Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 27, 2014

Posts by David Eldridge

55 Posts

August 26, 2014

Larson: Congress Should End Vacation, Get to Work on ISIS

larson 133 071114 445x292 Larson: Congress Should End Vacation, Get to Work on ISIS

Larson, D-Conn., says vacation is over and Congress needs to come back to work. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the White House weighing more air strikes against jihadists in northern Iraq and possibly Syria, Rep. John B. Larson said Congress needs to cancel its August recess and get back to work in Washington.

The Connecticut Democrat said in a statement Tuesday that there are still open questions about whether President Barack Obama has the authority to take military action against the Islamic State, as the jihadists have named the region of Iraq and Syria under their control.

Congress isn’t scheduled to return to Washington until Sept. 8. Full story

August 25, 2014

House Lawsuit Against Obama Price Tag: Up to $350K

boehner 155 061914 445x289 House Lawsuit Against Obama Price Tag: Up to $350K

Boehner and House GOP have hired a D.C. firm to handle Obama lawsuit. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

D.C. law firm BakerHostetler will handle the House Republicans’ lawsuit against President Barack Obama.

House Administration Chairwoman Candice S. Miller, R-Mich., said the firm has been contracted to represent the House in the district court civil suit.

According to the contract, the lawsuit will cost the House up to $350,000, billed at a rate of $500/hour.
“The president must be held accountable, and the House will continue to act in an open and transparent manner to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution,” Miller said in a Monday statement.

The lawsuit, authorized on July 30 by the House, calls for the courts to rein in a president who, Republicans contend, has overstepped his authority by unilaterally changing federal law in his implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Many legal experts say the lawsuit faces long odds in the courts, but one of the highest-profile constitutional scholars in the country, former Reagan and George Bush lawyer David Rivkin, has said the case has merit — and he’s a partner at the firm the Republicans hired.

Democrats immediately weighed in on the announcement, sharply criticizing the $500 per hour contract as wasteful spending.

“This outrageous waste of taxpayer dollars is yet another reminder of House Republicans’ misguided priorities,” said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel, D-N.Y., in a statement. “Only in John Boehner’s world does it make sense to pay lawyers $500 per hour to work on a partisan lawsuit while refusing to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for hardworking Americans trying to feed their families.”

Related:

Lawmakers Battle Over Legal Arguments on Obama Lawsuit

House Votes to Sue Obama

After Fights Over Cuckoo Clocks and Billable Hours, Rules Panel Backs Resolution Allowing House to Sue Obama 

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

Congressman: Get Ready for Immigration Move From Obama

immigration 148 0520141 445x296 Congressman: Get Ready for Immigration Move From Obama

Gutierrez said Monday the president’s move on immigration could be “unprecedented” in scope. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Reacting to a report that President Barack Obama is mulling unilateral action that could impact almost half the nation’s estimated 12 million illegal immigrants, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez said Monday, “It’s music to my ears.”

The Illinois Democrat, one of Congress’ most vocal supporters of a comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s immigration system, said in an appearance on MSNBC that Obama has been forced to take action because of gridlock in the House.

“We want to get as many as we can out of the vicious cycle of deportation,” Gutiérrez said. “But I think if the president takes such a move … I think it would be a huge move.”

His comments came after reporter Chris Jansing told MSNBC’s Jose Diaz-Balart that administration sources have said the White House is weighing executive action that would impact up to 5 million illegal immigrants.  Full story

By David Eldridge Posted at 12:55 p.m.
Uncategorized

August 21, 2014

McKeon Wants Probe Into Leak of Covert Foley Rescue Attempt

press010 022414 445x296 McKeon Wants Probe Into Leak of Covert Foley Rescue Attempt

McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, wants answers on who leaked news of the secret mission in Syria. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A leading House Republican says the Obama administration needs to plug the leaks that led to revelations of an unsuccessful covert mission earlier this summer to rescue journalist James Foley and other hostages from jihadist captors in Syria.

Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, commended the U.S. forces involved, but he criticized the Obama administration for confirming the operation after news organizations, citing unnamed sources, reported on the mission.

McKeon, in a statement issued Thursday, said:

Successful or not, such operations are incredibly sensitive, even after they have concluded. Disclosure of these missions puts our troops at risk, reduces the likelihood that future missions will succeed, and risks the lives of hostages and informants alike. While I believe it was unwise for the White House and Department of Defense to formally acknowledge this operation; it is outrageous that someone would be so selfish and short sighted to leak it to the media.”

He called on Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to investigate and determine the source of the leak.

ABC News, citing “senior administration sources,” reported Wednesday that U.S. special operations members engaged in a firefight with jihadists at a site in Syria where Foley and the others were believed to be held, but withdrew when it became apparent the hostages were not there.

The administration has said it only acknowledged the operation because media organizations were going public with the news anyway.

