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

September 15, 2014

McCarthy Suggests Post-Election Vote Authorizing Military Force

mccarthy 075 090914 445x296 McCarthy Suggests Post Election Vote Authorizing Military Force

McCarthy signals a post-election vote authorizing use of military force. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Emerging from a GOP leadership meeting Monday evening, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy signaled that, after the midterm elections, there’s a decent chance the House holds a new vote authorizing military force in the Middle East.

Asked during an impromptu hallway interview with a gaggle of reporters whether the House would be working on a new Authorization for Use of Military Force to combat Islamic State terrorists, McCarthy said that “after November,” he thought there would be an “opportunity” to at least debate an AUMF.

“I know a lot of members would want start to have that debate, or at least have that discussion, but I think everyone needs to have more information,” the California Republican said. Full story

Path Forward on CR, Title 10 Authority Starts to Crystalize

boehner 120 091014 445x291 Path Forward on CR, Title 10 Authority Starts to Crystalize

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After postponing consideration last week of a stop-gap spending measure to fund the government past Sept. 30, House GOP leaders are poised in the days ahead to bring that same piece of legislation to the floor.

That vote, however, will now likely be coupled with consideration of an amendment to the underlying bill that would authorize the Obama administration to train and arm Syrian rebels against the insurgent terrorist organization known as the Islamic State or ISIS.

This bifurcated approach would make it considerably easier for members — on both sides of the aisle — to vote against the ISIS language but not the continuing resolution, taking off the table the threat of a revolt large enough to risk another government shutdown. Full story

Gingrich, DeLay and Republicans of ’94 to Reunite on Capitol Hill

gingrich019 0711142 445x298 Gingrich, DeLay and Republicans of 94 to Reunite on Capitol Hill

Gingrich is part of a Wednesday panel looking back on 1994′s “Contract With America.” (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay had a rocky relationship when they served together in House GOP leadership nearly two decades ago.

But on the occasion of the 20-year anniversary of the historic 1994 elections that swept their party into power, the two former congressmen are getting the band back together.

On Wednesday evening, they will reunite on Capitol Hill to participate in a panel discussion looking back on that cycle and the history of the Contract With America, the document of campaign promises that helped Republicans cruise to victory. Full story

Using Social Media to Showcase the Speaker’s Lighter Side

boehner 138 091114 445x296 Using Social Media to Showcase the Speakers Lighter Side

Boehner’s social media team isn’t afraid to showcase the speaker’s lighter side. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

What do Speaker John A. Boehner and a windup toy monkey have in common?

More than you’d expect, apparently.

Boehner’s office recently released a YouTube video — straightforwardly titled “The Monkey in the Room” — featuring the Ohio Republican playing with the quirky toy.

The video doesn’t seem to have any real political agenda. It’s just 42 seconds of Boehner and Rep. Devin Nunes’ young children monkeying around, if you will, with an unusual office decoration.


Full story

ISIS Puts Spotlight Back on Terror as Benghazi Hearings Kick Off

gowdy013 073114 445x307 ISIS Puts Spotlight Back on Terror as Benghazi Hearings Kick Off

Gowdy leads the Benghazi select committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 12:16 p.m. | After months of behind-the-scenes work that saw the House Benghazi Select Committee virtually disappear from the media landscape, the much-hyped investigatory panel returns to the spotlight this week with its first public hearing.

The 10 a.m. Wednesday hearing comes less than a week after the two-year anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Libya that killed four Americans and at a time when the rise of ISIS has refocused much of the country’s attention on terror and the Middle East.

The Benghazi committee, announced with great fanfare in May by House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and immediately dismissed as a political stunt by Democrats, has spent the summer hiring staff and reviewing evidence.

There was — and still is — an expectation among Republicans that Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., a former prosecutor, will go after top administration officials involved in the handling of the incident and its aftermath, including former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and current Secretary John Kerry.

But neither of those two political heavyweights will appear this week, and Wednesday’s hearing looks to be more deliberative than explosive — which may be a sign that Gowdy is determined to deliver on promises to the Democrats on the committee that he would not politicize the investigation.

