Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 16, 2014

April 15, 2014

Unemployment Extension: Republican Gov. Sandoval Joins Democrats’ Call for Action

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(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The governors of the two states with the highest unemployment rates 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

House Oversight Votes to Hold Lois Lerner in Contempt (Video)

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(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted along party lines Thursday to hold ex-IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress.

The vote, coming as Congress heads out of town for a two-week recess, is the latest chapter in a year-long probe that has sparked some of the fiercest partisan clashes among panel members in recent memory — from cutting off the ranking member’s microphone as he sought to speak to comparing the chairman to Sen. Joe McCarthy, R-Wis.

Full story

Breaking Down the 12 Republican ‘No’ Votes on the Ryan Budget (Updated)

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Broun joined 11 other Republicans voting against the Ryan budget. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated, 3:51 p.m. | This year saw more Republicans than ever vote against Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan’s spending blueprint, which passed the House Thursday 219-205. Here is a breakdown of the 12 Republicans who voted against the Wisconsin Republican’s budget and why.

Full story

Pelosi: ‘Race’ Part of the Reason GOP Won’t Act on Immigration (Video)

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that “race” is one reason Republicans are avoiding an immigration overhaul.

During her weekly press conference, the California Democrat implied there were ulterior reasons Republicans weren’t addressing immigration.

“I think race has something to do with them not bringing up the immigration bill,” Pelosi said. “I’ve heard them say to the Irish, ‘If it was just you, it would be easy.’”

Full story

House Approves Ryan Budget

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(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House narrowly approved Rep. Paul D. Ryan’s spending blueprint Thursday, 219-205. It’s an important symbolic victory for the Wisconsin Republican and potential GOP presidential contender.

No Democrats voted for the 10-year-spending plan and the bill won’t go anywhere in the Senate, but the document has come to represent a marker for where the Republican Party, its leaders and rank-and-file House members stand on fiscal policy.

Full story

April 9, 2014

McAllister Won’t Ask for FBI Probe of Kissing Video Leak for Now

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Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La., left, invited Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty to join him at President Obama’s State of the Union address earlier this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Vance McAllister, struggling with an escalating infidelity scandal, backpedalled Wednesday afternoon on earlier reports that he would seek an FBI probe into the leak of a surveillance tape showing him kissing and embracing a married aide in his Monroe, La., district office.

His staff released a statement Wednesday that said the Republican, elected five months ago, is focused on his family, not an investigation.

The full statement:

“Congressman McAllister’s office will not pursue an FBI investigation at this time regarding the distribution of a video filmed in leased federal office space. Congressman McAllister is focused on earning back the trust of those he has disappointed, and he reiterates his request for privacy for his family during this difficult period.” Full story

By David Eldridge Posted at 7:26 p.m.
Uncategorized

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