Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 21, 2014

Posts by Emma Dumain

546 Posts

December 19, 2014

The Friday Before Christmas, a Quieter House

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It was the week before Christmas, and things were quiet all through the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Incoming Rep. Barry Loudermilk said he was surprised anybody at all was on Capitol Hill on Dec. 19, the last Friday before Christmas.

The Georgia Republican, who had returned to the gift shop in the Longworth House Office Building hoping to retrieve some misplaced paperwork, told CQ Roll Call he was only around to do a bit of housekeeping in advance of the first day of the 114th Congress in January. Full story

December 15, 2014

Defiant Pelosi Stands Firmly on Left

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Pelosi signals she’d rather fight than move to the middle. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Wide swaths of House Democrats have said they attribute Election Day losses to the caucus’s lack of a unified message, a strong pitch they can sell to voters and, above all else, a true sense their actions will match up with their rhetoric.

So when Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi broke with the White House last week and fought against a trillion-dollar spending package containing policy riders abhorred by her caucus, progressives cheered the return of their liberal champion. Full story

December 12, 2014

Incoming House Budget Chairman Hopes for Legislative Gains in New GOP Congress

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Price succeeds Ryan as chairman of the House Budget Committee next year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Tom Price might not have the same star power as Rep. Paul D. Ryan.

But the Georgia Republican, who’s stepping in to replace his Wisconsin colleague as chairman of the House Budget Committee, could end up having the kind of tangible successes that eluded his predecessor. Full story

December 11, 2014

After Hours of Uncertainty, House Passes ‘Cromnibus’ (Updated)

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Boehner needed help getting the bill over the finish line. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

 

Updated 10:19 p.m. | The House narrowly advanced a trillion-dollar spending bill Thursday night to fund nearly all federal operations through the end of the fiscal year.

The measure passed 219-206 and now goes to the Senate, where lawmakers have just a few hours to avert a government shutdown; funding runs out at 11:59 p.m.

Sixty-seven Republicans joined 139 Democrats voting “no,” a volume of opposition ultimately not great enough to stymie the bill that was, by all accounts, controversial — even for those who voted “yes.” Full story

Lacking Sufficient Support, House GOP Leaders Delay ‘Cromnibus’ Vote (Video)

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(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 3:09 p.m. | Unsure whether they have the votes to pass a trillion-dollar federal spending package, House GOP leaders on Thursday afternoon delayed a final vote on the “cromnibus.”

They did so with mere hours to go until the government is set to run out of funding, and just before the House was scheduled to vote.

Full story

Nail-Biting Vote Moves ‘Cromnibus’ Closer to House Passage (Video)

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Waters and other Democrats slammed “last-minute” riders in the “cromnibus.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The product of hours and hours of hard-fought negotiations could be lost Thursday if House Democrats decide, just hours before the government is to due to shut down, to band together and rebuff a trillion-dollar federal spending bill over two so-called “poison pill” policy riders.

Judging by a nail-bitingly close vote on a procedural measure to bring the legislation to the floor for full consideration, Democrats could have leverage to get the riders scrapped, or at least kill the bill and force what could be a better or worse deal, depending who’s being asked: A three-month continuing resolution that would fund government operations into the new year.

“If we don’t get finished today, we’re going to be here until Christmas,” Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, warned. In a rare move for the House’s most senior lawmaker, Boehner voted on the rule to give his party another “yes.”

Full story

December 10, 2014

Democrats’ Discontent on ‘Cromnibus’ Bubbles to Surface

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Israel characterized House Democrats’ reaction to the spending bill as grim. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As House Republican leaders try to shore up support for the “cromnibus” on their side of the aisle, it’s becoming less of a sure bet that House Democrats can be relied upon to make up for the shortfall if need be.

After taking a “wait-and-see” approach over the past week on the massive appropriations bill needed to fund the government past Thursday, Democrats on Wednesday began staking out positions — from consternation to flat-out opposition — to the 289,861-word, $1.013 trillion measure unveiled the night before. Full story

House Republicans Scattered on ‘Cromnibus’ Support

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How many Republicans will bolt on Boehner? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Just hours after releasing the text of a 289,861-word, $1.013 trillion bill to fund the government, House GOP leaders stood before their members Wednesday morning to sell the plan.

Lawmakers emerging from the closed-door meeting offered a checkered assessment of the collective response among the rank-and-file, and a true read on the level of support for the bill within the conference might not come until the formal whipping begins later Wednesday afternoon. Full story

December 9, 2014

Unknowns Abound on ‘Cromnibus’ — Even for Steny Hoyer

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What’s in the “cromnibus”? Hoyer says he’s waiting to find out, like everyone else. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

All of Capitol Hill is watching and waiting for text of the so-called “cromnibus” to be revealed and the House’s No. 2 Democrat is no exception.

At his weekly pen-and-pad briefing with reporters Tuesday morning, Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland told reporters that he, along with most others, expected the fiscal 2015 appropriations package to be filed before the end of Monday, keeping Congress on track to adjourn for the year on Thursday and avoid a government shutdown.

Now, Hoyer said, the prospect of having to pass a two- or three-day continuing resolution to keep federal operations running while lawmakers cross the T’s and dot the I’s is looking more likely. Full story

December 7, 2014

Democrats Irrelevant? Don’t Be So Sure, Pelosi Promises

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Pelosi points to a vote card depicting the House Democrats who voted to reopen the government in 2013. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Nancy Pelosi insists she doesn’t gloat when House Republicans can’t shore up the votes among their own members to pass any number of critical bills, and it’s Democrats who get to swoop in and call themselves the heroes.