Wednesday’s hearing focuses on the implementation of recommendations from an independent review board and recommendations from the Benghazi Independent Panel on Best Practices.

The committee will hear from Greg Starr, the assistant secretary of State for diplomatic security, Mark Sullivan, the former director of the Secret Service, and Todd Keil, the former assistant secretary of infrastructure protection for the Department of Homeland Security.

Sullivan and Keil served on the Independent Panel of Best Practices, which issued 40 recommendations for increased diplomatic security a little over a year ago — chief among them being the creation of Starr’s job.

The hearing, based on the prospective agenda, seems less focused on Benghazi and more focused on a forward-looking approach to security management practices — a topic that has taken on new importance with the emergence of ISIS, the jihadist insurgents who control parts of Syria and Iraq.

Congress will also weigh a request this week from President Barack Obama to authorize broader military action against the group, which has captured the ire of the American public by posting videos of the beheadings of two U.S. journalists.

The Benghazi attack, of course, will be a topic of discussion Wednesday, and the public will get its first look at whether Gowdy, a prosecutor for 16 years before coming to Congress, can keep the hearing from bogging down in the partisan bickering that plagued the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which had been conducting its own Benghazi probe.

Amanda Duvall, the new committee’s deputy communications director, told CQ Roll Call that Gowdy has long said there would be public hearings. “But the work of an investigation involves depositions and witness interviews that, by nature of what those are, are not public,” Duvall said.

Gowdy announced last month that retired three-star general Lt. Gen. Dana K. Chipman would serve as chief counsel for the panel.

Chipman was the senior military lawyer for the Army for four years as judge advocate general at the Pentagon before he retired last November after 33 years on active duty.

CQ Roll Call reported in July that security clearance backlogs had slowed hiring for the panel.

Republicans provided $3.3 million for the 12-member committee to spend by the end of the year, more than the budgets of at least two House standing committees. The panel can keep working in 2015 with a renewed budget.

The other Republicans on the panel are Reps. Martha Roby of Alabama, Susan Brooks of Indiana, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Peter Roskam of Illinois, Mike Pompeo of Kansas and Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia.

The Democrats are Reps. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, Adam Smith of Washington, Adam Schiff of California, Linda T. Sánchez of California, and Tammy Duckworth of Illinois.

Correction 12:30 p.m.

An earlier version of the post incorrectly identified Amanda Duvall. She’s the deputy communications director.

 

Related stories:

Delayed Benghazi Hearings Equal Deliberate Quiet

Meet the Members of the Benghazi Committee

Gowdy Names Phil Kiko as Staff Director for Benghazi Committee

Political Typecasting on the Benghazi Panel

Benghazi Panel Will Have 7 Republicans, 5 Democrats

Benghazi Committee: Democrats Warn Boehner About Partisan Makeup

Reid Says There Will Be No Senate Committee to Investigate Benghazi (Video)

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

September 13, 2014

Capito Mourns Loss of Mother Shelley Riley Moore

WVPOL14 002 041514 445x296 Capito Mourns Loss of Mother Shelley Riley Moore

Capito, seen here in her home state earlier this year, announced the death of her mother. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito announced Saturday the death of her mother, former West Virginia First Lady Shelley Riley Moore. She was 88.

“Our mother was a wonderful, warm, and loving person,” Capito said in a joint statement with her two siblings. “She loved us and our children intensely, and she passionately loved her husband Arch, with whom she shared a beautiful marriage of 65 years.”

“She was deeply honored to serve as First Lady of West Virginia for 12 years,” the children said of their mother. “Her loyalty to her family and her friends was unmatched. We miss her warm and comforting touch, but know that she is at peace with the Lord at her side.”

