun was out, it made for a mad dash to lunch, particularly on the Senate’s semi-workdays, Monday and Friday — and especially during recess. 

The tax man may be coming for Uber and Lyft drivers
The IRS believes many Uber and Lyft drivers cheat on their taxes, and it wants Congress to help crack down

Demonstrators in San Francisco on May 8 hold signs in support of Uber and Lyft drivers protesting low wages. (Getty Images)

Between the lackluster initial public offerings and struggles to turn a profit, ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft aren’t short of problems. Now, Congress is threatening to make it more difficult for them to retain drivers who are already outraged over low wages.

The IRS believes many Uber and Lyft drivers are cheating on their taxes, and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., is pushing legislation that would dramatically reduce the income threshold above which gig economy companies that rely on contractors must report to the IRS.

‘Grimmer by the day’ — Farmers’ love for Trump in peril
President’s trade actions are testing farmers in ways they never imagined

President Donald Trump’s trade actions are testing American farmers in ways they never imagined, Murphy writes, even though that’s exactly what he campaigned on. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — The love affair between President Donald Trump and rural America has always made sense to me.

When I covered the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump often went to remote farm communities where Democrats, and even other Republican candidates, never bothered.

S.D. lawmaker accuses Rep. Dusty Johnson of ‘DC-style ambush’ to keep her out of Senate race
Johnson denies accusations of intimidation, said conversation was ‘friendly’

A state lawmaker in South Dakota has accused Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S. D., of trying to intimidate her to keep her out of the race for South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds’ seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A state representative in South Dakota has alleged a “DC-style ambush” to intimidate her into forgoing a run for the Senate.

State Rep. Scyller Borglum said Republican Rep. Dusty Johnson, acting as a surrogate for Sen. Mike Rounds, intimidated her in a private meeting in an effort to dissuade her from launching a primary challenge to Rounds. 

How a Republican border trip amplified a bogus tuberculosis rumor
Local public health officials quickly debunked rumors of an outbreak

US Army Ranger helps his unit erect a chain-link fence that will be topping with barbed wire parallel to the primary steel US/Mexico border fence to further fortify the border against people crossing illegally into the United States from Mexico on March 16, 2006 near the border town of near San Luis, south of Yuma, Arizona. Rep. Andy Biggs led a delegation of Republican lawmakers including John Joyce. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

The office of Rep. John Joyce on Tuesday pulled back the congressman's bogus claim that immigrants seeking refuge over the Arizona border brought drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis to the U.S. 

Joyce made the false claim in a briefing with reporters during a congressional trip led by Arizona GOP Rep. Andy Biggs last week to the U.S.-Mexican border near Yuma, Ariz. The claim was then echoed in the national press.