First Branch Forecast for March 27, 2023: Jello Pudding


The House majority is approaching a crossroads. In order to fulfill its aspirations of a strong Congress with more member input, it needs to continue reinvestment in the capacity of Congress. Some deficit hawks, however, are pushing toward shrinking Congress in a way that undercuts these aspirations. The irony is that cutting the Legislative branch’s comparatively infinitesimal budget makes it impossible to counter the overpowerful Executive branch and run a legislature that’s capable of making smart spending (reduction) decisions.

This happened before, in 1995 and 2013, with disastrous results still felt today. But few are around to remember those lessons. All last week, Legislative branch agency directors cautioned House appropriators of the damage cuts would do to their ability to provide adequate service to congressional users. They explained how they were still digging out from sequestration a decade ago. The disappointing thing is that some House conservatives seem unaware of or unwilling to heed the lessons from the recent past: that slashing the capabilities of Congress left the institution in the state they find it in and to which they object.

This week both chambers are in session Monday through Thursday (with the Senate also in on Friday). House Leg Branch Appropriators will hear from House offices and the AOC on Tuesday and the Capitol Police on Wednesday. Senate Appropriators will hear from the Senate Sergeant at Arms and the Capitol Police on Wednesday.

The following two weeks are recess, with everyone back on April 17th. If you’re pondering what I’m pondering, our updated appropriations tracker has public and member testimony deadlines. Nearly all Senator appropriations requests are due in the next two weeks. The House data is more sketchy, but it appears all Representative appropriations requests are due by the end of the week.

Note to readers: we’re taking a hiatus for the next two weeks while Congress is in recess. The next newsletter will arrive April 17.

Appropriations Tracker

A handy list of deadlines for Members and the public for when testimony is due.


Funding priorities for the Legislative branch came more sharply into focus last week with a number of hearings, including a members’ testimony day in the House.

The Library of Congress did double-duty with Senate and House appropriators, requesting a 7.5% increase from FY 2023 to take its budget up to $940.8 million. Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden noted 70% of the additional money requested would go to mandatory pay and pricing increases.

The Librarian of Congress, Dr. Hayden, faced a fiscally skeptical audience in the House, and both hearings felt like a missed opportunity to dig into modernizing CRS and its longstanding problems of envisioning how its products can meet its congressional users. CRS Director Mary Mazanec is requesting a $146 million budget, an increase of 9.7%, which includes an additional $13 million to hire additional staff for current products with which the office is struggling. The hiring of a dozen new analysts is intended to help reduce a backlog of over 2,4000 legislative bill summaries. New staff also would be brought on to focus on the service’s contributions to

The trouble with this CRS request is that it limits itself to remedying a long-standing issue of the timeliness of one product line by throwing more people at the problem instead of demonstrating it is dedicating resources to where its services are most useful to congressional users while simultaneously figuring out how to use modern tools to address those needs more efficiently.

The House Administration Committee majority, in its oversight plan, describes its goals with respect to CRS as pushing the agency to “better meet the needs of a modern Congress, including shorter reports, more variety of products, thorough internal tracking of activities and product delivery rates, and greater efficiency in work product.”

The House minority also addresses CRS in its plan, pushing for “detailed oversight of CRS operations and consider[ation of] any need to modify management and organizational structure of the service.” Among the elements to consider are staff morale and attrition rates, work environment, and resource allocation.

Continue reading “First Branch Forecast for March 27, 2023: Jello Pudding”

First Branch Forecast for March 20, 2023: Keep the MRA Funded


The contrast of fast and slow continues to stand out to us in this new Congress. The House is prepping its appropriations work with breakneck speed, while the Senate will stretch its process out at a more leisurely pace.

With only themselves to respond to the baking crisis that emerged suddenly, Senators chose to respond with no response at all.

The failure of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank were historically large, and indicate some broader structural issues within the financial sector. Default on the federal debt would blow through the sector and the economy like a volcanic eruption. Nevertheless, the House majority continues its phoney war with the White House on the issue despite the apparent systemic weaknesses. At some point, governance is going to have to start.