Full story

By Abby Livingston Posted at 4:31 p.m.
Members

September 12, 2014

Hoyer: Give McCarthy and Scalise ‘Benefit of the Doubt’ on Leadership Process

Democratic Leaders 6 120512 445x264 Hoyer: Give McCarthy and Scalise Benefit of the Doubt on Leadership Process

Hoyer said he’s optimistic Democrats can work with the new GOP leadership team. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House’s inability to pass an emergency border funding bill last month left critics on both sides of the aisle wondering whether the new members of the GOP leadership team, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, can bring order to an unruly conference

But House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., said to give the new guys some time.

“I’m willing to give Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Scalise the benefit of the doubt,” Hoyer said in an interview on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” program set to air in full Sunday morning. Full story

September 11, 2014

No. 2 House Democrat Predicts Two-Part Vote on ISIS Request

hoyer093013 445x296 No. 2 House Democrat Predicts Two Part Vote on ISIS Request

Hoyer predicts two House votes on the president’s ISIS authority request. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer said Thursday afternoon that he expects Congress will vote next week to grant President Barack Obama authority to arm Syrian rebels against the insurgent terrorist group known as the Islamic State or ISIS.

But the Maryland Democrat also said he expected that that vote wouldn’t be Congress’s last word on the subject.

“I believe a two-step process is what we will, I think, pursue,” Hoyer told CQ Roll Call and the Washington Post on Thursday during a taping of the C-SPAN program “Newsmakers,” set to air on Sunday morning. “I think there will be consideration of the president’s request to train and equip regional players.”

Then, after the elections, Hoyer said he anticipated “consideration of a larger authorization for the use of military force.”

Full story

Deadline for Obama’s Immigration Action Hard to Pin Down (Video)

grisham 013 080114 445x277 Deadline for Obamas Immigration Action Hard to Pin Down (Video)

Grisham and other Hispanic lawmakers took their immigration overhaul concerns to the administration. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

End of the year? By Christmas? By Thanksgiving?

There seems to be some disagreement among the supporters of immigration rights as to when, exactly, President Barack Obama will step in with his promised unilateral action.

But overall, frustrated advocates seemed more optimistic Thursday after a clear-the-air session with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough.

McDonough told reporters that the president would act on immigration “before the end of the year” as he left a meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

CHC Whip Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., said McDonough told them the president would act “by the holiday season.”

Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez, D-Ill. who attended the meeting, talked about a “Thanksgiving blessing” a day earlier in an interview on MSNBC, but on Thursday, he was referring to a “holiday season” deadline as well.

“We are moving forward. And this will be a season, the season, you know, I’ve said this: The holiday season must be a blessing for millions of undocumented families across America,” Gutiérrez said, “where they too can, you know, reap the rewards of their bountiful work for the year.”

The talk of immigration action around the holidays mirrored a statement by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Thursday that there would be movement “by Thanksgiving or Christmas.”

The CHC members said they expressed their frustration with the president delaying action until after the November elections.

“There were a range of emotions expressed, including frustration and anger,” Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, said.

The members leaving the meeting would not talk in detail about how exactly McDonough said the president is willing to address the immigration system.

However, one member, who asked to speak on background to discuss the meeting, said it was clear “the president’s going to go as far as he can under the law.”

Gutiérrez and other advocates have suggested the president has the authority to at least temporarily defer the deportation of up to as many as 5 million of the nation’s estimated 11 million illegal immigrants.

CHC members will convene Tuesday to discuss their official caucus response to the immigration developments.

Related stories:

Obama Hasn’t Decided When to Act on Immigration

House Republicans Rally to Pass Border Funding Bill

Senate Fails to Pass Border Supplemental

Republicans Regroup on Border Funding Bill

Ted Cruz Rallies House Conservatives to End ‘Obama’s Amnesty’

White House Excoriates GOP Deportation Demands

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

Boehner: ‘An F-16 Is Not a Strategy’ (Video)

boehner 155 061914 445x289 Boehner: An F 16 Is Not a Strategy (Video)

Boehner said the president’s anti-ISIS plan doesn’t go far enough. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Speaker John A. Boehner forcefully beat the drums of war Thursday, suggesting more action would be needed to defeat Islamic State group terrorists than just U.S. air strikes or the arming of Syrian rebels.

