ICYMI: Top reads on Congress

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By Marian Currinder

Senate

Thomas Kaplan and Nicholas Fandos, “Senate’s August Recess Cut, Keeping Democrats Off Campaign Trail,” NYT:

“Senator Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday that he is canceling most of the Senate’s monthlong August recess, a move that could keep vulnerable Democrats tethered to Washington as the midterm elections approach.”

John McCormack, “Why McConnell Canceled August Recess,” Weekly Standard:

“With the prospect of legislative victories dim, Senate Republicans would appear to have plenty of time to focus on confirming federal judges. It’s a priority of both conservatives and the GOP establishment and about the only way congressional Republicans can achieve something tangible.”

Kate Ackley, “Curtailed Recess Puts Summer Fundraising, Lobbying in Flux,” Roll Call:

“Though many lobbyists and Washington political donors say they’re skeptical the Senate will remain in session for much of August, K Street has begun to reassess the summer.”

Robin Opsahl, “Senators Fight Over How to Use Canceled Recess Weeks,” Roll Call:

“Senate Democrats and Republicans are facing off for the best way to use their three extra weeks in the “swamp.””

James Wallner, “Don’t expect the Senate’s inaction to change anytime soon,” Washington Examiner:

“On closer inspection, there is a lot more to the Senate’s dysfunction than Democratic intransigence alone. The way in which Republicans have managed the chamber over the last year and a half has made it possible for lone members to single-handedly disrupt the Senate’s business without breaking a sweat.”

Niels Lesniewski, “Corker Unveils Plan to Give Congress Power to Stop Trump Trade Actions,” Roll Call:

“Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 grants the executive branch authority to impose tariffs to protect vital interests, but Corker and others argue that President Donald Trump is misapplying the law — using it against allies instead of adversaries.”

Alexander Bolton, “McConnell will ask Cornyn to stay on GOP leadership team,” The Hill:

“Cornyn, 66, is scheduled to step down from his post as the No. 2 Senate Republican leader at the end of 2018 because of term limits. His future was uncertain because there was no obvious open leadership position for him to pursue after the election. McConnell, however, wants to keep Cornyn in the leadership fold.”

Federalist Society, “ Senate Rule 22: Executive Nominations and the Role of Debate,” (video)

“Is an excessive amount of post-cloture debate in the Senate holding up the executive nomination process? Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma and Ambassador Ira Shapiro of Ira Shapiro Global Strategies discuss the importance of debate in the Senate and possible reforms.”

House

David Hawkings, “Sometimes, the Dissidents Do Leadership a Solid,” Roll Call:

“Now that Ryan’s made himself a lame duck, he may be allowing this bit of convoluted legislative mechanics to help accomplish what he could not with the limited muscle mass he had even while fully in command. (He was, after all, central to bipartisan talks on an expansive immigration overhaul before he was speaker.)”

Mike Lillis and Juliegrace Brufke, “GOP staves off immigration revolt – for now,” The Hill:

“Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Thursday tamped down a Republican insurrection on immigration — at least temporarily — with vows to “put pen to paper” on a compromise bill to protect the young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers.”

Susan Ferrechio, “House GOP leaders pushing for June immigration vote,” Washington Examiner:

“Republican leaders will cobble together immigration reform legislation in the coming days and bring it to the House for a vote in June, according to lawmakers who left a closed-door meeting Thursday.”

Don Wolfensberger, “Immigration discharge petition approaches final showdown,” The Hill:

“With the House back in session this week, it’s crunch time for Discharge Petition No. 10 which sets up a “queen of the hill” process for considering four immigration alternatives at the end of the month.”

Haley Byrd, “House Republicans Try to End Trump's Trade War: 'The Constitution is pretty clear. That's our power,'” Weekly Standard:

“A number of rank-and-file House Republicans on Wednesday night expressed support for a bill that would limit the president's ability to impose far-reaching tariffs on national security grounds without congressional approval, despite President Donald Trump’s ongoing efforts alongside Republican leaders to halt the measure in its tracks.”

Lisa Mascaro, “End of an era? Tea party class of House Republicans fades,” AP:

“Eight years later, the House Tea Party Caucus is long gone. So, too, are almost half the 87 new House Republicans elected in the biggest GOP wave since the 1920s. Some, including current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, joined the executive branch. Others slipped back to private life. Several are senators.”

Congress, Miscellaneous

Richard Fontaine and Vance Serchuk, "Congress Should Oversee America’s Wars, Not Just Authorize Them," Lawfare:

"Lawmakers who portray passage of an AUMF as the ultimate fulfillment of their war-powers responsibilities therefore risk elevating constitutional form over national security substance—while neglecting the far more powerful but less formal tools Congress possesses to influence America’s post-9/11 wars for the better."

Alex Gangitano, “Former Staffer’s Nonprofit Strives to Combat Sexual Harassment,” Roll Call:

“Nearly six months after leaving her law firm to start a nonprofit to combat sexual harassment, former Capitol Hill staffer Ally Coll Steele has no regrets.”

Alex Gangitano, “Staffers Give Mandatory Harassment Training Mixed Reviews,” Roll Call:

“Some called it valuable. Others called it a nuisance. But workplace harassment and discrimination training is something all House staffers are required to complete by July 2, and more than half of them have done so since mid-April.”

Don Bell, “Congress must address racial pay inequity among staffers on the Hill,” The Hill:

“Unfortunately, that non-white staffers are underpaid compared to their white counterparts isn’t just an anecdote. It’s a reality. New LegiStorm data confirm it’s worse than many imagined. White staffers earn more than staffers of color — a lot more.”

Kate Irby, “Proposals would bar Congress from buying first-class tickets. Good luck with that,” McClatchy:

“Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have said they're outraged by top officials of the Trump administration using taxpayer funds to buy first-class airline tickets and seats on private planes. Those members of Congress can do the same, though — and don't seem in any hurry to change that. Three proposed amendments to Congress' annual budget bill that would bar public funds from being used to purchase first-class airline tickets appear doomed.”

Demian Brady, “Good government means cutting congressional perks,” Washington Examiner:

“Members of Congress are taking serious steps toward good-government reforms that would eliminate some of the more egregious taxpayer-funded perks they enjoy.”

Elaine Kamarck, Alexander R. Podkul, and Nicholas W. Zeppos, “The pink wave makes herstory: Women candidates in the 2018 midterm elections,” Brookings:

“Women make up 23 percent of nonincumbents running for congressional seats in 2018 compared to 16 percent in the previous two cycles. In addition, nearly 80 percent of those women have been Democrats.”

Gideon Resnick, “Women Surge on Night of Electoral Firsts as California Long Vote Count Gets Underway,” The Daily Beast:

“While the chaos and drama of California’s sprawling primaries was not even close to being resolved early Wednesday morning, there was a surge of women across America securing their places on the ballot for November’s elections.”

Anthony Markum, "Congress should take a lesson on civility from the Supreme Court," The Hill:

"As Justice Gorsuch summarized in a recent speech, “It is possible to disagree without being disagreeable.” All of us — Congress included — would do better to follow the court’s lead."

Tom Davis, “Unexpectedly, Congress has begun to make bipartisan progress,” The Hill:

“Harnessing and improving processes on Capitol Hill—processes like the discharge petition—hold the key to encouraging productive bipartisanship.”

Kevin King, “Enacted Bills with Bipartisan Support at 20-year High,” Quorum:

“To date, 70 percent of the bills signed into law in this Congress carry at least one Democrat and one Republican cosponsor—the highest of the past 20 years.”