Great reads on Congress

ICYMI: Top reads on Congress

 Image source  here

Image source here

By Aubrey Neal

Senate

Matt Glassman, "The SCOTUS Nomination, Senate Procedure, and Democratic Strategy," Notice & Comment:

"With the announcement of Justice Kennedy’s retirement yesterday, many liberals have called on Senate Democrats to take action to block the Senate from confirming a new nominee to the Court. Here are six thoughts on the matter, from a Senate procedure point-of-view."

John Berlau, “Judge protects us from ‘protection’ bureau,” Washington Examiner:

“As the Senate prepares for what should be a contentious confirmation hearing for President Trump’s nominee to head the powerful Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, a federal judge in New York just rules that the BCFP’s unchecked power violates the Constitution… Congress and the courts must protect Americans from the unchecked “protection” of government entities.”

House

Joshua Huder, "The Discharge Petition Doesn't Have to be Dead," Legislative Procedure:

"The immigration discharge petition died last week. Essentially, leaders killed the discharge  effort by pulling the underlying bill (H.R. 4760) to the floor. That meant that even though the discharge resolution is still pending at the clerk’s desk (H.Res.774), the resolution is effectively moot because the bill it would have discharged had already been voted on and the motion to reconsider was laid on the table. So that was that. But it actually wasn’t. There are at least a couple ways to get around it."

Alexander Stern, “Can New Rules Fix a Broken House?,” Real Clear Policy:

“The Problems Solvers are a group of 48 congress members, equally balanced between Republicans and Democrats, pledging to fix a broken and polarized House. Their lunch was part of No Labels’ “Speaker Project,” a campaign to leverage the upcoming 2019 election of the Speaker of the House to pass needed rules changes.”

Stephanie Murray, “House Dem in ‘breach of decorum’ for playing audio of migrant kids crying,” Politico:

“Rep. Ted Lieu clashed with Republicans on Friday for playing an audio clip on the House floor of migrant children crying at a detention center.”

Congress, Miscellaneous

 Tom Daschle, “Opinion: 3 Ways to Defeat Dysfunction on the Hill,” Roll Call:

“More than anything, we believe it is critical the joint committee advance some reforms, even if they do not address every issue. The American public needs to see that members share their frustration with the current dysfunction, and that Congress is capable of reforming itself.”

Representative Ralph Norman, “Ensuring greater transparency in the travel of heads of federal agencies, Cabinet secretaries,” The Hill:

“Currently, members of Congress are not prohibited from flying lavishly and first-class, and there are no disincentives or laws preventing member of Congress, Cabinet secretaries or heads of agencies form doing so.”

Greg Weiner, “Congress Doesn’t Seem to Know Its Own Strength,” The New York Times:

“When the history of the cruel policy of family separation is written, constitutional theorists will record that more than 2,300 children were taken from their parents at the border because the legislative branch lost its appetite for legislating. This is what Congress, the first branch of government and the center of the constitutional regime, has become: an institutional supplicant that urges the other branches of government to do what it could do itself.”

Daniel Schuman, “Appropriators to strengthen access to Inspectors General reports,” Demand Progress:

“This appropriation, which is made to the GSA Inspector General but is directed towards CIGIE, is the first time there is a direct appropriation for CIGIE’s work…While an impressive first step, the Oversight.gov website can be significantly improved, and this will provide the funds to do that.”

 

ICYMI: Top reads on Congress

 Image source  here

Image source here

By Marian Currinder

Senate

Niels Lesniewski, “Senators Keeping Hope — and ‘Regular Order’ — Alive,” Roll Call:

“Does the Senate’s sudden appetite for “regular order” have any chance of continuing through the summer, particularly when it comes to writing spending bills? “One only hopes,” Sen. Lindsey Graham said. “Appropriators seem to be able to get along better than other people.””

Jordan Fabian, “Trump renews call to end filibuster amid immigration furor,” The Hill:

“President Trump on Thursday renewed his call to end the filibuster in the Senate, venting his frustration as his immigration agenda has hit a stalemate on Capitol Hill.”

