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Posts by Emma Dumain
September 29, 2014
Five weeks and one day before the midterm elections, Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer made the case for Democrats to retake control of the House, delivering a scathing takedown of Republican leadership in the process.
In a Monday morning speech at the National Press Club, the House’s No. 2 Democrat mocked Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, for recently boasting that the House under GOP rule is so transparent “you can even bring your iPad on the floor.”
“That may be the case,” Hoyer scoffed, “but you can’t bring a bill to raise the minimum wage to the floor. Or to extend unemployment insurance. Or to extend the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act. You can’t bring a bipartisan bill to fix our broken immigration system.” Full story
September 25, 2014
Update 5:05 p.m. | Even before Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s resignation was officially announced, House and Senate lawmakers were sending out statements reacting to the news.
The sentiments broke down neatly along party lines, with Republicans openly cheering an end to Holder’s six years atop the Justice Department and Democrats just as enthusiastically expressing appreciation for the nation’s first black attorney general.
The statements signaled just how polarizing Holder has become on Capitol Hill.
For many GOP lawmakers who had clashed with Holder, it was simply a matter of good riddance.
“I can’t think of any AG in history who has attacked Louisiana more than Holder,” said Sen. David Vitter, R-La., who was first out with a release headed, “Vitter Welcomes News of Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation.”
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., proclaimed, “Eric Holder is the most divisive U.S. Attorney General in modern history and, in a vote supported by 17 Democratic House Members, has the dubious historic distinction of being the first Attorney General held in criminal contempt by the U.S. House of Representatives.” Full story
Speaker John A. Boehner thinks Congress should debate authorizing use of force against the Islamic State in Syria — but not until new members of the House and Senate take office in January.
The Ohio Republican told The New York Times in an interview published Thursday morning the lame-duck session following the midterms in November would not be an appropriate time to make those decisions.
“Doing this with the whole group of members who are on their way out the door, I don’t think that is the right way to handle this,” Boehner told the Times.
That statement is sure to rankle many members on both sides of the aisle who had hoped the House would weigh in as soon as possible on President Barack Obama’s decision to use airstrikes to target the terrorist organization, also known as ISIS or ISIL. Full story
September 24, 2014
After a summer spent defending himself against criticism from Democratic colleagues, Rep. Henry Cuellar was defiant Wednesday when his party affiliation was called into question.
“I’m a Democrat, and I will die as a Democrat,” the Texas lawmaker told Texas Tribune Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith in an interview.
During an interview conducted before an audience at the University of Texas’s San Antonio campus, Smith was asking Cuellar specifically about his collaboration with Republicans during the debate on legislation to address the child migrant crisis at the southwest border. Full story
September 22, 2014
President Barack Obama has said he won’t make sweeping changes to immigration policy until after the midterm elections in order to protect vulnerable Democrats in tight races, but House Republicans don’t want to wait to see what the president has up his sleeve.
On Monday, all 22 Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Obama demanding that he make public “the recommendations he has received for the anticipated executive actions he will take to further dismantle our nation’s immigration laws.”
Disclosing the suggestions for how he would overhaul the nation’s immigration system without the participation of Congress, the 22 lawmakers argued, “could go some way toward repairing the damage to the American political process caused by the secrecy with which your Administration has considered changes to our immigration system.”
Read the full letter here: Full story
Between Aug. 1 and Nov. 12, the House will have only been in session for eight days — translating to a $788 per hour wage for Speaker John A. Boehner.
For an Ohio minimum-wage earner who wants to match the sum of that hourly paycheck, he or she will have to work 99 hours.
That’s all according to consumer-rights activist Ralph Nader, who sent a letter to Boehner on Monday stating his grievances. He also said that the average rank-and-file lawmaker will make $614 an hour.
Lawmakers from both parties point out that just because they aren’t in session doesn’t mean they aren’t working, but Nader said he crunched the numbers to prove a point: House lawmakers make substantially more than the average American, yet work substantially fewer hours.
And still, Nader bemoans, Republican leadership refuses to allow a vote to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. Full story
September 18, 2014
Nancy Pelosi is making another play for her fellow Californian and close friend, Rep. Anna G. Eshoo, to be ranking member on the Energy and Commerce Committee.
The Minority Leader sent a letter to colleagues on Thursday afternoon, just as the House was finishing legislative business before November. That’s when the full Democratic Caucus will vote for either Eshoo or her colleague, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., to win the party’s top spot on the powerful committee.
