Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 17, 2014

April 17, 2014

Pelosi: Republican Inaction on Unemployment Extension ‘Immoral’

 

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday called House Republicans’ refusal to allow a vote on extending unemployment benefits “unconscionable” and “immoral.”

In a letter thanking Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican, and Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, a Democrat, for their support on the issue, Pelosi, D-Calif., urged the House to take action on a bill that passed the Senate last week.

“It is unconscionable that the House has not acted to renew emergency unemployment insurance,” she wrote. “Never before has Congress allowed emergency unemployment insurance to expire while long-term unemployment rates have remained so high.”

Full story

Staffer Accused of Leaking ‘Kissing Congressman’ Video Resigns, Report Says

The staffer accused of leaking video of Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La., passionately kissing another staff member at his office has resigned, according to the Monroe News Star.

The congressman’s hometown newspaper reported late Wednesday that the staffer in question, Monroe District Office Manager Leah Gordon, submitted her resignation.

McAllister’s chief of staff, Adam Terry, told the Star that Gordon was not fired.

“We won’t terminate or discipline any employee until after our internal investigation of the security breach is complete,” Terry said.

The Louisiana congressman has kept a low profile since the video of him kissing Melissa Peacock, a married staffer, was leaked to the local press in early April. His communications director has said the congressman is spending the recess with his family but plans to return to Congress later this month, when the House reconvenes on April 28.

Many GOP leaders have called for his resignation.  Peacock resigned earlier this month.

Related stories:

A Crash Course in Congressional Hanky-Panky

8 Things to Know About Rep.-Elect Vance McAllister

Vance McAllister Kissing Video Could Prompt Flood of GOP Challengers

 

By Cameron Easley Posted at 12:20 p.m.
Uncategorized

‘Kissing Congressman’ McAllister Plans House Return After Recess

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McAllister and his family at his mock swearing in just last fall. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Vance McAllister will return to the House after the Easter/Passover recess, his communications director told the New Orleans Times Picayune Thursday.

The Louisiana Republican, who’s been absent from the public eye — and from Congress — since an infidelity scandal broke earlier this month, is spending the recess with his family, according to spokeswoman Jennifer Dunagin.

“The congressman is with his wife and family for the remainder of the Easter Recess,” Dunagin told the New Orleans paper. “That’s his No. 1 priority, and his scheduled events will be canceled this week. However, his D.C. and district offices are fully operational and will continue to be. The congressman was elected to do a job, and he looks forward to returning to D.C. following the end of recess.”

The House is expected to reconvene on Monday, April 28.

 

Related stories:

A Crash Course in Congressional Hanky-Panky

8 Things to Know About Rep.-Elect Vance McAllister

Vance McAllister Kissing Video Could Prompt Flood of GOP Challengers

April 16, 2014

Obama Calls Cantor After Day of Immigration Sparring

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6:05 p.m. | President Barack Obama called House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Wednesday to implore House Republicans to hold a vote on the Senate-passed  immigration overhaul, prompting Cantor to say the president hasn’t learned how to work with Congress.

The Virginia Republican’s retort came in the form of a statement on a day of nasty back and forth between the president, Democrats and House GOP leadership over immigration legislation.

Full story

Eshoo Raises Money From Tech Industry Ahead of Ranking-Member Battle With Pallone

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Rivals for the ranking member slot, Eshoo and Pallone chatted earlier this month at a news conference. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Anna G. Eshoo’s leadership political action committee raised $203,000 — mostly from high-tech and telecommunication firms — as she bids to be ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. It is the first leadership PAC of the California Democrat’s nearly 22-year congressional career. First-quarter numbers for Eshoo’s main rival for the post, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., were not yet available.

The burgeoning war chest provides leverage for Eshoo in the closely-contested ranking member race to succeed retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., when the new Congress convenes.

Eshoo’s PAC was bolstered by contributions from the PACs of some powerful industry players who could come before the Energy and Commerce Committee, including Time Warner Cable, Comcast and NBC Universal, Google and Microsoft.

Leadership PACS are not just about receiving money, but about being able to spend cash, too, specifically in support of colleagues whose relationships could be professionally beneficial.

In her quarterly report, Eshoo revealed that she made donations to a number of her colleagues, including many in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Frontline program for vulnerable members. Members who received donations from Eshoo’s PAC include Rep. Nick J. Rahall II of West Virginia, John F. Tierney of Massachusetts, Raul Ruiz of California, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Ami Bera of California.

Full story

April 15, 2014

Republican Governor Makes Unemployment Extension Push (Updated)

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Sandoval (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated April 16 9:50 a.m. | The governors of the two states with the highest unemployment rates — including a Republican — are urging Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio to take up the Senate’s unemployment extension bill.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican, and Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, a Democrat, wrote to Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. D-Calif., asking that the House take up the Senate-passed bill.

“As you know, long-term unemployment remains unacceptably high despite the fact that our economy has been recovering from the worst recession in generations. When our country has experienced similar rates of long-term unemployment in the past, Congress has consistently acted in a bipartisan fashion to extend emergency unemployment benefits,” the governors wrote.
Full story

Immigration Overhaul: Democrats Look to Flip 30 House Republicans

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(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats are holding out hope that their discharge petition on a comprehensive immigration overhaul bill can still work — or at least be used as election-year ammo.

House Democrats held a conference call Tuesday to announce their intention to distribute a memo in the districts of 30 House Republicans who have signaled support for an immigration overhaul previously. Democrats are calling on these Republicans, and others, to “put their pen where their mouth is,” as Colorado Democrat Jared Polis put it, and sign the discharge petition for HR 15, the companion bill to the Senate-passed immigration bill.

