Forecast for May 5, 2020.

You may have noticed that you didn’t receive this week’s First Branch Forecast on Monday. This newsletter takes a team to write, and with so much happening last week and over the weekend, I ran out of time to finalize it on Sunday. Here is an abbreviated version.

COMING UP THIS WEEK

Wednesday at 2 join our roundtable on Lessons learned from Remote Committee Proceedings. Speakers include the congressional staff who held the committee roundtables, former members of congress, and experts from civil society and academia. Also, we spoke to Civic Hall last week on continuity of Congress.

Congress needs tech help fast; think you’re up to the challenge? TechCongress launched a Congressional Digital Service fellowship to help get Congress functioning amid pandemic; the deadline to apply is Sunday.

We’re keeping an eye on the Senate Rules Committee, which is meeting on Thursday. Maybe they’ll say something about moving the Senate towards working remotely? (Maybe they should call the Supreme Court, who actually broadcast audio of oral arguments yesterday.)

Continue reading “Forecast for May 5, 2020.”

Can Online Presence Count Towards A Quorum?

The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released a fantastic report last week analyzing the constitutional rules governing quorum requirements to coincide with last week’s virtual hearing on Continuity of Senate Operations and Remote Voting in Times of Crisis.

If you’re not a policy wonk who finds quorum requirements inherently interesting, consider this: Determinations around remote quorum partially dictate whether Congress can hold official proceedings and votes remotely. In other words, this analysis impacts how Congress may or may not work remotely.

So where did the committee fall on the issue? The short answer is, it’s complicated.

Continue reading “Can Online Presence Count Towards A Quorum?”

New Bill Reclaiming the Congressional Power of the Purse

Chair Yarmuth of the House Budget Committee partnered with House and Senate chairs (Chair Lowey of House Appropriations, Chair Maloney of House Oversight and Reform and Senate Appropriations Vice Chair Leahy) to introduce the bicameral (but not bipartisan) Congressional Power of the Purse Act (H.R.6628).  

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Continuity of Congress Play-By-Play For The Week Ending May 2, 2020.

CONTINUITY OF CONGRESS: House of Representatives

Activity on remote proceedings for the past week fills two pages on our ongoing timeline.  Sunday was not a day of rest, as the New Dems Coalition sent a second letter to House Leadership, urging them to bring a remote voting resolution to the floor no later than May 4 (today).  

Continue reading “Continuity of Congress Play-By-Play For The Week Ending May 2, 2020.”

CRS Report: “The Office of Technology Assessment: History, Authorities, Issues, and Options”

CRS issued an updated report on OTA on April 29, 2020, that “describes the OTA’s historical mission, organizational structure, funding, staffing, operations, and perceived strengths and weakness. The report concludes with a discussion of issues and options surrounding reestablishing the agency or its functions.” 

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Pay Study Data: Relationship of Cost of Living Adjustments & Staff Longevity

Last year the House released a valuable report on staff pay, benefits, and diversity. We took a look at the data to answer the question, are better pay and benefits really correlated with staff staying on board? The short answer is yes.

We’ll be releasing a series of short articles focusing on different variables and their impact on staff longevity. This article, the first in that series, focuses on the impact of cost of living adjustments (COLAs) on staff retention.

Continue reading “Pay Study Data: Relationship of Cost of Living Adjustments & Staff Longevity”