This week both chambers are in session Wednesday through Friday. The Senate also is in session Tuesday.

The House Administration Committee will hold a rare hearing on the Office of the Attending Physician on Thursday at 3 PM, and hold an organizational meeting on House Communication Standards on Friday at 9:30 AM.


Four significant House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee hearings are set for this week. Thursday, GAO will present its budget request at 9:30 AM, the Capitol Police will present at 11 AM, and the Library of Congress at 1 PM. Friday, the panel will hold its members day at 9 AM.

Members can submit Legislative branch language until 6 PM on Friday (I apologize for combining the public testimony deadline with this deadline, which was the 17th – I was working off the majority’s website, but this dear colleague has the deadline as the 24th.)

The Senate Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee will hear budget requests of the Architect of the Capitol and Library of Congress Wednesday, March 22 at 3 PM.

Approps resources: We’ve posted a tracker for the appropriations process with testimony and hearing deadlines at this link. (n.b. six of them are Friday.) We’ve also compiled a spreadsheet of Appropriations Committee members by their subcommittee to make life a little easier. There are tabs for both the House and Senate but that may be hard to see on smaller screens.

We provided this exhaustive summary of last year’s bill, and we maintain a repository of reports and testimony over the last half-decade at this github site. Consult this guide for tracking House approps markups.

Demand Progress’ Legislative branch-related requests are available at this link.

Senate appropriators have released a hearings schedule for the rest of the FY24 hearings on the committee website with the caveat they are tentative until officially posted a week in advance. This schedule stretches into June.

Retaining MRA levels: Demand Progress and a coalition of other government reform groups and individuals are urging the House Appropriations Committee to retain funding for the MRA at its current FY2023 levels, warning that cuts would force staff from their positions and weaken institutional capacity. Before MRA increases in the last two fiscal years, staff turnover had reached its highest rate in over 20 years.

“Cutting MRAs is a horrible return on investment for the Legislative branch. For decades, Congress underpaid its own staff, self-inflicting a wound of diminished capacity, which undercut its ability to oversee and rein in the federal government’s sprawling administrative bureaucracy,” said Taylor J. Swift, senior policy advisor at Demand Progress.

Last year, the House raised staff pay closer to parity with the Executive branch and set a salary floor. According to a LegiStorm analysis, junior staffer pay rose the most, crossing a median salary of $50,000. Cuts would return these positions to unsustainable compensation rates for young people without deep-pocketed parents or additional employment. Senior staff, meanwhile, once again would fall well below parity with positions off the Hill, restarting a brain drain that impacts legislative and oversight capacity.

As the letter points out, most House committee chairs this month requested budget increases of between 5% and 10% for FY2024 specifically for staff pay in order to attract and retain talented people. Turning around and cutting personal staff pay would be counterproductive to committee function, not to mention the effectiveness of member offices.

Demand Progress-Led Coalition: Keep Funding for Staff Pay

Read the letter we sent today to the House Appropriations Committee to retain funding for the MRA at its current FY2023 levels.

Continue reading “First Branch Forecast for March 20, 2023: Keep the MRA Funded”

Don’t Slash Hill Staff Pay Says Left-Right Coalition

There’s a growing effort this appropriations season to decrease Member Representational Allowance (MRA) funds, which would inevitably result in lower pay for congressional staff, something a new coalition led by Demand Progress is fighting.

Today, Demand Progress sent a bipartisan letter to leadership on the House Committee on Appropriations, urging them to retain MRA funding levels to the FY23 amount.

Why? Low staffer pay fuels the revolving door and drives a high turnover rate on Capitol Hill —  a staff exodus hit a 20-year high in 2021. When Congress loses institutional knowledge like that, it’s less able to govern and conduct oversight. It’s more likely to let lobbyists sway policy.