With competition stiff between the two lawmakers, Pelosi stunned colleagues once already back in late February, in the very early days of the campaign to succeed retiring ranking member Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., by penning a letter in support of Eshoo. Full story
After a quiet couple of months, the race to be the ranking Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee is heating up again.
As the November election nears, the two Democrats vying for the party’s top spot on the panel are stepping up efforts to show off their clout.
Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey made the bolder move on Thursday, releasing a letter signed by 50 of his supporters that outlines why they think he should be given the assignment over his opponent, Rep. Anna G. Eshoo of California. Full story
While most of Congress trekked down Pennsylvania Avenue Wednesday night to the annual White House picnic, a select group of current and former members took a trip down Memory Lane instead, converging on the Hill to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the historic House GOP class of 1994.
A half-dozen lawmakers joined nearly 40 former colleagues, including former speaker Newt Gingrich, inside the National Resources Committee hearing room to reminisce about one of the biggest “wave” elections in congressional history.
In the midterms that year, the party recaptured power in the chamber, with new members having campaigned successfully on what would become the 104th Congress’s defining document: The Contract with America.
“You are going to go down in history … as the greatest freshman class, at least in the last century, to walk into this House of Representatives,” said Tom DeLay of Texas, who in 1995 was the House majority whip before going on to serve as majority leader. “You are people of incredible character and incredible strength and you stood on your principles.” Full story
September 17, 2014
House Democratic leaders aren’t whipping votes on the continuing resolution and an amendment to give President Barack Obama authority to arm Syrian rebels against the terrorist group the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
But Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi used her regularly-scheduled Wednesday morning news conference to make an impassioned case for members to support their president.
“I don’t know how the vote will turn out,” the California Democrat said. “It’s not a vote we whip. We just don’t whip war votes. But I do think that, as members weigh the factors, that they will, I think, give points to the president for all that he has done, diplomatically, politically, humanitarian-wise and ask for this distinct piece.” Full story
Reps. Trey Gowdy and Elijah E. Cummings say they don’t want the Select Committee on Benghazi to be driven by partisanship, and both have made overtures over the past four months to prove they mean it.
But no matter how many times the South Carolina Republican and Maryland Democrat huddle in the Speaker’s Lobby and pledge to treat the committee’s mission with dignity, the chairman and ranking member probably won’t be able to drown out the partisan voices on sidelines just 48 days from the midterm elections.
On the eve of the committee’s first public hearing, set for Wednesday morning, Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and progressives, on Capitol Hill and off, were already drawing battle lines. Full story
September 15, 2014
After postponing consideration last week of a stop-gap spending measure to fund the government past Sept. 30, House GOP leaders are poised in the days ahead to bring that same piece of legislation to the floor.
That vote, however, will now likely be coupled with consideration of an amendment to the underlying bill that would authorize the Obama administration to train and arm Syrian rebels against the insurgent terrorist organization known as the Islamic State or ISIS.
This bifurcated approach would make it considerably easier for members — on both sides of the aisle — to vote against the ISIS language but not the continuing resolution, taking off the table the threat of a revolt large enough to risk another government shutdown. Full story
Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay had a rocky relationship when they served together in House GOP leadership nearly two decades ago.
But on the occasion of the 20-year anniversary of the historic 1994 elections that swept their party into power, the two former congressmen are getting the band back together.
On Wednesday evening, they will reunite on Capitol Hill to participate in a panel discussion looking back on that cycle and the history of the Contract With America, the document of campaign promises that helped Republicans cruise to victory. Full story
September 12, 2014
The House’s inability to pass an emergency border funding bill last month left critics on both sides of the aisle wondering whether the new members of the GOP leadership team, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, can bring order to an unruly conference
But House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., said to give the new guys some time.
September 11, 2014
House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer said Thursday afternoon that he expects Congress will vote next week to grant President Barack Obama authority to arm Syrian rebels against the insurgent terrorist group known as the Islamic State or ISIS.
But the Maryland Democrat also said he expected that that vote wouldn’t be Congress’s last word on the subject.
“I believe a two-step process is what we will, I think, pursue,” Hoyer told CQ Roll Call and the Washington Post on Thursday during a taping of the C-SPAN program “Newsmakers,” set to air on Sunday morning. “I think there will be consideration of the president’s request to train and equip regional players.”
Then, after the elections, Hoyer said he anticipated “consideration of a larger authorization for the use of military force.”