Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 31, 2015

July 30, 2015

CBC Chairman: Charges Against Chaka Fattah ‘Very Serious’

Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., speaks to reporters before a House Democratic Caucus meeting in the Capitol Visitor Center to receive a briefing on security from Capitol Police Chief Phillip Morse and Assistant Chief Dan Nichols in the wake of Saturday's shootings in Tucson, Ariz. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., is recovering from surgery after sustaining a gunshot wound to the head. (Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call)

CBC Chairman Butterfield called Fattah’s indictment “serious”  (Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call)

Within 24 hours of being slapped with a 29-count indictment, Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., voluntarily relinquished his ranking member position on an appropriations subcommittee and resigned as chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Board of Directors.

Both actions were appropriate, said Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G.K. Butterfield — and, he suggested, necessary. Full story

Democrats’ August Messaging Plan: ‘Call a Fork a Fork’

 Israel, D-N.Y., talks with press after a meeting with House Democrats in the Capitol Visitor Center that featured a visit by Vice President Joe Biden, July 15, 2015. Biden was on the Hill to brief members on the nuclear deal with Iran. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Israel’s DPCC says Democrats too often over-explain. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As House Democrats head back to their districts for the August break, the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee’s 12-page “August Playbook” gives a key messaging strategy: Communicate more like Republicans.

Remember the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee?  Full story

Fattah Steps Aside at Congressional Black Caucus Foundation

New Fork Headline: UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 14: Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., speaks during the news conference to announce the design for the Space Launch System, NASA's next-generation rocket,  on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Fattah, D-Pa., steps down from leadership role at CBC Foundation after indictment. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Rep. Chaka Fattah has stepped aside from his chairmanship of the board of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

The Pennsylvania Democrat’s exit from the prominent spot with the education and policy nonprofit closely linked to the Congressional Black Caucus on Capitol Hill comes less than 24 hours after Fattah was charged in a 29-count indictment. Full story

July 29, 2015

Then There Were Two: Massie Joins Meadows, Wants to Fire Boehner

A second Republican has signed on to the effort to fire Speaker John A. Boehner.

Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky announced Wednesday via Twitter that he’ll co-sponsor the resolution by Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina to vacate the chair.

Massie’s opposition to Boehner isn’t new. He previously voted against Boehner for speaker.

Boehner, R-Ohio, earlier dismissed the resolution and the rebels in his conference as a few members “off the reservation” and said the resolution wasn’t worthy of a vote.

See photos, follies, HOH Hits and Misses and more at Roll Call’s new video site.

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By Steven Dennis Posted at 7:04 p.m.
John Boehner

Chaka Fattah Case Could Get Awkward Fast for Democrats (Video)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Chaka Fattah has been under federal investigation for years, so for many of his colleagues the question was not whether an indictment would come, but when. But it could get awkward for Democrats in a hurry, as Fattah holds prominent positions within the party’s establishment and next year’s presidential nomination convention is being held in his native Philadelphia.

Within hours of being slapped with 29 counts — for racketeering conspiracy, bribery and wire fraud — the Pennsylvania Democrat had agreed to relinquish his post as ranking member on the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee, per rules and precedent. Full story

Anti-Boehner Motion Muddies GOP’s Recess Messaging (Video)

UNITED STATES - JULY 29: Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, holds his weekly on camera media availability in the Capitol on Wednesday, July 29, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 6:53 p.m. | House Republicans may have left Washington for the next five weeks, but the divided conference’s problems will be tagging along with them.

The GOP conference reached a new point of division this week, when North Carolina Republican Mark Meadows offered a resolution to remove John A. Boehner as speaker. Full story

Fattah Says He’s Innocent, Will Run Despite Indictment (Video)

Fattah, D-Pa., 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)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Chaka Fattah, indicted Wednesday on 29 counts of racketeering conspiracy, bribery and wire fraud as part of an FBI and IRS probe, told reporters at the Capitol he’s innocent and will seek re-election to his Philadelphia seat.

“First of all, it’s a great way to start the August break, and it will keep you all busy, I’m sure. You’ll get to write one more story,” the Pennsylvania Democrat said. “But it’s been an eight year matter, and we’ve moved from an investigation to an actual allegation and I think I’ll stand by my original position which was as an elected official, I’ve never been involved in any illegal activity or misappropriation of funds.”

