Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 27, 2015

February 26, 2015

House GOP Faces Another Whip Test on DHS Punt

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When in doubt, punt. That’s the latest plan from House Republicans, but even trying to pass a tried-and-true congressional maneuver might be a tall order for the GOP’s fractured conference.

They met again in the Capitol basement Thursday night and settled on a game plan: a three-week continuing resolution stripped of all provisions blocking President Barack Obama’s immigration action, as well as a separate motion to go to conference with the Senate.

It’s not a plan for victory, per se, but it keeps the game going — and it’s a chance to save face somewhere down the line.

But with House Democratic leaders planning to whip against it, Republican leaders will have to get their team to march in the same direction, and that’s never been an easy feat.

Full story

GOP Leadership Floats 3 More Weeks of DHS Funding (Video)

House Republican leadership plans to move forward with another stopgap spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security, in a move sure to draw additional criticism from Democrats.

Rep. Darrell Issa said he supports a three-week clean continuing resolution for DHS funding, and he suggested that’s the plan leaders will move forward with. Issa said Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, proposed such a plan to the conference during a special meeting Thursday afternoon.

Full story

Some Democrats May Skip It, But Netanyahu Speech Is Still a Hot Ticket

Dozens of House Democrats are planning to skip Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress on March 3, and they’re hoping their absence will send a strong signal.

One of those Democrats is Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky. Full story

Fire Boehner? Mia Love Says Maybe McConnell Needs the Boot

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 26: Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, poses for a selfie with a CPAC attendee following her appearance on stage at CPAC in National Harbor, Md., on Feb. 26, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Love poses for a photo Thursday with a CPAC attendee following her appearance on stage. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Amid new speculation that John A. Boehner’s speakership somehow hangs in the balance as Republicans struggle with the Department of Homeland Security funding standoff, freshman Rep. Mia Love said maybe it’s Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who should be worried. Full story

A Kiss for Luck? DHS Funding Falls Back to Boehner

Things are getting weird in the House.

Despite a GOP Senate that is waving the white flag, Speaker John A. Boehner isn’t ready to admit defeat on the Department of Homeland Security funding bill — at least not yet. Full story

New Tea Party Caucus Chairman: DHS Fight Could Break the GOP

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The act of listening is one of the safest, most clichéd strategies in Washington. Candidates embark on public relations-friendly “listening tours.” Committee members nod as experts testify. Congressional leaders sit through sessions with frustrated members, rope-a-doping their party’s most spirited lawmakers by responding to tirades with an open ear.

The strategy is exactly what Speaker John A. Boehner gave his conference Wednesday, telling Republicans to wait and see what the Senate delivers on the Department of Homeland Security funding bill before gathering their pitchforks. Full story

February 25, 2015

The Foggy, Imperfect, No-Good End Game on DHS Funding

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., conduct a news conference after a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol, February 25, 2015. The group fielded questions on funding for the Department of Homeland Security. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner and Scalise look on as McCarthy takes questions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call).

If you’re wondering how the fight over the Department of Homeland Security funding bill is going to end, you’re not alone: Lawmakers and aides across the Capitol genuinely don’t know — which doesn’t exactly portend well for avoiding a department shutdown.

After a two-week stint where they purportedly didn’t directly speak to each other, Speaker John A. Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell thawed the silence during a 41-minute meeting in McConnell’s office Wednesday. Full story

Wasserman Schultz Fillets House Counsel Over Cost of Boehner Lawsuit

Wasserman Schultz wanted an estimate of legal costs. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Wasserman Schultz wanted an estimate of legal costs. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The top Democrat on the House Appropriations Legislative Branch Subcommittee took advantage of a rare opportunity to grill the chamber’s top lawyer on the cost of Speaker John A. Boehner’s lawsuit against President Barack Obama.

