Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 3, 2015

Posts in "Legislative Branch Funding"

July 14, 2015

Should Congressional Research Service Reports Be Public?

apitol Hill Club on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lance says the information in CRS reports belongs to the American people. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The walls between members of the public and Capitol Hill’s exclusive division of policy and legal analysts are too tall, according to transparency advocates both inside and outside of Congress.

Such sentiment is prompting their calls to lawmakers with jurisdiction over the Library of Congress and the House clerk’s office to examine making public the highly regarded work of the Congressional Research Service. Full story

July 8, 2015

Lawmakers Disturbed by Suspension of Suspected Capitol Police Whistleblower

Blunt wonders whether Capitol Police are being forthcoming. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Blunt wonders whether Capitol Police are being forthcoming. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As a matter of policy, members of Congress usually refrain from commenting on personnel issues related to the force of 1,775 officers sworn to protect them. But when it comes to fallout for bodyguards who protect top GOP leaders leaving their guns in publicly accessible bathrooms, some lawmakers are criticizing Capitol Police’s top brass.

“We need to do everything we can to protect whistleblowers,” said House Oversight and Government Reform Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah., reacting to CQ Roll Call’s report that Capitol Police have suspended a sergeant in the Capitol division, allegedly in retribution for a suspected leak. Full story

July 7, 2015

Rotunda Closing Changes Capitol Tour Route

Capitol tours will be modified to adjust to the Rotunda closing this summer. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Capitol tours will be modified to adjust to the Rotunda closing this summer. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the Rotunda closing for six weeks this summer, Capitol tour guides will be offering a modified tour of the Capitol, that does not include National Statuary Hall.

According to Capitol Visitor Center spokesperson Sharon Gang, the Small Senate Rotunda will be added to the Capitol tour route while the Rotunda is closed. The route will also include tour staples such as the orientation film, the Capitol Crypt and the Old Supreme Court Chamber. Gang wrote in an email last week that, “The route is accessible to individuals with mobility issues.” Full story

Senators Weigh In on Capitol Police Hiring

 (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Capitol Police union alleges department brass is circumventing the agency’s mandatory retirement age of 57 to hire back friends. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Handing over some of the duties currently performed by Capitol Police officers to civilian employees may be one way to better utilize the department’s nearly $348 million budget, Senate appropriators have suggestedbut the efforts to do so have caused tension with the union — including allegations of “double-dipping.” Full story

June 22, 2015

Questions Surround Proposed Library of Congress Program

Blunt's amendment launches a new program for Library of Congress workers. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Blunt is pushing for a new program for Library of Congress workers. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

One influential senator is pushing for a program to help Library of Congress workers address their workplace grievances, but no one is exactly sure yet how it will work.

On June 11, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., added language to the Legislative Branch Appropriations bill that would launch a pilot program at the library, giving LOC workers access to the same processes for resolving workplace disputes as House and Senate workers. Full story

June 15, 2015

Senators Working to Address Food Service Worker Issue

Schatz called for higher wages for Senate workers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Schatz called for higher wages for Senate workers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

More than six weeks after reports of low-paid Senate food-service workers shocked lawmakers, senators are in the process of finding the best avenue to address the situation.

At a June 11 markup for the Senate Legislative Branch Appropriations bill, the senators in charge of the subcommittee of jurisdiction said they will continue to work on the issue while the Senate’s food service contract is in flux.

Full story

June 2, 2015

Mayor of Capitol Hill Convenes Oversight Hearing With House Officers

Candice Miller

Miller wants to look at Capitol Police chain of command and cybersecurity. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As part of her informal role as mayor of the chamber, House Administration Chairwoman Candice S. Miller, R-Mich., is ramping up oversight of some of the daily operations of the institution.

Three top officials who work largely behind-the-scenes in the House, handling everything from floor proceedings and Capitol security to office furnishings, payroll and cafeteria operations on a budget of around $150 million, will talk to Miller about their priorities during a Wednesday congressional hearing. Full story

May 27, 2015

Blimps Over Capitol: Just Hot Air?

The Office of Naval Research worked with Science & Technology International  to develop blimps for the war on terrorism. (Alex Wong/Getty Images File Photo)

The Office of Naval Research worked with Science & Technology International in 2003 to test blimps for the war on terrorism. (Alex Wong/Getty Images File Photo)

Coming soon to a Capitol skyline near you: Giant blimps at 10,000 feet?

The woman at the helm of the House Administration Committee thinks the Capitol needs eyes in the sky, after authorities failed to detect Florida mailman Douglas Hughes’ April 15 gyrocopter flight.

Chairwoman Candice S. Miller, R-Mich., visited U.S. Customs and Border Patrol ground stations along the Southern border in January and was amazed at the clarity of the Tethered Aerostat Radar System, or TARS. She is suggesting the “sophisticated technology” might suit the Capitol. Full story

May 20, 2015

Congress Concerned by Capitol Police Conduct With Protesters

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 11: U.S. Capitol Police honor guard members salute during the Washington Area Law Enforcement Memorial Service outside of DC Police headquarters on Monday May 11, 2015. The event held by the Fraternal Order of Police Auxiliary DC Lodge honored deceased local law enforcement officers, including U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Clinton J Holz. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Concern about inconsistent treatment of protesters  by officers sparked a letter to Capitol Police Chief Kim C. Dine. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Congress has been critical of the Capitol Police this year when it comes to the department’s handling of protesters. Now, one member is demanding to see the department’s policies on removing demonstrators from House and Senate hearings.

It started in January, when Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain called one of the protesters who disrupted a panel hearing “low-life scum,” and later vowed he would be “raising hell” over their behavior toward 91-year-old former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Full story

May 19, 2015

Politics of a Pay Raise for Congress: Still Toxic (Video)

Hastings says Congress needs a raise. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hastings says Congress needs a raise. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When the doors slid shut on Capitol Hill’s private, members-only elevators last spring, colleagues started to tell then-Rep. James P. Moran their honest opinion of his proposed housing stipend: Congress desperately needs a raise.

“You’re a real sport for taking it on, Jim,” the retired Virginia Democrat said he heard from members, once they were out of the earshot of reporters. Speaking from his desk at McDermott Will & Emery’s Government Strategies Practice Group Tuesday, the congressman-turned-lobbyist lamented the lack of political courage on the Hill from lawmakers who “learned how to tell people what they want to hear, not what they need to know.”

Florida Rep. Alcee L. Hastings’ argument that members of Congress need a pay raise may have garnered support from a top House Democrat, but other members who would likely benefit from a salary increase are not falling in line on the politically toxic issue. Full story

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