Full story

Pelosi Cites Fattah’s Service, Calls Charges ‘Saddening’ (Updated) (Video)

UNITED STATES - JULY 16: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., holds up a copy of the Iran nuclear deal as she speaks during her weekly on camera media availability on Thursday, July 16, 2015.  (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Pelosi (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 2 p.m. | House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., released the following statement Wednesday after news that Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., has been indicted on 29 counts of racketeering conspiracy, bribery and wire fraud as part of an FBI and IRS probe.

Full story

Pelosi Spokesman: Anti-Boehner Move Signifies GOP Dysfunction (Video)

Pelosi and the Democrats forced Republicans to retreat Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Pelosi could be key to Boehner’s fate if the House votes to “vacate the chair” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Would House Democrats vote to remove John A. Boehner’s speaker gavel?

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., isn’t tipping her hand on which way she would urge her members to vote, should Rep. Mark Meadows’s motion to “vacate the chair” receive consideration on the House floor. Full story

Hill Climbers: From Hacks to Flacks

hill climbers

Piatt was a broadcast journalist for 27 years before switching jobs. (File Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“I’ll just sort of talk. I know what it’s like. I’m not going to make you pull teeth, because I’m not a politician,” Richard Piatt, communications director for Utah Rep. Mia Love, said jokingly.

Piatt is used to interviews, but he’s spent most of his career on the other side of the table: He worked as a broadcast journalist for 27 years before arriving on Capitol Hill in January. Sixteen of those years were spent working for a Utah TV station, which is where he met Love. Full story

Republicans Enter Policing Debate With New Task Force

UNITED STATES - JULY 28: Rep. David Reichert, R-Wash., left, and Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind., speak during an interview in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, July 28, 2015. Reichert is the previous Sheriff of King County, Wash. and is working to improve community policing. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Reichert and Messer. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans have, for the most part, avoided one of the thorniest debates roiling the country in recent months: How does the United States begin to address the crisis of people, often minorities, being killed in violent encounters with police?

Now, 11 House GOP lawmakers think it’s time Republicans enter the fray. Full story

July 28, 2015

Meadows Explains Effort to Overthrow Boehner

Meadows, R-N.C., is taking his dissatisfaction with GOP leadership to the next level (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Meadows,is taking his dissatisfaction with leadership to the next level. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

So why exactly did Rep. Mark Meadows offer a resolution to strip Speaker John A. Boehner of his gavel?

Holding court with reporters Tuesday night, nearly an hour after stunning colleagues by filing a motion to “vacate the chair,” the North Carolina Republican’s message was simple: He was left with no choice. Full story

Mark Meadows: A Brief Biography

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A member of the staunchly conservative House Freedom Caucus, Meadows has fought his battles with House Republican leaders, but he remains unbowed. After Meadows voted against the rule setting up debate on the fast-track Trade Promotion Authority bill, Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz took away his gavel as chairman of the Government Operations Subcommittee.

A few days later, Chaffetz reversed that decision, explaining that he’d spoken with Meadows several times after his removal and “we both better understand each other.”

Like other House Freedom Caucus members, Meadows voted against the trade bill when the House finally passed it in June 2015 on a 218-208 vote. Full story

Meadows Maneuvers to Remove Boehner as Speaker (Updated)

 

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Meadows wants Boehner removed as speaker.(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 7:00 p.m. | Rep. Mark Meadows spent his 56th birthday Tuesday taking steps to dethrone Speaker John A. Boehner.

The North Carolina Republican, who had a subcommittee gavel taken away and then given back to him last month, might have hurt his own effort, however, by filing a non-privileged form of the motion to vacate the chair, which would remove Boehner as speaker. The non-privileged form of the motion is referred to a committee and does not need to receive an immediate vote. A GOP leadership aide told CQ Roll Call Tuesday evening the motion would be referred to the Rules Committee, where it’s unlikely to be considered. Full story

By Emma Dumain and Matt Fuller Posted at 6:23 p.m.
John Boehner

House Preps 3-Month Highway Bill, Sans Ex-Im Bank

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 Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With House Republicans — for now — unwilling to take up the Senate’s six-year highway bill, and with the Senate unwilling to act on the House’s five-month bill, House GOP leadership has a legislative offer it’s hoping can get them to the August recess a day early.

Just minutes before midnight Monday, Republicans posted the text of a three-month bill that would extend the Highway Trust Fund until Oct. 29. It would not include a reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, but would also take care of a Veterans Affairs hospitals shortfall. (The bill would allow the Veterans Choice program to transfer $3.3 billion to other VA health programs.) Full story

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