Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 29, 2014

Posts by David Eldridge

48 Posts

July 25, 2014

No Vacation Until Congress Fixes VA, Democrats Demand

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Iraq veteran Gabbard is one of 116 lawmakers demanding that Congress pass a Veterans Affairs reform bill before the August recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A group of 116 Democrats on Friday sent a letter to House Speaker John A. Boehner and to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid urging the congressional leaders to keep Congress in session until both chambers can agree on a Veterans Affairs reform bill.

Efforts to marry divergent reform bills in the House and Senate broke down Thursday with little more than a week left before Congress is scheduled to leave for a month-long recess.

See the full text of the letter here.

By David Eldridge Posted at 6:31 p.m.
Democrats

July 23, 2014

GOP Calls for Troops on Border, Speedier Deportations

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Granger and the GOP border crisis task force called for more troops and speedier deportations. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Speaker John A. Boehner’s hand-picked House GOP  ”working group” on the border crisis released its recommendations Wednesday.

“Our focus has been to ensure the safety of the children and it has remained a top priority throughout this process,” said Texas Rep. Kay Granger, who chaired the group.

The task force called for deploying the National Guard and changing a 2008 law Republicans say is hindering the speedy return of Central American minors to their home countries.

“Anyone who has been to South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley knows that the men and women of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection are doing a remarkable job, but they are stretched thin with the massive surge of children crossing the border, and the quickest way to provide relief is by deploying the National Guard. The National Guard would also assist with the humanitarian care and needs of the unaccompanied minors, which will free up the Border Patrol to focus on their primary mission,” Granger said in a statement.

“The recommendation to amend the Trafficking Victims Protection and Reauthorization Act of 2008 is something both parties agree on and modifications to the law can be done to expedite the process while ensuring proper protections are in place for the children who need them. We recommend amending the 2008 law, so that all unaccompanied minors are treated the same for the purpose of removal. This would be done by requiring unaccompanied minors who do not wish to be voluntarily returned to their home country to remain in Health and Human Services’ custody while they await an expedited immigration court hearing that must promptly occur after they are screened by child welfare officials,” she said. Full story

By David Eldridge Posted at 10:10 a.m.
Uncategorized

July 18, 2014

Anger on Capitol Hill Grows as Details on Flight MH17 Emerge

house gop002 061014 445x300 Anger on Capitol Hill Grows as Details on Flight MH17 Emerge

Thornberry said Obama needs to increase the defense budget. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:29 p.m. | Members of Congress from both parties and chambers took to the airwaves, to social media and the Internet Friday to express a growing anger over indications of Russian involvement in the missile attack that took down an airliner and all 298 aboard over Ukraine on Thursday.

In an appearance on Fox News, Rep. Mac Thornberry, expected to be the next chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said that President Barack Obama needs to move immediately to increase the U.S. defense budget. The Texas Republican also said Obama should look at how President Ronald Reagan handled a similar incident in the 1980s when Russia shot down a Korean airliner.

“I went back and looked at President Reagan’s statement after the Korean airline downer and I’m struck by the fact that he used very clear language, he called it a massacre, he called it an act of barbarism, he called the Soviets out for not telling the truth,” Thornberry said. “Even more important than what he said was what he did. He took several steps to isolate the Soviets … and he called on Congress to increase the defense budget. That’s what the president needs to do in a few minutes.” Full story

July 15, 2014

Wolf Wants Washington’s Birthday Restored to Correct Date

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Wolf wants George Washington’s birthday celebrated on the correct date. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Frank R. Wolf wants George Washington’s birthday celebrated on … well, his birthday.

Thanks to the Virginia Republican, a longtime admirer of the nation’s first president, the House Appropriations Committee approved an amendment to the Interior Department’s annual budget Tuesday instructing the agency to move the holiday for Washington’s birthday back to his actual birthday, Feb. 22.

The official celebration of George Washington’s birthday was moved to the third Monday in February in 1971 and has since come to be known as Presidents’ Day, even though the law was never changed to recognize other presidents.

Wolf’s amendment is supported by George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and a number of leading authors and historians, including David McCullough, Ron Chernow and Richard Bookhiser, but would have to be approved by the Senate and signed by the president.

