Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 29, 2015

August 28, 2015

Iran Deal Puts Jewish Democrats in Spotlight

Israel, D-N.Y., arrives at the House steps of the Capitol before the final votes before the August recess on Wednesday, July 29, 2015. The House of Representatives will not meet again until September 8, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Israel is one of the few Jewish members — past or present — weighing in against the Iran nuclear deal. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

With Senate Democrats getting closer to thwarting a GOP override vote on the Iran deal, and with House Democrats increasingly showing their own strength in upholding a presidential veto, one constituency remains a key focus in the public relations battle over the Iranian nuclear agreement: Jewish Democrats.

On Friday, six Jewish House Democrats sent a letter to colleagues pointing out the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has their support and support from a number of former Jewish members. The “Dear Colleague” letter directs Democrats to a New York Times ad in which 11 former Jewish members endorsed the agreement on Thursday. Full story

American Refugees: Hill Staffers Share Katrina Stories

UNITED STATES - August 14: From left, Peter Hunter, Senior Legislative Assistant, Joe Lustig, Legislative Assistant, and Brandon Gassaway, Press Secretary, all for the office of Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., pose for a portrait in the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Friday, August 14, 2015 (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Katrina’s impact continues to be felt in the lives of Louisianians, including Hunter, left; Lustig, center; and Gassaway, all staffers for  Richmond. 
(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

In the final installment in a series of stories on Hurricane Katrina, House staffers reflect on the storm’s impact. 

Everyone who lived through Hurricane Katrina has a story: where they were, what they did and how they coped.

House Republican Whip Steve Scalise and Democratic Rep. Cedric L. Richmond, who both represented pockets of New Orleans in the Louisiana Legislature before coming to Washington, reflected on their experiences ahead of this weekend’s 10th anniversary of the storm.

But they aren’t the only ones on Capitol Hill with tales to tell. Full story

August 27, 2015

5 Members of Congress Who Could Endorse Trump

UNITED STATES - August 15: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets fairgoers as he visits the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, August 15, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Trump greets fair-goers in Iowa earlier this month. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump may be polling far ahead of the rest of the GOP presidential field, but there’s one constituency that remains reluctant to support the insurgent candidate: Congress.

To date, not one member of Congress has formally endorsed the GOP front-runner. Perhaps that’s part of Trump’s charm for some voters. He’s a Washington outsider — as much as a New York billionaire can be, at least — and voters have taken to his monkey-wrench style of politics. Full story

August 26, 2015

Scalise, Richmond: Two Takes on Post-Katrina New Orleans

UNITED STATES - MARCH 18:  Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., speaks during an event at 101 Constitution Avenue with the National Bankers Association, Visa, and NFL players, to educate teens about financial responsibility, March 18, 2015. At the event, teens and NFL athletes Heisman Trophy winner and New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram and Detroit Lions wide receiver Ryan Broyles, played "Financial Football," a free educational video game that incorporates football and questions about money management. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

If Katrina happened in 2015, New Orleans could expect less help from Congress than it got a decade ago, Richmond said. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Here’s the latest in a CQ Roll Call series of reports on the legacy of Hurricane Katrina, continuing our conversations with New Orleans’ congressmen Steve Scalise and Cedric L. Richmond:

Ten years ago, Congress barely blinked before greenlighting billions to rebuild the Hurricane Katrina-battered city of New Orleans. Would Congress do the same today?

“Yeah, I think Congress would, and has,” House Republican Whip Steve Scalise said. “There were a lot of debates, as there should have been, but ultimately, the decision was made that they weren’t going to let a major national city fade away.” Full story

August 25, 2015

A Decade After Katrina, 2 New Orleans Lawmakers Look Back

Richmond, left, and Scalise represented New Orleans in the Louisiana State House before being elected to the U.S. House (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Richmond, left, and Scalise represented New Orleans in the Louisiana House before being elected to Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

On Saturday, New Orleans observes the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The storm left behind unimaginable destruction as well as a complicated and emotional legacy with which survivors still grapple. CQ Roll Call met separately recently with Louisiana Reps. Steve Scalise, the House Republican whip, and his longtime friend Cedric L. Richmond, a Democrat, to talk about the impact of Katrina. Their recollections (both were state lawmakers at the time), edited for length and organized for chronology, are part of a series on the storm 218 will publish this week. 

Saturday, Aug. 27
Two days before the storm. Full story

August 21, 2015

Despite Side Deal Report, Support Lines Up for Iran Deal (Updated)

Nadler, D-N.Y., participates in the news conference at the Capitol to introduce H.R.1962, the "Free Flow of Information Act of 2013" on Wednesday, May 22, 2013. The legislation would "increase protections for member

Nadler is the latest Democrat to back the Iran deal. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:49 p.m. | Despite revelations this week of a previously undisclosed side deal, despite face-to-face entreaties from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and despite nonstop criticism from Republicans, the Iran nuclear deal continues to pick up steam in Congress.

On Friday, Rep. Jerrold Nadler announced his support, saying the deal, “for all its flaws, gives us the best chance of stopping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.”

Full story

August 20, 2015

Congress’ Squishy Financial Disclosure Deadline

UNITED STATES - JULY 24: Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, heads to the House floor for a vote on Thursday, July 24, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McCaul, one of Congress’ wealthiest members, has yet to file a 2014 disclosure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A week after Congress’ Aug. 13 deadline for members filing financial disclosures — a deadline already extended 90 days from May 15 — there are still almost a dozen members who have not turned in their forms.

