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January 27, 2015

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

Democrats to Complete Survey to Help Leadership With Messaging

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 is asking Democrats what they think should have been done differently in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With members still divided on what went wrong for the party in the 2014 midterm elections, the House Democrat in charge of honing messaging for the next two years is trying to build consensus around a revised communication strategy.

Rep. Steve Israel of New York, the two-term chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee who was selected by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to run a new “Democratic Policy and Communications Committee,” is asking every member to fill out a seven-part survey in advance of the caucus’ scheduled retreat next week in Philadelphia. Full story

What the House GOP’s Abortion Bill About-Face Really Means

Ellmers, R-N.C., questions HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius during her testimony before a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing in Rayburn Building on the failures of Affordable Care Act's enrollment website. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Ellmers and other Republican women had concerns about the way the 20-week abortion ban was written. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A significant contingent of women and moderate members of the House Republican Conference prevailed Wednesday, convincing GOP leadership that the political blowback for voting to ban abortions after 20 weeks could far outweigh any favor curried with the anti-abortion base of the party.

It wasn’t clear Thursday whether the decision to swap out the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” for less controversial legislation to prohibit taxpayer funding for abortion services signaled a permanent shift back toward the middle for House Republicans. Full story

Pelosi Accuses Boehner of ‘Hubris’

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., holds her weekly press conference in the Capitol on Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Pelosi second-guessed the decision to invite the Israeli prime minister to speak to a joint session of Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi dinged Speaker John A. Boehner Thursday for not consulting with Democrats or the White House on the decision to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress.

“It’s out of order in terms of the protocol,” Pelosi said of the invite. Boehner apparently did not consult with the White House on the joint session, nor did he make Democratic leadership aware of the Netanyahu invite. Full story

Clyburn Offers Personal Perspective on the Relevance, Power of ‘Selma’

Assistant Democratic Leader Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., speaks during the House Democrats' news conference on poverty and the House Republicans' budget on Tuesday, March 19, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) Copyright © Roll Call Group

Clyburn will lead the Democratic Party’s efforts to increase voter participation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“Selma” may have been snubbed by the Oscars, but Rep. James E. Clyburn gave the civil-rights movie a very personal endorsement Wednesday during a Democratic Party news conference on voting rights.

The South Carolina Democrat, introduced at the event by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as the chairman of a new task force charged with increasing voter participation, shared an anecdote about how the movie about Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement of the 1960s resonated with one of his younger relatives:

I have now seen the movie, “Selma,” twice and I plan to see it again in this building next Tuesday evening. The second time I watched it was last week and I watched it sitting with my just-turned 18-year-old granddaughter. I didn’t say anything to her about the movie. I just told her that I was sponsoring the movie for members of — of my staff and others in the community.

We rented out a theater of 120 seats. Within two hours, we had to go back and get a 300-seat theater. But I was really focusing on my granddaughter, so I sat next to her during the movie. She was — she had her iPhone, doing what 18-year-olds do.

I’m — like a granddaddy; I’m scared to look at see what was going on on that iPad, so I kept looking forward. But she stayed, when even the movie came on, she didn’t turn off that iPhone until those little four girls was walking down the staircase in the church, going to their Sunday School room and the bomb went off.

At that point, she turned off her iPhone and intently watched the movie; even asked me at one point, a question about who that person was that was having a little interchange with John Lewis about whether or not to march, James Foreman, who was one of my best friends in the movement.

And I explained who James Foreman was and she was a little bit surprised to know that I — I knew him and he was a friend. But the next morning, when the movie was over, she went home. I got a call the next morning. She wanted to have lunch. And so I said OK.

And she told me what time and I — I objected to the time. And I said, ‘Well — well, can’t we do it a little earlier?’ She says, ‘No, because I’m going to register to vote. And when I finish my registration, I want to come and have lunch with you.’

And she brought some of her friends with her. And we talked about the movie. And we talked about voting. And when lunch was over, the rest of her friends; they left and went to the voter registration office.

I think that we’re at a time that young people, who seem not to be participating at the same level as young people did when I was young; that we can get people re-engaged once again. And that’s what this task force is all about.

Clyburn, the House’s No. 3 Democrat, will head the 11-person Democratic Outreach & Engagement Task Force, which will also include California’s Lucille Roybal-Allard and Barbara Lee; New York’s Nydia Velázquez, Hakeem Jeffries and Grace Meng; Indiana’s André Carson; Louisiana’s Cedric Richmond; Pennsylvania’s Matt Cartwright and Brendan Boyle; and New Mexico’s Michelle Lujan Grisham.

 

Related:

Cantor Voting Rights Act Legacy is Failure to Deliver, Democrats Say

Democrats Commemorate Voting Rights Act Anniversary as Legislative Fix Remains Elusive

Voting Rights Rally Calls on Congress to Act

Can Cantor Deliver on Voting Rights Act?

Lawmakers Introduce Bipartisan Voting Rights Act Fix

Republicans to Eric Holder: Don’t Mess With Texas on Voting Rights

Cantor Calls For a Voting Rights Act Fix

Voting Rights Act Puts GOP in Pickle

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‘Toughest Border Security Bill Ever’ Sets Table for Piecemeal Strategy

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

McCaul heads to the House floor for a vote on July 24, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House is set to vote next week on what some Republicans are proudly calling “the toughest border security bill ever.”

