THE TOP LINE
House Dem leadership elections are this week. More below.
The Government may partially shut down on December 7 when the CR runs out of gas.
The House launched the Office of Employee Advocacy (OOEA) according to a Nov. 5 CAO Dear Colleague. House staffers can learn more by following this internal House link. The OOEA provides legal representation to House employees in civil matters covered by the CAA. There’s no public website.
Select committees. The House likely will have a climate change select committee and a select committee to improve the operations of Congress. The former is a request from Rep.-elect Ocasio-Cortez, and the latter is from several entities, including Demand Progress and the Congressional Reformers Caucus.
A MORE REPRESENTATIVE CONGRESS
What else? We recommend universal availability of 12 weeks of paid parental leave (that is not funded through the MRA); decoupling staff pay from member pay so staff can be paid more; broadening financial support for current and former students; expanding child care availability; requiring interns be paid at least minimum wage; increased pay rates and the use of pay bands for staff; 60 days of paid health care for departing staff; and expanding who may unionize.
Rep. Pelosi moved a few Dems into supporting her Speakership even as sixteen Dems released a letter opposing her and nine Problem Solvers Caucus Dems warned Pelosi she won’t have their votes unless she endorses their rules changes. Pelosi is meeting with Problem Solvers members later today.
— Rep. Fudge announced she won’t run against Pelosi and simultaneously Pelosi announced Fudge as Chair of a new House Administration Subcommittee on Elections. BTW, Fudge was not on House Admin and the committee currently does not have subcommittees.
— The Nine “Problem Solvers” Dems members demanding changes to House rules before they support Pelosi are Reps. Gottheimer, Costa, O’Halleran, Schrader, Suozzi, Lipinski, Murphy, Gonzalez, and Soto.
— The Dems calling for new leadership letter signers are: Brindisi, Cooper, Cunningham, Foster, Higgins, Lynch, McAdams, Moulton, Perlmutter, Rice, Rose, Ryan, Sanchez, Schrader, Van Drew, and Vela. (Higgins now supportsPelosi.) Politico identified additional anti-Pelosi Dems as Lamp, Spanberger, and Crow. Roll Call noted that Rep. Cartwright is the only Dem running for a leadership spot who has not endorsed her. Incoming Rep. Davids endorsedPelosi.
Rep. Clyburn is now unopposed for Majority Whip; Rep. Degette withdrew her candidacy.
Rep. Cicilline ended his candidacy to be the Assistant to the Democratic Leader, leaving Rep. Lujan as the only candidate. Cicilline is now is running to be chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, a new position that Pelosi said the caucus could create.
Who’s running for caucus chair? Politico reviews Hakeem Jeffries vs. Barbara Lee.
The only leadership candidates Pelosi endorsed are Reps. Hoyer and Clyburn.
What’s Sen. John Thune’s story?
The race for DPCC co-chair.
Republicans dodge restoring earmarks — not because they don’t support them — to let Dems take the political hit if they bring them back.
The House Ethics Committee called on Congress to enact legislation to combat harassment, the Congressional Accountability Act, and complained about unclear lines on when OOC must provide info to Ethics.
The Bipartisan Bicameral budget reform committee may not meet its Nov. 30 deadline; Rep. Lowey doesn’t want to report out recs without agreement on addressing (preventing?) amendments on the Senate floor.
LEGISLATIVE PROCESS & POLY SCI
Members of Congress may write the rules, but they can also break them as part of “procedural disobedience,” a tactic to draw attention to their policy gripes.
The Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond created visualizations of Congressional elections from post civil war to present.
The long decline of congressional oversight in several nifty charts. Notable findings: the average number of days per hearing topic has declined from several to one; and the press has dramatically reduced its coverage.
McConnell wants Martha McSally to fill Senator Jon Kyl’s seat should he step down.
Would Feinstein step aside from Judiciary? Presidential wanna-be Sen. Harris likely will lose her Judiciary seat next Congress — unless Republicans expand its membership — and Senate Dems anonymously accused Feinstein of “unsatisfactory discipline and organization” of the Committee and want her to step aside.
Three Sen. Judiciary Committee Dems are suing to keep Matt Whitaker from serving as acting AG. The complaint, filed by Senators Blumenthal, Whitehouse, and Hirono, claims Trump violated the Appointments Clause.
Incoming House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman, Rep. Maxine Waters, wants to follow the “Trump money trail”, even as moderates push back against rigorous oversight, fearing the political effects.
“The Second Half of Watergate Was Bigger, Worse, and Forgotten By the Public,” and prompted the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
The Library of Congress’s experimental new browser extension creates links to bill summaries when you highlight a bill number in a news story. They want your feedback.
CRS published 206 new reports on its website in the week ending Nov. 20, bringing the total number of reports published to 1,477. CRS originally was supposed to publish all non-confidential reports by September 2018, and now projects that publishing the “R series” report will be completed by April 2019, with the remainder by September. Here are the week’s can’t miss reports:
Press credentials shouldn’t be issued by the White House, writes journo expert Kathy Kiely, suggesting they should follow the example of Congress’s Standing Committee on Correspondents.
What is Congress talking about? ProPublica’s “Capitol Words” is a very smart tool to search the Congressional Record.
ODDS & ENDS
Long-time Librarian of Congress, James Billington passed away last week at the age of 89. The obituaries have rightly described him as a polymath, but underplayed the rockiness of his tenure and its impact on the institution.
John Collins, a former CRS analyst and Army colonel died at 97. His highly influential “warlord loop” shaped a generation of military thinkers, but almost didn’t get off the ground as CRS prevented him from launching it for 20 years. (H/T Kevin Kosar)
Lessons on digital information and parliaments from Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Serjeant-at Arms seized Facebook records. Before you chide me for the typo, this is an official of the British Parliament acting under a very rarely used directive from the MPs. The US Congress has these inherent powers as well, but doesn’t use them as such. But there’s two proposals to fix that.
The House and the Senate are both in session this week.
4 notable bills are on suspension in the House:
— Inspector General Access Act (HR 3154): Allows the DOJ IG to investigate allegations of misconduct, instead of forcing referral to OPR
— Federal CIO Authorization Act (HR 6901): Creates a federal CIO and a federal Chief Information Security Officer
— Federal Agency Customer Experience Act (HR 2846): Allows agencies to collect voluntary feedback from website users without first getting OMB approval
— Settlement Agreement Information Database Act (HR 6777): Creates a database of certain settlement agreements where the Executive branch is a party to the lawsuit. It has an unusual provision that appears to weaken FOIA.
— Business Meeting — Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform at 2 in LHOB-1334
— Election Assistance Commission nominations — S. Rules at 2:30 in SR-301 (Note: the announcement is not yet up on the S. Rules Cmte website)
Down the Line
— Monday, December 3: Federal Advisory Committee on the Records of Congress meeting — Hosted by the National Archives and Records Administration at 10 in Capitol Visitor Center, SVC 210-212
— Wednesday, December 5: Congressional Reorganization Act 101: Past, Present and Future Proposals — Hosted by R Street. The discussion of bipartisan Joint Committees on the Organization of Congress (JCOCs) will be at noon in R Street’s Hill Office.
— Friday, December 14: New Employee Ethics Training — H. Committee on Ethics at 2 in HVC-201 A and B, Capitol