Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
May 25, 2015

May 22, 2015

Moderate Democrats Get Leadership’s Ear on 2016 Messaging

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Israel has a tough road ahead in crafting a party message everyone can get behind (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There’s some good news for the moderate House Democrats who believe they’ve been marginalized in discussions on party messaging: Leadership might be starting to listen.

On Thursday morning, New Democrat Coalition Chairman Ron Kind of Wisconsin met privately with Democratic Policy and Communications Committee Chairman Steve Israel of New York, both lawmakers confirmed to CQ Roll Call.
Full story

May 21, 2015

Quid Pro Nope: Boehner, Cantwell and the Ex-Im Bank (Video)

Hensarling, R-Texas, left, and Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, listen as other House GOP leaders speak to reporters following the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, April 14, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Hensarling, left, is working to kill the bank, but Boehner isn’t saying much. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The only commitment Speaker John A. Boehner is making on the Export-Import Bank is this: If the Senate is able to pass a bill on the export credit agency’s future, there will be an “open amendment debate.”

The Export-Import Bank charter is set to expire on June 30, and conservatives are expressing increased optimism that the 81-year-old federal bank’s charter will lapse. More to the point, and perhaps more importantly, GOP leaders are increasingly sounding open to letting the bank die.

Full story

Four Texas Republicans Endorse Cruz for President

Culberson, left, is endorsing Cruz for president. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Culberson, left, is endorsing Cruz for president. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

About a month ago, Sen. Ted Cruz’s chief of staff made a request of some House-side colleagues: Would their bosses be willing to say nice things about the Texas Republican’s 2016 presidential bid? Or, even better, would they be willing to endorse him?

Paul Teller, that chief of staff who was once the executive director of the Republican Study Committee, must be feeling pretty good now. Full story

Could Conservatives Push TPA Over the Finish Line?

As the House inches closer to a vote on the long-awaited Trade Promotion Authority bill, conservatives who have traditionally been hard-liners in their opposition to deals with the White House are taking a softer approach.

While many on the right are still hedging their position on the TPA, there appears to be some conservative support for the trade process legislation. And with congressional Democrats increasingly taking a firmer line against the TPA, which would give expedited consideration to the Trans-Pacific Partnership under negotiation with 11 other countries, conservatives could be the key to getting the TPA over the finish line.

Full story

May 20, 2015

Once-Bipartisan COMPETES Act Leaves Democrats Cold

Smith, R-Texas, makes his case for funding of his committee during the House Administration Committee hearing on "Committee Funding for the 113th Congress" on Wednesday, March 6, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Smith put a GOP stamp on legislation Democrats once ran on: the COMPETES Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Back in 2007, the America COMPETES Act — landmark legislation aimed at boosting U.S. competitiveness through federal investments in scientific research and development — was a bipartisan labor of love.

Inspired by a National Academies’ report published in 2005, the bill was particularly lauded by Democrats, especially the moderates of the New Democrat Coalition who were instrumental in getting the measure over the finish line — and who later laid claim to the act on the stump.

But what a difference eight years makes. Full story

May 19, 2015

Democrats Hold Their Noses, Help Pass Highway Fund Patch

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Amodei voted “present” Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democrats had two difficult votes to take on Tuesday, and for the most part, they held their collective noses and voted “yes” with Republicans.

Lawmakers passed, 357-67, the fiscal 2016 Legislative Branch appropriations bill to fund the operations of the House and congressional support agencies. They also voted to float the Highway Trust Fund an additional two months in an even larger bipartisan showing, 387-35, with one lawmaker, Mark Amodei, R-Nev., voting “present.” Full story

House Freedom Caucus Lines Up Opposition to Export-Import Bank

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 10: Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, speaks with reporters after his presentations at the Heritage Action for America's Conservative Policy Summit  in Washington on Monday, Feb. 10, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Jordan thinks Boehner will keep his word on the Ex-Im bank. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The room where the House Freedom Caucus frequently convenes is really too small for a group of 30-some-odd congressmen. It’s certainly too small for a meeting with more than a dozen speakers and 20 reporters. But, on Tuesday, the oddly shaped room on the fourth floor of the Cannon House Office Building was the site of the conservative group’s first news conference — and the HFC might have finally found an issue they can make a name for themselves on: the Export-Import Bank.

“In the mission statement for the House Freedom Caucus, we have this: ‘The goal of the House Freedom Caucus is to give voice to countless Americans who feel that Washington does not represent them,'” the chairman of the HFC, Jim Jordan of Ohio, said. “One big reason so many Americans think this town has forgotten them is because they see big corporations cozy up to big government to get special deals with their hard earned tax dollars.”

“And in 40 days,” Jordan said, referring to the expiration of the bank’s charter next month, “we have a chance to start to change that. In 40 days, we have a chance not to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.” Full story

Boehner: Obama Should Start Over on War Authority Request (Video)

 Boehner, R-Ohio, conducts his weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center, May 14, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner steps up criticism of Obama as ISIL takes Ramadi. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker John A. Boehner, escalating his criticism of the administration’s handling of the war against the Islamic State terror group, said Tuesday the president should scrap his Authorization for Use of Military Force proposal and submit something different to Congress.