It that happens, the change would take effect in 2017.

“Unfortunately, few Americans living today remember the legacy of President Washington and his contribution to this country,” Wolf said in a statement. “I believe Congress has unwittingly contributed to this lack of historical understanding by relegating Washington’s Birthday to the third Monday in February to take advantage of a three-day weekend. It is time to change the focus of the holiday from celebrating sales at the mall to celebrating the significance of President Washington’s birth and the birth of our nation.”

Wolf is retiring at the end of this term after serving 17 terms in Congress.

July 10, 2014

Text of Stockman Resolution Calling for House to Arrest Lois Lerner

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Lois Lerner, director of exempt organizations for the IRS. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Texas Republican Steve Stockman filed a resolution Thursday directing the House sergeant-at-arms to arrest former IRS official Lois Lerner on charges of contempt of Congress.

“Asking the Justice Department to prosecute Lois Lerner for admittedly illegal activity is a joke,” Stockman said in a statement. “The Obama administration will not prosecute the Obama administration. How much longer will the House allow itself to be mocked? It is up to this House to uphold the rule of law and hold accountable those who illegally targeted American citizens for simply having different ideas than the President.”

Under the resolution Lerner would be held in the D.C. jail and would have full legal rights and access to an attorney. CQ Roll Call has reported on the House’s rarely-used power, confirmed by the Supreme Court, to arrest and hold those found in contempt of Congress.

The full text of Stockman’s proposal, H.Res. 664 is below. Full story

July 8, 2014

Obama’s $4B Bill for Border Surge Gets Frosty Reception on the Right

smith 027 030613 445x298 Obamas $4B Bill for Border Surge Gets Frosty Reception on the Right

Smith, R-Texas, said he doesn’t trust the president on border security. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Reaction to President Barack Obama’s request for almost $4 billion in emergency funds to deal with the Texas border crisis was met with skepticism Tuesday by most Republicans, but especially by hard-liners who have consistently blamed White House policies for the surge in illegal immigration.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said in a statement that Obama “created this disaster.”

“Most of the money requested in the President’s supplemental seems geared towards processing Central Americans than stopping the surge itself,” Goodlatte said.

Another Republican who has consistently accused the president of failing to enforce border security, Lamar Smith of Texas, said in a statement he doesn’t trust the president.

“I’d be happy to give the President $3.7 billion to secure the border if I thought he’d actually do it. But time and again President Obama has shown that he cares more about the interests of illegal immigrants than of law abiding citizens,” Smith said in a statement. Full story

July 7, 2014

Congressman: American Drug Use Fueling Immigration Crisis

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Gutierrez, shown here at a recent immigration rally, said America’s drug trade is  fueling the surge of children and women crossing the southern border. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez said Monday the U.S. has a responsibility to care for the women and children surging across southern border because American drug use has fueled the rise of violent cartels in Central America.

Gutiérrez, who has led efforts in the House to bring Republicans and his fellow Democrats together on an overhaul of the nation’s immigration system, said those calling for deportation of the recent immigrants should be ashamed.

“Shame on people for simply ignoring the law to score cheap political points against children and minors arriving in the Unites States of America,” the Illinois Democrat said in an appearance on MSNBC.

“I think we have a great responsibility in the debilitating of those countries,” Gutiérrez said. “How do the drug cartels maintain their power? With American guns. Bought with American dollars because of American consumption of the drugs. The drugs don’t stay in Honduras … they come straight to the streets of the United States of America.”

Gutiérrez’s comments came as Republican congressmen, including Rep. Raúl R. Labrador of Idaho, are urging the White House to step up deportation proceedings against the flood of Central Americans who have strained resources along the Texas border.


Related: 

Diaz-Balart: ‘Boehner’s Never Told Me’ Immigration Overhaul Is ‘Dead’

Goodlatte Warns Deportation Changes Hurt Immigration Overhaul Prospects

Immigration Protests Focus on 22 Republicans Across Country

Immigration Overhaul for 2014: Decidedly Not Dead

Boehner Walks Back Immigration Comments

Video Shows Boehner Mocking Colleagues on Immigration

Where Do House Republicans Stand on Immigration Principles? (Updated Whip Count)

 

June 25, 2014

Boehner’s Memo to Members on Obama Lawsuit (Complete Text)

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Boehner made the case for a lawsuit to rein in Obama executive actions in a Wednesday letter to members. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Here’s the complete text of the letter Speaker John A. Boehner sent Wednesday to House members, regarding his decision to initiate a lawsuit on behalf of the House against President Barack Obama over the administration’s use of executive actions.

