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November 27, 2014

Posts in "Members of Congress"

November 26, 2014

Congressional Future Caucus Promotes ‘Giving Tuesday’

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Lawmakers want to designate Dec. 2 as “Giving Tuesday,” a national day of giving and volunteerism. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After shoppers hunt for the best deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, some members of Congress are hoping Americans will pull out their wallets and roll up their sleeves for “Giving Tuesday.”

“This is something that should inspire that desire to be of service,” Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, said in a phone interview on Nov. 24. “We look at Congress, we look at the partisanship, the partisan divide that’s there. This is something that Democrats and Republicans can work together on in a way that benefits everyone.”

On Nov. 20, Gabbard introduced a resolution to designate Dec. 2 as “Giving Tuesday, ” a national day of giving and volunteerism. The Hawaii Democrat introduced the bill along with her Congressional Future Caucus co-chairman, Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill. Reps. Juan C. Vargas, D-Calif., Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., Todd Young, R-Ind., and Rodney Davis, R-Ill, co-sponsored the resolution. Full story

November 24, 2014

Millennium Challenge Corporation Celebrates 10th Anniversary

While bipartisan efforts in Congress can seem few and far between, policymakers from across the ideological spectrum point to the tenth anniversary of the Millennium Challenge Corporation as evidence they can find common ground when addressing global development.

“It’s one of the few places, frankly, left in Washington where that spirited bipartisanship continues to exist and drive forward,” White House counselor John Podesta said at a Nov. 18 event celebrating the organization’s 10 years.

At the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, more than 400 people gathered to honor the MCC, which was created by an act of Congress in 2004. The crowd included lawmakers, diplomats, and members of President Barack Obama’s administration, the global development community and the private sector. Full story

November 19, 2014

New Members of Congress Flip for Office Selection (Slideshow)

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Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

On the final day of orientation, new members of Congress, their staff and the media packed into a Rayburn committee hearing room Wednesday to find out their fate for office selection.

In alphabetical order, new members or their designees walked up to the dais, and picked a token with a number from one to 57, selecting which order they would choose their suite for the next two years.

“One thing I feel obligated to let you know is, two years ago when we were conducting the room lottery for members-elect, there was a direct correlation between the number you drew and the demonstration of something that brings luck to you,” said Superintendent of House Office Buildings William M. Weidemeyer.

And some new members certainly took that advice to heart. Full story

November 18, 2014

Say Cheese! New Members of Congress Pose for Class Photo

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The freshman class for the 114th Congress. Click on photo to enlarge. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Just after 8 a.m. on Tuesday, 58 new members of Congress participated in an orientation rite of passage: the class photo.

With the temperature below freezing, the freshmen hustled up the steps at the East Front of the Capitol, a number of them in winter coats, but quite a few braving the cold in just their suits. Republican Glenn Grothman casually walked up in his suit with a cup of coffee in hand, the frigid air likely not phasing the Wisconsin member-elect.

The freshman members, who have spent the past week getting acquainted with each other and their congressional duties, happily greeted one another. After first standing in formation with their coats on, the final hold-outs decided to shed their winter wear for the photo.

Most of the women in the class lined up in the first row, and friendships seemed to already be forming. As Rep.-elect Mia Love came over to the front row, fellow Republican Martha E. McSally, whose Arizona race is currently in a recount, exclaimed, “Yay!” and put her arm around Love.

The members were set and faced the photographer, eager to get the show on the road, when Democratic Del.-elect Stacey Plaskett of the Virgin Islands exclaimed, “Wait a minute, wait a minute!” as she fixed her collar. Her fellow freshmen took the slight delay in stride, laughing as she made sure she was ready.

After the official photo, they turned toward the press, who snapped their own pictures. After a couple minutes, Rep.-elect Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., was heard saying, “OK, are we done?”

The members then quickly walked back to their coats to warm up.

“It should be cold every year,” one congressional staffer was overheard saying. “It doesn’t usually get done that quickly.”

The newly elected members then bustled off to the House office buildings, bound for more meetings and briefings.

“Oh yeah, we had a lot of fun up there,” said Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., before walking off to see who accidentally took his coat.