“Cutting MRAs is a horrible return on investment for the Legislative branch. For decades, Congress underpaid its own staff, self-inflicting a wound of diminished capacity, which undercut its ability to oversee and rein in the federal government’s sprawling administrative bureaucracy,” said Taylor J. Swift, senior policy advisor at Demand Progress. “To retain expert staff and promote a strong workforce, it’s essential Congress pays its staff at least as much as their counterparts in the Executive branch and private sector.” 

Read the full letter here and below:

Continue reading “Don’t Slash Hill Staff Pay Says Left-Right Coalition”

First Branch Forecast for March 13, 2023: House Unions Can Continue


We have to hand it to the Committee on House Administration for roaring out of the gate in the 118th Congress. Last week, it garnered reform ideas from members, held the first Modernization Subcommittee hearing, and allotted committee funds with significant increases nearly across the board. The Legislative Branch Subcommittee on Appropriations, meanwhile, has kicked off an approps season that will whiz by this month.

This week the Senate is in session from Tuesday to Thursday while the House is in recess until March 22.

The appropriations process is moving fast. Groups interested in offering written testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch need to submit it by 5 PM Friday, March 17. The subcommittee has not scheduled a public hearing day, only one for members on the following Friday, March 24 at 9 AM.

As always, the Legislative branch package is just as useful in its report language as its funding. We provided this exhaustive summary of last year’s bill, and we maintain a repository of reports and testimony over the last half-decade at this github site. Consult this guide for tracking House approps markups.

Demand Progress has prepared its appropriations requests for FY2024.

Today, Demand Progress Education Fund releases a new reportUnions in the House of Representatives in the 118th Congress, authored by former OCWR Counsel and Demand Progress Education Fund Senior Advisor Kevin Mulshine, explaining how House staff can continue to unionize in the 118th Congress under the Congressional Accountability Act, despite a new House rule aimed at stymying such efforts.

The vaguely worded rule cannot nullify existing unions or prevent forming new ones in personal offices, Mulshine writes, because the House cannot unilaterally suspend OCWR regulations as an independent office. Because Congress waived sovereign immunity with passage of the Congressional Accountability Act in 1995, the House must revoke the rights granted to its employees in clear and unequivocal language. House rules would have to nullify other regulations to proceed with prohibiting staff unionization, which H.Res. 5 does not accomplish.

The Senate still needs to pass its own resolution to permit personal office unionization. In its absence, Senator Edward Markey’s office has begun the process of seeking voluntary recognition of their staff union. Demand Progress’s Taylor Swift applauds Markey’s approval in this blog post.

Continue reading “First Branch Forecast for March 13, 2023: House Unions Can Continue”

Demand Progress Education Fund Affirms Right to Unionize by Congressional Staff in New Analysis of House Rules that Sought to End Unionization

Unions in the House of Representatives in the 118th Congress,” a new report released today by the Demand Progress Education Fund, analyzes how the new House Rules aimed at rolling back the rights of House staff to unionize fall short of achieving that purpose. Its analysis shows House staff can assert their rights to organize unions in the 118th Congress. The report was written by Kevin Mulshine, former Senior Advisor and Counsel on the first staff of the Office of Compliance/Office of Congressional Workplace Rights.

The report explains in detail the employee protections under the Congressional Accountability Act — a Gingrich-era congressional workplace law that allowed Legislative branch staff to unionize — and how that law applies today. House political and non-political staff earned the right to unionize last year with the passage of H.Res.1096

“House staff can assert their rights to organize unions in the 118th Congress,” said Kevin Mulshine, special advisor to Demand Progress Education Fund and author of the report. “Contrary to what the House Rules may have intended to proscribe, staffers who want to exercise their rights to collectively organize should have little fear of a loss of legal protections for their actions.”