“I would rather they did the responsible thing so we wouldn’t have to bail them out every time,” the California Democrat quipped of her GOP counterparts.

But the minority leader, who sat for an interview in her Capitol Hill office with CQ Roll Call, must be feeling gratified.

The government is on the precipice of a shutdown, and if Republicans can’t get to 218 votes on their side of the aisle, Pelosi will get to call in the cavalry once again.

It would be the second time in a matter of weeks that she’s gotten to flex her muscle: She successfully squelched a pre-Thanksgiving deal on a tax extenders package negotiated exclusively by Senate Democrats and House Republicans — a deal that would have been a nonstarter for her caucus and President Barack Obama.

Full story

December 5, 2014

Pelosi Warns GOP: Tread Carefully With ‘Cromnibus’ (Video)

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Pelosi warns GOP on spending bill riders. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is still keeping her powder dry when it comes to staking out a position on the House GOP’s fiscal 2015 spending bill, due to be revealed on Monday.

The California Democrat said no policy riders currently on the negotiating table were “deal breakers” on their own.

“Let’s look at the full package,” she said.

But the riders currently being discussed, she said, were cause for concern among members of her caucus.

If she made one thing clear at her weekly press conference on Friday, it was this: If Republicans want and need Democrats’ help in shoring up the votes on the so-called “cromnibus” to avert a government shutdown on Dec. 11, the GOP is going to have to make some compromises.

“We have extended the hand of friendship once again to say, ‘Let us help,’” Pelosi said of Democrats’ outreach to Republican leaders. ”We haven’t heard back. We haven’t seen the bill. But there are some very destructive riders in it that would be unacceptable to us and unacceptable to the American people.” Full story

December 4, 2014

House GOP Votes to Undermine Obama Executive Immigration Orders

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Yoho’s bill is considered, even by some supporters, as a symbolic rebuke of the president’s immigration order,  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republicans pushed through a bill Thursday to disapprove of President Barack Obama’s executive orders on immigration.

The measure, introduced by Florida Republican Rep. Ted Yoho, passed largely along party lines, 219-197.

All but three Democrats voted “no,” predictably slamming the GOP for reserving floor time for another bill they called anti-immigrant.

Three of Obama’s biggest GOP critics — Reps. Steve King of Iowa, Raul R. Labrador of Idaho and Paul Gosar of Arizona — voted “present.”

They were sending a message: They would have wholeheartedly endorsed the legislation under ordinary circumstances, except in this case they believed the bill was brought to the floor only to pacify lawmakers like themselves, who don’t want to vote to fund the government past Dec. 11, when current federal spending expires, unless it includes a policy rider explicitly defunding the immigration policy changes.

“I believe in the principle; I also want to make sure this isn’t a cover,” Gosar said after the vote.

“The language is okay,” Labrador explained in a separate interview, “but as a standalone bill, it was a meaningless action.”

Full story

By Emma Dumain Posted at 2:49 p.m.
Uncategorized

December 3, 2014

Last-Ditch Push to Pass Marketplace Fairness Act in House Falls Short (Updated)

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Ellmers was one of the bill’s co-sponsors who lobbied leadership to act next year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6:19 p.m. | As House Republicans race against the clock to negotiate a government funding bill and a reauthorization of the Terrorist Risk Insurance Act, rank-and-file lawmakers lobbied leadership one last time to bring another piece of legislation on the floor before the year’s end: A bill that would boost the collection of sales tax on the Internet.

Despite Speaker John A. Boehner’s insistence in October that he would not bring the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act up for a vote in the 113th Congress, advocates still huddled in the Ohio Republican’s office Wednesday afternoon to make their case.

Ultimately, they weren’t able to win him over.

“We had a robust discussion, and everybody knows how everybody feels,” said Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., who introduced the legislation, as he emerged from the closed-door gathering.

He organized the meeting of roughly 30 House Republicans, among them co-sponsors of the bill and members of the Judiciary Committee that has jurisdiction over the measure. Full story

By Emma Dumain Posted at 5:21 p.m.
Uncategorized

Benghazi Committee to Hold Second Public Hearing Dec. 10

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Gowdy’s Benghazi panel will meet next week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

True to his word, Rep. Trey Gowdy will convene a public hearing of the Select Committee on Benghazi before the year’s end.

The South Carolina Republican and chairman of the special House panel tasked with investigating the September 2012 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, announced Wednesday morning that a hearing titled “Reviewing Efforts to Secure U.S. Diplomatic Facilities and Personnel,” will take place Dec. 10. Full story

December 2, 2014

Less than 2 Weeks to Shutdown, Conservatives Cool to ‘Cromnibus’

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Jordan and other conservatives are digging in their heels on the so-called cromnibus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As House Republicans sort out how they will fund the government past Dec. 11, leadership is running into a problem: Many conservatives looking to block President Barack Obama’s immigration plan contend the House must act now rather than wait until later.

That’s a more confrontational approach than the “cromnibus” proposal floated by GOP leaders Tuesday morning. The cromnibus — a portmanteau of continuing resolution and omnibus — would incorporate 11 of the 12 appropriations bills in the House, funding operations through the end of the fiscal year in September, and couple that package with a temporary CR for Homeland Security operations, likely to extend to March.

Homeland Security houses the agencies where the bulk of the executive action implementation is expected to take place.

GOP leaders argue the cromnibus is the best way to keep the government open while ensuring a fight later on the immigration executive actions — once all of Capitol Hill is under Republican control.

They also point to a “sweetener” of sorts, a chance to vote as early as Thursday on legislation that’s been introduced by Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., to “disapprove” of Obama’s immigration actions.

But it might not be enough for many of the president’s staunchest opponents in Congress.

Full story

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