Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 24, 2014

Posts by Daniel Newhauser

71 Posts

April 22, 2014

Brain Drain: Self-Imposed Term Limits Shuffle Committees, House GOP Leadership

 

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Kline is among the Republicans who could be forced to hand over a gavel given self-imposed term limits, though he may receive a waiver. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republicans are facing a brain drain of historic proportions atop their committees — as many as half of their chairmen could be forced to step down next year, thanks to a 20-year-old rule.

The shakeup is due mostly to the GOP’s self-imposed limit, adopted in 1994, on how long a Republican congressman can chair a committee. It’s a policy that is widely popular within the Republican Conference, but is increasingly being questioned by members losing their gavels.

The impending shuffle will do little to change the demographics of the Republican leadership structure — almost all of the white men leading the committees will be replaced by other white men. But critics say the debate is about more than optics. Term limits, they say, effectively sideline some of the party’s most effective legislators.  

“You want the best person in the job and I just think to have an arbitrary term limit cuts into that,” said Rep. Peter T. King, R-N.Y., a former Homeland Security Committee chairman and a longtime opponent of the practice. “Term limits are anti-democratic. You’re telling voters they can’t vote for someone they want to vote for.”

Proponents, however, say the negatives associated with limiting chairmen or ranking members to three terms are outweighed by the positives  of keeping committees vital with fresh ideas and preventing a small group of members from consolidating too much power. Full story

April 21, 2014

Biden Meets U.S. Congressional Delegation in Ukraine

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(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. was expected to meet with a congressional delegation of members in Ukraine on Monday to discuss the unrest in the region and how the United States can support Ukraine’s independence.

As part of a larger tour of the area, Biden planned to meet with House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., and ranking member Eliot L. Engel, D-N.Y., as well as other members of both parties who are touring the area.

Full story

April 18, 2014

Cantor Leads CODEL to Asia

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(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., on Friday began a congressional delegation trip to Asia, where he will meet with the prime minister of Japan and the president of South Korea as well as key U.S. ambassadors in the region.

Cantor and a group of members, including House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., will visit Japan, South Korea and China, meeting with South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, as well as ex-Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., who is now the U.S. Ambassador to China, and Caroline Kennedy, the U.S. Ambassador to Japan.

Cantor will focus on economics, national security and regional stability, his office said, following a speech he gave in February at the Virginia Military Institute where he called for more engagement in the region.

“While the situation in the Middle East continues to deteriorate and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has raised new concerns about security in Europe, the United States must also remain engaged in promoting peace and stability in Asia,” Cantor said in a statement.

Cantor and Ryan are joined by Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, who will likely head the Armed Services Committee next year; also on the trip are Reps. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., Kay Granger; R-Texas, Kristi Noem, R-S.D.; Aaron Schock, R-Ill.; Paul Cook, R-Calif.; and Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii.

 

Correction, 6:53 p.m.: A previous version of this story misidentified the South Korean president.  She is Park Geun-hye.

April 15, 2014

Republican Governor Makes Unemployment Extension Push (Updated)

GOP Convention 091 082812 445x315 Republican Governor Makes Unemployment Extension Push (Updated)

Sandoval (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated April 16 9:50 a.m. | The governors of the two states with the highest unemployment rates — including a Republican — are urging Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio to take up the Senate’s unemployment extension bill.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican, and Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, a Democrat, wrote to Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. D-Calif., asking that the House take up the Senate-passed bill.

“As you know, long-term unemployment remains unacceptably high despite the fact that our economy has been recovering from the worst recession in generations. When our country has experienced similar rates of long-term unemployment in the past, Congress has consistently acted in a bipartisan fashion to extend emergency unemployment benefits,” the governors wrote.
Full story

April 10, 2014

Breaking Down the 12 Republican ‘No’ Votes on the Ryan Budget (Updated)

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Broun joined 11 other Republicans voting against the Ryan budget. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated, 3:51 p.m. | This year saw more Republicans than ever vote against Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan’s spending blueprint, which passed the House Thursday 219-205. Here is a breakdown of the 12 Republicans who voted against the Wisconsin Republican’s budget and why.

Full story

April 8, 2014

Hoyer Clarifies: No, I Have Not Smoked Pot

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer said Tuesday that he has not smoked marijuana, clarifying his remarks from earlier in the day when he indicated he had.