“An F-16 is not a strategy,” Boehner said during his weekly news conference. “And airstrikes alone will not accomplish what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Boehner said President Barack Obama had made clear that he doesn’t want U.S. boots on the ground. “Well somebody’s boots have to be on the ground,” Boehner said. Full story

By Matt Fuller Posted at 1:21 p.m.
John Boehner

Inhofe: Obama Speech Prompts ‘Sigh of Relief’ From ISIS

inhofe 029 060314 445x298 Inhofe: Obama Speech Prompts Sigh of Relief From ISIS

Inhofe was not a fan of the president’s Wednesday address on combating ISIS. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Reaction to the president’s prime-time speech on ramping up efforts to take on the terror group ISIS ranged, not surprisingly, from very supportive — loyal huzzahs from Democrats such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Richard J. Durbin — to openly dismissive: Sen. Ted Cruz called the president “unserious.”

“Tonight’s speech was disappointing, but not surprising. The President’s approach to ISIS has been – and remains – fundamentally unserious,” the Texas Republican said in a statement.

An even more withering assessment of President Barack Obama’s address came from Oklahoma Republican Sen. James M. Inhofe.

“Tonight, the President’s strategy re-plowed the ground of what he has already done and requested what Congressional leaders have already offered. At ISIL headquarters in Raqqa, Syria, you can hear a sigh of relief.” Full story

Pelosi Suggests Holiday Surprise on Immigration (Video)

pelosi011314 445x296 Pelosi Suggests Holiday Surprise on Immigration (Video)

Pelosi said she is “confident” the president will act on immigration before Christmas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is correct, President Barack Obama’s delayed executive action on immigration may be coming sooner than expected.

During the California Democrat’s weekly press conference on Thursday, Pelosi asked for those affected by the immigration issue to be hopeful that “by Thanksgiving or Christmas” there’d be “more security in their lives.”

Pelosi said she was “confident” action would be taken, and she said such an action had the strong support of Democrats.

Obama recently announced he would delay promised executive action, which is expected to defer the deportations of as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants, until after the November elections.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

By Matt Fuller Posted at 12:14 p.m.
Nancy Pelosi

House GOP ISIS and CR Strategy Still in Flux

boehner009 072414 445x302 House GOP ISIS and CR Strategy Still in Flux

Boehner and other House GOP leaders are reportedly on board with adding to the spending bill the president’s request for authority to go after ISIS.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House GOP leaders are advocating for giving President Barack Obama some authority within the continuing resolution to arm Syrian rebels against the insurgent terrorist group known as the Islamic State or ISIS, according to several Republican lawmakers present at a Thursday morning members’ meeting.

But those lawmakers also cautioned that discussions on how to proceed were far from over.

Some Republicans say as long as there is a decisive vote on a response that will adequately address the growing threat of ISIS at home and abroad, they don’t care what legislative vehicle is used.

“At the end of the day, whether it ends up as a standalone or in the CR, I don’t really understand what the big controversy is over that,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., a veteran. “I think it’s a timing issue, I think it’s to get it done … we don’t leave next week without getting it done.” Full story

September 10, 2014

Delay Opens Door for More Continuing Resolution Complications

hoyer 335 073014 445x296 Delay Opens Door for More Continuing Resolution Complications

Obama’s last-minute “Title 10 authority” request could make it tougher for Hoyer and other Democrats to oppose the GOP spending bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The decision by House leadership on Wednesday afternoon to postpone action on the GOP’s proposed continuing resolution gives critics another week to dissect the stopgap spending bill.

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy blamed the delay Wednesday on a last-minute request from the White House, which a day earlier asked that the so-called “Title 10 authority” be added to the CR shortly after Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers introduced the $1.012-trillion bill.

President Barack Obama actually called Rogers to ask that the authority be included in the CR, which as written now would keep the government up and running through Dec. 11.