Gregory Koger, “How Democrats can shut down the Senate,” Vox:

“Let’s say Democrats want to shut down the center in order to force a vote on one of their own proposals — for example, a bill to prevent the federal government from separating parents and children as they seek asylum at our nation’s borders. They can do it anytime they want. Let me explain.”

Jeff Greenfield, “Trump Is Nothing Without the Senate,” Politico:

“It’s the Senate that has been the most significant political player of the past four years. Although the president has made himself the obsessive focus of friends and foes, it was the Republican capture and retention of the Senate in 2014 and 2016 that was and is the key to what Trump has wrought.”

House

Jonathan Bernstein, “The House Makes Doing Nothing Look Hard,” Bloomberg:

“If both the farm bill and an immigration measure actually reach the floor on Thursday, the House is going to look like a real legislative body, at least on the surface. Don’t be fooled.”

Matt Fuller, “Tensions Run High For Republicans As House Heads To Doomed Immigration Votes,” Huffington Post:

“Conservatives took issue with leaders putting up an older version of the Goodlatte bill because aides were telling reporters that it was the Freedom Caucus who wanted a vote on the proposal “as introduced.” Conservatives say that was never their demand, and, according to a source with knowledge of the exchange, when Meadows confronted Ryan about the claim, Ryan then said it was the moderates who demanded the original version of Goodlatte.”

Melanie Zanona, “Advocacy group seeks key pledges from next Speaker,” The Hill:

“A bipartisan advocacy group is launching an ambitious effort to overhaul how the House conducts legislative business, with the goal of breaking through the partisan gridlock that has long paralyzed Congress.”

Elena Schneider and Heather Caygle, “Democratic candidates vow to dump Pelosi,” Politico:

“If Democrats win the House by a narrow margin, the 78-year-old leader could lose only a handful of lawmakers' support and still secure the 218 votes needed to clinch the speakership in a floor vote.”

Jonathan Bernstein, “Nancy Pelosi Is a Nonissue,” Bloomberg:

“Pelosi has been an excellent politician and was an effective speaker. While I’ve criticized her on some grounds, I’d say on balance Democrats are lucky to have her, and I suspect a lot of those who turn against her on the campaign trail will come to appreciate her if she does have another term as speaker in her future.”

Paul Krawzak, “House Budget Resolution May Have Short Lifespan,” Roll Call:

“Amid virtually no interest from the Senate, Democrats in either chamber, and even other House Republicans, Budget Chairman Steve Womack is apparently pushing forward with a fiscal 2019 budget resolution this week.”

Congress, Miscellaneous

Yuval Levin, “Congress Is Weak Because Its Members Want It to Be Weak, Commentary:

“So whether you measure it by legislation, public approval, member satisfaction, even just committee work or each house’s ability to live by its own rules and procedures, the institution looks awfully dysfunctional. And the primary reason for that dysfunction may be the worst news of all: Congress is weak because its members want it to be.”

Saikrishna Bangalore Prakash, “Congress as Elephant,” Virginia Law Review:

“All in all, while modern scholars tend to obsess about the imperial presidency, Congress has the tools to dominate its interbranch rivals. There were sound reasons why many Founders considered the legislature the most formidable. As Publius warned, “The legislative department is everywhere extending the sphere of its activity, and drawing all power into its impetuous vortex.” In time, Congress could reassert its many latent prerogatives and rediscover the ability to bend the executive to its will.”

Greg Weiner, “A Stealthy Congressional Abdication,” Law and Liberty:

“What makes the Justice Department’s decision not to defend the shell of the individual mandate and the consumer-protection provisions of Obamacare remarkable is that Republicans fully control Congress and the White House. Repealing those provisions would be an afternoon’s work if they had the political will. The highest hurdle would be the compromise required to surmount a Senate filibuster.”

Patrick Kelley, “Trump’s Space Force Order Would Need Congressional Action,” Roll Call:

“Despite being commander in chief of the armed forces, Trump will need Congress’s help to establish a new space service. “The president can’t create a new military service on his own,” said Todd Harrison, director of the aerospace security project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “There’s going to have to be legislation.””

Alex Gangitano, “Pete Olson on Respect in Congress: ‘We’ve Lost That’,” Roll Call:

“Rep. Pete Olson tries to make sure his staffers get home at a reasonable hour because he remembers long nights on the Senate floor, endless debates and the chaos of 9/11. Before he ran for Congress in 2008, the Texas Republican worked for Sen. Phil Grammand his successor John Cornyn, now the majority whip.”

Keturah Hetrick, "For young staffers, retirement can lead to opportunity," Legistorm:

"Congressional jobseekers might be wary of going to work for a lame-duck boss who is about to retire from Congress, with all the ineffectiveness and job instability that that may imply. But it could also mean a great career boost.

 

ICYMI: Top reads on Congress

 Image source  here

Image source here

By Marian Currinder

Senate

Rorie Spill Solberg and Eric N. Waltenburg, “Are Trump’s judicial nominees really being confirmed at a record pace? The answer is complicated,” Washington Post:

“Are Trump and the Republican Senate really beating past records at confirming federal judges? And is the GOP already shifting the ideological tenor of the courts? The answer is a bit more mixed than others are reporting.”

Sean Sullivan and Seung Min Kim, “Republican senators lash out at each other inside private luncheon,” Washington Post:

“Heated confrontations erupted inside a Senate Republican luncheon on Wednesday as lawmakers traded unusually personal and sometimes profane attacks on one another.”

Niels Lesniewski, “Mitch McConnell, Now the Senate’s Longest-Serving GOP Leader,” Roll Call:

“And Tuesday, he passes former Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas as the longest-serving Republican leader in the Senate’s history, at 11 years, five months and 10 days.”

Lesley Clark, “Home delivery: What Mitch McConnell's powerful GOP perch has meant to Kentucky,” McClatchy:

“McConnell told the Lexington Herald-Leader in a recent interview that there's zero doubt the state is better off with him at the helm. "You're talking about persistent problems that we've had for decades," McConnell said of the state's troubles. "A fair question to ask would be 'Would we better off without having the Republican leader of the Senate?' and the answer is clearly, 'No.' "

James Wallner, “McConnell Is the Longest-Serving GOP Leader. But Not the Most Consequential,” Real Clear Policy:

“While there are many similarities between today’s Senate and that of Mansfield’s time, the institution has, under McConnell’s leadership, proven largely incapable of legislating in the face of even the slightest controversy. This contrast is a testament to the impact a truly skilled leader can have.”

Haley Byrd, “Senate to Vote on Measure Giving Congress a Say in Foreign Investment Review Process,” Weekly Standard:

“As senators prepare to pass legislation to expand the authorities of an interagency panel that reviews foreign investments for national security risks, the Senate on Thursday will consider an amendment that would also subject the panel, headed by the Treasury Department and known as the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), to greater congressional oversight.”

Molly E. Reynolds, “Will the Senate actually stay in Washington this August? Ask again later,” Brookings:

“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced recently that he plans to scale back the chamber’s traditional August recess from four weeks to one. But will the Senate actually remain in session during the dog days of summer?”

Alexander Bolton, “Ernst, Fischer to square off for leadership post,” The Hill:

“Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) are both looking to become the first woman to serve in the elected Senate Republican leadership since 2010.”

Erica Werner, “The Finance 202: Republican senators only willing to go so far in challenging Trump on trade,” Washington Post:

“But in large part GOP senators’ stance on the Corker-Toomey bill reflects where they’ve been on any number of issues since Trump took office: Unwilling to challenge the president. That Corker (who’s retiring) and Toomey (who was just reelected) are pushing the amendment at all -- along with about 10 co-sponsors of both parties -- is notable as a rare concrete step to take on Trump.”

House

Susan Ferrechio, “House vote signals spending battles for Congress this summer,” Washington Examiner:

“The House just passed the first of a planned series of “minibus” bills to fund the federal government for fiscal year 2019, but it won near-universal opposition from Democrats as well as a group of conservatives that are threatening another spending fight in September.”

Rachel Bade, John Bresnahan and Heather Caygle, “Ryan announces DACA votes as discharge petition stalls,” Politico:

“House Republicans will vote next week on two bills addressing the plight of hundreds of thousands of Dreamers who face possible deportation, circumventing an intra-party war over immigration and delivering a major blow to moderate Republicans.”

Congress, Miscellaneous

Bradford Vivian, “Lessons on political polarization from Lincoln’s ‘House Divided’ speech, 160 years later,” The Conversation:

“Americans belong to a union first, parties second. Party machinery and false political prophets divide the house of the people; the people have the power to stabilize that house if they choose to do so. The union was founded on a dedication to equality. It retains a firm moral foundation by preserving commitments to principles of equality over region or party.”

Elaina Plott, “The Great Moderate Republican Flameout,” The Atlantic:

“One House Republican source joked about the moderates’ flameout in a comparison to their conservative colleagues. At least when members of the Freedom Caucus “promise to blow things up,” the source said, “by God, they blow things up.””

Morgan Phillips, “Millennials Could Shake Up Congress Next Session,” Roll Call:

“Nearly 20 millennials — generally considered those born sometime between the early 80s and early 00s — won races in last week’s primaries, according to the Millennial Action Project, a generational organization combating political polarization. Thirteen more, almost evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, will be up for a vote Tuesday.”

David Winston, “Opinion: Beware the Dog Days of August,” Roll Call:

“August will be a critical month in determining who has the initiative going into the fall. The challenge for Republicans will be to make the economy and jobs the No. 1 issue.”

Stan Collender, “Fasten Your Seat Belts: It’s Going To Be A Very Bumpy Rest Of The Year,” thebudgetguy blog:

“In fact, Ryan and McConnell should be seriously considering doing a continuing resolution before the start of the August-Labor Day recess that will keep the government operating through the lame duck session so Congress can stay home in September as well.”

Sheryl Gay Stolberg, “As Ties With Allies Fray Over Trade, Congressional Republicans Back Trump,” NYT:

“As President Trump and his advisers take aim at some of America’s closest allies amid tense disputes over trade, congressional Republicans largely stood by the president on Monday, insisting they were not worried about a possible deterioration of relations with the West.”

 

ICYMI: Top reads on Congress

 Image source  here

Image source here

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.”

 

ICYMI: Top reads on Congress

 Image source  here

Image source here

By Marian Currinder

Senate

David Hawkings, “GOP Slips Past Another Senate Custom, and Democrats Turn Blue,” Roll Call:

“And now, the “blue slip” — symbol of a single senator’s abilities to wield dispositive clout in an otherwise democratic legislature — is threatened with an unprecedented shredding.”

Niels Lesniewski, “McConnell’s Plan for a Packed Summer Senate Agenda,” Roll Call:

“The Kentucky Republican said he would prioritize the fiscal 2019 defense authorization, a new farm bill and updated water resources development legislation. McConnell did not seem to envision a summer full of votes on “gotcha” amendments targeting vulnerable senators (almost entirely Democrats in 2018).”

Niels Lesniewski, “McConnell to Senate: Don’t Book Nonrefundable Travel for August Recess,” Roll Call:

“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is far from waving off the idea that he might truncate the August recess, and doing the math on the amount of floor time needed for his current legislative agenda seems to point to one thing: extra work weeks.”

George Will, “Mitch McConnell Is Winning The Long Game,” National Review:

“In his 33 Senate years, he has become a major figure in the history of two of the government’s three branches — the legislative, and now the judicial as he oversees the reshaping of federal courts.”

Burgess Everett, “Mitch McConnell’s record-breaking reign,” Politico:

“On June 12, McConnell will surpass the 11-plus-year run of former Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas to become the longest-serving Republican Senate leader ever. “

House

John Patty, “Paul Ryan is facing immigration trouble from both sides of the aisle,” Vox:

“In the past three days, the discharge petition for HR 4760 has gained 12 signatures, bringing it to 213 (just five shy of the required 218). Of those 12 signatures, 10 are from Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer.”

Lindsey McPherson, “5 Obstacles to a House Republican Immigration Deal,” Roll Call:

“House Republicans are trying to do in a matter of weeks what they couldn’t accomplish during their nearly eight years in the majority — pass a sweeping immigration bill.”

Sarah A. Binder, “Explaining House Republicans’ fight over immigration,” Brookings (podcast):

“In a 5-minute podcast, Sarah Binder explains the division between moderate and conservative House members over the various immigration policies being debated in Congress, including the Dreamers bill.”

Elaina Plott, “The Man Who Would Be Speaker,” The Atlantic:

“In the span of a year, Scalise has gone from being an otherwise nameless lawmaker to the Donald Trump-christened “Legend from Louisiana”—from a reliable booster of coastal restoration to someone who, his supporters now believe, is an essential component of God’s plan for America.”

Congress, Miscellaneous

Amanda Clayton and Pär Zetterberg, “Will 2018’s ‘pink wave’ of female candidates make it in Congress? Almost certainly. Here’s how.” Washington Post:

“So what difference might women make? A lot. We examined experiences across the globe and learned that when women enter politics, governments change their spending priorities — shifting money away from the military and toward public health.”

Scott R. Anderson, “Why war powers need an expiration date,” Brookings:

“Ensuring a strong legal and political foundation requires Congress’s active involvement—as a body, not just as individual members. A sunset provision is the clearest way to ensure that this happens.”

John Lawrence, “How the ‘Watergate Babies’ Broke American Politics,” Politico:

“Against the fallout of the Watergate scandal and the executive branch abuses of the Nixon administration, the November 1974 congressional election resulted in one of the largest infusions of new faces into the House of Representatives in political history.”

Susan Ferrechio, “Congress struggles to police itself on sexual harassment,” Washington Examiner:

“The House is all but dismissing a bill senators passed unanimously last week that would for the first time hold lawmakers financially responsible for harassment settlements that now come out of the Treasury.”

David Sherfinski, "Budget writers blame lawmaker apathy for delays," Washington Times:

“They’re already six weeks behind the legal deadline and congressional budget writers are not much closer to getting a 2019 budget written, saying their colleagues are apathetic about the process.”

Joseph Postell, “What’s the Matter with Congress?” CRB:

“Congress is complex, so it is much harder than it is with the presidency or the courts to pinpoint the source of its failings. The Constitution sets out few guidelines for the legislative process. History and custom play a significant role in how Congress works (or fails to work) today, and institutional rules channel behavior in a more fundamental way.”

 

 

 

ICYMI: Top reads on Congress

 Image source  here

Image source here

By Marian Currinder

House

Haley Byrd, “A Coup in the Offing?” Weekly Standard:

“Top Republicans in Congress and the White House have in recent days entertained a plan to push House Speaker Paul Ryan out of his post over the summer, in an effort to clear the way for his presumed successor, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, to assume the speakership.”

Stephen F. Hayes, “McCarthy Denials About Replacing Ryan Don’t Hold Up,” Weekly Standard:

“THE WEEKLY STANDARD has published two stories in recent days about efforts by House majority leader Kevin McCarthy to replace Paul Ryan as speaker of the House before the November elections. McCarthy and his team have denied the claims and personally attacked our reporters. Our response: THE WEEKLY STANDARD stands by our reporting, without qualification.”

Rachel Bade and John Bresnahan, “Ryan facing growing doubts about hold on speakership,” Politico:

“No one’s plotting to take him out at this point, and Ryan insists he’s not going anywhere. But rank-and-file Republicans, including moderates who’ve been unflinchingly loyal to Ryan during his three-year tenure, have become increasingly willing to defy the lame-duck leader.”

Tara Golshan, “The rumored coup to push Paul Ryan out of his speakership early, explained,” Vox:

“Ryan, who is not running for reelection, has said he will remain in his speakership until the end of his term, warning against a huge intraparty leadership fight in the middle of a contentious election year. Needless to say, if the reports are true and Republicans want Ryan to step down early, that would indicate he might be facing an uprising.”

Dave Weigel, “Why Mick Mulvaney’s idea to force a Pelosi vote wouldn’t work,” Washington Post:

“Some bad ideas are bad on their own merits. This one’s bad because it reveals a high-level Republican misunderstanding of the dynamics among House Democrats.”

Lindsey McPherson, "Immigration Discharge Petition Will Get Final Signatures, Deputy GOP Whip Says," Roll Call:

"With all but three Democrats signed on as well, the petition now has a total of 213 signatures, only five away from the 218 needed for one of the signatories to be able to call the queen of the hill rule up for a vote on June 25. Only two more Republican signatures are needed if the remaining three Democrats sign it."

Carl Hulse, “Usually Reliable and Cooperative, Centrist House Republicans Rebel,” New York Times:

“In a marked departure from their usually cooperative nature, a bloc of mainstream House Republicans is challenging both the hard right and their leadership by demanding an immigration vote that they say is long overdue and essential to their electoral well-being.”

Mike DeBonis, “’Just pure frustration’: How months of inaction led 20 Republicans to take a stand on immigration,” Washington Post:

“Denham and nearly two dozen of his fellow Republican lawmakers have now joined together, spurred by pressure back home and frustrated by the GOP leadership’s lack of action on a heated issue that has long stymied the party.”

Lindsey McPherson, “House Republicans Break Record for Closed Rules in Single Congress,” Roll Call:

“The House Rules Committee broke a record Monday night for the number of closed rules — a mechanism for setting up floor debate on a bill without amendments — reported in a single Congress. The panel tied and then surpassed the previous record set during the Republican-controlled 113th Congress of 83 closed rules when it reported out two closed rules.”

Jennifer Shutt, “Women on the Verge of a Breakthrough on House Appropriations,” Roll Call:

“Texas Republican Kay Granger and New York Democrat Nita M. Lowey are both vying to become the House Appropriations Committee’s first chairwoman. And while only one of them can claim that title, if the other is named ranking member for the 116th Congress, they would make history together by being the first women to co-lead a standing House committee.”

Senate

Rachel Bade and Elana Schor, "Senate passes harassment bill as civil rights groups slam it," Politico:

"The Senate on Thursday easily passed a bipartisan deal to overhaul Capitol Hill's sexual harassment system even as civil rights and women's groups joined House members in knocking the bill as too easy on lawmakers who are accused of inappropriate workplace behavior."

David Hawkings, "What's a Senate Blue Slip And Why Is It Losing Power?" Roll Call: 

"It’s a literal blue slip of paper that for decades meant a senator could block a president’s nominee to a federal judgeship in their home state. These days, however, the Senate’s blue slip might be becoming defunct."

Al Weaver, “Senate Democrats dare GOP: Go ahead, cancel the August recess,” Washington Examiner:

“Senate Democrats said Wednesday they aren't worried at all about Republican threats to cancel the August recess, and even some who are in tough races against their GOP opponents said staying in Washington might help show voters that they're willing to work hard.”

Congress, Miscellaneous

GAI @ Georgetown, "Congress, Two Beers In," (podcast)

Featuring Casey Burgat discussing congressional staff.

Jonathan Miller, “The Blue Dogs Are Barking Again,” Roll Call:

“Yet many are now eyeing 2018 as the Blue Dog’s comeback tour, its path back to relevance. In 2017, the group hired a full-time communications director for the first time since 2014.”

Alex Gangitano, “Success Stories: Creating a More Diverse Capitol Hill,” Roll Call:

“Some offices on Capitol Hill make an extra effort to reflect the diversity of America. And while the lawmakers they serve might get the credit, the office directors in charge of hiring are the ones who make it happen.”

Bruce E. Cain, “The Future of Political Parties in Three Movements,” The American Interest:

“Count me as one who is sure that there are deeper issues at play but unsure as to how they will actually play out in the long run."

David Faris, “This is the laziest Congress in history,” The Week:

“Republicans are conducting a genuinely audacious experiment in non-governance. Since the passage of their unpopular tax cut in December, the GOP hasn't accomplished a single thing of note, and seems to be operating on the premise that anything they or their donors actually want to do will be received so poorly by voters that it might further endanger their already-vulnerable majorities in both chambers.”

John Patty, “What the farm bill’s failure says about congressional function,” Vox:

“The vote on the 2018 farm bill demonstrates how at least two forces are stymieing congressional policymaking: polarization both between and within the party caucuses. Indeed, these forces are so strong right now that even what used to be near consensual business is fraught. It wasn’t always this way.”

 

ICYMI: Top reads on Congress

 Image source  here

Image source here

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.”

 

 

 

 

ICYMI: Top reads on Congress

 Image source  here

Image source here

By Marian Currinder

Katherine Tully-McManus, “House Appropriators Vote to End Perk for Former Speakers,” Roll Call:

“The House Appropriations Committee advanced its $3.8 billion fiscal 2019 Legislative Branch spending bill to the floor Tuesday, after adopting an amendment to eliminate funding for a Capitol Hill office perk for former speakers.”

David Hawkings, “How Ryan and Pelosi Are Kicking Themselves to the Curb (Sort Of),” Roll Call:

“The House Appropriations Committee was planning to pare back the duration of the benefits to one year, but they voted to do away with them altogether Tuesday after both Ryan and Pelosi signaled that would be fine by them.”

Al Weaver, “David Perdue renews push for Senate to work through August recess,” Washington Examiner:

“Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., called Tuesday for the Senate to cancel the August recess so the chamber can remain in session to confirm nominees and pass legislation.”

Dara Lind, “Paul Ryan is facing an immigration challenge – from his own party’s moderates,” Vox:

“They need 219 signatures, which means they’d need to get not only every Democrat on board but also more than two dozen Republicans. But that might not be as much of a long shot as it seems. In March, the “queen of the hill” plan’s backers said they had 240 members in favor. The question now is whether enough of them are willing to not just say they support the plan but actually use some muscle to force Ryan to put it into action.”

Gregory Koger, “The underlying problem with Congress is deciding how to allocate their time,” Vox:

“Legislative chambers face a problem known as a tragedy of the commons: Individual demands on a common resource exceed the supply. Each chamber has developed a system to manage its chamber time that is subject to exploitation and needs to develop a new way to operate.”

Alex Gangitano, “New York Democrat Jokes He May Sleep in DC Homeless Shelter,” Roll Call:

“Rep. Brian Higgins said he can’t afford housing in Washington and joked that a homeless shelter could be an option for him.”

Noah Feldman, “Why Does the House Even Have a Chaplain? Tradition,” Bloomberg:

“If this arrangement were being set up today, it would almost certainly be held unconstitutional under contemporary judicial interpretation of the First Amendment.”

Jim Geraghty, “Ted Cruz’s Four Ways to Work Around a Filibuster,” National Review:

“Shortly after his speech to the NRA’s annual meeting Friday, Texas senator Ted Cruz took a few moments to speak to National Review about what Republicans can get done in the remainder of the year, and the options they have for working around the filibuster efforts of Senate Democrats.”

David Weigel, “Pelosi on Democratic candidates who denounce her: ‘Just win, baby,’” Washington Post:

“House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday morning that she wouldn’t object if the party’s swing-district candidates ran against her, as Republicans continued to make her the focus of millions of dollars in attack ads and messaging.”

Kate Ackley, “Few Retiring Lawmakers Disclose Plans to Lobby,” Roll Call:

“On the cusp of a potentially historic wave of congressional retirements, few public records offer clues about which lawmakers have entered negotiations for lobbying and other private-sector gigs.”

Jordan Butcher and Aaron Kushner, “No, term limits won’t #DrainTheSwamp. We did the research,” Washington Post:

“Each legislature’s unique characteristics and norms can influence its lawmakers’ careers. But what we find is that, for the most part, term limits don’t replace career politicians with citizen legislators. Rather, they complicate, but do not end, public servants’ political lives.”

 

 

ICYMI: Top reads on Congress

 Image source  here

Image source here

By Marian Currinder

Leadership

Lindsey McPherson, “Conservative Groups Rally Behind Potential Jim Jordan Speaker Bid,” Roll Call:

“House Freedom Caucus founder Jim Jordan may not be ready to announce a bid to be the next speaker, but several grass-roots conservative groups have begun campaigning on his behalf. “

Dave Weigel, “Pelosi says she’ll run for speaker, as more swing-district Democrats look for alternative,” Washington Post:

“House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi reiterated Tuesday that she will run for speaker of the House if her party wins a majority in the 2018 midterm elections, telling the Boston Globe that it’s “important that it not be five white guys at the table” in negotiations between Congress and the White House.”

