A government shutdown is looming on Friday and it’s all Trump’s fault, just ask him. With 7 approps bills outstanding, and Congress having done it’s homework, will Congress enact 6 bills as written and turn the 7th into a long term CR, kick the can to the next Congress, or something else? Here’s what happens in a shutdown. If the CR goes down, it’s going to take a lot of riders with it.
Nancy Pelosi will be Speaker, obtaining that position in return for term limits for leadership positions — and undermining Hoyer and Clyburn as a bonus.More below.
Compromise harassment legislation was sent to the president after congressional negotiators reached a compromise that watered down the House bill. The House Administration Committee, for example, said they would continue to push for a future bill that “holds Members personally liable for discrimination, reauthoriz[es] the Employee Advocate, and strengthen[s] our workplace rights and responsibilities education program,” and Dems may include stopgap fixes in the House rules package. Rep. Speier said her work on this isn’t done. Here’s where we think the House bill should have gone further.
Get familiar with HR 1 and H. Res 5. HR 1 is House Democrats lead legislative proposal for the 116th Congress, containing reform packages on ethics, voting rights, and money in politics. H. Res 5 is the House’s rules package, which will be enacted on Jan. 3 and will contain significant House reforms. (I have no idea when we get to see the legislative text, but probably the day before it’s voted on.) Also watch for the Democratic caucus rules, likely to be adopted on Jan. 2. What else are House Dems planning?
Sen. Jon Kyl is resigning, so Arizona’s governor will have to appoint a replacement. During his time back in the Senate, Kyl was a great advocate for the companies that had previously paid him as a lobbyist, with some speculating that “Kyl was in the Senate mostly to benefit his lobbying career.”
What’s this week’s schedule? That’s a good question.
Who and what. Senate Dems released their committee member lists and leadership list, and Roll Call published the combined congressional calendar for 2019. The House Clerk published the bioguide data for members of the 116 Congress — this is the Rosetta stone that provides a unique identifier (akin to a social security number) for every member of Congress. The Clerk published phone and room numbers for House members, too.
WHO’S THE BOSS
Last week Rep. Pelosi and her detractors struck a deal. In her words: “Members in senior leadership positions can serve 3 terms with an additional term with two-thirds support of the Caucus. It would include the two terms of the Democratic Majority from 2007 to 2011.” The proposal would be voted on in caucus on Feb. 15.
— The deal also covers Reps. Hoyer and Clyburn, according to news reports. And it contains a training program for Members to learn about House and Caucus operations. Hoyer and Clyburn oppose term limits. Pelosi said she will not retaliate against her critics, but the best way to secure that is to change the House + caucus rules to prevent it.
— The rebels who have agreed to support Pelosi are Reps. Perlmutter, Sánchez, Foster, Filemon Vela, Moulton, Tim Ryan, and Rep.-elect Cisneros.
— What was actually agreed upon? We can’t know until we see the caucus and House rules. Unfortunately, Dems don’t usually publish their caucus rules.
Rep. Ben Ray Luján, a Pelosi ally, will be Assistant Speaker next Congress after the House Democratic Caucus unanimously voted to change the Assistant Majority Leader title to Assistant Speaker. I don’t know why the title was changed, but speculation is that it rhetorically sets him to move up to the top spot.
LEGISLATIVE PROCESS & POLY SCI
Lawmakers want a review of new member events after the “bipartisan” Harvard orientation was criticized for featuring lobbyists and corporate interests. There’s an ethics review process for these events, but the rules don’t apply to members-elect, at least not yet. It wouldn’t surprise me if members avoid this orientation in the future; hopefully something more even-handed and focused on the needs of members-elected will take its place.
The Senate voted to end U.S. support of the Saudi-led war in Yemen. The resolution, which passed 56-41, marks the first time the Senate used their power to end an unauthorized military campaign since the passage of the War Powers Act in 1973. The House resolution failed by 3 votes, suggesting this issue likely will come back in the new Congress. Both the White House and Congress have a role to play in war, and it Congress appears willing to finally start asserting itself.
House Democrats may ban lawmakers from sleeping in their offices as part of the House rules package. It’s gross and they should stop.
The Joint Center is tracking the diversity of Senate top staff hires and new hires.
TechCongress has announced their 2019 fellows.
GAO established a Science, Technology Assessment, and Analytics (STAA) Team, naming co-managing directors Chief Scientist Timothy Persons and NRE Director John Neumann.
Women in the House Republican conference are increasingly frustrated that their male counterparts don’t take the party’s gender problem seriously.
A ProPublica report exposed how an eight years of slashing the IRS budget has helped corporations and left the government with billions less in funding. This article is very well done.
CIGIE leadership will continue to be Michael Horowitz and Allison Lerner.
The Senate voted to repeal a Trump Administration rule exempting nonprofits from disclosing large donors to the IRS. The rule shielded dark money and special interest influence in elections from public scrutiny. The resolution needs House approval, which will not happen this Congress.
Reps. Gallagher, Rice, and Kilmer — the co-chairs of the Congressional Reformers Caucus — introduced the Political Accountability and Transparency Act, H.R. 7267 last week, aimed at disclosure and accountability of political spending.
CRS published 178 new reports on its website in the week ending Dec. 12, bringing the total number of reports published to 1,723. Our picks:
ETHICS + REVOLVING DOOR
Former Sen. Joe Lieberman, an honorary co-chair of No Labels, was hired to lobby for a major Chinese company, ZTE, to dispel concerns that it is a threat to American national security. (It is.) Norm Coleman and Jon Christensen also work for ZTE.
