Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
January 30, 2015

January 30, 2015

Republican Congressman in Hospice Care

Nunnelee has not been in Washington since the 114th Congress began. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Nunnelee has been home since the start of the 114th Congress. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Alan Nunnelee, who has been absent from Capitol Hill for the majority of the past year after being diagnosed with a brain tumor in the spring, was moved to home hospice care in Tupelo on Jan. 26, according to a source with knowledge of the Mississippi Republican’s condition.

A local consultant issued a statement from the family Friday confirming the grim news.

In May, doctors found a tumor in the right side of Nunnelee’s brain after he went to the hospital complaining of fatigue. Nunnelee, 56, underwent brain surgery in June to remove the tumor, but suffered a stroke during the procedure, which led to impaired speech and numbness on his left side.

Full story

Biden to House Democrats: ‘Double Down’

Biden gets directions from his staff as he arrives for a photo-op with students participating in the JDRF Children’s Congress in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building on Wednesday, July 10, 2013. Every two years, over a hundred children with type 1 diabetes gather in Washington, D. C. to meet face-to-face with some of the top decision-makers in the U.S. government to help politicians understand what life with type 1 diabetes is like and why research to find the cure for diabetes and its complications is so critical. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) « less

Biden said Democrats need to take credit for the improving economy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
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PHILADELPHIA — As a House Democratic retreat obsessed with messaging on the middle class came to a close Friday, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. implored his congressional colleagues to not run from the White House’s economic record.

“Let’s resolve to double down,” Biden told House Democrats assembled in the Sheraton ballroom. “Let’s resolve to double down right now.” Full story

January 29, 2015

Obama Fires Up House Democrats (Updated)

US President Barack Obama delivers the State of The Union address on January 20, 2015, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC.  Credit: Mandel Ngan / Pool Copyright ©2015 Agence France Presse Photos

Obama told Democrats to take credit for the improving economy (Mandel Ngan/AFP File Photo)

Updated 10:55 p.m. | PHILADELPHIA — A fiery President Barack Obama addressed House Democrats Thursday night, saying while there’s more work to do in restoring the economy, Democrats can’t be shy about what they’ve already accomplished.

His remarks, delivered in the ballroom of a Sheraton hotel on the second evening of the House Democratic retreat, were tailored to the caucus’s new strategy: Focus the party’s message on growing the middle class and take full credit for the nation’s economic recovery of the past six years.
Full story

Key Democrat Criticizes Obama on Trade Negotiations

Levin, D-Mich., speaks during the press conference on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, to announce legislation "to tighten restrictions on corporate tax inversions." (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Levin said Congress needs more transparency from Obama on the Pacific trade deal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

PHILADELPHIA — As Congress and the White House work on a trade agreement with Pacific countries, a key Democrat in the negotiations is criticizing the Obama administration for a lack of transparency — and more specifically, a lack of access to the actual text.

Ways and Means ranking Democrat Sander M. Levin told reporters assembled at a hotel conference room roundtable that the White House was not allowing members of Congress to know what is being offered by which countries in an emerging trade deal. Full story

Democrats Unite Around Middle-Class Message, Israel Says

Israel, D-N.Y., chairman of the DCCC, speaks at the National Press Club's Newsmaker series on how Rep. Paul Ryan's, R-Wis., budget will effect the midterm elections. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Israel says Democrats are behind the new “middle class” focus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

PHILADELPHIA — House Democrats are united around a new messaging strategy for the 2016 cycle, according to Rep. Steve Israel of New York.

“Middle class, middle class and middle class,” the chairman of a newly created Democratic Policy and Communication Committee told reporters on Thursday morning. Full story

Memo Plants Seeds for GOP’s New Immigration Strategy

McCarthy, R-Calif., participates in the press conference announcing House GOP leadership for upcoming session of Congress on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) Copyright © 2014 CQ-Roll Call, Inc.

McCarthy hints at a new GOP line of attack on the president’s immigration policies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy sent House Republicans a legislative memo Thursday, laying out a February agenda of repealing Obamacare, taking on unfunded mandates, and permanently providing a tax deduction for charitable giving.

But more than messaging, McCarthy may have also begun planting the seed that Republicans might need a different vehicle to fight President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration other than the Department of Homeland Security funding bill. Full story

January 28, 2015

Pelosi Says Netanyahu Address ‘Not Appropriate’

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., conducts her weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center, January 22, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Pelosi offered up a more forceful rebuke of Netanyahu’s plans to address Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

PHILADELPHIA — As the controversy builds over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned address to a joint session of Congress this spring, Nancy Pelosi weighed in again Wednesday with a more forceful rebuke of what she and the White House have called a breach in protocol.

“It is not appropriate,” the House minority leader said at the end of a 45 minute news conference with other top Democrats to kick off the House Democratic retreat. The Californian said she had spoken with Netanyahu earlier in the day, and she made her feelings clear that his visit, scheduled for just two weeks before the Israeli elections, could jeopardize fragile nuclear negotiations with Iran. She said it “could send the wrong message.” Full story

White House Helping Democrats Shape Message to Middle Class

Kind, D-Wisc., speaks during the bipartisan news conference outside of the Capitol to unveil "a major proposal aimed at modernizing America's regulatory system to reduce compliance costs, encourage growth and innovation, and improve national competitiveness" on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Kind is one of the Democrats championing more “aspirational” messaging. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The same day House Democrats are set to go to their annual issues conference in Philadelphia to discuss messaging for the 2016 election cycle, among other things, the caucus’s new messaging group held its inaugural meeting on Capitol Hill.

