Forecast for August 5, 2019.

FirstBranchForecast

The Senate and the House are out for recess but we are still in session.

AT THE TOP
Want to fix Congress? We’re hiring!
 We’re looking for a policy manager and a policy analyst to focus on strengthening Congress. Please apply or tell your friends!

A beta whistleblower portal is live on Oversight.gov; it instructs whistleblowers regarding who to contact to blow the whistle or request assistance to address retaliation. The portal was jointly developed by CIGIE and the Office of Special Counsel.

House Democratic Caucus Rules still have not been changed despite a previously scheduled vote in February, but a party committee is continuing to work on proposed amendments, led by Rep. Meng. They’re soliciting comments. We have some.

Write-o. The UK Parliament has an interesting model for legislative e-petitions.

File any FOIAs recently? The federal FOIA Advisory Committee wants to hear how it went.

CONGRESS IN BRIEF
Top line spending numbers are official: 
last week Senators approved a budget bill 67-28 that sets top line spending numbers through July 2021, and Trump signed it into law. The Senate also has set its 302(b) levels for their approps subcommittees, but that information won’t be disclosed until they’re back.

Want to write about OTA? We and the Lincoln Network have put out a call for papers, with honoraria ranging from $1-5k.

House General Counsel Douglas Letter was profiled in Politico. We previously recommended increased transparency around the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, which oversees the General Counsel, both in our House rules reform recommendations (p. 17) and in a May 2018 letter to the now-former General Counsel.

A majority of House Dems have publicly stated support for an impeachment inquiry, but what about leadership? Speaker Pelosi won’t let proceedings move forward and Minority Leader Schumer is backing her even as additional Senate Dems publicly call for a start to House proceedings.

Sen. Lindsey Graham is ripping up the Judiciary Committee’s rules, undermining yet another Senate norm and highlighting a lack of enforcement for committee rules.

ODDS & ENDS
More member retirements
 were announced last week. Keep an eye on the casualty reports from the House (3D & 11R) and Senate (1D & 3R).

Former lawmakers used money left in their campaign war chests to lobby for foreign clients.

The House GOP retreat will happen in Baltimore in September.

WORTH THE READ
What causes gridlock in the Senate? 
This, a refresher on the filibuster, and more from James Wallner.

The GAO says agencies need to be more clear about the public comment process.

Treasury could do more in its implementation of the Data Act, according to the OIG.

The Architect of the Capitol did not adequately monitor a blanket purchase agreement, according to the agency’s IG.

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Source: Daniel Schuman