“The president, frankly, should withdraw the [AUMF] and start over,” Boehner said at a news conference. “We don’t have a strategy. … For over two years I’ve been calling on the president to develop an overarching strategy to deal with the terrorist threat. We don’t have one, and the fact is the threat is growing faster than what we and our allies can do to stop it.”

Full story

Opponents of Highway Trust Fund Patch Look to Next Fight (Updated)

Welch, D-Vt., speaks during a news conference to announce efforts to oppose legislation to roll back Defense cuts on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011. (Photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Welch is collecting signatures of lawmakers who’ve had enough of stop-gap highway spending bills. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 12:29 p.m. | Plenty of House Democrats — and even a few moderate Republicans — fed up with Congress’ inability to reach agreement on a multi-year Highway Trust Fund deal are likely to vote “no” Tuesday on a bill that would extend spending authority through July 31

The ringleaders of an effort to derail the latest stop-gap bill, however, have changed their strategy. Full story

May 18, 2015

Amid Calls for Resignation, Guinta Refuses to Answer Questions (Audio)

Guinta, R-N.H., arrives outside of the Capitol Hill Hotel during check-in for incoming freshmen members of Congress, November 12, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Guinta isn’t backing down. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There are plenty of questions surrounding Rep. Frank Guinta’s agreement to repay more than $350,000 in improper campaign contributions, but the embattled New Hampshire Republican isn’t answering any of them — at least not meaningfully.

CQ Roll Call caught up with Guinta Monday evening as he walked to House votes. And despite a number of lingering issues associated with his alleged violation of Federal Election Commission rules in 2009 and 2010 — Was the money he loaned to his campaign, as he still contends, actually his? If so, what is Guinta apologizing for? — the New Hampshire Republican would not go off-script when asked about his agreement to pay a $15,000 penalty to the FEC and repay $355,000 to his parents, who gave him $381,000 in 10 checks between June 2009 and September 2010.

Full story

McCarthy: No Plans in House to Budge on NSA Curbs

McCarthy, R-Calif., listens as other House GOP leaders speak to reporters following the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, April 14, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McCarthy (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has a message for Senate Republicans: If they want to extend expiring provisions of the Patriot Act, they aren’t going to do any better than the so-called USA Freedom Act.

The California Republican wouldn’t say whether there was a contingency plan if the Senate doesn’t heed that advice. Full story

Democrats: Don’t Cut Medicare to Fund Trade Deal

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 10: Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., reads from his new book "My Country 'Tis of Thee," during a conversation at the Center for American Progress. The books touches on issues from his Muslim faith and family to the future of the country. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Ellison and Grijalva want changes to the Trade Adjustment Assistance bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Democrats successfully blocked debate on Trade Promotion Authority in their chamber until they were promised a vote on Trade Adjustment Assistance.

A similar gambit faces longer odds in the House, but Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairmen Raúl M. Grijalva of Arizona and Keith Ellison of Minnesota began Monday an effort to rally support among Democrats to force changes to the pending TAA legislation.

Full story

Democrats Face Risky Votes Ahead of Memorial Day Recess

Carney, D-Del., arrives for the House Financial Services Committee hearing on "Assessing the Impact of the Dodd-Frank Act Four Years Later" on Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Cal

Carney acknowledged the effort to quash another short-term highway fund extension sends a message, even if it comes up short. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democrats have some tough decisions to make before Congress breaks for a week-long Memorial Day recess.

Walking a fine line between practicality and messaging, rank-and-file members are weighing their options for having the most impact on two legislative agenda items: A short-term extension of the Highway Trust Fund and the fiscal 2016 Legislative Branch appropriations bill. Full story

May 15, 2015

Breaking Down the House Defense Bill Vote

Smith, D-Wash., speaks during the Democratic members of the House Select Committee on Benghazi news conference on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Smith is the ranking Democrat on Armed Services, but said he couldn’t support the GOP’s defense spending bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After clearing an amendment hurdle Thursday that looked like it could jeopardize passage, the House easily passed the National Defense Authorization Act Friday, 269-151.

It was a strong vote, with 41 Democrats joining 228 Republicans to pass the annual defense authorization measure. But it was closer than it’s been in years, with 143 Democrats and eight Republicans saying “no” to a bill with issues both parochial and perennial. Full story

May 14, 2015

Pro-Immigration Provision Stripped From Defense Bill

Brooks' amendment prevailed Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Brooks’ amendment prevailed Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A bipartisan coalition came close Thursday to protecting immigration-related language in the fiscal 2016 National Defense Authorization Act — but not close enough.

A 221-202 vote on an amendment, offered by Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., stripped a provision in the underlying bill encouraging the Pentagon to study options for enlisting undocumented immigrants into the military in exchange for a pathway to legal status.

All 182 Democrats voted “no,” joined by 20 Republicans. Full story

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...