 

Full story

June 24, 2014

Issa, Cummings Clash Anew Over IRS Loss of Emails (Video)

issa092813 445x291 Issa, Cummings Clash Anew Over IRS Loss of Emails (Video)

Democrats spent much of Monday’s IRS hearing criticizing Issa’s handling of the proceedings. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee went after IRS Commissioner John Koskinen again Monday, while Democrats on the panel reserved much of their ire for Chairman Darrell Issa.

Issa, involved in a high-profile clash earlier this year with Elijah Cummings, the senior Democrat on the panel, was criticized repeatedly during Monday’s hearing by Democrats who dismissed the proceeding as election-year posturing.

At one point, the California Republican warned Democrats that House rules forbid members from questioning the integrity or motives of other members — touching off a heated protest from Rep. Steven Horsford. The Nevada Democrat angrily contrasted Issa’s admonition Monday with the March 5 incident, in which Cummings’ microphone was turned off mid-statement on Issa’s orders.

Full story

June 23, 2014

Monday Night’s IRS Hearing Gets a Big GOP Drumroll

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Issa has questions for the IRS. (CQ Roll Call File Photo/Bill Clark)

Is C-SPAN suddenly “Must See TV”? Some members of the House seem to think so.

Republicans are promoting Monday night’s IRS hearing at 7 p.m. like it’s a new reality show on Fox, with Speaker John A. Boehner tweeting promos, Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa fielding questions on Facebook and the committee itself unveiling a new “IRS Targeting Investigation” website.

MT @GOPoversight: TONIGHT AT 7PM: #IRS Obstruction: #LoisLerner‘s Missing Emails http://t.co/URTPSO2pQO pic.twitter.com/XVdmTOnP01

— Speaker John A. Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) June 23, 2014

As the tweet above notes, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen is set to appear at 7 p.m. before the panel to answer more questions about the tax agency’s handling of emails related to the targeting of conservative groups. On Friday, the former Clinton and Bush administration official, who was brought in last year by the White House to clean up the IRS, was grilled by Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee.

The harsh questioning from Congress comes amid new questions about the IRS after revelations the agency has irretrievably lost months of emails from Lois Lerner, the former official at the center of the scandal.

Trey Gowdy’s ‘Boehner Goes to Heaven’ Joke

gowdy 052 050714 445x294 Trey Gowdys Boehner Goes to Heaven Joke

Gowdy’s joke cracked up a Maryland audience. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Currently catching fire on the Internet: a YouTube video of Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., cracking up an audience of Maryland Republicans last week with a joke about Speaker John A. Boehner, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Maryland Rep. Andy Harris dying and going to heaven.

June 20, 2014

Stockman Offers Up ‘Dog Ate My Taxes’ Bill

stockman 445x246 Stockman Offers Up Dog Ate My Taxes Bill

Stockman pokes fun at the IRS with his “Dog Ate My Taxes” bill. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Lame-duck Texas Rep. Steve Stockman offered up a tongue-in-cheek rebuke of the IRS and its handling of the missing Lois Lerner emails Friday, introducing “The Dog Ate My Tax Receipts Act.”

Under the Stockman proposal, taxpayers who do not provide documents requested by the IRS can claim one of the following reasons:

1. The dog ate my tax receipts

2. Convenient, unexplained, miscellaneous computer malfunction

3. Traded documents for five terrorists

4. Burned for warmth while lost in the Yukon

5. Left on table in Hillary’s Book Room

6. Received water damage in the trunk of Ted Kennedy’s car

7. Forgot in gun case sold to Mexican drug lords

8. Forced to recycle by municipal Green Czar

9. Was short on toilet paper while camping

10. At this point, what difference does it make?

Stockman’s bill comes after a tense Ways and Means Committee hearing earlier Friday in which Republicans ripped into IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, with Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., telling the former Clinton and Bush administration official, “Nobody believes you.”

The full text of the Stockman resolution:

Whereas, the IRS claims that convenient, unexplained, miscellaneous computer malfunction is sufficient justification not to produce specific, critical documentation; and,

Whereas, fairness and Due Process demand that the American taxpayer be granted no less latitude than we afford the bureaucrats employed presently at the IRS;

Now, therefore, be it resolved that it is the sense of the House of Representatives that unless and until the Internal Revenue Service produces all documentation demanded by subpoena or otherwise by the House of Representatives, or produces an excuse that passes the red face test,

All taxpayers shall be given the benefit of the doubt when not producing critical documentation, so long as the taxpayer’s excuse therefore falls into one of the following categories:

1. The dog ate my tax receipts

2. Convenient, unexplained, miscellaneous computer malfunction

3. Traded documents for five terrorists

4. Burned for warmth while lost in the Yukon

5. Left on table in Hillary’s Book Room

6. Received water damage in the trunk of Ted Kennedy’s car

7. Forgot in gun case sold to Mexican drug lords

8. Forced to recycle by municipal Green Czar

9. Was short on toilet paper while camping

10. At this point, what difference does it make?

In any case, IRS can see the NSA for a good, high quality copy.

 

Kevin McCarthy to Religious Conservatives: ‘Proud to Be a Christian’

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McCarthy makes his way to the House floor through the media pack, who were waiting for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on June 11. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

One day after winning the House Majority Leader election, Rep. Kevin McCarthy told a Washington gathering of religious conservatives that he’s “proud to be a Christian.”

In a brief afternoon appearance at Ralph Reed’s Faith & Freedom Coalition Conference, an upbeat McCarthy, R-Calif., told attendees he thanks “my Lord and Savior for his grace, his strength and for never leaving me.”

McCarthy, who is a Baptist, was elected to GOP majority leader Thursday in his fourth term in the House, the fastest ever ascent to the pivotal leadership post.

He steps up from the No. 3 post in the House, majority whip, to replace the outgoing No. 2, Rep. Eric Cantor, who lost his Virginia Republican primary on June 10 to Dave Brat, a college economics professor who was backed by tea party groups.

McCarthy’s election has been met with skepticism by some social conservatives who consider the Bakersfield native an “establishment” Republican.

He told attendees he will bring the party together: “We will unite.”

Paul Ryan to IRS Commissioner: ‘Nobody Believes You’ (Video)

murray ryan 041 111313 445x312 Paul Ryan to IRS Commissioner: Nobody Believes You (Video)

Ryan and other Republicans hammered the IRS commissioner Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Paul D. Ryan led a parade of House Republicans Friday ripping into IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and the tax agency’s handling of emails related to the targeting of conservative groups.

The Wisconsin Republican told the former Clinton and Bush administration official, who was brought in last year by the White House to clean up the IRS, “Nobody believes you.”

Questions about the IRS and its handling of conservative groups during the early days of the Obama administration have ramped up dramatically in the past week, amid revelations the agency has irretrievably lost months of emails from Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the scandal.

Full story

By David Eldridge Posted at 12:43 p.m.
Uncategorized

June 19, 2014

A Look Back at Congress’ Most Memorable Leadership Battles

mccarthy 182 0520141 445x296 A Look Back at Congress Most Memorable Leadership Battles

Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is likely to cruise to victory in Thursday’s majority leadership election, but leadership races in the past have often reshaped careers and parties. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

While everyone on Capitol Hill is waiting for the results of Thursday afternoon’s House GOP leadership races, CQ Roll Call remembers Ben Pershing’s 2005 piece on the “10 Best Leadership Races of the Last 50 Years.

Pershing, who went on from Roll Call to The Washington Post, where he covers politics, does a great job showing how leadership battles shaped the futures of Gerald Ford, Edward M. Kennedy, Jim Wright and Newt Gingrich, among others.

Here’s Pershing’s 2005 piece in its entirety:

When it comes to Congressional leadership races, they just don’t make ’em like they used to. Full story

By David Eldridge Posted at 12:31 p.m.
Uncategorized
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