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Summing Up 2017 With 17 Graphics

Roll Call’s data reporters spent the year breaking down the breaking news

President Donald Trump speaking at the Capitol in April. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
President Donald Trump speaking at the Capitol in April. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After one of the most politically charged presidential campaigns in many Americans’ lifetimes, a new administration swept into town at the beginning of 2017, and the Roll Call graphics team got to work reporting, investigating and explaining the new Washington.

As we all close the books on 2017, Roll Call dug through our work and put together a year in review, starting at the beginning:

1. The Inauguration

Roll Call took a historical look at the weather during past inaugural speeches and attempted to predict the length of President Donald Trump’s speech after taking the oath of office. Trump defied precedent with only 1,433 words in 48-degree weather.

2. The Health Care Plans

Republicans, after years of promising to dismantle the 2010 health care law, didn’t start the year with a unified plan for how to do so. We compared the handful of proposals put forth in the spring (a version of the House’s AHCA plan ultimatelypassed that chamber), as well as the Senate bill that was defeated later in the year.

3. The First 100 Days

On the campaign trail, Trump made a lot of promises, but after 100 days in office, he appeared to lag behind most of his recent predecessors by several common metrics for measuring presidential work.

4. The New Justice

Congressional Republicans lowered the cloture threshold to sweep in a Republican president’s pick to the Supreme Court. We weighed support leading up to the vote to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch to the highest court in the land. senate_on_gorsuch

5. The Investigation

When the Department of Justice appointed Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel to probe whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election, we explained the options at Congress’ disposal for independent investigations into an administration and how they’ve been used in the past.

6. The Budget Cuts

Trump’s first full budget request proposed big cuts to nearly every department and agency for fiscal year 2018. We laid out all the cuts as well as the increases and made comparisons to last year’s Obama budget request.

7. The Congressional Baseball Shooting

In the early days of summer, Washington was rocked by a shooting during the Republican team’s baseball practice before the Congressional Baseball Game. Alabama Rep. Mo Brooksshared his first-hand account from the Alexandria, Virginia, field where the shooting happened.

8. The Comey Testimony

June began with former FBI Director James B. Comey’s testimony to Congress.  We categorized every question asked during the hearing and arranged them by the party of the questioner.

9. The Judicial Nominees

We analyzed Library of Congress data to look at an uptick in nominees after a few slow months when Trump first took office, including when confirmations occurred and what areas of government the nominees were headed for.

10. The Diagnosis

In July, Congress and the nation were shocked when GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona was diagnosed with brain cancer. With Republican attempts to repeal or replace the health care bill still looming, we looked at the cost of treatment for this cancer.


11. The Effects of Climate Change

We combined two scientific reports to analyze how climate change might affect U.S. congressional districts in the coming decades. Though Republicans currently represent the districts likely to be most severely affected first, people who identify as members of the GOP are less likely to be concerned with this issue.

RKClimateVR1-0112. The Hurricane Season

First, Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston, and then Hurricane Irma wasn’t far behind, battering the Virgin Islands, grazing Puerto Rico and hitting Florida. But the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria’s Sept. 20 landfall still has Puerto Ricans without power, running water and other basic necessities. Months after landfall, our reporters looked at the legislative issues ahead as the island continued to navigate recovery.


13. The New Court’s Docket

One of the Supreme Court’s biggest cases this session involves partisan gerrymandering. Depending on the Court’s ruling, there could be a huge difference in the partisan makeup of Congress in coming years.


14. The Tax Bill

When lawmakers appeared to have the votes to pass the tax overhaul bill, we looked at the party breakdown of similar votes, historically. Congress on Dec. 20 sent the tax bill — along party lines — to the president’s desk, handing him the first major legislative win in his presidency. tax-votes-4

15. The Weinstein Effect

As the year wound down, the #MeToo era swept into the Capitol. There were four resignations by members of Congress due to sexual misconduct. When Roll Call ran the numbers, 2016 had the least reports in the last 10 years for harassment and hostile work environment claims on the Capitol’s campus. Data had not been released for 2017.


16. The Alabama Special Election

In the race to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the Senate, Republican candidate Roy Moore’s campaign was upended by decades-old accusations of sexual misconduct with underage girls while he was in his 30s, which he denied. Democrat Doug Jones ultimately prevailed in the Alabama special election, showing some energy on the Democratic side that the party hopes will continue into the 2018 midterms. We looked at fundraising efforts from both candidates in that race.

17. The President’s Tweets

As president, Trump has used Twitter to praise and bash Congress on issues he cares about, but in the end he almost always got his way — at least legislatively.

Data as of Friday, Dec. 15.

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