Continue reading “Demand Progress Education Fund Affirms Right to Unionize by Congressional Staff in New Analysis of House Rules that Sought to End Unionization”

Demand Progress Extols Senator Markey’s Staff for Seeking Voluntary Recognition of their Union, Urges Senate to Introduce Resolution Allowing Senate and Joint Staff to Unionize

Today, the staff for Senator Markey’s office took the unprecedented step of seeking voluntary recognition of their effort to unionize. Although the House of Representatives in the 117th Congress granted its employees the ability to exercise their rights to collectively negotiate, the Senate has yet to take similar action. Demand Progress supports Senator Markey’s staff and the right for every Senate and joint congressional staffer to unionize.

“We applaud the staff of Senator Markey for seeking voluntary recognition for their nascent union,” said Taylor J. Swift, senior policy advisor of Demand Progress, a non-governmental organization focused on strengthening our democracy that led a broad coalition to advocate for the right of congressional staff to unionize in both chambers and pushed for higher staff pay and benefits

“Seeking union recognition can be a difficult and intimidating process, but it is a crucial step towards securing workers’ rights and protections. The staff of Senator Markey’s office have shown courage and determination in their decision to unionize, a right federal employees, including those at the Architect of the Capitol, Library of Congress, and Capitol Police, have enjoyed have enjoyed for decades.

We urge Senate leadership to introduce a resolution in accordance with the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 to support Senate and joint congressional workers in their right to collectively negotiate without fear of retaliation. Providing these protections to all congressional staffers will foster a safer and more equitable workplace.”

Continue reading “Demand Progress Extols Senator Markey’s Staff for Seeking Voluntary Recognition of their Union, Urges Senate to Introduce Resolution Allowing Senate and Joint Staff to Unionize”

First Branch Forecast for March 6, 2023: Members Request Staff Funding


Money decisions figured prominently in a shortened work week for the House. Committee leaders followed suit with Senate counterparts in requesting more funds for their staff in the coming fiscal year, while appropriators established tighter controls over the earmarks process. CHA, meanwhile, has grabbed the spotlight early in this Congress.

This week … The Senate is in session from Monday to Thursday while the House does the Tuesday-Friday work week.

There are seven — yes, seven — hearings this week that relate to the Legislative branch, many of which are happening inside Legislative branch approps. Here’s what was directed by that committee last year; a guide on how to track House approps markups; and a repository of reports and testimony from the last half-decade. If you want to participate in the member day hearings, the deadlines are coming up FAST. See the calendar below for dates. 

CHA will hold a member day hearing on Wednesday, March 8. Such hearings allow members to surface long-standing impediments to better work or new ideas to boost office productivity. The Modernization Committee used them quite successfully during its run in the 116th and 117th Congresses to inform its recommendations. The committee also will hold a meeting on the resolution allocating committee funds for this Congress.

Speaking of, the new Modernization Subcommittee of CHA holds its first hearing Thursday, March 9, and will hear an update from CAO Catherine Szpindor.


Committee chairs and ranking members emphasized the need for higher operational budgets to attract and retain quality staff in CHA’s allotment hearings last week. Most committees requested increases between five and 10% of FY2024 budgets specifically for staffing needs.

The $45,000 floor House leadership established (and the Senate followed) last Congress created upward pressure for committees to keep up, Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chair Frank Lucas told CHA. He requested a 23.5% budget increase for staff. “For us to be competitive in hiring and recruiting staff necessary to enact our agenda, we have to follow suit,” he told the panel.

Congress actually appropriated funds to keep committees in line with personal staff pay increases for FY2022, which amounted to a 21% increase from the previous fiscal year. This increase sounds great, but it would have returned funding to where they were in FY2010. But in the convoluted way the House funds committees, it’s CHA that decides how to divide up the appropriated funds. It decided to make an across the board 10% pay increase for committee staff and reserve the rest of the funds for the January 6 Committee to use.

We highlighted this decision last April, but Congress did not correct giving House committee staff short shrift by finding more money for the Jan. 6 Committee in supplementals. The exact picture of where the $32 million increase went isn’t clear yet because the Jan. 6 Committee is nine months overdue with reports.

