ICYMI: Top reads on Congress

 Image source  here

Image source here

By Marian Currinder

Leadership

Rachel Bade and Kyle Cheney, “Freedom Caucus seeks to make McCarthy pay to become speaker,” Politico:

“A POLITICO survey of about 20 of the conservative group’s three dozen members found varying degrees of openness to the California Republican known as a deal-making pragmatist. But nearly all the hard-liners said he’ll have to make concessions to win their support. Without it, they could block his path to the speakership.”

Larry Bartels, “How Paul Ryan lost the Republican Party,” Washington Post:

“Ryan’s speakership began with strong support from rank-and-file Republicans, but that support eroded substantially as he struggled to distance himself from President Trump.”

David Weigel, “Democrats pushing for Pelosi’s ouster as leader stand down – at least until elections,” Washington Post:

“Democrats who have pushed for Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s ouster as House minority leader are standing down — at least until after November’s midterm elections.”

Heather Caygle and John Bresnahan, “Queens party boss angles to succeed Pelosi as speaker,” Politico:

“Rep. Joe Crowley — buoyed by a caucus thirsty for change and his rising national profile — is angling to become the next House Democratic leader if Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats fall short.”

Julian E. Zelizer, “The End of The Strong Speaker,” The Atlantic:

“The truth is that being speaker is not what it used to be. A position that once commanded immense gravitas in the days of Democrat Sam Rayburn, the Texan who ruled the roost during most of the years between 1940 and his death in 1961 (save for the two sessions in 1947 and 1953 when Republicans retook control of Congress), now makes the person holding the job a perpetual target.”

J.J. McCollough, “The Speaker Shouldn’t Be This Important,” National Review:

“A better path would be to seize this unique set of circumstances — a vacant speakership on the Republican side, and a broadly unpopular would-be speaker on the Democrats’ — as an opportunity to return the speakership to its humbler roots, with a less ambitious and bossy office-holder. Doing so would end the trend of treating midterms as a national referendum on who should occupy an overinflated pseudo-executive office, and back towards simply picking the best local legislator to vote in your community’s interest.”

Procedure/Rules

Paul Kane, “McConnell, the Senate’s decider, discovers the limits of his control,” Washington Post:

“Twice this week, McConnell fell short of that mark. On Monday, only seven senators from the Democratic caucus supported a tribal-lands bill amid a dispute over labor standards, and right before Wednesday’s NASA-vote drama, just six Democrats supported the Coast Guard bill while the rest feared it would weaken environmental standards in ports.”

Kelsey Snell, “After Lawmaker Gives Birth, Senate Changes Rules To Allow Infants In For Votes,” NPR:

“On Wednesday, the Senate unanimously agreed to allow senators to bring their infant along to votes until the child reaches 1 year old. In response to the change, Duckworth thanked her colleagues "for helping bring the Senate into the 21st Century by recognizing that sometimes new parents also have responsibilities at work."

Dara Lind, “Queen of the hill”: The obscure House rule that could force the House to take up immigration bills,” Vox:

“The “queen of the hill” plan solves these problems. It would bring four bills, in a series, to the House floor for a vote, and whichever one got the biggest vote margin in favor would pass.”

Scott R. Anderson and Molly E. Reynolds, “Fast Track to Nowhere: ‘Expedited Procedures’ and the New AUMF Proposal,” Lawfare:

“In this post, however, we take a closer look at the mechanism that serves as the heart—or perhaps the teeth—of this new framework: the “expedited procedures” through which Congress may review certain presidential decisions or even modify or repeal the AUMF itself.”

Molly E. Reynolds, “Procedural Hurdles for the Mueller Protection Bills,” Lawfare Blog:

“With speculation about whether President Trump will fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller continuing to swirl, we’ve seen several developments related to legislation that would protect the special counsel. In both the House and Senate, however, potential procedural hurdles lie ahead.”

Federalist Society, “Restoring Article 1: Senate Reform Proposals,” (video featuring panel discussion):

“As the upper chamber of Congress, the Senate functions as a check on the legislative process. Many have complained, however, that the Senate is obstructionist, anti-majoritarian, and overly partisan.”

