Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 18, 2014

Posts by David Eldridge

85 Posts

December 16, 2014

Dingell’s Condition Improving at Washington Hospital

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Dingell is on the mend at a Washington hospital. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Retiring Rep. John D. Dingell, hospitalized last week after a hip fracture, will likely spend the holidays at George Washington University Hospital recuperating, according to a Facebook update from the congressman’s wife.

The 88-year-old Michigan Democrat, the nation’s longest-serving congressman ever (he took office in 1955), is “making steady progress and is far better than when he was admitted,” Debbie Dingell wrote Tuesday. Full story

December 12, 2014

Issa Subpoenas Gruber’s Contracts, Documents on Obamacare

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Issa may be wrapping up his term on Oversight, but he’s not done with Gruber. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

You didn’t really think House Republicans were done with Jonathan Gruber, did you?

No, of course not.

Outgoing House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa late Thursday issued a subpoena for the Obamacare consultant who testified earlier this week before the panel on his comments about “the stupidity of the American voter.” Full story

December 10, 2014

Gowdy Indicates Monthly Benghazi Hearings Until ‘Questions Answered’

 

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Gowdy said hearings will take place in January, February, March, and until questions are answered. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Pushing back at critics who contend it’s time to move on from Benghazi, Rep. Trey Gowdy opened Wednesday’s House hearing on the 2012 terror attack with a promise of more action next year.

“I remain keenly aware that there are those on both sides of the aisle who have concluded that all questions have been answered, there is nothing left to do, no more witnesses left to talk to, no more documents to review,” said Gowdy, who was chosen by Speaker John A. Boehner last spring to consolidate multiple ongoing House probes of the incident. Full story

December 9, 2014

Gruber Apologizes for ‘Glib, Thoughtless, Insulting’ Remarks (Updated) (Video)

 

issa 251 072314 445x310 Gruber Apologizes for Glib, Thoughtless, Insulting Remarks (Updated) (Video)

Issa called Gruber’s comments “deceitful.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: 10:50 a.m. | Jonathan Gruber, the Obamacare consultant who has become a lightning rod for critics of the health care law for his comments about “the stupidity of the American voter,” apologized again on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist who helped write the Affordable Care Act was summoned to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to answer for controversial comments that have surfaced in recent weeks on the Internet.

As the hearing got underway Tuesday, Gruber admitted missteps in talking about the passage of the 2010 law. Full story

December 3, 2014

‘Hands Up’ Joins Legacy of Boston Tea Party, Rosa Parks, Selma, Lawmaker Says (Video)

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(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” as a symbol of protest against injustice is here to stay, Rep. Al Green said Wednesday on the floor of the House.

“This is not going to go away,” the Texas Democrat said during a short, public response to critics — chiefly MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough — who have taken issue with Green’s and other black lawmakers’ use, during congressional proceedings two days earlier, of a gesture that has come to symbolize frustration over the police shooting of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

Green said the “Hands Up” movement that has germinated in the wake of last summer’s shooting is the latest in a long line of historic protests, including the Boston Tea Party, Martin Luther King Jr.’s Selma march and Rosa Parks’ refusal to sit at the back of the bus in Montgomery. Full story

December 2, 2014

Jeh Johnson: Obama’s Plan Is ‘Simple Common Sense’ (Video)

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson defended President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration before skeptical Republicans on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

Johnson, who has become the administration’s point person on immigration, told the House Homeland Security Committee that the president’s order to stay the deportations of millions of illegal immigrants is “simple common sense.”

“The reality is that, given our limited resources, these people are not priorities for removal. It’s time we acknowledge that and encourage them to be held accountable,” Johnson said. Full story

November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Shouldn’t Be About Wal-Mart, Says Florida Congressman

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Grayson slammed Wal-Mart for commercializing Thanksgiving Day. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ah, Thanksgiving: football, parades, turkey and stuffing, Rep. Alan Grayson going after Wal-Mart.