“At today’s press conference, I was unclear when discussing the Maryland General Assembly’s actions on marijuana. To be clear, I have not used marijuana. The point I tried to make was that I wasn’t going to ask for a show of hands of people who haven’t tried marijuana — because if I did, I would probably be one of very few who could raise my hand,” the second highest-ranking House Democrat said in a statement emailed to CQ Roll Call.

“This issue affects many people in my home state and throughout the country, including those who are non-violent offenders suffering in prison from a criminal conviction over possession. While I indicated early on that I was not in support of legalization of marijuana, I do believe Governor O’Malley and the Maryland General Assembly are taking the right step to decriminalize the possession of small amounts.”

Hoyer Suggests He’s Smoked Pot, Backs Maryland Decriminalization Effort

maryland gala029 091213 445x298 Hoyer Suggests Hes Smoked Pot, Backs Maryland Decriminalization Effort

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated, 2:30 p.m. | Two high-ranking Maryland Democrats said they support Gov. Martin O’Malley’s decision to sign a bill decriminalizing recreational marijuana in the state.

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer said there are too many people in prison or with a criminal record for using marijuana, something many people have done. And he suggested he’s among them.

“I’m not going to ask for a show of hands. If I did, I could raise my hand,” Hoyer told a roomful of reporters in the Capitol, raising his hand. “The use thereof, or the trying thereof. Inhaling or not. Experimentation.”

Soon after the session with reporters, Hoyer spokeswoman Stephanie Young told CQ Roll Call her boss was not saying what it sounded like. “Mr. Hoyer has not used marijuana. His point was that this issue affects many people and he believes the Maryland General Assembly took the right step to decriminalize marijuana.”

Three hours after the pen-and-pad briefing, Hoyer’s office issued a statement in his name clarifying what the lawmaker said.

“At today’s press conference, I was unclear when discussing the Maryland General Assembly’s actions on marijuana. To be clear, I have not used marijuana. The point I tried to make was that I wasn’t going to ask for a show of hands of people who haven’t tried marijuana — because if I did, I would probably be one of very few who could raise my hand.

“This issue affects many people in my home state and throughout the country, including those who are non-violent offenders suffering in prison from a criminal conviction over possession. While I indicated early on that I was not in support of legalization of marijuana, I do believe Governor O’Malley and the Maryland General Assembly are taking the right step to decriminalize the possession of small amounts.”

Hoyer said he has in the past objected to decriminalizing marijuana because drug rehab experts have told him it is a gateway drug, but he will not criticize the governor for signing the bill.

Full story

By Daniel Newhauser Posted at 12:17 p.m.
Democrats

Cantor: McAllister Right to Apologize After Kissing Video

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(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia said Tuesday that embattled Rep. Vance McAllister was right to apologize to his constituents, but did not say whether the freshman Louisiana lawmaker would face repercussions within the Republican Conference.

“I think that his constituents deserve an apology. [That’s] why he gave an apology,” Cantor said. “I’ve not had a chance to speak to the congressman, so I’m going to reserve further judgment on the question. I will say the American people deserve all the representatives here in Washington to hold to a very high standard of behavior.”

A video posted online Monday allegedly shows the congressman kissing a staffer in his Louisiana district office. McAllister issued an apology after the video appeared, but a wide field of would-be successors are already jockeying for consideration for the seat, should the 40-year-old lawmaker choose to step down.

Full story

April 7, 2014

Unemployment Extension: Senate Passage Puts Bill in Boehner’s Court

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(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate’s vote late Monday to pass an unemployment extension doesn’t mean the more than 2 million people who have lost their benefits can rest easy — the House isn’t likely to touch the issue until the end of the month, if at all.

While a band of House moderates have written to leaders asking them to consider the issue promptly — either with the Senate’s bill or an alternative — Speaker John A. Boehner has been clear that the Senate measure fails to meet his tests of creating jobs and being fiscally responsible. The Ohio Republican hasn’t put forward an alternative of his own.

The real question for House Republicans seems to be this — is there something they can get out of the White House and congressional Democrats in return for releasing benefits to the unemployed? Full story

April 3, 2014

Boehner Confuses Mental Health Measure for Gun Control, GOP Author Says (Updated)

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 5:50 p.m. | Speaker John A. Boehner Thursday morning said that Congress had recently passed a provision to address whether people with mental health issues have access to weapons, but the measure’s Republican author said his bill actually does nothing of the sort.

Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., told CQ-Roll Call that despite Boehner’s assertion, his measure to incentivize outpatient treatment for mental health issues has nothing to do with keeping guns out of the hands of the severely mentally ill.