Lincoln Network and AEI support Lucas’ view that the 118th Congress needs to continue to invest in Legislative branch capacity, even as it looks for spending reductions elsewhere. The organizations and two other right-of-center groups sent a letter to Speaker Kevin McCarthy and the House Republican Conference last week urging continued reinvestment in congressional staff capacity along with oversight-supporting appropriations to offices like GAO.

Money for more field hearings also emerged as a common reason committees requested increased allotments. If committees really want to tap into the experiences and knowledge of people outside of Washington, allowing remote testimony as the 117th Congress did would be a much more cost-effective and practical method to do so.

Continue reading “First Branch Forecast for March 6, 2023: Members Request Staff Funding”

First Branch Forecast for February 27, 2023: Videodome


Speaker Kevin McCarthy interjected himself into the debate over US Capitol Police openness and transparency in a major way by releasing the entirety of video recorded by its cameras on January 6, 2021 to Tucker Carlson at Fox News. The how and why of this decision are going to distract from the what of the larger problem, which is a lack of a system to allow for proper public access to information that can hold USCP accountable as a policing agency that eats up a ton of Legislative branch funding.

Speaking of funding, the new Congress is starting to dole out money to support its own legislative and oversight capacity.

This week, the House will hold votes Monday through Wednesday. The Senate will reconvene Monday for a reading of President Washington’s Farewell Address by Sen. James Lankford, an annual tradition since 1896. The current Senate calendar has the chamber remaining in session until March 10.

CHA will hold hearings Tuesday and Wednesday at which committee leaders will make their allotment requests for the 118th Congress.


The US Capitol Police have long argued that even the most basic information about their operations should be shielded from public view because of the unique security concerns of the people they protect. They have refused to release detailed arrest reports or summary arrest data in machine-readable format or to release the reports of their IG to the public. They’ve gone to court to prevent the release of security video to the public, including of the January 6 insurrection. USCP even required CHA staff to use a dedicated terminal at the Capitol to view footage when it granted the same access to the committee that the January 6 Committee had.

Certainly, some operational information and campus recordings should be shielded from the public. Potential criminals should not know every nook and cranny of the Capitol nor how members access different parts of the building. The speech and debate clause protects members from having their every utterance recorded and released.

Although the Legislative branch is exempt from FOIA, Congress should establish a FOIA-like process to satisfy the public’s right to know while weighing these real concerns. In 2021, based on extensive research into the agency, Demand Progress Education Fund proposed a set of public records regulations for USCP.

Without as much as alerting the Capitol Police (or Senate Sergeant at Arms), Speaker Kevin McCarthy handed over all 41,000 hours of January 6 video surveillance footage to Tucker Carlson at Fox News last week. So much for having a process.

Even though some Democratic leaders have spun the decision to suggest any video release was wrong, it’s likely necessary at this point (as Rep. Jamie Raskin suggests) that the public be granted the video as well because we know from the Dominion lawsuit that Fox News will broadcast lies even when on-air talent knows better. Carlson himself has spread conspiracy theories about the insurrection before.

Unfortunately, the inevitable deployment of the footage for partisan purposes, which McCarthy already has started fundraising on, has created this binary choice when a rigorous process that considers ongoing security requirements and reserves some material is more appropriate.

The January 6 footage, as significant as it is for the country, is part of a broader issue with USCP secrecy and their ability to shield the agency from accountability on the grounds of security concerns for members of Congress. This mindset, as we saw from now-departed AOC Brett Blanton, was seeping deeper into the Legislative branch. We don’t know how the department’s behavior will change toward the public’s right to know given the Speaker’s actions, nor do we know how Fox News’s purposeful use of the footage may shape or limit congressional action to reform the department. Understanding how effective the Capitol Police are in utilizing resources and managing their considerable policing assets, however, is in the interests of all members.

