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Paul Kane, “How the new class of Democratic lawmakers handled their first week back home,” Washington Post:

“After seven weeks in Washington, Congress finally got a break. And no one needed it more than the freshmen Democrats. The newbies spent their 10 days off fanned out across their districts, taking the political temperature. Many held town halls. (One legislator hosted six across his sprawling Upstate New York district.) Some met with their local newspaper’s editorial board. A couple held office hours.”

Catie Edmonson and Emily Cochrane, “In Conservative Districts, Democrats Have to Answer for Party’s Left Wing,” New York Times:

“Last week, home for the first district workweek of their term, moderate Democrats got to see firsthand how the raised voices of a small but vocal number of lawmakers such as Representatives Tlaib, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York are reverberating in far more marginal districts.”

Heather Caygle, John Bresnahan, and Emily Ferris, “House Democrats weigh rules change after GOP floor victory,” Politico:

“Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and other top Democrats are weighingrevising the House rules to require Republicans give them more notice on specific procedural votes, known as a “motion to recommit,” a wonky tactic that the GOP has used to force Democrats to vote on a range of controversial issues since January.”

Mike DeBonis, “Surprise GOP tactical win in House exposes divisions in Democratic leadership,” Washington Post:

“A surprise Republican win in the House on a procedural vote Wednesday exposed divisions within the Democratic leadership, set off recriminations and underscored that the party is still adjusting to its new majority.”

Heather Caygle and John Bresnahan, “‘This is not a day at the beach’: Pelosi tells moderate Dems to stop voting with GOP,” Politico:

“House Democrats held an emotional debate behind closed doors Thursday over how to stop losing embarrassing procedural battles with Republicans — a clash that exposed the divide between moderates and progressives.”

Benjamin J. Hulac, “Democrats on House panel get a lesson: Showing up is important,” Roll Call:

“Democrats on a House Natural Resources panel got a lesson in full-tackle politics Tuesday when only two members of the majority showed up to a hearing and Republicans shut it down before witnesses spoke.”

William E. Nelson, “Trump vs. Congress: The emergency declaration should not be resolved in court,” The Conversation:

“President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration to build a border wall has provoked a constitutional confrontation with Congress. Here is the background for understanding what’s at stake – beginning more than two centuries ago.”

Jeff Greenfield, “The Michael Cohen Hearing Didn’t Have to Be So Awful,” Politico:

“The traditional congressional hearing, as we now experience it, features a series of questions—and I use the term very loosely—that have virtually nothing to do with the solicitation of information. You can blame it on political polarization, or the insatiable hunger of politicians for the spotlight, or the congenital inability of most officials to speak in public without staff-generated talking points. Whatever the cause, the result is what Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan called judicial confirmation hearings: “a vapid and hollow charade.””

Stanley M. Brand, “Oversight committee session with Michael Cohen looks like an illegitimate show hearing,” The Conversation:

“But is it legitimate for Congress to hold such show hearings? Serious questions are raised by Supreme Court precedents issued during the Red Scare era about the authority of Congress to pursue investigations that may have a political point, but which they do not have the actual authority to conduct.”

Joel Mathis, “Congress shouldn’t be nicer. It should be ruder,” The Week:

“The congressman was right about one thing: The rules are clear — broadly speaking, members of Congress are not to disparage each other or impugn each other’s motives during a debate. That sounds like a good guide — insults and arguments about motivation usually make our political dialogue less productive — but the exchange between Meadows and Tlaib shows why the mandate is flawed.”

Kellie Medrich and Doug Sword, “Hunt is on for legislative train as riders get in line,” Roll Call:

“Urgent legislative items are piling up in search of a fast-moving vehicle, including food assistance for Puerto Rico residents, aid to crop growers in southeastern states hurt by last year’s hurricanes, and compensation for victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.”

Casey Quinlan, “Reports of Klobuchar’s treatment of staff highlights poor workplace standards on Capitol Hill,” Think Progress:

“Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has come under intense scrutiny this month, as several media outlets have reported on her reputation as a bad boss, highlighting instances of alleged abuse against staffers. The media coverage points to a broader problem, however, as labor experts say workplace standards on Capitol Hill need to be reformed.”

Bret Stephens, “Can a Horrible Boss Be a Great Leader?” New York Times:

“Anyone who’s had a horrible boss knows the difference between tough and horrible —between leaders who set high bars and those who administer petty humiliations.”

Aaron Boyd, “Former Staffers: Revive Congess’ Office of Technology Assessment Right or Don’t Bother,” Nextgov:

“An Office of Technology Assessment housed within the legislative branch would look forward to emerging technologies and educate lawmakers on the major aspects of those technologies while advising on potential policy options.”

Jonathan Miller, “Party unity on congressional votes takes a dive: CQ Vote Studies,” Roll Call:

“After Democrats and Republicans reached record highs sticking together by party on congressional votes in 2017, those numbers nose-dived in 2018 as lawmakers worked across the aisle on high-profile legislation, including a rewrite of the Dodd-Frank financial law, a package dealing with the opioid crisis, spending bills and an overhaul of the country’s criminal justice laws.”

Ryan Kelly, “At least senators showed up to vote in 2018: CQ Vote Studies,” Roll Call:

“Leaders of Congress are adept at scheduling votes when members will be available to cast them — avoiding weekends, keeping to short work days and making sure members get days off.”




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Marian Currinder
Marian Currinder is a permanent staffer of the U.S. House of Representatives' Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress as of December 2019. ...

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