House of Representatives

Some Want to End Lawmakers Sleeping In Their Offices

BuzzFeed News: “For members of Congress, living in their Capitol Hill offices has long been seen as a quirky display of frugality. But a handful of politicians are coming forward to say the practice is unprofessional and needs to end. Capitol Hill may be the only workplace in the nation where dozens of offices turn into the boss’s bedroom at a certain hour.”

Said Rep. Jackie Speier: “I think it is unseemly. I’m not saying that these persons are engaged in sexual harassment. It is just wrong, We should prohibit living in your offices, and we should allow members to deduct the cost of their living expenses here up to a certain amount.”

Trump Told Ryan Not to Retire After Midterm Elections

President Trump told House Speaker Paul Ryan he would be “very unhappy” if the Wisconsin Republican retires after the 2018 elections, Politico reports.

“Ryan has told his closest confidants that his current term as House speaker will be his last…. In three dozen interviews with lawmakers, aides, conservative intellectuals and lobbyists, not one believed Ryan would stay in Congress past 2018.”

Speculation Grows that Paul Ryan Will Step Down

“As Republicans finish their long-sought rewrite of the tax code, some lawmakers are beginning to wonder just how much longer Rep. Paul Ryan intends to remain speaker,” the HuffPost reports.

Said one GOP member: “There’s a whole lot of rumors and speculation that the speaker may step aside.”

“The Wisconsin Republican has made no indication he’s quitting any time soon, but the possibility that Ryan finishes the tax bill and decides he no longer wants to continue in Congress has begun to loom over internal Republican conversations.”

Dent May Leave Office Early

Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), “who has already said he will not seek re-election next year, confirmed he has had conversations with TV news executives about becoming an analyst, raising the possibility that he would leave his seat early and create yet another special election for his party,” the New York Times reports.

Said Dent: “I have no definitive plans.”

Ex-Farenthold Aide Details Vulgar and Abusive Behavior

“A former senior aide to Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) has approached the House Ethics Committee to share a damning account of working for the Texas Republican, with the intent of describing the congressman as verbally abusive and sexually demeaning — and his congressional office as an intensely hostile environment that drove the aide to physical and emotional distress,” CNN reports.

Franks Resigns Effectively Immediately

Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) issued a statement saying he would resign immediately, instead of staying on until January 31, 2018 as he said yesterday.

Politico has the background story: “Franks allegedly made unwanted advances toward female staffers in his office and retaliated against one who rebuffed him.”

“The sources said Franks approached two female staffers about acting as a potential surrogate for him and his wife, who has struggled with fertility issues for years. But the aides were concerned that Franks was asking to have sexual relations with them. It was not clear to the women whether he was asking about impregnating the women through sexual intercourse or in vitro fertilization. Franks opposes abortion rights as well as procedures that discard embryos.”

The AP reports Franks offered one staffer $5 million to act as a surrogate.

Franks Will Retire from Congress

Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) is expected to resign from Congress, Roll Call reports.

“It is unclear exactly why Franks is stepping down, but one Arizona Republican said there had been rumors of inappropriate behavior. The Republican said the congressman had apparently been making plans to run for Senate in 2012, but abruptly canceled those plans.”

The Hill: “As the news of his resignation broke, fellow Republicans approached Franks on the House floor, all stone-faced. Several fellow conservatives sat with Franks, bent their heads, and prayed.”

Woman Says Conyers Threatened Her While an Intern

Courtney Morse told the Washington Post she was a 20-year-old college student when Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) propositioned her.

“She quit her internship after Conyers drove her home from work one night, wrapped his hand around hers as it rested in her lap, and told her he was interested in a sexual relationship. When she rejected his advances, Morse said he brought up the then-developing investigation into the disappearance of former federal intern Chandra Levy.”

Said Morse: “He said he had insider information on the case. I don’t know if he meant it to be threatening, but I took it that way. I got out of the car and ran.”

House Conservatives Return to Their Old Ways

Washington Post: “Since the spring, House Republicans have lived through a relatively calm seven months, a period lacking the drama and infighting that have come to define their majority.”

“That came to an abrupt end Monday night, when members of the Freedom Caucus tried to grind progress on tax legislation to a halt.”

“These hard-right conservatives had no quarrel with the tax plan — they almost all voted for it — but they were looking for a hostage to grab and knew that this one would get everyone’s attention. Their real target is the 2018 spending bill for federal agencies, along with a clutch of other must-pass items that conservatives oppose.”