Sen. Inhofe brought Raytheon stock after pushing for increased defense spending. Inhofe chairs the Sen. Armed Services Committee, which gives him special knowledge about defense plans, and cancelled the $50k-$100k transaction only after he was contacted by the Daily Beast. Too bad there’s no Office of Senate Ethics, eh?
Sen. Harris should have known about claims that her staffer had engaged in harassment as she had notice 3 months before she left her position as state AG about his behavior. Harris expressed surprise at the news reports of his behavior.
The former president of a non-profit pleaded guilty for his role in concealing the fact that a 2013 Congressional trip to Azerbaijan was funded by Azerbaijan’s government.
Thomas Dodd, an aide to former Rep. Steve Stockman, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for soliciting $1.25 million in donations on false pretenses and laundering those funds to pay for personal and campaign expenses. Stockman was sentenced to 120 months in prison in November.
Senators are pushing for no prison time for former Intel staffer, James Wolfe, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about journalist contacts earlier this year. Federal prosecutors, on the other hand, are pushing for a two years.
TECHNOLOGY & CYBER SECURITY
GPO is publishing bills and laws in USLM XML for the first time. United States Legislative Markup (USLM) XML is computer code that describes the contents of legislation in a way that a machine can understand and makes it easier to update legislation and the US Code.
Lawmakers can now use leftover campaign funds to protect their personal devices and accounts from cyber threats following a recent FEC opinion. Sen. Wyden had asked the FEC to opine.
CRS Reports are now available on WikiData.
Library of Congress director of digital strategy Kate Zwaard discussed the Library’s 5 year digitization plan with Federal News Network.
Rep. McCarthy offered to meet with incoming Dems in a letter last week.
What to do if you’re not rich but want to serve in Congress? CPI explains.
DCCC senior staff hires.
Kevin McLaughlin to return as NRSC Executive Director.
Former Rep. Van Hilleary, who left Congress in 2003 to pursue higher office, is returning to Capitol Hill as Chief of Staff to Rep.-elect John Rose.
Will House Republicans leave now that they’re in the minority?
The Capitol Hill paid internship program for young adults with intellectual disabilities is being renamed to honor retiring Rep. Gregg Harper and his son Livingston. Nearly 200 offices have participated in the program. The HSC Foundation pays the interns stipends. Sign up here.
How would the parties break down if the US had a parliamentary system?
Rep. Chris Collins, who is currently under indictment, snubbed the late Rep. Louise Slaughter by declining to co-sponsor a bill to rename a New York post office in her honor. He is indicted for insider trading and she had called on OCE to investigate him.
ODDS & ENDS
Senate Republicans will hold their annual retreat on Jan. 17 and House Republicans aren’t invited.
A few Russell Building Senate offices have water damage after a small fire last week.
Ever wonder what the view is like from the Dome? Let me know if you’re going up, I’ve always wanted to.
WHO’S IN CHARGE: COMMITTEES
Democratic lawmakers have slated their committee leaders for the 116th Congress which still has to be ratified. Here’s who’s in charge, courtesy of Roll Call:
— IN THE HOUSE: Agriculture: Rep. Collin Peterson. Appropriations: Rep. Nita Lowey. Armed Services: Rep. Adam Smith. Education and Labor (currently named Education and the Workforce): Rep. Robert Scott. Energy and Commerce: Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. Financial Services: Rep. Maxine Waters. Foreign Affairs: Rep. Eliot Engel. Homeland Security: Rep. Bennie Thompson. Judiciary: Rep. Jerrold Nadler. Natural Resources: Rep. Raúl Grijalva. Oversight and Government Reform: Rep. Elijah Cummings.Science, Space and Technology: Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson. Small Business: Rep. Nydia Velázquez. Transportation and Infrastructure: Rep. Peter DeFazio. Veterans’ Affairs: Rep. Mark Takano. Ways and Means: Rep. Richard Neal.
— Chairs appointed by the Speaker haven’t been announced yet. This affects committees like Rules and House Admin., as well as a select committee dealing with climate change that Pelosi plans to bring back after an eight year hiatus.
— IN THE SENATE: Agriculture: Sen. Debbie Stabenow. Appropriations: Sen. Patrick Leahy (vice chair). Armed Services: Sen. Jack Reed. Banking: Sen. Sherrod Brown. Budget: Sen. Bernie Sanders. Commerce, Science and Transportation: Sen. Maria Cantwell. Energy and Natural Resources: Sen. Joe Manchin. Environment and Public Works: Sen. Thomas Carper. Finance: Sen. Ron Wyden. Foreign Relations: Sen. Robert Menendez.Health, Education, Labor and Pensions: Sen. Patty Murray. Homeland Security and Government Affairs: Sen. Gary Peters. Judiciary: Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Rules: Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Small Business: Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin. Veterans’ Affairs: Sen. Jon Tester. Aging: Sen. Bob Casey. Ethics: Sen. Chris Coons (vice chair). Indian Affairs: Sen. Tom Udall (vice chair). Intelligence: Sen. Mark Warner (vice chair).
— Coal Supporter Sen. Manchin was appointed as Ranking Member of the Energy Committee despite objections from progressive groups.
In other committee news, Senator Kamala Harris will keep her seat on the Judiciary Committee next Congress. Schumer arranged for an additional Republican to join the committee so she wouldn’t lose her seat.
The congressional schedule is in flux with a potential shutdown looming: Rep. McCarthy said the House schedule is fluid and subject to change while Sen. McConnell warned that senators may have to work through Christmas. Here’s the Senate schedule for Monday, with a vote at 5:30 on the legislative vehicle for criminal justice reform.
Down the line:
— Wednesday, January 16, the Brennan Center for Justice and the R Street are hosting a symposium, ‘Emergency Powers in the Trump Era and Beyond.’ The event is from 9 to 5 at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.