The Islamic State insurgents who control parts of Syria and northern Iraq released a video this week showing the brutal beheading of Foley and vowed more executions if the U.S. continues its ramped-up campaign of airstrikes in the region.

August 19, 2014

Pope Francis Hints at U.S. Visit, Address to Congress

A papal visit to Washington next year — including a possible address to Congress — could be in the works.

Although the Vatican has not confirmed or denied any official travel plans, Pope Francis told reporters accompanying him on a flight home from South Korea that he’s weighing U.S. stops in Washington, Philadelphia and New York City in 2015. 

“Next year I would like to go to Philadelphia, for the [World Meeting of Families],” the pontiff said, according to the Wall Street Journal. “Then, I have been invited by the president of the United States to the American Congress. And also the secretary-general of the United Nations has also invited me to the Secretariat of the U.N. in New York. So maybe the three cities together.”    

House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, earlier this year invited the pope to address a joint session of Congress.

The Vatican reported Tuesday the pope is mourning the deaths of three of his relatives — the wife and two young children of the pontiff’s 38-year-old nephew — killed in a car crash in Argentina.

August 15, 2014

Washington Leaders Praise Police Tactic Changes in Ferguson (Video)

irs presser001 030614 445x296 Washington Leaders Praise Police Tactic Changes in Ferguson (Video)

Cummings praises a quieter night in Ferguson, Mo. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 11:03 a.m. | Rep. Elijah E. Cummings on Friday praised a change in police tactics in Ferguson, Mo., that was followed, finally, by a peaceful night in the troubled St. Louis suburb.

“The change in security tactics in Ferguson, and the intervention of Gov. [Jay]  Nixon has greatly improved a horrible situation,” the Maryland Democrat said. “There is never an excuse for violence and aggression — on the part of the police or citizens — and the right to peacefully protest must be respected. This community has been rocked by the death of a young man with a bright future, and they deserve an opportunity to appropriately express outrage at this tragedy.”

Nixon on Thursday put the Missouri Highway Patrol in charge of security in Ferguson, after several nights of violent clashes between local authorities and protesters upset about the Aug. 9 police shooting of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown.

On Friday, Ferguson police identified Darren Wilson as the officer who shot Brown.

Rep. James E. Clyburn, D-S.C., welcomed the decision in Ferguson to release the name of the officer, and said he hopes that the events in Missouri serve as a wake-up call to minority voters.

“I was thinking this morning about all this rhetoric about being ‘tough on crime.’ It’s one thing to be tough on crime. I’m tough on crime. But it’s something else to be death on blacks. And that’s what seems to be happening,” he said in an appearance on MSNBC.

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, in a statement issued Friday, questioned the aggressive response by Ferguson police to protesters earlier in the week.

“I have been shocked by the military-like response from the local police,” the Vermont Democrat said. “No one questions that law enforcement must maintain order, and certainly some of these protests have warranted intervention. But equipping police officers with the tools of war does nothing to repair a torn community … American streets are not a warzone. They shouldn’t be treated like one.”

 

Related:

New Focus on Civil Rights, Militarized Cops Emerges in Wake of Ferguson

As Ferguson Police-Protester Clashes Escalate, Congress Wades In

Obama Calls for Calm, Healing

CBC Members Call for Full DOJ Investigation

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

By David Eldridge Posted at 10:11 a.m.
Uncategorized

August 13, 2014

Garamendi on McCain, Graham: ‘Those Two Would Like to Bomb Everywhere’

detention presser005 051612 445x294 Garamendi on McCain, Graham: Those Two Would Like to Bomb Everywhere

Garamendi says Congress needs to weigh in on the “slippery slope” of intervention in Iraq. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. John Garamendi on Wednesday joined the chorus of lawmakers from both parties warning against mission creep in Iraq drawing the U.S. back into a war in the Middle East.

Garamendi, in an appearance on MSNBC, said he believes President Barack Obama, who has ordered air strikes on insurgents, humanitarian aid and more troops to Iraq to protect U.S. interests, is operating within the bounds of the War Powers Act, but the California Democrat cautioned that Congress must weigh in if intervention in the splintered country is ramped up further. Full story

July 25, 2014

No Vacation Until Congress Fixes VA, Democrats Demand

gabbard 219 032614 445x296 No Vacation Until Congress Fixes VA, Democrats Demand

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

Treasury 05 042413 445x296 GOP Calls for Troops on Border, Speedier Deportations

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

wolf050213 445x293 Wolf Wants Washingtons Birthday Restored to Correct Date

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

irs hearing020 052213 445x296 Text of Stockman Resolution Calling for House to Arrest Lois Lerner

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

immigration 148 0520141 445x296 Congressman: American Drug Use Fueling Immigration Crisis

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)

boehner 051 050714 445x312 Boehners Memo to Members on Obama Lawsuit (Complete Text)

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

Page 1 of 4

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...