The discharge petition for the House bill currently has 191 Democratic signatures, meaning nine Democrats still haven’t signed on to the effort. There are, however, 200 co-sponsors for the bill, including three Republicans: Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Jeff Denham and David Valadao of California. Full story

After Afghanistan, Boehner Heads for Abu Dhabi

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(Courtesy John Boehner)

Updated: 12:08 | John A. Boehner is using social media to document his recess-week overseas trip, posting videos and photos Monday of himself and seven other Republicans in Afghanistan and updating Tuesday with shots from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Team Boehner has photos up on Flicker and posted a video online late Monday of Boehner speaking in sun-drenched Kabul. Full story

‘Kissing Congressman’ McAllister Ducks Tea Party Rally for Counseling

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McAllister, right, has so far resisted calls for his resignation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The governor, the chairman of his state party and a growing list of other Republicans (including, in all likelihood, the GOP leadership in the House — though they’ve yet to say so publicly) have asked him to step down, but Rep. Vance McAllister, for now, is trying to ride out the storm.

The “kissing congressman,” embroiled in an infidelity scandal, cancelled an appearance Monday at a tea party event in Ruston, La., according to rally organizers, who were told the congressman is spending this week in family counseling sessions, according to the Monroe News Star. Full story

April 14, 2014

Boehner Leads Delegation to Afghanistan to Observe Presidential Elections

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:15 p.m. | Speaker John A. Boehner kicked off the two-week congressional recess with a visit to Afghanistan to observe the historic presidential election there.

According to a statement and press release from the Ohio Republican’s office Monday morning, datelined from Kabul, Boehner was accompanied by Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline, R-Minn.; Natural Resources Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash.; Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich.; and National Republican Campaign Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore.

Also in attendance were some of the Speaker’s friends and allies: Republican Reps. Tom Latham of Iowa, Devin Nunes of California and Steve Womack of Arkansas.

House GOP leadership aides could not shed light on why this particular “Gang of Eight” had been assembled — it could just be that Boehner wanted to bring lawmakers with whom he has a good rapport. Full story

April 11, 2014

Highway Bill Could Consume Petri’s Last Months in Congress

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Rep. Tom Petri (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Tom Petri announced Friday that he will retire from Congress at the end of the year, and he’s poised to go out with a legislative bang — or a whimper.

The 73-year-old Wisconsin Republican’s last eight months on Capitol Hill will likely be consumed with negotiations over legislation to reauthorize funding for the nation’s highway and transit programs in his role as chairman of the subcommittee of jurisdiction.

The stakes are high for a six-year reauthorization after 2012 efforts to pass a long-term transportation bill fell short and the fiscal health of the Highway Trust Fund is in deep peril. Full story

April 10, 2014

Boehner Hammers Obama Administration Over Benghazi, IRS (Video)

Speaker John A. Boehner had a few things to say Thursday morning.

During his weekly press conference, which lasted just over 6 minutes, Boehner criticized former director of the Exempt Organizations Division of the IRS, Lois G. Lerner, and knocked Democrats for playing politics rather than working with Republicans to create jobs. But Boehner most notably and vociferously went after the Obama administration for putting up roadblocks to answers on Benghazi, Fast and Furious and the IRS scandal.

The Ohio Republican also addressed the recent kissing controversy surrounding Louisiana Republican Vance McAllister, saying he had spoken to the freshman Congressman and expects all members to be held to the highest ethical standards.

Boehner said Republicans were “trying to build a consensus” on an Obamacare replacement bill, and were waiting for Democrats to offer an unemployment extension that was paid for and would address the economic problems in the United States.

Boehner’s press conference turned into an outburst, however, when he fielded a question from Fox News’s Chad Pergram regarding Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s intimation that he had been treated unfairly because of his race.

Watch the full press conference below:

Jindal Calls on McAllister to Resign

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McAllister, as his family looks on, at his mock swearing-in last November. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The chorus calling on Rep. Vance McAllister to resign is growing.

First, on Thursday, it was Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, who said McAllister has “got decisions to make,” then it was the chairman of the Louisiana GOP, Roger F. Villere Jr., who released a statement saying “a breach of trust of this magnitude can only be rectified by an immediate resignation,” and now it’s Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Jindal released a statement Thursday that said McAllister had “embarrassed” the party and that it was time for him to resign.

“The best way to get privacy and work on putting his family back together is to resign from Congress,” Jindal said. Full story

Black Congresswomen: Military Hair Rules Unfair to Black Servicewomen

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The women of the Congressional Black Caucus want Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to rethink recently-revised Defense Department grooming standards that they say unfairly target hairstyles popular among female African-American soldiers.

In a letter dated Thursday, all 16 women of the CBC joined other critics of the DOD’s grooming policy who contend that the new standards make it more difficult for black servicewomen to maintain and upkeep their hair.

“We understand the intent of the updated regulation is to ensure uniformity in our military,” the CBC members wrote to Hagel, “[but] it is seen as discriminatory rules targeting soldiers who are women of color with little regard to what is needed to maintain their natural hair. Full story

Boehner Says Unemployment Extension Is Up to White House (Video) (Updated)

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 2:20 p.m. | Speaker John A. Boehner said Thursday it’s up to the White House to make a new proposal before he’ll consider an unemployment benefits extension, as the House left town for two weeks without acting on a bipartisan Senate bill.

The Senate’s passage of an unemployment benefits extension earlier this week doesn’t change the House’s stand on the issue, the Ohio Republican said Thursday morning.

Boehner said he had made it clear to the president in December that an unemployment insurance extension would “have to be paid for and would have to include things that would help get our economy moving.”

“They have not put forward anything with regard to how we would create more jobs,” Boehner said. “And so the ball’s still in their court.” Full story

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