Related:

Advice From Chris Christie For GOP Frosh

Lawmakers Give Advice to New Members of Congress

Orientation: Some Are Old, Some Are New, Most Are Red, a Few Are Blue

Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat

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November 17, 2014

Chris Christie Gives Advice to New House Republican Members

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Christie leaves the meeting with House Administration Chairwoman Candice Miller, R-Mich. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., stopped by the Capitol Monday to have lunch with Republican representatives-elect in the members’ dining room, imparting his own wisdom about finding common ground and getting things done.

“We talked about the importance of winning and then governing, simple as that,” Rep.-elect Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., said after the meeting. MacArthur said Christie’s advice was, “Don’t gloat, get the job done, what the people sent us to do. That’s what we talked about.”

MacArthur also added, “It was not a policy discussion; this was an attitude-molding, you know, this was about our attitude in governing, about being bold in leadership and doing the right thing by people.”

According to MacArthur, Christie received a “tremendous” reception from House Republicans, including a standing ovation.

Though MacArthur said they did not discuss policy, fellow GOP Rep.-elect Ryan Zinke of Montana said the governor, a potential 2016 presidential contender, did highlight three policy areas he would like Congress to tackle.

“He talked about energy policy, tax reform and, thirdly, reducing excessive government regulations,” Zinke told reporters. “So he, over and over, emphasized those three.”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., also said Christie addressed the GOP’s success in the midterm elections. “We talked also in regards to elections,” said McCarthy. “We looked at how far the governors were able to win. Eight of the nine states that the president carried twice we won, so very impressive.”

Christie stressed finding areas of common ground in an effort to unite the Republican Party, but he apparently did not directly address Republican lawmakers’ role in the partial government shutdown in Oct. 2013, which he criticized as “irresponsible.” However, the New Jersey governor seemed to warn the newly elected Republican members not to repeat the past.

“I think he alluded that shutting the government down is not a good idea,” said Zinke.

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Tree Honoring Emmett Till Planted at the Capitol

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The tree honoring Till was planted on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As rain poured onto the Capitol grounds Monday morning, Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., joined Republican senators and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., to plant a tree on the north side of the Capitol in honor of Emmett Till.

Lewis and GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran of Mississippi joined Holder to honor Till, a 14-year-old African-American boy who was brutally killed in Mississippi in 1955 after whistling at a white woman. Till’s death sparked outrage at the advent of the Civil Rights Movement and his murder still resonates today.

“Even today the pain from this unspeakable crime, this unspeakable tragedy, still feels raw,” Holder said.

Till’s name has been painted on signs carried by protesters marching after the recent deaths of two black teenagers. Protesters drew comparisons between Till’s murder and the death of Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012 and in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Mo., on Aug. 9.

Protests erupted in Ferguson and across the country after Officer Darren Wilson shot the unarmed Brown, prompting calls to review police militarization and reigniting a debate about race relations. With the grand jury verdict in Brown’s case expected in the coming days, the tree planting honoring Till took on a unique significance.

“The struggle goes on, and it’s not only Ferguson but a lot of communities around our country where we are dealing with relationships that are not what they should be,” Holder said after the event. “There is an enduring legacy Emmett Till has left.”

Collins and Lewis sponsored the effort to plant the American sycamore tree in honor of Till at the request of Janet Langhart Cohen, author of the play “Anne and Emmett,” which details an imaginary conversation between Anne Frank and Till. Cohen is married to ex-Sen. William Cohen, R-Maine., whom Collins worked for after graduating from college.

In May, lawmakers dedicated a tree on the Capitol grounds to Frank, and Collins believed there should be a similar dedication to remember Till.

“There is on these Capitol grounds another tree dedicated to another martyr to bigotry: Anne Frank,” said Collins. “The white chestnut is the same variety that she could see from the secret annex in which she hid in Amsterdam. In the same way, the American sycamore that we dedicate to Emmett Till would have been familiar to him in the parks and tree-lined streets of Chicago.”

RELATED STORIES:

Lawmakers Honor Life and Legacy of Anne Frank

In D.C., African-Americans Ask After Ferguson, What’s Next? 

Bayonets, Camo, Armored Vehicles: Senate Panel Criticizes Ferguson Response (Video)

In Wake of Ferguson, New Focus on Civil Rights, Militarized Cops

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Chris Christie to Address New Republican House Members

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Christie on the campaign trail in Arkansas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a potential 2016 GOP presidential contender, will be on Capitol Hill Monday afternoon to address the newly elected Republican House members.

