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Posts by Emily Pierce
January 9, 2014
Speaker John A. Boehner on Thursday said he still believes embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie remains a viable GOP presidential candidate.
But the Ohio Republican said he “wasn’t fortunate enough” to watch Christie’s Thursday news conference in which the governor apologized for his staff’s involvement in apparent political retribution against a Democratic mayor.
Christie fired his deputy chief of staff after she was implicated this week in directing the closure of several busy George Washington Bridge access lanes in Fort Lee, N.J. The move appears to have been an act of revenge for the Fort Lee mayor’s refusal to endorse Christie’s 2013 re-election bid.
October 25, 2013
House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa has teamed up with Sen. Lamar Alexander to demand that the Obama administration turn over documents related to the deeply troubled HealthCare.gov.
In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Issa and Alexander warn that if documents related to the health insurance exchange website are not turned over to both chambers by Oct. 28, the House may move to subpoena them.
“If you do not comply with the Committees’ requests by 5:00 pm on October 28, 2013, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will be forced to consider the use of compulsory process,” the letter states.
Issa, a California Republican, is the one with subpoena power. Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, serves as ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions panel, and subpoena power generally rests with chairmen.
The duo originally requested the documents on Oct. 10, their statement said. Full story
October 21, 2013
Bowing to pressure from House Republicans, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has reportedly agreed to testify in the House on the troubled rollout of the Obamacare website for health insurance exchanges.
Sebelius had been asked to testify on Thursday before the House Energy and Commerce panel, but she declined, citing a scheduling conflict and the recent end to the government shutdown.
Republicans had savaged Sebelius for refusing to testify, even as the administration acknowledged widespread problems with the website, healthcare.gov, that many uninsured Americans need to use to comply with the mandate to buy health insurance. The website went live on Oct. 1, the same day much of the government was shuttered.
But a Sebelius spokeswoman told Reuters that the secretary was in contact with the House panel and was prepared to testify in the near future. ”We have always indicated to the committee that she intended to testify but that she had a scheduling conflict. We continue to work with them to find a mutually agreeable date in the near future,” the spokeswoman said.
Shortly before the announcement from HHS, Speaker John A. Boehner and other House GOP leaders released statements criticizing the president’s Monday event promoting the Affordable Care Act, while acknowledging trouble with its rollout. Boehner also decried Sebelius’ resistance to appearing before the House committee.
“Americans didn’t get any answers from the president today, but the House’s oversight of this failure is just beginning,” Boehner said. “Secretary Sebelius must change her mind and appear at this week’s hearing in the House. With more than 1 trillion taxpayer dollars being spent on a completely defective program, Congress is going to get to the bottom of this debacle.”
September 2, 2013
Though they are not due to officially convene until next week, House lawmakers sent clear signals on Labor Day that they were ready to return to work.
In the morning, 127 House Democrats tuned into a conference call with Secretary of State John Kerry and White House officials to be briefed on the evolving situation in Syria and the need for U.S. intervention there.
On Tuesday, House chairmen and ranking members on the committees of jurisdiction will meet at the White House to discuss next steps along with their Senate counterparts.
Sources confirm that House leaders are also expected to attend that meeting, including Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md.
Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., announced that his panel will hold a Wednesday hearing to discuss the Obama administration’s request that Congress vote to authorize the use of military force against Syria, which has been accused by the U.S. and other countries of using deadly sarin gas against its own people.
“The President’s proposed military response to the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime demands thorough and deliberate congressional consideration,” Royce said in a statement. “This hearing will allow for the Administration to publicly make its case and explain its plans to Congress and the American people.”
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has scheduled a Tuesday hearing.
June 26, 2013
Rep. Tammy Duckworth lit into an IRS contractor at a Wednesday hearing in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, mocking the witness for claiming a veterans disability for an old prep school injury.
As Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., explained in his opening statement, the witness may have used the agency’s contractor selection process, which includes a preference for businesses run by wounded veterans, in a potentially fraudulent way:
“The intention of, without a doubt, that disabled military veterans receive preference flies in the face of a small injury in 1984 while attending the military academy prep school, one so minor that it had no effect on college football participation for years to follow, and that took 27 years to conveniently ask to have this put in as a disability, not because of a true disability or inability to perform a job, but in fact, in order to qualify for a preference statement.”
But Duckworth — a double amputee Iraq War veteran — really took the contractor to task. As Issa said when the Illinois Democrat apologized for using more than her allotted questioning time, “The time was well spent.”
June 18, 2013
CQ Roll Call reporter Joanna Anderson tells us that the House Judiciary Committee’s markup of an immigration enforcement measure was rudely interrupted by pro-immigration protesters this morning.
“The meeting began with roughly 20 protesters standing and chanting, ‘Shame, shame, more of the same,’” Anderson wrote. “Members of the group wore sheets of paper pinned to their shirts bearing the phrase ‘Remember November,’ seemingly a nod to the 2012 presidential election in which President Barack Obama handily won the Hispanic vote.
“The protesters were escorted from the room by committee staff and U.S. Capitol Police but were met with cheers as they filed out into the hallway. And the group could still be heard outside the room saying both ‘Si, se puede’ and the English translation, ‘Yes, we can,’ prompting Judiciary panel Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., to briefly suspend committee activity.
“Goodlatte then made note of another group in the audience wearing graduation caps and gowns — a reference to the DREAMers, young illegal immigrants granted a reprieve from deportation by Obama if they attend college or serve in the U.S. military. The chairman welcomed the group but warned they also would be escorted out of the room if they chose to engage in protest.
“California Democrat Zoe Lofgren, who opposes the Republican bill, later said she supported Goodlatte’s effort to allow the panel’s work to go forward without interruption. But Lofgren, her party’s top lawmaker on the Judiciary Committee’s immigration subpanel, also said, ‘I understand why demonstrators were here this morning. This is very personal.’”
May 20, 2013
Speaker John A. Boehner wants President Barack Obama to help Ohioans adopt Russian children.
In a little-noticed letter last week, Boehner and the rest of the Ohio congressional delegation asked Obama to bring up the current ban on Americans adopting Russian children when he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G8 Summit in June.
What’s it to Boehner and his colleagues? Well, according to the letter, “The number of Ohio families halted by this ban is the highest of any state in the country.”
May 13, 2013
Way back in March 2012, Roll Call published a story about how tea party types were pretty irate over the amount of info they were being asked to provide to the IRS in order to get nonprofit status.
“In the past two months, dozens of tea party groups … say they have received lengthy and intrusive questionnaires, some of which request the names of donors and volunteers,” staff writer Janie Lorber wrote. Full story
May 10, 2013
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus called on the Heritage Foundation Friday to renounce the writings of Jason Richwine, a former Heritage employee and one of the authors of the group’s recent immigration report.
Richwine resigned this week amid a scandal over a doctoral thesis that suggested Latinos and other immigrants were not as smart as white Americans, according to news reports. Full story
Rep. Marlin Stutzman’s outrage over the “horrors” revealed at a Philadelphia abortion doctor’s office led the Indiana Republican down a personal path of discovery recently.
As the anti-abortion rights lawmaker wrote in the Washington Times this week, his own mother contemplated abortion in December of 1975, after her house burned down and the 17-year-old realized she was pregnant. It’s a revelation the congressman himself elicited after giving a speech about the case of Dr. Kermit Gosnell on the House floor. Full story
May 9, 2013
Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., notified the president today that they will not participate in one of the more controversial parts of the health care law, known as Obamacare.
In a letter, the two GOP leaders said they would not submit Republican appointees to the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which was created to try to rein in the costs of Medicare. Critics worry the board has too much power to possibly cut payments to doctors or limit the types of care seniors can get.
Full letter after the jump: