CBO Changes Make Finding Bill Scores Easy

Capitol West Lawn Bright

Good news for Hill staff and Congressional spending nerds alike: the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has made some significant improvements to how it publishes data. 

The agency, which is responsible for advising Congress on the potential economic impact of legislation, announced several transparency-friendly changes on its site last week. Changes include:  Continue reading “CBO Changes Make Finding Bill Scores Easy”

Forecast for December 9, 2019.


It’s going to be a big week on Capitol Hill, so grab a pen and mark your calendars:

Impeachment proceedings continue with House Intelligence and House Judiciary presenting their findings today at 9 in 1100 Longworth. The Judiciary Cmte report on the constitutional grounds for impeachment came out this weekend.

DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday at 10. He is expected to address his office’s investigation of FISA abuse, the report is expected today and AG Barr already is trying to discredit it.

The 2020 Senate Calendar was releasedwith all of January missing until the impeachment trial is scheduled. The House also changed its schedule and will meet the week of December 16th, most likely to accommodate a House impeachment proceedings and avoid a December 20th funding cutoff.

Watch for the appropriation bills, the articles of impeachment, the NDAA, and who knows what else. Expect things to seemingly accelerate out of control as recess gets closer.

The Senate is bored, at least according to a NYT article that explores whether McConnell has focused the chamber almost entirely on judicial confirmations (170 so far), steering it away from legislation. According to Senate Dems, “in 2019, there were 287 votes in the chamber related to nominations, compared with 98 regarding legislation.”

Paid parental leave for federal employees may be included in the NDAA as part of a deal with Trump to create the spaaaaace fooooorce. It’s unclear whether leave would apply to the leg branch — but it should, including personal & committee offices. House Oversight is discussing paid leave tomorrow at 10. Also, watch to see if Dems cave in the NDAA on ending US support for the Yemen war.

Congress’s science and technology policy capacity (e.g., OTA) was the talk of the town, with a Science Committee hearing this past Wednesday, a Levin Center event on Friday, the release of a NAPA report, and our evaluation of the report. More below.

Good news for @approps & @budget techies: CBO added significant improvements to how it publishes data. Details below. (Kudos CBO!)

GPO Director Hugh Halpern. It’s official, he’s been confirmed. Congratulations, Hugh!

The House’s rules and procedures were the topic of a Fix Congress committee hearing on Wednesday, and the subject of one of our (in)famous letters. More below.

Congressional oversight of the intel community and its role as IC watchdog was the topic of a conversation at CATO’s Surveillance conference on Friday. Video will be here. Does this tie in to FISA? You betcha. Continue reading “Forecast for December 9, 2019.”

Forecast for December 2, 2019.

Welcome to this week’s abbreviated First Branch Forecast.


• Considering the Impeachment Report: H. Intel Cmte hearing Tuesday at 6.
• Grounds for Impeachment: H. Judiciary Cmte hearing Wednesday at 10.
• Science and Technology Advice for Congress: Science Cmte hearing Thursday at 10.
• Rules and Procedures in the House of Representatives: Fix Congress Cmte hearing Thursday at 2. We have some recs.

Continue reading “Forecast for December 2, 2019.”

Forecast for November 25, 2019.


With hours to spare lawmakers passed a short-term funding agreement to keep the government running through December 20th, but in doing so unnecessarily violated regular order and rammed through an unrelated authorization provision. Also, word is out the House and Senate reached an agreement on the 302(b)s, but we don’t know what the agreement is. More below.

Does Congress have the science & technology chops it needs in 2019? No, said the National Academy of Public Administration, which studied the issue at Congress’s request. We discussed their findings and conclusions at the Bipartisan Policy Center last week. Watch the video. Every study we’ve seen so far says that there’s a gap in Congress’s tech capacity and that the leg branch should consider creating a new entity.

House Repairs: 15 Members submitted ideas for the Committee on House Administration’s Member Day hearing, with six testifying in person. See the overview below.

The House calendar for 2020 is out. Notable about the calendar: it doesn’t address member concerns about travel and keeps in the House in session for weeks on end. Continue reading “Forecast for November 25, 2019.”

Capitol Police Round Up: Week Ending November 21, 2019

We are resuming our weekly updates on U.S. Capitol Police activity, which were previously embedded in our weekly newsletter the First Branch Forecast.

For the week ending on November 21, 2019, there were 13 incidents reported with a total of 56 individuals arrested. 

Noteworthy incidents included an individual attempting to bring an unregistered firearm and ammunition into the Russell Senate office building—he was arrested when his weapon went through the x-ray machine—and USCP approaching and arresting someone for suspected marijuana use. (The USCP’s role is to protect the Capitol Complex, so it is unclear how a pot arrest contributes to congressional safety and security.)

Here’s how this week’s activity compares to the average distribution: 

Comprehensive Good Government Bill Re-Introduced by Rep. Quigley

We have good news for fans of government accountability and cleaning up the swamp: Rep. Mike Quigley has re-introduced the Transparency in Government Act (TGA). The bill is essentially a menu of everything needed to bring greater transparency to the federal government.

Major provisions of the bill include:

Continue reading “Comprehensive Good Government Bill Re-Introduced by Rep. Quigley”