Virginia

Wardrobe rentals may be just what staffers need
Cost, diversity and environmental impact all led to popularity of service

Florida Rep. Stephanie Murphy, center, has been renting clothing from Rent the Runway since before she came to Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The black bags pile up at the UPS drop-off spots across the Capitol’s campus, whether it’s the weekend after the White House Correspondents Dinner or the Monday that Congress is set to return from a long recess.

Filled with evening gowns, cocktail dresses, or a blouse or blazer that might have been worn to sit behind a boss during a high-profile hearing, the bags are en route back to a Rent the Runway facility. If the number of bags that pop up in Capitol office buildings are any indication, more and more women on the Hill are using the clothing rental service to supplement their work wardrobes.

Throwback: Clyburn remembers meeting wife

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., speaks at an April legislative retreat in Leesburg, Va. (File Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Majority Whip James Clyburn’s wife passed away Thursday morning at the age of 80. Over the years, the congressman has occasionally talked about their first time meeting … in jail during the civil rights movement. In a 2011 interview with South Carolina Education Television (SCETV), he remembered meeting Emily Clyburn when she brought him half a hamburger to his jail cell after he was arrested for his part in a 1960 student protest in Orangeburg, South Carolina.  He added to the story seven years later in an interview broadcast on C-SPAN, sharing his wife’s perspective on the events that lead up to their first meet.

Trump denies ‘inappropriate’ remark to foreign leader that prompted whistleblower complaint
Both intel committees to hear from acting DNI, intel community inspector general

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a joint news conference after their summit in Helsinki, Finland, in July 2018. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump denied reports that he made a promise to an unidentified foreign leader that prompted an intelligence community official to file a formal complaint with an inspector general.

“Is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially ‘heavily populated’ call. I would only do what is right anyway, and only do good for the USA!” the president tweeted Thursday morning.

Gun laws may not be changing, but the gun debate certainly is
Fewer and fewer elected Democrats fret much anymore about taking on the NRA

Students march to the Capitol in April 2018, calling on Congress to act on gun violence prevention. Gun control groups have spent more than $1.2 million on federal lobbying so far this year, keeping them on pace to spend the most they ever have. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — That almost nothing has changed in federal gun policy since Newtown or Parkland or any mass shooting before or after belies the enormous transformation underway in the lobbying and political landscapes of the issue.

Gun safety groups now operate a lot more like their opponents: amassing a national network of grassroots activists that descend on Capitol Hill and show up in lawmakers’ districts; spending big on political campaigns; and retaining some of the biggest names on K Street, firms that also represent the likes of Amazon and Goldman Sachs.

AG Barr takes temperature of Senate GOP on gun background checks
But there's still confusion about what President Donald Trump will ultimately support

Attorney General William Barr spent a second day on Capitol Hill speaking with Congressional members about gun legislation. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Attorney General William Barr continued to take the temperature of Republican senators on expanding background checks Wednesday after a working document started circulating publicly.

“As the president has made clear he’s interested in exploring meaningful solutions that will actually protect people, make people safer,” the attorney general said. “And I’m up here just kicking around some ideas, getting perspectives, so I can be in a better position to advise the president. The president has made no decision yet on these issues.”

‘Beckmesser’ earns Rep. Chris Pappas the spelling bee title
But competition at National Press Club also turned on spelling cocktails

New Hampshire Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas, left, holds the belt he won as the 2019 National Press Club Spelling Bee champion after defeating the press team’s champ, Eric Geller of Politico. (Herb Jackson/CQ Roll Call)

If you want to win the National Press Club’s Press vs. Politicians Spelling Bee, here’s a tip: Drinking might help.

Not necessarily drinking during the competition, although that certainly happens in the audience (and got official pronouncer Jacques Bailly  more laughs for the “dad jokes” in the use-the-word-in-a-sentence part of the questioning). There’s also a bar at the VIP reception for contestants and sponsors before the competition, and it’s up to them whether to partake before going on stage.

As background checks talks stall, Trump casts Beto O’Rourke as scapegoat
POTUS: Candidate’s debate remark ‘Convinced many that Dems just want to take your guns away’

Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke speaks during a town hall event in Alexandria, Va., in April. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If Washington fails to enact legislation to strengthen federal firearms background checks or otherwise deal with mass shootings, President Donald Trump suggests the blame will fall on a former House Democrat who wants his job.

With talks toward a measure that could pass a Democratic-controlled House and a GOP-run Senate showing no tangible signs of progress, Trump has vacillated from supporting beefed-up background checks to endorsing a amorphous plan focused on mental health issues he says is the root cause of mass gun massacres.

Health care group backs Democrats with seven-figure ad campaign
Effort boosts freshmen who flipped red districts

Iowa Rep. Abby Finkenauer is among the 10 beneficiaries of a seven-figure ad campaign by the Democrat-aligned group Protect Our Care. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Democrat-aligned group focused on health care is seeking to give 10 vulnerable House members an early political boost through a new $2 million ad campaign.

Protect Our Care plans to launch a digital ad campaign Wednesday to promote the work by 10 Democratic freshmen on health care issues, touting votes to protect preexisting condition protections.

With 5G in mind, senators plan big boost for Pentagon cybersecurity
Much of the future infrastructure is being developed by China

The Trump administration has sought to stop close U.S. allies from adopting Huawei’s 5G technologies. Above, monitors at a Huawei campus in Shenzhen, China. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images file photo)

Lawmakers are proposing to add more than half a billion dollars to the Pentagon’s 2020 budget for cybersecurity measures, in particular asking the department to include security features enabling its weapons and information systems to safely operate on future 5G worldwide wireless networks.

Much of that future infrastructure is being developed by China and could become the global standard.

The ‘squad’ takes center stage in GOP attacks in 2019 state elections
Republican efforts appear to be test run for 2020 messaging strategy

Warnings that Democrats are aligned with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appear prominently in Republican efforts this year to hold on to state legislative seats that could determine which party controls redistricting after the 2020 census. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Take a seat, Nancy Pelosi — you’ve been replaced.

For years, the California Democrat has been the cornerstone of Republican negative attack ads and campaign rhetoric against her party.