But fear not, those who might be inclined to worry about the difficulties and demands of congressional life. According to financial disclosure rules — confirmed by a House Ethics Committee aide on Wednesday — members get an additional 30-day grace period before they are penalized. Full story

August 19, 2015

Louis Stokes, First Black Appropriator, Dies at 90

Stokes died Tuesday night after battling cancer. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Stokes died Tuesday night after battling cancer. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Cleveland-area congressman who was chairman of the House select committee that investigated the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., passed away late Tuesday at the age of 90.

Rep. Louis Stokes, D-Ohio, served in the House for three full decades, retiring in 1999. He was notable on Capitol Hill for serving as chairman of the Ethics Committee, as well as chairman and ranking Democrat on the old Veterans’ Affairs-Housing and Urban Development appropriations subcommittee, which drafted one of the two largest domestic discretionary spending bills.

Full story

August 17, 2015

Lawmakers Ask DOJ for Statistics on Sale of Fetal Tissue

Goodlatte, R-Va., says the president must take responsibility for the border crisis. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Goodlatte, R-Va., wants to know if the Justice Department is enforcing laws banning the sale of fetal tissues. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Following the controversial release of a string of undercover Planned Parenthood videos, House Republican leaders want to know if the Department of Justice is enforcing bans on the sale of fetal tissue.

House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte and Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice Chairman Trent Franks sent a letter Monday to Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking the DOJ to turn over every complaint made against an organization or individual for selling fetal tissue. Full story

August 16, 2015

Gowdy Predicts Marathon Benghazi Hearing in October

UNITED STATES - JULY 6 - Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., asks a question to GOP presidential hopeful and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee during the Presidential Town Hall series, hosted by Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., at the Civic Center of Anderson in Anderson, S.C. on Monday, July 6, 2015. Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Clinton’s Oct. 22 hearing appearance is likely to be a marathon, Gowdy said. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Oct. 22 appearance before the House committee investigating the Benghazi attack is shaping up as a potentially explosive showdown between the Democratic presidential front-runner and panel Chairman Trey Gowdy, who said Sunday he expects a marathon hearing.

“If she’s going to insist … that she’s only coming once, I’m going to insist that that once be fully constructive, which means that she’s going to be there a while,” the chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi told “Fox News Sunday.” “We’re going to stay there until all of the questions [are answered].” Full story

August 13, 2015

Yep, Congress’ Poll Numbers Still Unfathomably Bad

Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks to reporters after the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, July 28, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner speaks to reporters after the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on July 28. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If you’re Donald Trump, you talk about poll numbers. It’s what you do. If you’re in Congress, well, you’re probably better off changing the subject.

According to a Gallup poll conducted between Aug. 5 and Aug. 9, only 14 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, and the numbers are only slightly better for Speaker John A. Boehner. The Ohio Republican’s favorability rating has fallen to 23 percent, his lowest showing as speaker in the regular Gallup survey. Full story

August 12, 2015

Democrats, Republicans Tour Israel Ahead of Iran Vote

McCarthy, D-Calif., is photographed in his Capitol office, June 4, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans, led by McCarthy, met Wednesday with Netanyahu. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s foundation hosts a biennial trip to Israel for House Democrats and Republicans, and this August recess is no exception.

But this year there are two notable differences. For one, this is the first time in anyone’s memory that the Democratic and Republican trips overlapped, if just for a day, as Democrats were preparing to return to the U.S. and Republicans were just arriving. Full story

August 11, 2015

The Bipartisan Working Group’s Elusive Target

Clockwise from left, Reps. David Joyce, R-Ohio, Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, Daniel Webster, R-Fla., Lou Barletta, R-Pa., Mark Amodei, R-Nev., Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., Scott Peters, D-Calif., Peter Welch, D-Vt., and John Carney, D-Del., attend a Bipartisan Working Group (Photo by Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Clockwise from left, Reps. Joyce, Renacci, Webster, Barletta, Amodei, Maloney, Peters, Welch and Carney attend a BPWG meeting. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

About a dozen House Republicans and Democrats sat around a table on a recent early morning, eating doughnuts and discussing the highway bill.

The Highway Trust Fund’s July 31 expiration date was near, party leaders seemed resigned to advance yet another stopgap extension and the assembled rank-and-file lawmakers wondered whether they could fully unite around a strategy to force passage of long-term legislation. Full story

August 6, 2015

Another New York Democrat Opposes Iran Deal

Engel, left, with Secretary of State John Kerry at a hearing on the Iran deal. He announced his opposition Thursday. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Engel, left, with Secretary of State John Kerry at a Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the Iran deal. He announced his opposition Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Shortly after New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer announced his opposition to the Iran deal, President Barack Obama lost another New York Democrat: Eliot L. Engel.

Engel isn’t on the list of 150 House Democrats the White House is counting as its Iran firewall, but his statement, like Schumer’s, made many of the same points Republican critics have made about weaknesses in the deal — despite a full-court press from the administration. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 11:19 p.m.
Iran

August 4, 2015

Royce, Boehner Set Stage for House Disapproval of Iran Deal

boko haram

Royce has introduced a resolution to disapprove of the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear deal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File  Photo)

The gears have been set in motion for the House to disapprove of the Iran nuclear deal when the chamber returns from recess in September.

On Tuesday afternoon, Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., announced the introduction of a resolution to reject the agreement, despite President Barack Obama’s pledge to veto any legislation that undermines the negotiated framework. Full story

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