Budget and Appropriations

Alexander Bolton, "Budget chairman floats plan to eliminate his own committee," The Hill:

“The chairman of the Senate Budget Committee is floating the idea of getting rid of the Budget panel altogether, according to Republican sources.”

Eric Sherman, "Republican Senate Budget Chairman: Let's Give Up on Budgets," Forbes:

“The headline reads like something you might see from The Onion or Andy Borowitz at the New Yorker, only with less humor and pith. But it's not. This is an apparently dead serious suggestion by a powerful GOP senator.”

Jeffrey Lazarus, “Bringing back earmarks could grease the wheels for getting bills passed,” The Hill:

“Earmarks are spending projects, which are requested by individual members and included in bills without getting voted on by other members. They have a bad reputation, but they serve an important purpose. Earmarks give members of Congress “skin in the game” when deciding how to vote on big bills with major national implications.”

Joe Williams, “Appropriators’ Right-Hand Man Sounds Off on the Current Senate,” Roll Call:

“Evans would go on to hold a number of other positions in the chamber, including several on the Appropriations Committee. He eventually came to serve under Cochran and since 2015 has held the top staffer position on the panel.”

Frank E. Lockwood, "U.S. budget process called a flop," Arkansas Online:

“The panel, mandated by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, held its first public hearing; members from both parties expressed frustration with the status quo, including a number of government shutdowns over the years.”

Paul Winfree, "Joint Select Committee Should Focus on Improving Budget Transparency," The Daily Signal:

“All kidding aside, the Joint Select Committee would best spend its time and resources focused on improving transparency within the budget process. They can start by building off of the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) oversight hearings held by the Budget Committees over the last several months.”

Congress, Miscellaneous

Gregory Koger, “The job of Congress: a primer,” Vox:

“In an earlier post, I suggested that the best way to improve Congress is not to yearn for the “good ol’ days” but to to imagine the legislature we want and then develop a realistic road map to improvement. This post takes the next step: sketching in broad strokes what we want — and should expect — from the first branch.”

Sheryl Gay Stolberg, “Female Senators, Their Ranks Increasing, Reflect on Breaking Into the Boys’ Club,” NYT:

“Women make up nearly 51 percent of the United States population, but just 23 percent of the Senate, an all-time high, nonetheless, after Cindy Hyde-Smith was sworn in as the new senator from Mississippi this month.”

Juliegrace Brufke and Melanie Zanona, “Young GOP lawmakers want more power,” The Hill:

“We've been frustrated that the boomers will get together and make the decisions and then come to the millennials and say, 'What's your advice on how we can message this,'” Gaetz said. “That's like salting the gumbo at the end instead of salting it when you're cooking it.”

Amber Philips, “’Read my lips: No new bill to protect Robert Mueller’ – Mitch McConnell, basically,” Washington Post:

“Whatever bipartisan momentum exists for a bill to protect special counsel Robert S. Mueller III from getting fired by President Trump just got squashed — by the one senator proponents of the legislation needed on their side, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).”

Jay Cost, “On War Matters, Where is Congress? Shirking Its Duties,” National Review:

“Put bluntly, the Syria incursion last week was another sorry illustration of how denuded the United States Congress has become — and how, by extension, the notion of “self-government” has eroded dramatically in our time.”

Katherine Tully-McManus, “Inquiries to Congressional Office of Compliance Fell in 2017,” Roll Call:

“Despite intense attention on workplace sexual harassment, Capitol Hill employees made fewer inquiries last year to Congress’ watchdog, but the cost of settlements rose, according to new statistics released Friday.”

Michelle Cottle, “What’s on Congress’s Legislative Agenda?” The Atlantic:

“Congress is back from spring break and looking at another six-plus months until the midterms. But in terms of pursuing a serious legislative agenda, the session is more or less over.”

Jason Dick, “Congress’ Ch-Ch-Changes,” Roll Call (podcast):

“Congress is going through one of those times when everything seems to be changing, especially the personnel, and that’s not even counting the mounting pile of retirements and resignations among lawmakers.”