But conservatives emerged from a Tuesday night meeting with Sen. Ted Cruz expressing a desire to change how long the government will be funded under the bill. A number of Republicans want to extend the CR to March 1, when Republicans are optimistic they will control both the House and the Senate.

Cruz called on House Republicans Wednesday to reject the Dec. 11 option.

“It would be a serious mistake for House Republicans to pass a Continuing Resolution that would ensure that Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats would come back to Washington, after many of them will have likely lost their seats, for a no-holds barred lame duck session where they will be free to pass legislation that the American people will never be able to hold them responsible for,” the Texas Republican said in a statement provided to CQ Roll Call.

Another issue is the Export-Import Bank. The House-proposed bill extends the credit agency to June 30.

While it doesn’t end the bank as many conservatives wanted, it’s being sold to the far right as a strategy to decouple the bank from a spending bill. By sunsetting the CR and the Ex-Im Bank on different dates, conservatives are hopeful the bank will truly die by next summer — though that might just be wishful thinking.

The bank’s biggest opponent, Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas, signed off on the deal, and he may be able to allay many GOP concerns.

“Not the first time that I’ve swallowed hard in my congressional career,” Hensarling said Wednesday.

But Democrats may not be so inclined to go along with that Ex-Im deal. Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., told reporters earlier this week he wanted an Ex-Im extension of five years at a minimum, and he feels he’s in a sound negotiating position.

Still, the new defense language that was requested by Obama might undermine Democratic attempts to strike a better Ex-Im deal.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Wednesday that Congress should give the Title 10 authority to the president. “That is one way of helping build an international coalition,” he said.

Obama adviser Lisa Monaco spent part of Wednesday on the Hill lobbying, and the president and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. have called members lobbying for the authority.

If Republicans include the president’s request, it becomes more difficult for Democratic leadership to lobby against the underlying bill. That may be the secret to getting the measure over the finish line.

House GOP leaders insist the delay is solely about the president’s request, not a problem with leadership lining up votes — an explanation many Republicans members said they believe.

Rep. Tom Cole said he never thought the CR was going to be a “tough vote.”

“I know the Democrats have tried to jam us a little bit on Ex-Im,” the Oklahoma Republican said. “But really? You’re going to shut down the government because the authorization that we provide doesn’t go as far as you would like? I mean, I think that’s a pretty weak stick to try to wield.”

Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., thought members were better off taking more time to educate themselves on the threat Islamic State poses, and he said it was appropriate to take more time to consider the implications of arming Syrian rebels. “This is substantive policy change,” he said.

Of course, no matter what changes in the bill, there will be opponents to the legislation, which Rogers said would come up for a vote next week on Wednesday.

Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., said he already had problems with the military funding in the bill — the bill provides a slushy $85.2 billion for overseas contingency operations, significantly above the roughly $60 billion the administration requested — and he didn’t buy the argument that extending Ex-Im and decoupling it with a spending bill would make it any easier to end. “I’ve been here too long,” he said.

Citing problems with the process, Arizona Republican Matt Salmon said he is committed to voting against any CR.

“This process where we use it every year to run government is asinine,” Salmon said.

Salmon called the repeated use of continuing resolutions amount to a “dereliction of duty,” and unlike many of his colleagues who are supporting the bill, Salmon thinks leaving the CR exposed to attacks on the left and right hurt its prospects of passage.

“It’s always more troublesome the longer anything hangs out there,” he said.

Humberto Sanchez, Steven T. Dennis and Emma Dumain contributed to this report.

 

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

By Matt Fuller Posted at 6:06 p.m.
Uncategorized

House Postpones Vote on Continuing Resolution (Video)

mccarthy 146 062613 445x296 House Postpones Vote on Continuing Resolution (Video)

McCarthy announced the House Republicans would delay the continuing resolution vote. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House will postpone its scheduled Thursday vote on a continuing resolution to fund the government past Sept. 30.

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., made the announcement during the afternoon vote series on Wednesday, saying the delay was needed to give members time to reach an agreement on whether to include Obama administration-requested language to aid Syrian rebels against terrorist insurgents operating under the name the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Full story

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...