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October 4, 2015

October 4, 2015

Scalise Says He’s Already Got Votes to Win Majority Leader

Scalise, R-La., leaves a news conference in the Capitol that followed a meeting of the House Republican Conference, March 24, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

No. 3 House Republican Scalise says he’s got the votes to be majority leader. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Majority Whip Steve Scalise is telling members he has the race to be majority leader locked up — as long as there is a race to be majority leader.

Scalise held a roughly 15-minute conference call with committed supporters Sunday night to tell them he is well beyond having a majority of the conference behind him.

A source with knowledge of the whip operation told CQ Roll Call on Sunday the Louisiana Republican has more than 140 committed votes, while — by Scalise’s count — his only announced opponent, Budget Chairman Tom Price, has just over 50 members firmly supporting him. Scalise’s operation estimates there are roughly 50 members still undecided.

“The winning number is 124,” the source told CQ Roll Call, “and Scalise is well past it. He has an opportunity to absolutely run away with this.” Full story

Saying McCarthy Lacks 218 Votes, Chaffetz Announces Bid for Speaker (Updated)

 Chaffetz, R-Utah, becomes emotional during an opening statement at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in Rayburn Building on whether Planned Parenthood Federation of America should be federally funded, September 29, 2015. In the statement, he recalled his mother's battle with cancer and his wife's work with the disease. PPFA President Cecile Richards, testified. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Chaffetz says McCarthy doesn’t have enough support in the House Republican Conference to win the speakership. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated: 10:19 a.m. | Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz will run for speaker.

The Utah Republican announced his decision on Fox News Sunday, citing support from colleagues who “recruited” him to challenge the establishment favorite, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. Full story

October 2, 2015

Sources: Chaffetz Readies Run for Speaker

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, places his name plate at his seat as he arrives for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on "White House Perimeter Breach: New Concerns about the Secret Service" on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Chaffetz is reportedly making the rounds to run for speaker. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Earlier this week, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, was busy trying to push his colleague Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., to run for majority leader.

On Friday, news broke that Chaffetz was laying the groundwork for a leadership run of his own. Full story

In Majority Leader Race, Scalise Lapping Price in This Key Measure

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 29: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., left, and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., talk as they walk back to their offices following the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call/Pool)

By one key measure, Scalise, right, is trouncing the competition in the race to succeed McCarthy, left. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

While there’s no definitive favorite in the majority leader race — especially with lingering questions about Select Benghazi Chairman Trey Gowdy’s interest — Majority Whip Steve Scalise has one distinct advantage over Budget Chairman Tom Price: Scalise has spread around a lot more cash.

According to Federal Election Commission documents reviewed by CQ Roll Call, Scalise has given roughly $700,000 to fellow Republican members and candidates over the course of the first three quarters of 2015. (The third quarter data, which is not yet public, was supplied by Scalise’s office.) In contrast, Price has transferred at least $139,000 to members and candidates through the third quarter.

Full story

McCarthy: ‘Never My Intention’ to Link Benghazi Committee to Politics

 House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., participates in the press conference announcing House GOP leadership for upcoming session of Congress on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McCarthy walked back his boast that the Benghazi committee had dinged Hillary Clinton’s poll results. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The likely next speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, returned to Fox News Thursday night in a bid to clarify his remarks 48 hours earlier on the Benghazi committee.

“It was never my intention to say that,” the California Republican told news anchor Bret Baier. Full story

October 1, 2015

Chaffetz Told McCarthy to Apologize for Benghazi Remarks

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, arrives for the House Judiciary Committee hearing on "Oversight of the United States Department of Homeland Security" on Thursday, May 29, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Chaffetz (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Jason Chaffetz personally told Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy he should apologize for jarring comments he made about the Republican-led House Benghazi panel’s impact on Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“I told [McCarthy] I’m supportive of him, but I have to distance myself from his comments. I just felt they were inaccurate and wrong,” the Oversight and Government Reform chairman said.

“I have a good working relationship with Kevin McCarthy and that was for him to digest. What he does with it is his business,” the Utah Republican told CQ Roll Call and The Associated Press Thursday in a brief hallway interview.

Full story

Boehner Weighs In on Benghazi Without Mentioning McCarthy

Boehner, R-Ohio, conducts a news conference in the Capitol after a meeting of the House Republican Conference, March 24, 2015. Also attending is House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., at left. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner conducts a news conference in the Capitol earlier this year with McCarthy in the background. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As Democrats continued Thursday to hammer Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy for his Benghazi committee comments, Speaker John A. Boehner decided to step in.