The Florida Democrat, who is one of the retail giant’s biggest critics on Capitol Hill, renewed what has become his annual Thanksgiving tradition Wednesday, taking on Wal-Mart for its treatment of workers.

“Thanksgiving was once a holiday reserved for spending time with our loved ones — families across America gathered around the table to enjoy a meal … and give thanks,” Grayson said in a statement.

“But Thanksgiving’s importance has faded in recent years. The holiday is now merely a precursor to Black Friday — the day in which stores like Walmart slash prices to attempt to generate larger profits for themselves, at the expense of their employees. For Walmart’s corporate owners, Thanksgiving has become ‘Black Friday Eve’ — a day to pry families apart and work employees to the bone for next to nothing in wages.”

Grayson wrapped up with a vow of support for Wal-Mart employees staging Black Friday protests of wages and working conditions across the country Wednesday.

In 2012, Grayson was escorted out of an Orlando Wal-Mart by security guards after participating in a Thanksgiving protest at the store.

After protesting Wal-Mart workers were arrested on Black Friday last year, Grayson told Salon that, “Wal-Mart is a machine that exists solely for the purpose of enriching its owners and … the top managers of Wal-Mart, and in so doing wreaks havoc on the lives of both workers and suppliers.”

 

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November 24, 2014

Boehner Reappoints Gowdy to Head Benghazi Panel

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Gowdy, left, was reappointed to his Benghazi panel role as Chaffetz said he will mount further probes into the matter. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Speaker John A. Boehner announced Monday he will reappoint Rep. Trey Gowdy as chairman of the Select Committee on the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya in the 114th Congress.

“On September 11, 2012, four Americans were killed in a brutal terrorist attack in Libya. Two years later, the American people still have far too many questions about what happened that night — and why,” Boehner said in a statement. “That’s why I will reappoint Rep. Trey Gowdy and the Republican members of the House Select Committee to investigate the events in Benghazi in the 114th Congress. I look forward to the definitive report Chairman Gowdy and the Select Committee will present to the American people.”

Gowdy, R-S.C., told CQ Roll Call Nov. 14 that the committee, which has maintained a low profile since its creation last spring, would meet “in public and in private” before the end of December’s lame-duck session, which is currently open-ended. Full story

November 14, 2014

Gutiérrez: There Are ’40, 50, 60′ GOP Votes in House for Immigration

gutierrez 325 072914 445x296 Gutiérrez: There Are 40, 50, 60 GOP Votes in House for Immigration

Gutierrez  wants GOP leadership to allow a House vote on an immigration bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez, the Illinois Democrat who has been at the forefront of efforts to overhaul immigration in Congress, said Friday there are enough votes in the House Republican caucus now to pass a bipartisan bill.

“There are 40, 50, 60 … Republicans” who will join Democrats to pass a bill, Gutiérrez said in an appearance on MSNBC. The congressman and other Democrats, frustrated with lack of action from GOP leaders, are urging on President Barack Obama, who has indicated he will take unilateral action on immigration perhaps as early as next week.

“The problem is they won’t give us a vote on all of the wonderful work. I don’t want to mention the names of my Republican colleagues that I worked with but you know who they are,” the Illinois Democrat told MSNBC’s Jose Diaz-Balart, whose brother is a Republican congressman from Miami. “There are dozens of them.”

Diaz-Balart’s brother, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., told CQ Roll Call earlier this year that he was close to having enough Republican votes to pass a bipartisan immigration overhaul in the House that would balance GOP demands for border security with Democratic calls for legal status for the undocumented.

But Republicans backed off the issue this summer after an unprecedented surge of Central-American children and women crossing illegally into Texas and the primary loss of then-Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who previously had indicated some support for an overhaul.

