ICYMI: Top reads on Congress

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By Marian Currinder

House

Mike DeBonis, “Spooked by petition, GOP leaders scramble to kill House immigration rebellion,” Washington Post:

“House Republican leaders made a full-court press Wednesday to forestall a GOP immigration rebellion that they fear could derail their legislative agenda and throw their effort to hold the majority in doubt.”

Scott Wong and Melanie Zanona, “GOP split on immigration is a crisis for Ryan’s team,” The Hill:

“The unfolding legislative battle is a nightmare for Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and his lieutenants, because it exposes a fervent intraparty split in the GOP and pits leadership against many of the politically vulnerable members that are key to saving the Republican majority this fall.”

Paul Donnelly, “Let the Bipartisan Majority Rule,” Wall Street Journal:

“Three vulnerable House Republicans—Reps. Carlos Curbelo of Florida, Will Hurd of Texas and Jeff Denham of California—have attracted attention by challenging their party’s leadership. They’re trying to get 218 signatures from colleagues of both parties to force a series of votes on immigration bills.”

Lindsey McPherson, “All of a Sudden, a Busy House Floor Schedule,” Roll Call:

“While lots of things happening in the House has been a frequent talking point of Ryan’s — even through periods of legislative slog — he is not overstating it now.”

Scott Wong, “Can Jim Jordan become top House Republican?” The Hill:

“The minority leader post requires only a simple majority of the Republican conference, which could mean as few as 90 to 95 votes if GOP ranks are decimated this fall. With roughly three-dozen members, the Freedom Caucus could be expected to supply about one-third of those votes for Jordan.”

Senate

Carl Hulse, “Republicans Escalate Bitter Fight Over Judicial Nominations,” New York Times:

“Now the Senate Judiciary Committee could send to the floor a disputed nominee from Oregon who is opposed by both of that state’s senators, a major break with Senate custom. According to the Congressional Research Service, it would be the first time since at least 1979 that a federal judge could be confirmed over the objections of both home-state senators. Democrats believe it could be the first time ever.”

Philip Bump, “Trump is starting to realize that Congress doesn’t like to stay in Washington very much,” Washington Post:

“It doesn’t take visitors to Washington very long to learn two things. First, that when Congress is in session, there’s often not that much going on on the floor of the House and Senate. And second, that Congress very often isn’t in session.”

Seung Min Kim, “Group of GOP senators calls for canceling August recess,” Washington Post:

“A growing group of Senate Republicans — eager to break the logjam on nominations and must-pass spending bills — is pressing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to cancel the August recess later this year.”

Susan Ferrechio, “Mitch McConnell: No need for nuclear option on confirmations yet,” Washington Examiner:

“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he does not yet see the need to use the “nuclear option” to override Democratic objections and impose a rule change to speed up confirmations of President Trump's nominees.”

Rachel Bovard, “The Senate’s laziness wouldn’t be accepted in any other job,” Washington Examiner:

“Just how lazy is the Senate? If you need just one metric to measure this, consider the following: The Senate has had just one amendment vote this entire year.”

Jennifer Shutt, “Appropriations Vs. Judges: Battle for Senate Floor Time Nears,” Roll Call:

“McConnell is expected to break away from judicial and executive branch nominations in June to debate fiscal 2019 appropriations bills. But how much time he’ll dedicate to restoring some semblance of “regular order” on spending is unclear.”

Alexander Bolton, “Trump to press GOP on changing Senate rules,” The Hill:

“Frustrated with what he calls Democratic obstruction, President Trump is expected to press Senate Republicans during a lunch Tuesday to change the rules to speed up consideration of his nominees for vacant court seats and executive posts.” 

Budget and Appropriations

Molly E. Reynolds, “Why Trump’s move to rescind spending might find favor in the House, but not the Senate,” Brookings FixGov:

“Special congressional procedures can help facilitate legislating, but they can’t always overcome underlying disagreement among legislators.”

Susan Ferrechio, "Two-year budget cycle gains traction," Washington Examiner:

“Republicans and Democrats on a committee tasked with reforming the troubled congressional appropriations process are weighing a plan to turn the annual budgeting and spending process into an every-other-year event.”

James C. Capretta, "Three Ideas for Budget Process Reform," Real Clear Policy:

“Still, it might be possible for the joint committee to advance reforms that both parties can support if the proposed changes are seen as not tipping the scales toward a particular outcome. Here are three ideas that the committee should consider. They would all improve the current process and are all compatible with various perspectives on the budget.”

Jean Parvin Bordewich, "U.S. budget reform: The nudge Congress needs," Hewlett:

“Success, for me, would be one or two modest steps forward, the kind that shift attitudes and momentum on Capitol Hill and become lasting, bipartisan legislative reforms. Sweeping or one-party action, on the other hand, would be contested and fragile. “

Sam Berger and Pete Sepp, "Fixing the budget process, one step at a time," The Hill:

“We’re a progressive and a conservative who don’t agree on much. While we have genuine policy disagreements on most issues of substance, we do agree that the federal budget process is broken and the dysfunction is a disservice to our country – especially to Americans who don’t often have a voice in Washington.”

Congress, Miscellaneous

James Wallner, “An Impotent Congress,” Law and Liberty:

“But in reality, the problem underlying Congress’s present dysfunction is a lack of effort, not polarization.  That is, the Senate is mired in gridlock because its members are unwilling to expend the effort required to legislate successfully in a polarized environment.”

Sean McMinn, “House Experience Poised to Nose-Dive,” Roll Call:

“If this election year ushers in as big a wave as Democrats are hoping for, it could end not just with a new party in control of the House, but with a major brain drain in the chamber. Departing members take with them their institutional knowledge and experienced staff. The freshmen who replace them will not only be starting from scratch, but, like Tea Party members did in 2010, could arrive by virtue of an antagonistic attitude and may be reluctant to back established party leadership.”

Avery Anapol, “100 days after House passage, Gillibrand calls on Senate to act on sexual harassment reform,” The Hill:

“Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) on Thursday criticized her Senate colleagues for not acting on sexual harassment reform, noting 100 days had passed since the House passed landmark legislation to overhaul Capitol Hill’s sexual harassment policies.”

Harassment is ‘an open secret,’ former Hill staffers say,” PBS Newshour (video):

Sen. David Perdue and Jenny Beth Martin, “Make Congress work again,” Washington Examiner:

“Trump was elected to change the direction of our country and make America great again, and for the last year he has moved with a sense of urgency to get that done. Congress must finally work together to do the same.”

Eric Garcia, “Members Dismiss Need for ‘Taxpayer Funded Dorm’ in D.C.,” Roll Call:

“Thompson’s legislation would create a study to look at turning a vacant residence hall near the Capitol into affordable housing.”

Carl Levin, “Congress dangerously wields its oversight power in Russia probe,” The Hill:

“Denigrating and working to end the probe into the Russian involvement in our election before it concludes upends values we cherish of due process and equality under the law. Were the president and House Republicans to succeed in quashing the Mueller investigation, it would result in the impunity from the operation of law that the best dictators achieve.”