ICYMI: Top reads on Congress

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By Marian Currinder

Leadership

Heather Caygle and Nolan D. McCaskill, "'It's not gonna be business as usual,'" Politico:

"Black lawmakers are starting to agitate for more representation in House Democratic leadership, frustrated by the static makeup at the top of the caucus and the fact that only one African-American is included in those ranks."

Lindsey McPherson, “For House Democrats, Leadership Questions Persist,” Roll Call:

“House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer declined to echo Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn’s call for a new leadership team should Democrats fail to win control of the House in the midterms. Clyburn told Politico at a fish fry event in his home state of South Carolina this weekend that if House Democrats are still in the minority come November “all of us have to go.”

Mike Lillis, “Pelosi needs a big cushion to return as Speaker,” The Hill:

“A few centrist incumbent Democrats have habitually bucked Pelosi’s leadership in the biennial Speaker’s vote on the House floor. Now they could be joined by a growing number of Democratic candidates who have promised voters they’ll reject Pelosi if they’re sent to Washington — a strategy largely designed to counter the Republicans’ escalating campaign of linking Democratic hopefuls to their party’s liberal leader.”

Katie Leach, “Top Democrat: All of Democratic leadership has ‘got to go’ if party fails to take the House,” Washington Examiner:

“Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., wants a clean sweep of Democratic leadership in the House if the party fails to take control of the House in the upcoming midterm elections.”

Melanie Zanona, “Harassment rules play into race for Speaker,” The Hill:

“House lawmakers from both parties want any candidate running for Speaker to promise to push for an overhaul of Capitol Hill’s sexual harassment policies.”

Matthew Green, “A warning to Ryan’s successor: The Speakership is no cake walk,” The Hill:

“But this guessing game misses a bigger and more serious issue raised by Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) impending retirement: the position of Speaker has become far more challenging than it once was. In fact, no matter who follows in Ryan’s footsteps, that person will almost certainly have one of the most difficult jobs in national politics.”

Rachel Bade, “The one woman in Republican leadership in under siege,” Politico:

“The lone female member of House Republican leadership is under siege in D.C. and back home in Washington state. In Congress, several fellow GOP members are pining for her job, questioning her effectiveness as chairwoman of the conference and weighing whether to challenge her.”

Budget and appropriations

G. William Hoagland, “Opinion: Congress Needs to Hold On to Its Power of the Purse,” Roll Call:

“The Trump administration is considering revising the presidential rescission process, dormant over the previous two administrations. This is partly because of the president’s displeasure at having to sign the fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill last month to avoid a potential government shutdown or a fifth continuing resolution.”

Michael H. Crespin and Charles J. Finocchiaro, “Why congressional leadership might not be excited about the prospect of earmarks returning,” The Hill:

“Despite perceptions that the party leaders had a bucket of earmarks to dole out as rewards, our research says this is largely not the case. We found the process in the House was highly routinized rather than freewheeling.”

Process/Procedure

Niels Lesniewski, “A Plea for the Old School Senate,” Roll Call:

“There was a degree of waxing poetic from the senior senators, but also a sense that it was worth taking the gamble on moving to bills after a huddle between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, and the Appropriations Committee leadership on Tuesday.”

Niels Lesniewski, “Senate GOP Set to Revive Time Limits on Debating Nominees,” Roll Call:

“Lankford’s plan would revive and make permanent restrictions on floor debate time after a filibuster has been broken that were established on a bipartisan basis in 2013 for the 113th Congress.”

Carl Hulse, “Time’s Not on Their Side as GOP Gripes About Senate Slowdown,” New York Times:

“Frustrated over Democrats slow-walking many executive and judicial branch nominees and chewing up Senate floor time in the bargain, Republicans moved on Wednesday toward shortening stringent time requirements that can turn even a routine nomination into a C-Span-numbing, multiday slog.”

Capri Cafaro, “Senate confirmation: The grilling can be grueling,” The Conversation:

“Some nominees face significant scrutiny from U.S. senators who customarily grill prospective government officials in open committee hearings. The committee then votes whether or not to advance the nomination to a full Senate vote, though it may also not vote at all on a controversial nominee.”

Lindsey McPherson, “With a Taste of Regular Order on FAA Bill, Members Want More,” Roll Call:

“Some expressed hope that the structured rule on the FAA bill, which made 116 amendments in order for floor consideration, was a sign that more amendments would be accepted on future bills, but no one had any insight as to whether that would actually be the case.”

Congress, Miscellaneous

David Hawkings, “Why the Hill’s Quitters Caucus Keeps Growing,” Roll Call:

“These are the folks who give up their positions of public trust ahead of schedule because something more appealing has presented itself in the private sector. They have seen greener pastures on the other side of the revolving door, and they are unwilling to complete their elected duties before going there.”

Kyle Cheney, “All-male Freedom Caucus anticipates new female member,” Politico:

“House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said Wednesday he expects Arizona's newly elected congresswoman, Debbie Lesko, to join the conservative group when she's sworn into Congress. Lesko would be the only woman in the group and the first to join since founding member Cynthia Lummis left Congress in 2017, Meadows said.” 

Gregory Koger, “The job of Congress: articulating norms,” Vox:

“Congress can play a collective role in defending the norms and traditions of American democracy. Each chamber, or both together, can pass resolutions stating what our shared norms are and applying these norms to recent events.”

Laura Capps, “Congress: the most family-unfriendly work place in America,” Politico:

“The punishment Congress inflicts on families largely explains why it remains an overwhelmingly male institution. Only 20 percent of members are women. (Yes, it is 2018.) And it’s an institution built for those for whom raising children is no longer a reality, if it ever was: Currently, the average age in the House is 57.8 and in the Senate it’s 61.8.”

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, “Opinion: We Can’t Afford Not to Pay Interns,” Roll Call:

“While obtaining internship experience is certainly beneficial to both the job candidate and the hiring office, many congressional internships are unpaid. This means that this opportunity is out of reach for young Americans who simply do not have the financial means to dedicate an entire semester or summer to a congressional internship without pay.”

Alex Gangitano, “New Push for Senators to Pay Their Interns,” Roll Call:

“Pay Our Interns, which collected some of its data by visiting all Senate offices, is now reaching out to those that don’t pay their interns with a road map showing how the additional funds can help make that happen.”

Sean McMinn, "How To Make Congressional Floor Charts Worth Reading," Roll Call (video):

"Data reporter Sean McMinn loves charts, including the charts seen on C-SPAN from the congressional chamber’s floors. But on International Chart Day, he has a message for lawmakers and their staffs: you can do better. Here are a few simple rules for decluttering floor charts for ease of reading and understanding."

Keith Whittington, “R.I.P. Congressional War Power,” Lawfare:

“Congress is abdicating its constitutional responsibilities to determine whether the United States should make war on other nations when it makes no effort to take advantage of the ample time available to it to deliberate on how the United States should respond to the use of chemical weapons by a rogue regime and when it makes no effort to develop a collective response to presidential threats to use military force against foreign governments with which the United States is not already at war.”