Good Monday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
Just as Pennsylvania school kids are headed back to class (or are already in class), members of the 116th U.S. Congress will head back to Capitol Hill in September, there to spend the rest of the year debating bills and thinking great thoughts. In between squeezing in appearances on cable news, of course.
So now seems as good a time as any to take a look at just how productive, in a session marked by partisan gridlock, the 535 members of the U.S. House and Senate have been through the first seven months of 2019.
The good folks at Quorum, which tracks congressional activity, have done that hard work for us, crunching the numbers to come up with an August recess report on the 116th Congress. And two members of the Pennsylvania delegation stand out.
First up, some top line numbers:
There have been a whopping 4,200 bills introduced in the majority-Democrat U.S. House so far, compared to 3,743 at the same time in the previous Congress, according to the Quorum report. And so far, 254 bills have cleared the chamber and are now before the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate. That’s compared to 300 bills in the prior, majority-GOP House, the data showed.
According to Quorum’s data, freshman U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-4th District, is among the most bipartisan Democratic members of the class of 2019, with 28 percent of her bills co-sponsored for the opposing party. In a large class of newcomers, she’s the only Pennsylvania House freshman to bear that distinction, the Quorum data shows.
And here’s a reminder of what a herculean task to get a bill through the full House, let alone the GOP Senate and onto President Donald Trump’s desk.
All told, only 18 members of the House have gotten a bill all the way into law so far this year. Only one, U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., has had two bills enacted into law so far this year, according to the Quorum data.
Meanwhile, over in the Senate, a guy who spends most of his time fending off charges that he’s not doing much with his time in D.C. is among the chamber’s most prolific so far this session.
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., has put his name to 57 bills so far. He finishes third behind U.S. Sen Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. (69), and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. (68), the report shows.
Through July, the 100 members of the Senate introduced 2,463 bills, compared to 1,769 in the previous Congress, the report shows. The chamber has passed 84 bills so far this year, compared to 40 in the previous Congress.
U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., is the most prolific of the Senate freshmen, with 25 bills sponsored through July, the report showed.
McSally’s Democratic colleague, U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, has had two bills enacted so far this year, the report shows. At 58 percent of her bills, Sinema is also the most bipartisan Democrat of the Senate’s freshman class, the report shows. At 24 percent, McSally is the most bipartisan Republican.
Neither Casey nor U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., shows up on the Senate’s list of most bipartisan incumbents. Though Toomey has garnered headlines of late for his renewed push with U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to revive a stalled, bipartisan push to expand background checks on gun purchases.
Sarah Anne Hughes goes deep on the fallout that the Trump administration’s rule changes have had on programs affecting thousands of Pennsylvanians — from food stamps and family planning to immigration and more.
Nick Field takes a look at northwestern Pennsylvania’s 16th Congressional District, where long-serving GOP U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly now finds himself in a competitive seat.
Stephen Caruso breaks down a federal court decision upholding a controversial state House policy banning non-believers from offering invocations.
On our Commentary Page, Philadelphia Democratic Reps. Brian Sims and Donna Bullock say it’s long past time for black women to close the gender pay gap and earn the wages they deserve. And Opinion regular Dick Polman says Democrats are making a mistake if they fail to embrace Never-Trump Republicans.
Philadelphia Magazine published a lengthy take-out on the sexual misconduct allegations surrounding state Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery.
The Post-Gazette explains U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb’s challenge for 2020, as he gears up to seek a second term in the House.
This is a thing? Seriously? Pa. school districts are actually turning to collection agencies for unpaid school meal debt, PennLive reports.
The Morning Call takes a look at the financial worth of the Lehigh Valley’s congressional delegation.
The Tribune-Review profiles a street preacher who’s affecting lives through boxing.
Here’s your #York Instagram of the Day:
View this post on Instagram
Steeple and Sky No. 31, First Presbyterian Church in York, where James Smith, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, is buried. #church #steeple #churchsteeple #presbyterian #pcusa #yorkpa #iloveyorkcity #yorkcounty #yorkcountypa #foundingfathers #declarationofindependence #usa #city #cities #oldchurch #historicalmarker #pennsylvania #pennsylvaniahistory #pahistory
Hundreds gathered in Philadelphia to mark the 400th anniversary of slavery, WHYY-FM reports.
The Erie Times-News looks at the factors that are helping to boost the fortunes of a city nonprofit.
A former airline pilot is planning a Republican challenge against freshman U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-6th District, PoliticsPA reports.
Stateline.org looks at the factors helping to drive successful Red Flag laws in other states.
Politico says Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden are ‘hurtling toward collision.’
What Goes On.
10 a.m., Dauphin County Courthouse: Dauphin County DA Fran Chardo talks about the alleged sexual assault case involving ex-Rep. Brian Ellis.
12 p.m., Harrisburg Hilton: Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon featuring U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans, D-3rd District.
Gov. Tom Wolf has no public schedule today.
What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).
7 a.m.: Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Allegheny, holds a golf outing at Lakes Golf Course in Pittsburgh.
11 a.m: House Republican Campaign Committee golf outing, Aronimink Golf Course, Newtown Square, Pa.
11 a.m.: Golf outing for Sen. John Blake, D-Lackawanna, the Country Club of Scranton, Clarks Summit, Pa.
5:30 p.m.: Reception for Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, at Embassy Suites, Pittsburgh.
If you are in possession of both cloning technology and light speed, and can somehow manage to play all 54 holes, hit Wheatley’s reception, and give at the max at all the events, you’ll be out a truly preposterous $22,500 today.
You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Belated best wishes go out this morning to longtime Friends O’the Blog, Shira Goodman, of CeaseFirePa, who celebrated on Friday, and to Rob Woodfork, of WTOP-AM, in Washington D.C., who celebrates today. Congratulations and super good wishes all around.
Here’s some new music that will be music to the ears of Stephen Caruso. It’s Frank Turner and ‘I Believed You, William Blake.’
Monday’s Gratuitous Baseball Link.
The Orioles notched another win, defeating Tampa 8-3 at home at Camden Yards. The Os are 4-6 in their last 10 games. Yes, they’re still 41 games out, and have an atrocious 43-88 record. But a win’s a win.
And now you’re up to date.