Related:

GOP: Obama’s Immigration Action Will Cripple 2016 Democrats

Obama Hasn’t Decided When to Act on Immigration 

Ted Cruz Rallies House Conservatives to End ‘Obama’s Amnesty’

White House Excoriates GOP Deportation Demands

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November 13, 2014

McMorris Rodgers Re-Elected as GOP Conference Chairwoman

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McMorris Rodgers retains her post on the House GOP leadership team.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers on Thursday won her second term as chairwoman of the House Republican Conference.

The Washington congresswoman, the No. 4-ranked Republican in the House and the highest-ranked woman in the conference, begins her sixth term in Congress in January. Full story

November 12, 2014

Boehner, Republicans Blast ‘Job-Crushing’ Emissions Deal With China (Updated)

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Members of the United Mine Workers of America march near Freedom Plaza to protest regulations proposed by the EPA that they say would “destroy our nation’s coal industry and coal-related jobs,” and not address climate change. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 10:20 a.m. | Republicans in Washington are already pushing back hard against the carbon-emissions deal President Barack Obama and Chinese leaders announced Wednesday in Beijing.

“Job-crushing,” said Speaker John A. Boehner. Mitch McConnell, the presumed next Senate majority leader, also weighed in against the deal, which calls for the U.S. to cut emissions by as much as 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025. China agreed to begin reducing its own emissions by 2030.

In a statement, Oklahoma Sen. James M. Inhofe, who will likely chair the Environment and Public Works Committee in the next Congress, called the deal a “non-binding charade.”

But Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., responding to GOP critics of the deal on MSNBC, said “the president doesn’t need the Congress” to make the agreement with China.

Full story

November 5, 2014

Steve Israel: 3 Issues Democrats, GOP Can Work on Together

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Israel said Democrats can work with the GOP on tax reform, immigration and college debt.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sifting through the ashes of the previous day’s disappointing results, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel said Wednesday there are at least three issues on which the two parties can find common ground in the new year.

“We can come together on some key middle class, economic security issues, and that’s what has to happen now that this election is mercifully behind us,” the New York Democrat said Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“I think we need to pick three things that we can get done together,” he said. “I think it’s college debt, I think it’s immigration reform, and I think it’s reforming the tax code. We need to do this incrementally. I think both parties have a vested interest in delivering for the middle class, so I think we need to pick those three things and move forward.” Full story

November 4, 2014

Bachmann Predicts Joint Retreat for House, Senate Republicans

 Bachmann Predicts Joint Retreat for House, Senate Republicans

Bachmann likes the idea of a joint House-Senate GOP retreat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

She won’t be around to attend, but outgoing Rep. Michele Bachmann likes the idea of a joint House-Senate retreat if Republicans end up winning control of the upper chamber.

The 2012 GOP presidential contender, appearing Tuesday on Fox, told host Gretchen Carlson she thinks Republicans in the House and Senate can hammer out an agenda for the 114th Congress.

“I think you’ll see a joint retreat between the Senate and the House where we actually come together and talk about what we want to accomplish in the next two years,” said the Minnesota Republican, who is not seeking re-election this year after serving four terms in the House.

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, in a recent interview with Politico, pitched the joint retreat proposal and said he and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., in an effort to tone down the partisan rancor on the Hill, have been holding private dinners with lawmakers from both parties.

Related stories:

McCarthy Offers Glimpse of GOP’s 2015 Priority: ‘Government Reform’

Retiring Bachmann Signals She’s Still In the Game

Cruz Hosts Late-Night Strategy Session With House Republicans on CR 

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October 28, 2014

Congressional Hispanic Caucus: All In on Perez for Attorney General

 

Labor 01 040913 238x335 Congressional Hispanic Caucus: All In on Perez for Attorney General

Perez (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama hasn’t yet made public his pick for a replacement for outgoing Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., but the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has: It wants current Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez to take the job.

“Secretary Perez has a proven record of championing and defending the rights of all Americans,” Chairman Rubén Hinojosa said in a statement. “The CHC supported Tom Perez in his nomination to the Department of Labor, and the Caucus will continue to support him if he is formally nominated for the position of U.S. Attorney General.”