CHA can play an essential role here. The committee will hold its oversight planning meeting Tuesday. Members on both sides of the aisle have expressed interest in digging into USCP “culture, funding and training as well as to review member security amid increasing violent threats,” according to Politico, as they should. Chair Bryan Steil, who’s been encouragingly energetic about his plans for the committee, can build upon Rep. Zoe Lofgren’s inquiries after the attack on the Pelosi home about how the department is categorizing and responding to threats against members and why such cases have been prosecuted.

The public’s most frequent encounter with video from the Capitol, of course, comes from C-SPAN coverage of floor action. If he’s interested in video as a transparency tool, Speaker McCarthy could grant C-SPAN editorial freedom to control its House floor cameras that it enjoyed during his Speakership election, which Demand Progress Education Fund, Freedom of Press Foundation, and a host of other organizations think should be standard operating procedure going forward.


In two hearings this week, committee leaders will make their allotment request to the Committee on House Administration for their budgets for this Congress. Like the Senate process, which the Rules Committee tackled last week, the process for funding House committees is a two-step dance between CHA and the Legislative Branch Subcommittee of House Appropriations.

CHA will take the requests made in two hearings Tuesday and Wednesday and draft a House resolution dividing up the funds. Later, Appropriations authorizes the annual spending within the resolution.

It’s worth reminding at the start of each Congress that committee funding in both chambers has stagnated for more than a generation, costing the institution in missing professional expertise. As this CRS report details, House committees receive only slightly more funding in constant dollars than they did in the aftermath of the 1995 Republican takeover: AKA, the big lobotomy.

With the exception of unified party government in 2009, both Republican and Democratic majorities can share the blame of keeping committees locked in austerity budgets that undermine their capacity to legislate and conduct oversight, particularly over the last decade. As we explored previously, within the overall budget pie that has shrunk significantly since the 111th Congress, the pieces for many committees have gotten smaller in constant dollars.

The Senate Rules Committee approved a resolution two weeks ago that added roughly $53 million to its committee funding, about a 19% increase from last Congress. Maybe the House will surprise us.

Senators’ congressionally directed spending requests are on fairly tight deadlines this year. The Appropriations Committee has requested senators to submit their CDS requests and advocate for specific programs between late-March and mid-April based on the subcommittee of authority. Rules for Senate CDS requests are the same as the 117th Congress: Funds still have to go to nonprofits that do not employ a senator’s immediate family members.

House appropriators, as we noted last issue, still are finalizing their (don’t call them) earmarks rules. Caseworkers in both chambers can consult this video resource by the POPVOX Foundation featuring Bipartisan Policy Center’s Franz Wuerfmannsdobler about the post-117th Congress earmark process.

CBO has requested $7.5 million more for FY24 than it received last year to account for inflation and a lower-than-requested authorization the last go-around. The increase would raise the CBO budget slightly over the $70 million mark, 89% of which goes to staff pay and benefits.

We noticed one interesting legislative request CBO made in its request to House Appropriations: the repeal of superfluous language in the Budget Act that has slowed gaining access to some federal data sources (see page 7 of the request document).

Model USCP Public Records Regs

Nugget from the DPEF archives: our 2021 FOIA-like regulations for the US Capitol Police.


The last time the Senate Ethics Committee issued a “disciplinary sanction” against a fellow senator, Sen. Jon Ossoff was in college. It’s not that senators have been paragons of virtue since 2007: Dave Levinthal and Matt Laslo of Raw Story uncovered more than 1,500 ethics complaints referred to the committee over that time. Only 204 cases even launched a preliminary inquiry by the bipartisan committee. The committee took no action on 92 cases referred last year, and frequently ignores complaints related to senators trading stocks in questionable circumstances.

Members in either chamber simply can’t be relied upon to police their own. The Senate’s 0-for-1,523 batting average reinforces the importance of preserving the only independent ethics watchdog in Congress right now, the House’s Office of Congressional Ethics, and shows why the Senate should create a similar office.