According to Rep. Candice S. Miller, R-Mich., — the chairwoman of the Committee on House Administration, which facilitates new member orientation — Christie was chosen to speak to the Republican members-elect because of his leadership in the party.

“I couldn’t think of a better individual to come and address the new members, new Republican members,” Miller told CQ Roll Call Monday morning. “This is a man that is certainly not afraid to take on criticism, not afraid to lead. And I think that his message of smaller government, less government regulations, that sort of Republican message and the way that he delivers it, I think, will be very well received by the new Republican members.”

Christie will be addressing the new lawmakers at a lunch in the Capitol, while the Democratic members-elect will dine with Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., the ranking member on the Budget Committee.

When asked why Republicans chose the New Jersey governor, rather than a member of Congress, to address the new members, Miller pointed to Christie’s work during the midterm elections.

“I saw the governor a couple of times on the campaign trail actually, he was in Michigan twice during the election, and he was sort of like a tsunami going across the nation and helping all these Republican governors,” said Miller. “And he just is a remarkable leader, as I say, and I think that his message is one that will be very well received by the new members.”

Miller said there was no set topic for the luncheon with Christie. ”I’m not quite sure what he’s going to say,” Miller said, “so we’re looking forward to his message.”

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November 14, 2014

New Member Orientation? There’s an App for That

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Miller speaks to new members at an orientation meeting. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

For the first time ever, incoming lawmakers are encouraged to use an app to guide them through new member orientation.

At the first orientation meeting Thursday morning, House Administration Chairwoman Candice S. Miller, R-Mich., encouraged the new members to take out their smartphones and tablets and download the “Box” application, which is an app for sharing documents.

“All the information about the sessions, the presenters, various things, their ability to take notes and all that can all be done on that iPad,” Miller told CQ Roll Call later in the day.

Miller explained that sharing orientation information and documents via the app was an effort to modernize the biannual welcome week.

“I also remember carrying around 25 pounds of binders and paperwork,” said Miller said of her own orientation, describing the decision to incorporate the app.

“So we’re trying to use some technology, make it better, improve it,” Miller said. “We’ve just been trying to think of everything that we can. You don’t want to waste their time here, obviously they’re very busy. We just try to make them as impactful as we can when they are sworn in.”

RELATED STORIES:

Lawmakers Give Advice to New Members of Congress

Orientation: Some Are Old, Some Are New, Most Are Red, a Few Are Blue

Learning by Doing: New House Members Juggle Orientation and Governing

Why Freshman Week Is a Lot Like College Orientation

Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

Lawmakers Give Advice to New Members of Congress

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Rep.-elect Mike Bost listens during a Thursday orientation session. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The final day of the first week of orientation started bright and early Friday morning with an opportunity to learn from current lawmakers at a briefing titled, “If I Knew Then What I Know Now.”

In an event that was not included on the public orientation schedule, four current members of Congress shared their advice with incoming lawmakers in the House Administration Committee hearing room, giving tips on managing office logistics, working as the least-senior members and striking that often elusive work-life balance.

“I just tried to relate to them about how important it is to integrate family schedule with professional schedule,” retiring House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., told CQ Roll Call after the briefing, which his successor, Republican Mike Bishop, attended. Full story

November 13, 2014

Capitol Workers Strike for Higher Wages

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Lewis, center, a CVC food services worker, goes on strike for higher wages. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Although executive actions don’t necessarily affect legislative branch contracts, a handful of contract workers walked off their food-services jobs in the Capitol Visitor Center Thursday to join a protest urging President Barack Obama to act to raise wages.

“This building symbolizes the American dream for so many, but not for me and my kids,” said Reginald Lewis, 50, who joined seven of his co-workers wearing royal blue hoodies with “STRIKE!” across the chest for the hour-long East Front rally organized by progressive members of Congress and advocacy organizations.

Lewis said he earns $12 per hour washing dishes, mopping floors and taking out trash for millions of Congress’ visitors, but that’s not enough to save for retirement, help his 20-year-old daughter with college tuition or survive without food stamps. In an interview with CQ Roll Call, the father of three said he joined the strike “not for just me, but other workers that are in the same situation, got kids or just want a better lifestyle.” Full story

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