Forecast for August 26, 2019.

FirstBranchForecast

THE TOP LINE

Are you pondering what I’m pondering? In this case, how would a new OTA decide what to study?

How do Senate committees get their funding and where does it go? The take-aways: Senate committee funding is at an 18-year low; it’s really good to be an appropriator; and Senate committees are in better shape than House committees. Inside: the raw data from 1994-present.

Speaking of approps, use our twitter Approps tracker and CRS’s Approps status tables to stay on top of the next 6 weeks. It’s gonna go fast.

Finding federal budget docs can be tricky. After a lot of needling, USASpending is now centrally posting (some) congressional budget justifications; FedScoop has the lowdown, including how it could be improved. Want more? We took a deep dive on budget justifications in March.

Cyber Day on the hill is set for Sept. 5. Its focus: training “staff on cutting edge tactics to protect their Members, offices, colleagues, and themselves from cyber intrusions, social engineering hacks, and common data hygiene mistakes.” RSVP

A new delegate? The Cherokee Nation wants a delegate to the House and is relying on a 200-year-old treaty with the federal government. See Article VII of the Treaty of New Echota (7 Stat. 478): “it is stipulated that they [Cherokee Nation] shall be entitled to a delegate in the House of Representatives of the United States whenever Congress shall make provision for the same.”

We’re still playing around with a new Twitter account@CongressRadar. What should we tweet? (Also, follow our Twitter bud @LegBranch.)

 

WORTH THE READ

Sen. Mitch McConnell argued Dems should not get rid of the legislative filibuster (should they ever regain power in the Senate), although former Senate staffer James Wallner made a much stronger case that neither Dems nor Republicans respect Senate rules, calling McConnell’s argument “illogical and inconsistent” and that “that both parties are just as likely to use the nuclear option in the future.” (Fmr. Sen. Harry Reid had recently argued for an end to the legislative filibuster.)

Governing’s Daniel Vock thinks the federal legislature could learn from its state-level counterparts. While Vock’s arguments about Congress are at times reductivist, measure the wrong things, and elide significant state-level problems, he’s on surer ground when discussing ideas from the states worth considering. It’s a good read.

Friend of the show Marci Harris, a former congressional staffer and co-founder of PopVox, explored the scope and speed of technological change in industry and society in an article on Congress’s pacing problems.

 

TRANSPARENCY & ETHICS

The FOIA advisory committee is accepting comments.

Ethan Zuckerman is leaving MIT’s Media Lab after revelations of its ties between its head, Joi Ito, and Jeffrey Epstein.

 

ODDS & ENDS

The Library of Congress has put out an RFP for devices (like smartphones and tablets) that support blind and visually impaired folks.

This may be bad hit-piece from the NY Post — and it is — but it is notable that congressional offices have the option to filter phone calls based on where the calls originate. What would’ve helped the underlying problem is Article One, but Congress didn’t move fast enough to support this innovative tool. (More from Wired.)

Pelosi’s (non)-impeachment strategy has political problems. (As of this writing, Politico has 135 Dems in support.)

BFD. The Hill rounds up a study on the increase in public use of swear words by elected officials. This year saw 1,225 uses on Twitter; Rolling Stone pointed out in 2012 that profanity is nothing new. Here’s an on point SCOTUS opinion. (Click on the left to listen to the oral argument.)

 

JOBS

Tech Congress is accepting applications for fellowships through September 3rd. Learn more here.

The Architect of the Capitol is hiring an attorney for its Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Dispute Resolution to work on compliance with the Congressional Accountability Act (CAA). Deadline 8/30.

The Library of Congress is hiring an innovator in residence.

Muckrock is hiring a new editor and a development associate.

Want more job announcements? Subscribe to opengovjobs.