David Hawkings, “Analysis: Missteps, Paul Ryan’s Had a Few,” Roll Call:

“He says there are still eight months left in his speakership, but it’s probably not too soon to come up with a roster of Paul D. Ryan’s biggest hits and misses during his tenure in charge of the House.”

Budget and Appropriations

Susan Ferrechio, “Senators dream of passing spending bills in regular order,” Washington Examiner:

“It’s been more than two decades since Congress was able to pass on time the dozen individual spending bills that fund the U.S. government. Senate lawmakers say they plan to end the stalemate this year by passing into law at least some of the appropriations legislation that has long stalled due to deep partisan differences on spending and policy issues.”

Susan Ferrechio, "The task of fixing Congress's broken spending process starts next week," Washington Examiner:

“The Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform will hear from witnesses about finding “Bipartisanship in Budgeting,” which has been largely missing from the House and Senate over the past two decades when it comes to passing the dozen spending bills that fund the federal government.”

Judd Gregg, "Fixing the unfixable -- the federal budget," The Hill:

“It is therefore not only proper, but also incumbent on the Congress, to come up with a better way of managing the federal cash register. This responsibility has been shirked for too long.”

Stan Collender, "Congress Is About To Make The Budget Debate Even Worse," Forbes:

“Congress is seriously considering two big changes that will make the already terrible federal budget debate much worse for taxpayers and voters but far better for representatives and senators.”

Congress, Miscellaneous

Casey Burgat, “Term limits for congressional staff? 10 reasons it’s an awful idea,” Washington Examiner:

“Though Trump has been vocal in his support of term limits on members of Congress as part of his pitch to "Drain the Swamp," the potential reform has never been extended to the thousands of congressional aides serving in district offices and on Capitol Hill. Until now.”

Amber Phillips, “Sorry Mr. President: Term limits for Congress are still not going to happen,” Washington Post:

“We didn't hear much from him about the idea after he won. Until now, 15 months into his presidency. Trump tweeted Monday that he had met with a handful of members of Congress who want to term-limit themselves.”

Anna Giaritelli, “These are the most bipartisan House lawmakers,” Washington Examiner:

“Of the 438 members in the study, only 150 were deemed more likely to be bipartisan compared to 288 who were ranked less accommodating.”

David Hawkings, “Voters Reward a Do-Something Congress. Wrong, Recent Results Show,” Roll Call:

“But will it matter, at least politically? If the past two decades point to the answer, it is “apparently not.” The levels of legislative intensity and accomplishment during the meat of campaign season have ranged from modest to significant — and yet at least one chamber of Congress has changed partisan hands after each of the past four midterm elections.”

Russell Berman, “An Exodus From Congress Tests the Lure of Lobbying,” The Atlantic:

“As candidates, Republicans and Democrats alike win over voters with jeremiads against Washington, pledging to bring their hometown values to a capital city overrun by lobbyists and special interests. But once their terms are up, a surprising number of these same politicians don’t return home. They stick around town, joining law firms, think tanks, and lobbying shops.”

Amber Phillips, “Nine members of Congress have lost their jobs over sex in nine months,” Washington Post:

“Here's a depressing fact: Nine members of Congress have lost their jobs over allegations of sexual impropriety or related workplace misconduct since October.”

Amelia Frapolli, "When Flowers Blossomed on the Congressional Floors and Why They Were Banned," Roll Call:

"Eventually, neither chamber could escape Uncle Joe’s dislike of the practice. In 1905, he forbid even a single bud from crossing the threshold onto the House floor, and the Senate followed suit and adopted a resolution on Feb. 24 of the same year, stating that “until further order the Sergeant-at-Arms is instructed not to permit flowers to be brought into the Senate Chamber.”"

Robin Opsahl, “What is a House Chaplain and What do They Do?” Roll Call:

“The chaplain is an officer of the House, a position that the full House votes on at the start of each Congress. There is no stated process for removing the chaplain, unlike other offices of the House, which have rules saying they can be removed by the full House or the speaker.”

 

 

 

 

ICYMI: Top reads on Congress

 Image source  here

Image source here

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.”