Rep. Ben Ray Luján, the first vice chairman of the CHC, announced that group has endorsed Perez for attorney general. The endorsement comes as Obama considers a nominee to head the Department of Justice.

“The Congressional Hispanic Caucus proudly endorses Secretary Tom Perez to serve as the next Attorney General of the United States,” said Hinojosa, the Texas Democrat who chairs the 27-member caucus. “We hope Secretary Perez will be the President’s nominee of choice to head the Department of Justice.”

“Throughout a distinguished career that includes Secretary of Labor and Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Tom Perez has demonstrated a deep commitment to justice and civil rights,” said Luján, a New Mexico Democrat. “As a dedicated public servant, he has stood up for working families and advocated for the rights of all Americans — especially the most vulnerable.”

Perez, a Harvard Law School graduate who served as a deputy assistant attorney general during the Clinton administration before returning to the Justice Department in 2009, is the son of Dominican immigrants. He was confirmed as labor secretary in July 2013.

The White House said earlier this month that Obama will not name a nominee after the midterm elections.

 

Related stories:

No Attorney General Pick Until After Elections, White House Says

Obama Has Another Key DOJ Post to Fill

New Choice to Head DOJ Civil Rights Division Has Early Conservative Support

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October 22, 2014

McCarthy Calls Iran Nuclear Deal Reports ‘Worrisome’

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McCarthy: No rubber stamp on Iran nuclear talks. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated, 2:27 p.m.: Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy vowed Wednesday that House Republicans will not sit idly by while the Obama administration unilaterally negotiates a resolution with Iran over that country’s nuclear program.

The Obama administration, according to news reports, is considering sweetening its offer to Iran in the ongoing negotiations, allowing the regime to operate 4,000 centrifuges, up from an earlier 1,300.

The White House and the State Department have not commented on the the reports, which originated with an Iranian news agency.

But the development has set off alarms with lawmakers like McCarthy, who called the news “worrisome.” The California Republican promised “extensive oversight” of the administration’s handling of the Iranian negotiations.

The Senate’s No. 2-ranked Republican, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, also warned the president against overstepping his authority on the Iran deal.

“The American people will not tolerate a President who wheels and deals with a radical regime behind their backs and dodges congressional oversight every chance he gets,” the Texas Republican said in a statement. “Any agreement with Iran to provide further relief from U.S. sanctions must be done in conjunction with Congress in an open and transparent way to ensure it advances America’s national security.”

Here’s McCarthy’s full statement:

Recent reports have suggested the Obama Administration believes it can negotiate a deal with Iran and provide significant sanctions relief to the Iranian regime without Congressional support. This Administration has a long record of ignoring and threatening to ignore Congress.

While this unilateralism alone is distressing, it is made even more worrisome in light of additional reports that the Administration may be willing to yet again make significant concessions to the Iranians in the nuclear negotiations. As the President and his team know full well, there is overwhelming, bipartisan concern on Capitol Hill about Iran’s nuclear and missile programs, its sponsorship of terrorism, its promotion of instability throughout the region, and its appalling human rights record. Congress will not simply look the other way if the Administration agrees to a deal that does not make sufficient progress in rolling back Iran’s nuclear program. Although the precise mechanics of Congressional approval or disapproval will depend on what exactly the President decides to do, the nature of the agreement, and a variety of other factors, I can promise that Congress will conduct extensive oversight regarding the details of any deal or extension of the current Joint Plan of Action.

Separate from the conduct of the nuclear negotiations, I remain concerned the Administration lacks an effective strategy to combat Iran’s malign influence throughout the region. Whether in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, or Yemen, Iran’s support for terrorism and its destabilizing activities threaten the interests and security of the United States and its key allies and partners in the region. I look forward to the Administration consulting with Congress about how to confront this grave threat.

Related stories:

Foreign Affairs to Examine Iran’s Nuclear Compliance

House GOP May Act on Senate Iran Sanctions Bill

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