But once the roll is called and the measure is passed, then what? Full story

January 21, 2015

Boehner Invites Netanyahu to Address Congress (Updated)

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 8: Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, holds his weekly press conference in the Capitol on Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner has invited Netanyahu to address Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated, 2:26 p.m. | House Speaker John A. Boehner on Wednesday invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress on Feb. 11 — an invitation the White House called a breach of normal protocol.

The invitation comes just hours after President Barack Obama, in his Tuesday night State of the Union address, warned lawmakers in both chambers he would veto any attempts to increase sanctions against Iran while the administration is involved in negotiations to limit the Islamic republic’s nuclear program.

Boehner said at a press conference that he did not consult the White House prior to sending out the invitation, as is customary when it comes to coordinating such joint sessions.
Full story

January 20, 2015

Hoyer Mum on Whether He’ll Help Obama, GOP on Trade Deal

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., speaks as House Democrats hold a news conference to call for presidential action on immigration on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Hoyer hasn’t committed his support for the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Barack Obama likely will reiterate his call for Congress to pave the way for new trade negotiations — but House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer is still demurring on how far he’ll go to help the administration achieve that goal.

The Maryland Democrat said Tuesday at his weekly pen-and-pad briefing with reporters that he was, and would continue, discussing the matter with the White House, Trade Representative Michael Froman and fellow members of House Democratic leadership. Full story

Boehner Invites Anti-Castro Cubans to Obama Speech

President Barack Obama greets Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on the House floor after the State of the Union address to Congress. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama greets Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on the House floor last year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Speaker John A. Boehner’s list of invitees to Tuesday night’s State of the Union address includes two prominent Cuban dissidents, Jorge Luis García Pérez (known as Antúnez) and Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera.

Pérez is a leader of the Cuban resistance movement who was jailed for 17 years for publicly denouncing the Castro regime. He was released in 2007. Full story

January 19, 2015

Obama, GOP Clash Ahead of SOTU

President Barack Obama and Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, attend the annual Friends of Ireland Luncheon the Capitol's Rayburn Room. Enda Kenny, Prime Minister (Taoiseach) of Ireland, was in attendance. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama and Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, attend the annual Friends of Ireland Luncheon the Capitol’s Rayburn Room on March 14, 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A revitalized President Barack Obama and newly empowered Republican leaders are heading into Tuesday’s State of the Union address on a collision course.

At their joint retreat in Hershey, Pa., Republicans fresh off triumphant midterm elections said they are looking for the president to become a legislating partner — even as they promise bold, or even quixotic, clashes with Obama. Full story

Former Rep. Frank Wolf Will Lead Baylor University’s Efforts on Capitol Hill

Wolf will be working on religious freedom issues on Capitol Hill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Wolf will be focused on religious freedom on Capitol Hill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After nearly 35 years representing Northern Virginia in Congress, former Republican Rep. Frank R. Wolf plans to lead Baylor University’s efforts on Capitol Hill.

Wolf, who was an outspoken defender of religious minorities during his congressional career, particularly Christians in Iraq and Egypt, has been appointed the first Jerry and Susie Wilson Chair in Religious Freedom. The Texas-based university announced the move Monday, following the 75-year-old’s announcement in December 2013 that he planned to retire and pursue humanitarian work. Full story

January 16, 2015

Congressional Black Caucus Sees Leverage in Steve Scalise Protests

Protesters outside rallied outside the Capitol Hill Club on Jan. 13. (Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call)

Protesters outside rallied outside the Capitol Hill Club on Jan. 13. (Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call)

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus see opportunity in the scandal that inspired a heart-shaped “KKK + GOP” sign outside a recent Capitol Hill Club fundraiser for House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.

Revelations that the Louisiana Republican rejected a 1996 resolution in apologizing for slavery — six years before his 2002 address at a meeting of white supremacists — “disgusted” CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield, but the North Carolina Democrat says he doesn’t want to dwell on it. Full story

January 15, 2015

Boehner, McConnell Attempt to Define the Relationship

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio; and Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speak to the press in the Capitol after meeting with the President. (Photo By Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner and McConnell. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

HERSHEY, Pa. — In their first joint public appearance since Mitch McConnell became Senate majority leader, Speaker John A. Boehner and the Senate’s top Republican came before a Washington press corps — assembled at Lebbie Lebkicher’s Restaurant in the Hershey Lodge Hotel — and described the new relationship between the House and Senate: separate, but together.

Boehner and McConnell were asked how the two chambers would work out the differences on a Department of Homeland Security funding bill, which is the first big test facing Congress. Full story

Van Hollen’s New Pitch for Democrats: Middle-Class Tax Cuts

Van Hollen, D-Md., delivers a speech at the Center For American Progress on middle-class wages, January 12, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Van Hollen’s proposal calls for middle-class tax cuts and new fees on Wall Street. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As House and Senate Republicans were plotting their legislative agenda in Hershey, Pa., Democrat Chris Van Hollen touted his own populist economic plan Thursday morning at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Van Hollen’s proposal — new fees on Wall Street to pay for middle-class tax relief — isn’t likely to go anywhere on Capitol Hill, at least not in the GOP-controlled 114th Congress. Full story

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