Not once in his four-paragraph statement, however, does the Ohio Republican mention McCarthy. Full story

Pelosi Touts Export-Import Rescue, Chastises Abortion Reporter (Video)

Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds her weekly on camera media availability in the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Nancy Pelosi suggests Democrats would help a Republican-led effort to save Ex-Im. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the Export-Import Bank future still in doubt, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday Democrats would sign on to a Republican-led discharge petition for the embattled export-credit agency.

Pelosi, speaking at her weekly on-camera news conference, said Democrats would support the discharge petition from Tennessee Republican Stephen Fincher for the Ex-Im Bank, as long as Fincher collected enough signatures from Republicans first so that, with the addition of the Democratic Caucus, it would trigger a vote.

Fincher introduced the discharge petition Thursday morning, and while finding enough Republicans willing to force their leadership into the position of holding a vote could be a challenge, it will certainly help to know that Democrats will sign on.

Full story

McCarthy Gets Earful From Both Sides for Benghazi Remarks

McCarthy said it's up to the Senate. Cornyn suggests it's up to the House.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McCarthy takes heat for Benghazi remarks. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Fox News Tuesday night the House Select Committee on Benghazi’s major accomplishment so far was discrediting 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, he might have expected moans and groans from Democrats.

What the California Republican and expected heir to John A. Boehner’s speakership might not have anticipated was the criticism from colleagues on his side of the aisle.

Full story

A Tale of Two Republicans: McCarthy and McConnell

Can McCarthy and McConnell get along? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Can McCarthy and McConnell get along? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy knows one way to remain popular with conservatives is to trash the Senate, even if it is led by Republicans. But the California Republican, the front-runner to be the next speaker, will have to work with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to advance mutual interests.

The two men know each other, but they aren’t particularly close. That’s in part because of how quickly McCarthy has moved up the House ranks — going from majority whip to majority leader to the cusp of the speakership in a little more than a year. Full story

September 30, 2015

Breaking Down the CR Vote

Price, who is running for majority leader, voted "no" on the CR. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Price voted “no” on the CR. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Just 91 House Republicans voted with every Democrat to keep the government open after midnight Wednesday — that’s three out of every eight members of the conference.

It could have been that the 151 GOP opponents felt free to snub the continuing resolution — which didn’t contain language defunding Planned Parenthood — knowing Democrats were prepared to make up for the shortfall.

But it could signal trouble ahead of the Dec. 11 deadline to pass a longer-term spending measure, which must adhere to higher spending caps lest it run into the veto pen of President Barack Obama, who has pledged not to sign any “omnibus” that doesn’t replace sequestration.

Full story

Rules Could Complicate Leadership Fight (Updated)

UNITED STATES - September 29: House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., listens as House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks during a new conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Scalise listens as McCarthy speaks Tuesday during a new conference on Capitol Hill. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 9:26 p.m. | A rules fight could determine who holds power in the House Republican Conference under a new speaker when the elections are held on Oct. 8.

While Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California remains the odds-on favorite to inherit John A. Boehner’s gavel, the race for his position remains fluid and that has caused all kinds of uncertainty down the ballot. Full story

Congress Averts Government Shutdown With Hours To Spare (Video)

For Boehner and other GOP leaders, the clock is ticking. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner and other GOP leaders avoid government shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Though conditions on the ground looked eerily similar to those that caused a two-week government shutdown two years ago, the House on Wednesday passed legislation to keep federal operations afloat through Dec. 11.

With hours to spare, the chamber voted on the stopgap spending bill, 277-151, with every Democrat, joined by 91 Republicans, voting “yes” and 151 Republicans voting “no.” Full story

DeSantis: Forget President, How ‘Bout Ben Carson for Speaker? (Video)

DeSantis said he'd be open to a wildcard pick for speaker. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

DeSantis said he’d be open to a wildcard pick for speaker. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Ron DeSantis, the Florida Republican who is one of nine founding members of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, said at a campaign event Sunday he’d be open to supporting an outsider for speaker when the House meets to vote for a new leader Oct. 8.

“I would go bold, you don’t have to be a member of Congress to be the speaker of the House. I would support someone like Dr. Carson or somebody like that, I think that would be good,” DeSantis said, referring to Ben Carson, the neurosurgeon and presidential candidate who has seen a boost in polls in recent weeks.

Full story

Congressman: Expand Obamacare to Undocumented Immigrants (Video)

Updated 5:40 p.m. | Rep Luis V. Gutiérrez, one of Congress’ most outspoken advocates for immigrants, on Wednesday called for expanding the Affordable Care Act to cover all of the estimated 11 million undocumented migrants in the United States.

“The goal is to make integration and inclusion real for millions of families that are locked out under current law,” the Illinois Democrat said in a floor speech introducing his proposed legislation.

Full story

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