The newly minted, 16-member Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, which was tailored specifically to be led by recent Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel of New York, heard Wednesday morning from David Simas, the White House director of the Office of Political Strategy and Outreach. Full story

Republican Champion of Dodd-Frank Changes Goes After Elizabeth Warren

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 14: Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., waits on one of the buses outside the Rayburn House Office Building as House Republicans prepare to head to Hershey, Pa., for their retreat with Senate Republicans on Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Yoder waits on one of the buses that took Republicans to their retreat in Hershey, Pa., earlier this month. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When your greatest legislative achievement is passing one of the most contentious provisions in the 113th Congress — a Dodd-Frank rollback that lobbyists literally helped write — taking credit for the legislation is a delicate art.

If you celebrate your win with a round of self-congratulatory press releases, you risk incurring the wrath of an American public generally resentful and distrusting of Wall Street. Full story

January 27, 2015

Gowdy: ‘Southern Politeness’ Isn’t Working in Benghazi Probe

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 17: Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., speaks during the House Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi hearing on "Implementation of the Accountability Review Board Recommendations" on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Gowdy plans to “ratchet up” the Benghazi hearings. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Well, that honeymoon is over. After months of public deference toward one another, the top Republican and the ranking Democrat on the House Benghazi committee put on the gloves Tuesday.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., accused Chairman Trey Gowdy of violating repeated promises to conduct a nonpartisan investigation into the 2012 terror attack in Libya that cost the lives of four Americans. The South Carolina Republican fired back that Obama administration officials are deliberately wasting the panel’s time. Full story

House Democrats Brace for Potentially Tense Retreat

elosi, D-Calif., arrives for her weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center, January 22, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Pelosi’s Democrats head to Philadelphia looking for unity. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The official theme of the House Democrats’ annual “issues conference” this week is “Grow America’s Economy, Grow American Paychecks.”

But the three-day retreat in Philadelphia, which kicks off Wednesday afternoon, could be a test of whether leaders and rank-and-file members can return to Washington, D.C., having found some common ground. Full story

Conservatives Take Credit for Derailing Border Security Bill

 left, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., leave a news conference after a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol, January 27, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) gop_meeting003_012715.JPG

Boehner, second from right, was joined by other House Republican leaders Tuesday to talk about why the GOP’s border security bill was delayed. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

With inclement weather grounding planes across the country Monday, GOP leaders pulled a border security bill from the floor schedule this week, citing the weather and an already condensed schedule.

One day later, though there are no blizzards conveniently scheduled for next week, Speaker John A. Boehner wasn’t about to commit to a timeline for resurrecting the border bill — a delay that some hard-line conservatives are already chalking up as a victory.

Full story

An Off-Ramp in Immigration Showdown

Boehner wants to file an immigration lawsuit, something that could help the GOP out of  sticky spot on a border funding bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner wants to file an immigration lawsuit, something that could help the GOP out of sticky spot on a border funding bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republican leaders may have found the eventual off-ramp in their showdown with the White House over immigration.

Speaker John A. Boehner floated one tried and true idea to his restive conference Tuesday — suing.

Full story

January 26, 2015

Conservatives Announce New Group That Could Rival RSC — Or Not (Updated)

From left, Reps. Labrador, Jordan, Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and Massie at the voting for the speaker of the House on Jan. 6. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

From left, Labrador, Jordan, Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and Massie confer during the House speaker vote on Jan. 6. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated, 10:23 a.m. | Conservatives announced Monday morning the formation of a new group, the House Freedom Caucus. But with only nine members to start, it’s unclear what such a caucus will mean for another conservative group: the Republican Study Committee.

Instead of a grand news conference, members opted for a quiet press release, announcing the “HFC” before lawmakers even got back to the Capitol. The release said the group — which includes Scott Garrett of New Jersey, Jim Jordan of Ohio, John Fleming of Louisiana, Matt Salmon of Arizona, Justin Amash of Michigan, Raúl R. Labrador of Idaho, Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, Ron DeSantis of Florida and Mark Meadows of North Carolina — would have an agenda of “limited, constitutional government in Congress.” Full story

January 22, 2015

House, Senate Republicans Meet in Secret to Discuss Border Security Bill

Sessions, R-Ala., speaks with a reporter as he arrives for the Senate Republicans' policy lunch in the Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sessions, R-Ala., speaks with a reporter as he arrives for the Senate Republicans’ policy lunch in the Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Two days after Sen. Jeff Sessions bashed a House border security bill, Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul crossed the Dome Thursday to clear the air and try to secure the support of one of Congress’ most ardent immigration critics.

McCaul — with Rules Chairman Pete Sessions of Texas and freshman Gary Palmer of Alabama in tow — met with Sessions, the Alabama Republican,  Thursday in the senator’s Russell office for roughly 30 minutes. The discussion centered on the House bill and a round of comments from both men that have played out in press releases and news reports. Full story

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