“Not our bill, no. It’s a whole different issue,” Murphy said. “I think he confused that. When he said that it dealt with it, I think he confused that.”

At his regular weekly press conference, Boehner was asked whether Congress should act to address Wednesday’s mass shooting at Fort Hood. He responded by telling reporters that Congress approved “funding for a pilot project dealing with mental health issues and weapons” as part of the “doc fix” deal to keep doctor pay from being cut.

“There’s no question that those with mental health issues should be prevented from owning weapons or being able to purchase weapons,” Boehner said. “This issue we need to continue to look at to find ways to keep weapons out of the hands of people who should not have them.”

Full story

April 2, 2014

Obama Signing Cantor’s Pediatric Bill, Leader Will Attend White House Photo Op

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(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., will make a rare trip to the White House Thursday afternoon to attend a bill signing ceremony for the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act.

The bill is named for a young girl who died of brain cancer last year and who was an advocate for pediatric research. Cantor will be joined by the Miller family, who are his constituents.

The bill, which seeks to increase funding for pediatric research, was a key priority for Cantor and marked an unusual election-year bipartisan victory.

Full story

Conservatives Still Fuming Over Secret ‘Doc Fix’ Voice Vote (Video) (Updated)

Updated 5:14 p.m. | Conservative House members confronted Speaker John A. Boehner at a private Wednesday morning meeting, fuming that last week’s secret deal to pass the “doc fix” violated the trust between leaders and their rank and file.

Then, at a private meeting of the conservative Republican Study Committee later in the afternoon, members challenged Majority Leader Eric Cantor, asking the Virginia Republican to explain why leaders pushed the bill through without allowing members to cast their votes.

It remains unclear whether there will be any lasting implications to the tactic, but members are still angry and say leaders have yet to satisfy their complaints.

“What I didn’t hear was, ‘I promise this’ll never happen again.’ I think that’s something that has to happen,” Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said. “It isn’t that anyone broke their word at this point, but they need to give their word.” Full story

McCarthy: Ryan Budget Will Pass Despite Conservative Reservations

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republican leaders expressed confidence Wednesday that the Ryan budget blueprint will pass, despite grumbling from some in the conference that the document does not go far enough to curb spending and change social programs.

Yet as leaders consider bringing the resolution to the House floor as soon as next week, several members said they remain undecided on how to vote for the measure, setting up what could be a close vote on another of GOP leaders’ priorities.

“It’ll pass,” GOP Whip Kevin O. McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters one day after House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan unveiled the 10-year roadmap. Ryan himself was assured as well, telling reporters a day earlier that he been speaking to colleagues for months and expects the budget to be adopted.

Full story

April 1, 2014

Ryan Says Budget Roadmap Will Pass House

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(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan defended his spending blueprint Tuesday and said he is confident the House will pass it, despite GOP opposition to the underpinning bipartisan budget agreement last year.

The Wisconsin Republican, speaking on a conference call with reporters, said the resolution will likely draw enough votes to pass, despite 62 Republican defections to a deal he struck in December with Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash. That deal set spending levels for fiscal years 2014 and 2015, to which Ryan’s budget conforms.

“Members who may not have supported the Ryan-Murray deal see that this is an entirely different deal and a different perspective in the context of actually balancing the budget and paying off our debt,” Ryan said. “Our colleagues who we have visited with frequently are pleased to support this budget because of its overall goals. The good clearly outweighs any other concerns that they had.” Full story

March 28, 2014

Peter King, Devin Nunes Lead Crowded Field to Succeed Rogers as Intel Chair

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King says he is the clear choice to be the next chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Within hours of Mike Rogers’ surprise retirement announcement, the hawks started circling to seize his Intelligence Committee gavel.

GOP Reps. Peter T. King of New York and Devin Nunes of California have expressed interest in the post. Sources say Reps. Jeff Miller of Florida and Mike Pompeo of Kansas are eyeing the gavel as well.

All those candidates would carry on Rogers’ hawkish stance as chairman of the committee, and all are fairly close to Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio, relationships that could be a major determining factor if Boehner continues his reign into the 114th Congress, as he has said he will.

Unlike most of the other House panels, the speaker singlehandedly appoints all members of the Intelligence Committee, including its chairman. Not surprisingly, Boehner has stacked the committee with allies, leaving no clear front-runner for the job.

Full story

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