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Posts by Christina Bellantoni
August 22, 2014
After an extended period of quiet, the special committee for investigating the attacks in Benghazi may be readying for action.
Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. announced Friday he has hired a retired three-star general to lead the panel’s legal team.
Lt. Gen. Dana K. Chipman was the senior military lawyer for the Army for four years as judge advocate general at the Pentagon, Gowdy’s office said. He retired last November after 33 years on active duty.
July 29, 2014
The House Republican Conference paid tribute to outgoing Majority Leader Eric Cantor Tuesday morning with a video showcasing the Virginia Republican’s legislative career.
“While it’s impossible to fully capture your leadership on behalf of House Republicans, I wanted to remind everyone of a few of your many highlights,” Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington said introducing the video.
The video takes note of the bipartisan pediatric research bill Cantor championed, and includes a mention of his Jewish faith. It is set to triumphant music and includes flattering photos of Cantor working on a variety of issues, stressing bipartisanship and coming together for a common good.
The tribute concludes with the majority leader sounding a hopeful note: ”Each setback is an opportunity and that there is always optimism for the future.”
June 16, 2014
The No. 4 House Democrat sounds like he’s got a preference for which lawmaker House Republicans choose Thursday to be majority leader.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra has praise for Rep. Raúl R. Labrador, saying the Idaho Republican is both straightforward and easy to work with, and should not be underestimated.
“One of the pure things about Raúl Labrador is that you know what you’re getting. And while he’s extremely conservative, far more conservative than I would like, at least I know that,” Becerra said on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” program Sunday. “And it’s easy to come to terms with someone so long as you know where they stand. You can reach common ground with a person like that.”
Becerra noted that his fellow Californian Kevin McCarthy, now the GOP whip, has “a lot of experience,” adding, “I know McCarthy is going to work this very hard.”
He would not make any predictions about the outcome of the race, but he described Labrador as “smart, capable [and] very committed.” Becerra also noted Labrador’s role working with the “group of eight” bipartisan lawmakers on an immigration overhaul, saying Labrador “understands immigration law.”
June 11, 2014
“I’m giving a speech. I have no time for jokes,” Steve Israel told Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Executive Director Kelly Ward when she emailed to suggest there were signs something was happening in Virginia’s 7th District.
It was 7:15 p.m. and Israel had just left an event for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. He passed Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as she arrived.
The New York Democrat was on his way to address the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association, and Ward flagged that with 30 percent of the primary vote in, it seemed House Majority Leader Eric Cantor might be in peril. He wasn’t interested. Polls, after all, had just closed.
June 10, 2014
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was defeated in a Republican primary Tuesday, conceding his Virginia seat to a local activist after a stunning loss with possibly dramatic consequences for leadership, the chances of any immigration overhaul passing Congress and the future of his party.
He is the first majority leader ever to fall in primary defeat — the position was created in 1899.
Cantor, toppled by college economics professor Dave Brat, 56 percent to 44 percent, conceded just after The Associated Press declared the race over.
Democratic and Republican leadership aides expressed total disbelief and dumbfoundedness Tuesday night. Political operatives in the Old Dominion and organizers in Washington quickly studied election law to see if he could run as a write-in.
With his wife, Diana Fine Cantor, at his side, Cantor choked back emotion and did not sound like a man aiming to stage a comeback.
May 6, 2014
Updated, 1:25 p.m. | A planned Democratic hearing on an unemployment benefits extension was quickly transformed into a news conference Tuesday, with Democrats blaming Republicans for the stalled legislation and a spat erupting over meeting space.
Democrats changed their plans to hold a Democratic Steering and Policy hearing on the unemployment insurance issue Tuesday after Republicans balked, saying that Democrats were using the committee room improperly. Democrats accused Republicans of “kicking House Democrats out of a room” and attempting to “silence the voices of Americans” who are without unemployment benefits.
But according to documents obtained by CQ Roll Call, Education and the Workforce Committee ranking Democrat George Miller of California requested the committee room for the hearing, but called it a “members meeting” and suggested press would not be in attendance.
The documents to use the committee room showed that under subject matter, Democratic aides wrote: “Mr. Miller would like to hold a Members meeting.” The box asking if media would be present for the meeting was checked “no.”
April 21, 2014
Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. received donations from health care groups and technology giants, and gave money to more than a dozen fellow Democrats, including some in vulnerable seats, a new filing for his leadership political action committee shows.
The New Jersey Democrat, vying for the ranking member slot on the Energy and Commerce Committee in a closely-contested race, raised $116,000 for Shore PAC in the month of March. Among the groups giving money were Microsoft, AT&T, Comcast and NBC Universal.
Pallone also racked up cash from health care groups, including the American Medical Association, American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Hospital Association, American Psychiatric Association, American College of Cardiology, American College of Surgeons Professional Association and the American Academy of Neurology.
He spent $49,000, according to the PAC filing.
Members he gave to include Reps. Nick J. Rahall II of West Virginia; Raul Ruiz of California; Kyrsten Sinema, Ann Kirkpatrick and Ron Barber of Arizona; Tim Walz of Minnesota; John Barrow of Georgia; Dan Maffei of New York and Timothy H. Bishop of New York; Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire and Brad Schneider of Illinois, among others.
Pallone’s rival for the panel position to replace retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Anna G. Eshoo of California, raised $203,000 over the quarter, a longer filing period, for her leadership PAC. Her donations mostly came from high-tech and telecommunication firms.
February 25, 2014
Updated: Mar. 13, 4:10 p.m. | Where do House Republicans stand on the set of immigration principles released by GOP leadership in January? Journalists at CQ Roll Call spent two weeks asking each House Republican’s office and combing through their public statements to answer that simple question. We have recorded the answers, which suggest weak support within Speaker John A. Boehner’s conference for overhauling the nation’s immigration system.
The initial CQ Roll Call tally found 19 Republicans backing the principles, two who said “possibly yes,” 30 Republicans openly opposed, 22 who refused to say and 25 who were undecided. Three others had nuanced responses. The other 131 did not respond to calls or emails from our team. Matt Fuller broke down the categories in this original story.
(Check out our Tuesday story detailing the new breakdown: 19 House Republicans say they support the principles, two Republicans could possibly support them. There are 34 Republicans in the “no” category. Three have qualified their answers. The tally stands at 26 Republicans either undecided or with no position yet and 21 who have declined to comment. And 127 have not responded to our queries made over a two-week period.)
We expect this will continue to be an evolving document over time, as the House decides whether it will move forward with legislation.
Have an update to this list? Please email mattfuller-at-rollcall.com.