House General Counsel Kerry W. Kircher was called to the witness table by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., who wanted an estimate of how many billable hours taxpayers would be on the hook for in fiscal 2016, as the GOP challenges the legality of Obama’s executive actions and targeting implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Full story

On DHS Funding, House Republicans Agree to Wait on Senate

House Republicans emerged from their closed-door meeting Wednesday morning in agreement they’ll wait and see what the Senate can pass in regards to legislation funding the Department of Homeland Security.

That is, however, where the strategy ends, at least in terms of what’s being articulated publicly. Full story

February 24, 2015

House GOP in Holding Pattern on Funding DHS

Republicans are waiting for leadership to finalize a DHS funding strategy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans are waiting for leadership to finalize a DHS funding strategy before Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republicans on Tuesday evening were still digesting the news that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hoped to advance a “clean” bill to float Homeland Security operations before department funding expires at the end of the week.

GOP lawmakers won’t know how leadership will respond until the regularly scheduled Wednesday morning members’ meeting — and even after that, a path forward could remain elusive. Full story

Hoyer on Short-Term DHS Bill: ‘Cross That Bridge When We Come to It’

Hoyer said he'll attend the Netanyahu address. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hoyer . (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republican leaders still haven’t shared their game plan — if they have one — for funding the Department of Homeland Security past its Friday expiration date.

But House Democrats are playing their hand close to the vest, too. Full story

California’s Outsider-Turned-Insider Tasked With Youth Outreach

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., speaks with Roll Call in his Capitol Hill office on Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Swalwell, who has a rack of wines produced in his California district in his Capitol Hill office, tells CQ Roll Call he’s learned a lot from Pelosi. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Eric Swalwell got to Washington three years ago by taking on the establishment: Instead of waiting for Pete Stark, who was 80 at the time, to retire, Swalwell went after the 20-term Democratic incumbent.

It was a bold move for a 31-year-old city councilman from the San Francisco suburbs, and Swalwell conceded in a recent interview with CQ Roll Call that he had concerns about how Stark’s longtime colleagues on Capitol Hill would react to his arrival. Full story

Native Son Bidding for a Sweet Return to Montgomery | Life After Congress

Davis spoke at CPAC in 2013. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Davis spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2013. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Perhaps it’s fitting that an African-American man who addressed the 2008 Democratic National Convention in support of Barack Obama and the 2012 Republican National Convention against Barack Obama is running in a nonpartisan race here against a man named “Strange.”

Former Rep. Artur Davis, a native of this city who once represented Alabama’s 7th District as a Democrat, is about to test the life lessons espoused by his successor, Democratic Rep. Terri A. Sewell. Davis’ one-time ally likes to tell public school kids not to take short cuts, to be proud of who they are and where they’re from and that they can always go home. Full story

February 23, 2015

CBC Chairman: ‘Black America Is in a State of Emergency’

The Congressional Black Caucus is still getting up and running for the 114th Congress — it announced its staff Monday — but its new chairman sees an urgency for an organization that has long been known to represent the interests of minorities and the poor.

“We have a traditional role and that is to be the conscience of the Congress,” Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., told CQ Roll Call on Feb. 20. “We’ve been using ‘conscience of the Congress’ as our brand, if you will, since our founding. But we’ve got to do more than that because black America is in a state of emergency right now.” Full story

New Congressional Black Caucus Staffers Announced

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 20: Congressional Black Caucus staffers from left, Kwame Canty, Kendra Brown, Candace L. Randle, and Abdul Henderson pose in the Cannon House Office Building on Friday, Feb. 20, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional Black Caucus staffers, from left, Kwame Canty, Kendra Brown, Candace L. Randle and Abdul Henderson. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With the 114th Congress already heading into its seventh week of action, the Congressional Black Caucus announced its new staff, filling out its four-person shop with three new hires and one holdover from the 113th.

Abdul Henderson will serve as the CBC’s new executive director, taking over for LaDavia Drane, who is now director of the Office of Federal and Regional Affairs in D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration. Full story

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