Virginia State Senator Jennifer McClellan won a special election to become Representative of the Commonwealth’s 4th congressional district last Tuesday. She will be the first female African American to serve in Congress from Virginia when she is sworn in to replace Rep. Donald McEachin, who died Nov. 28. She’ll also be female member number 150 of Congress (including the delegates).

The House only will be at full strength until the end of May as Rep. David Cicilline will resign on June 1 to become the President and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation.


Daniel has published his recap of December’s Congressional Data Task Force meeting (hey, it’s been a busy winter). Part of the meeting covered the process of executing various “change of Congress” tasks, including updating bioguides. Task Force member offices also provided updates on long-awaited projects, including a working demo of the comparative print project, better access to Senate video, and the digitization of House statements of disbursement. As usual, everything from the meeting is available on the Legislative Branch Innovation Hub.

The next meeting of the Congressional Data Task Force will be March 14 from 2 to 4PM ET. Register for the meeting at this link.


It looks like Politwoops, the repository of politicians’ deleted tweets started at the Sunlight Foundation based on the Open State Foundation‘s project and code — and now hosted by ProPublica — is falling victim to API changes at Twitter.

Chuck Kieffer, a long-time Senate Appropriations staffer, gets a well-deserved profile as he retires.

One nugget from a recent interview with retired Sen. James Inhofe caught our eye: He retired because of effects of long COVID, and says “five or six” other senators have it but haven’t said so publicly. We know of only Sen. Tim Kaine who has revealed his long COVID symptoms. Many of the medical impacts of long COVID are neurological, so Inhofe’s statement would be significant for the institution.

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Congressional Committee Calendar– Monday, February 27

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries keynotes a program organized by the The House Office of Diversity and Inclusion entitled “Black History on the Hill” from 4-6 PM ET at the CVC. This event is limited to congressional staff. RSVP here.

The National Taxpayers Union and Arnold Ventures will host a discussion on budget reform Monday Feb. 27 from 4-7 PM ET. (You had to RSVP by February 17 to attend.)

– Tuesday, February 28

The House Administration Committee holds its first meeting for House committee budget allotment requests at 10:10 AM ET in 1310 Longworth.

House Ethics holds an organizational meeting at 2:30 PM ET in 1015 Longworth.

The Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on “How Congress Can Recognize Ratification and Enshrine Equality in Our Constitution” at 10 AM ET in Dirksen 106.

– Wednesday, March 1

The House Administration Committee holds its second meeting for House committee budget allotment requests at 9 AM ET in 1310 Longworth.

The Brennan Center’s Dr. Maya Kornberg will discuss her new book about congressional committees’ role in the legislative process at Bistro Bis from 5:30-7:30 PM ET. RSVP here. If you can’t make the event, AEI’s Kevin Kosar interviewed Kornberg for his “Understanding Congress” podcast earlier this month.

Down the line

Open Data Day (or Days) will be organized March 4-10 by local groups around the world.

The next meeting of the Congressional Data Task Force will be March 14 from 2-4 PM ET. Register for the meeting at this link.

The Office of Congressional Workplace Rights will host two training sessions on the Congressional Accountability Act on March 21 and April 18, and one session on resilience on March 14More details and links to registration.

A new note to our readers

As we mentioned last week, Daniel is currently on medical leave. His absence from the team that produces this newsletter is an unfortunate circumstance to use in clarifying its recent authorship. Chris Nehls has taken over as the primary writer of the First Branch Forecast, with Daniel serving as contributing editor. This arrangement, which was in place before Daniel went on leave, will continue after his return.

(Switching awkwardly out of writing about myself in the third person) I take on this role as I wind down my responsibilities at Democracy Fund, where I have been a strategy lead and a program officer on its congressional capacity-strengthening work.

For those wondering where I’ve been, I started working remotely from Japan in early 2020. I also have worked at the company formerly known as CQ Roll Call, where I wrote a blog on digital advocacy, was part of the members research desk, and contributed to CQ Weekly. Before that, I was in academia: I have a PhD in US History from the University of Virginia and specialized in 20th century political culture.