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Lindsey McPherson, “First big bipartisan vote establishes House select committee on modernizing Congress,” Roll Call:

“Taking its first bipartisan vote of the 116th Congress, the House voted Friday to establish a select committee to come up with recommendations for modernizing the legislative branch.”

Katherine Tully-McManus, “Trailblazers and absences define start of new Congress,” Roll Call:

“For the first time in history, a new congressional session began in the midst of a partial government shutdown. The swearing-in ceremonies and celebrations were clouded by the ongoing shutdown that’s now entered a second week.”

Kenneth Lowande, Melinda Ritchie Erinn Lauterbach, “Having the most diverse Congress ever will affect more than just legislation,” Washington Post:
“Those lawmakers’ advocacy is likely to extend beyond what is typically covered by news outlets or offered up for a floor vote. If past patterns hold, increased diversity is likely to shape not only how lawmakers vote but also whose interests they fight for in the hallways of the bureaucracy.”
Anna Edgerton, “The Key to Nancy Pelosi’s Legislative Agenda,” Bloomberg Businessweek:
“That political skill will be tested over the next two years. Pelosi must find a way to hold her fractious coalition together while positioning Democrats to recapture the Senate and the White House in 2020. Adding to her challenge, there are now cameras and smartphones in the proverbial backroom broadcasting White House meetings and live-tweeting the political process.”
Laura Barron-Lopez, Heather Caygle and John Bresnahan, “Veteran House Dems poised to get seats on exclusive committees,” Politico:
“Three former Democratic House members who were again elected in 2018 appear to have the inside track to gain seats on highly sought-after House committees.”

Linda Qiu, “The Limits to Democratic Actions Against Trump,” New York Times:

“Impeachment? Tax returns? Jail time? The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives will no doubt investigate many aspects of Mr. Trump’s administration and life. But some of its most aggressive goals will be difficult, if not unlikely, to achieve.”

Elaine Kamarck, “Congress in 2019: A brief history of congressional investigations,” Brookings:

“When Democrats take over the House of Representatives they will have to strike a balance between legislation and investigation. As much as some are advising Democrats to build a legislative record, Democrats will also find themselves faced with the need to take up multiple investigations. And so it makes sense to have a look at Congress’s investigatory power and history.”

Jeffrey D. Grynaviski, “Congress used to pass bipartisan legislation – will it ever again?” The Conversation:

“Given the current political climate, it is difficult to imagine a reprise of the productive 98th Congress. Would President Trump agree to increased payroll taxes to pay for Social Security and Medicare? Would Speaker Pelosi agree to benefit cuts to those programs? Unlikely.”

Sarah Binder, “What will it take to end the shutdown? Watch these three things.” Washington Post:

“What will it take to reopen the government? Keep your eye on these three dynamics.”

Diana Evans, “Would bringing back pork-barrel spending end government shutdowns?” The Conversation:

“I have studied the effect of pork-barrel spending on passing spending bills. Although earmarks are worth reconsidering as a way of greasing the legislative wheels, I would argue that the case for them is mixed.”

Katherine Tully-McManus, “Cindy Hyde-Smith to lead Senate Legislative Branch spending panel,” Roll Call:

“Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith will take the gavel of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee for the new Congress. The Mississippi Republican is a relative newcomer to the panel, which she joined in April last year, taking the slot left open by her predecessor Thad Cochran’s resignation.”

Cristina Marcos, “Black Caucus sees power grow with new Democratic majority,” The Hill:

“The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is set to hold unprecedented influence after a House GOP majority in which not a single African-American chaired a committee.”

Audrey Henson, “Diversity on Capitol Hill starts with paying interns,” Vox:

“I’d always thought the hardest part about one of these exclusive congressional internships would be getting it. What I learned is that the much more challenging piece is doing what it takes to keep it. Unless you have the financial means to make an unpaid internship work, Washington, DC, might not be for you.”

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Marian Currinder
Marian Currinder is a senior fellow with the R Street Institute’s Governance Project and editor of LegBranch.org. Marian previously served as senio...

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