Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 9, 2015

Posts by Hannah Hess

27 Posts

October 8, 2015

‘What the Hell?!’ Mayhem After McCarthy’s Exit (Video)

(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, speaks to a swarm of reporters following the House GOP conference meeting. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra was about to do an interview with CNN, when the shocking news that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s was taking himself out of the race to become the next speaker broke.

“I was listening though the earpiece, and we were going to talk about the Democratic presidential race. All of the sudden word comes across that the meeting broke up, and that Kevin McCarthy is withdrawing,” said the California Democrat, who was striding through the midday sun, as he walked toward the carriage entrance. Full story

October 7, 2015

Grayson Files Benghazi Ethics Complaint Against McCarthy, Gowdy (Updated)

Updated 9:31 a.m. | Florida Democrat Alan Grayson filed an ethics complaint Wednesday against House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., alleging they violated federal law and House rules by using official funds appropriated to the Benghazi Committee to pay political or campaign-related expenses.

“This represents the new McCarthyism — the misuse of [official] funds for political purposes to vilify a political opponent,” Grayson told CQ Roll Call. He said the House Select Committee on Benghazi, chaired by Gowdy, is an “effort to embarrass” Democratic presidential contender Hillary Rodham Clinton. Full story

October 6, 2015

Murky Ethics Rules on McCarthy’s Benghazi Comments

McCarthy, R-Calif., listens as other House GOP leaders speak to reporters following the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, April 14, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McCarthy may face an ethics complaint. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Filing an ethics complaint against Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy over the House Benghazi committee — an idea making the rounds among Capitol Hill Democrats — could ease some pressure on Hillary Rodham Clinton.

But proving McCarthy ran afoul of House rules will likely take a lot more than his Sept. 29 comments on Fox News — including witnesses or documents that back up Democrats’ repeated assertions that the 17-month Benghazi probe is little more than a GOP attempt to smear the Democratic Party’s presidential front-runner. Full story

September 25, 2015

House Democrats React to Boehner Resignation

UNITED STATES - JULY 10: Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., run into each other in the green room in between their weekly news conferences in the Capitol Visitor Center's Studio A, July 10, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner and Pelosi run into each other in the green room between their weekly news conferences on July 10, 2014. ( Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

While House Republicans were still digesting the news Speaker John A. Boehner would be stepping down at the end of October, House Democrats were quickly getting in on the action.

In official statements, news conferences and hallway interviews, members of the minority party could barely contain their schadenfreude. Full story

July 30, 2015

Fattah Steps Aside at Congressional Black Caucus Foundation

New Fork Headline: UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 14: Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., speaks during the news conference to announce the design for the Space Launch System, NASA's next-generation rocket,  on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Fattah, D-Pa., steps down from leadership role at CBC Foundation after indictment. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Rep. Chaka Fattah has stepped aside from his chairmanship of the board of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

The Pennsylvania Democrat’s exit from the prominent spot with the education and policy nonprofit closely linked to the Congressional Black Caucus on Capitol Hill comes less than 24 hours after Fattah was charged in a 29-count indictment. Full story

July 29, 2015

Chaka Fattah Case Could Get Awkward Fast for Democrats (Video)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Chaka Fattah has been under federal investigation for years, so for many of his colleagues the question was not whether an indictment would come, but when. But it could get awkward for Democrats in a hurry, as Fattah holds prominent positions within the party’s establishment and next year’s presidential nomination convention is being held in his native Philadelphia.

Within hours of being slapped with 29 counts — for racketeering conspiracy, bribery and wire fraud — the Pennsylvania Democrat had agreed to relinquish his post as ranking member on the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee, per rules and precedent. Full story

June 23, 2015

House Holds Moment of Silence for Charleston Victims (Video)

Scott spoke about the Charleston church shooting earlier Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Scott spoke about the Charleston church shooting earlier Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

At 7:01 p.m., in the midst of a series of House votes, South Carolina Republican Mark Sanford led his colleagues in observing a moment of silence for the nine victims killed June 17 in the Charleston church massacre.

Sanford, a former governor of the state, was joined on the floor by fellow South Carolina Republicans Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham, who slipped over from the Senate after business had adjourned for the day.

Full story

February 25, 2015

Wasserman Schultz Fillets House Counsel Over Cost of Boehner Lawsuit

Wasserman Schultz wanted an estimate of legal costs. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Wasserman Schultz wanted an estimate of legal costs. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The top Democrat on the House Appropriations Legislative Branch Subcommittee took advantage of a rare opportunity to grill the chamber’s top lawyer on the cost of Speaker John A. Boehner’s lawsuit against President Barack Obama.

House General Counsel Kerry W. Kircher was called to the witness table by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., who wanted an estimate of how many billable hours taxpayers would be on the hook for in fiscal 2016, as the GOP challenges the legality of Obama’s executive actions and targeting implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Full story

February 18, 2015

Former Rep. Cass Ballenger Dies at 88

Ballenger, seen here in a 2002 photo from our archives, left Congress a decade ago. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ballenger, seen here in a 2002 photo from the Roll Call archives, left Congress a decade ago. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated Feb. 20 | Former North Carolina Rep. Cass Ballenger, a pro-business conservative and Republican ally of Hugo Chavez known for his off-the-cuff comments, died Wednesday after a prolonged illness. He was 88.

A former plastics executive, Ballenger spent 38 consecutive years in elected office, and served as the standard-bearer for the GOP on labor issues during his nine terms in Congress.

Full story

January 19, 2015

Former Rep. Frank Wolf Will Lead Baylor University’s Efforts on Capitol Hill

Wolf will be working on religious freedom issues on Capitol Hill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Wolf will be focused on religious freedom on Capitol Hill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After nearly 35 years representing Northern Virginia in Congress, former Republican Rep. Frank R. Wolf plans to lead Baylor University’s efforts on Capitol Hill.

Wolf, who was an outspoken defender of religious minorities during his congressional career, particularly Christians in Iraq and Egypt, has been appointed the first Jerry and Susie Wilson Chair in Religious Freedom. The Texas-based university announced the move Monday, following the 75-year-old’s announcement in December 2013 that he planned to retire and pursue humanitarian work. Full story

January 16, 2015

Congressional Black Caucus Sees Leverage in Steve Scalise Protests

Protesters outside rallied outside the Capitol Hill Club on Jan. 13. (Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call)

Protesters outside rallied outside the Capitol Hill Club on Jan. 13. (Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call)

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus see opportunity in the scandal that inspired a heart-shaped “KKK + GOP” sign outside a recent Capitol Hill Club fundraiser for House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.

Revelations that the Louisiana Republican rejected a 1996 resolution in apologizing for slavery — six years before his 2002 address at a meeting of white supremacists — “disgusted” CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield, but the North Carolina Democrat says he doesn’t want to dwell on it. Full story

January 14, 2015

Abortion Bill Co-Sponsoring Debacle ‘Vexing’ for Democrat

Smith, D-Wash., speaks during the Democratic members of the House Select Committee on Benghazi news conference on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Adam Smith. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Co-sponsoring a bill in Congress doesn’t really mean all that much. But — maybe — it ought to at least mean a member has agreed to sign on, and will actually sign.

At least, that’s the argument Washington Democrat Adam Smith made on the House floor Wednesday. Full story

January 13, 2015

Demonstrators Plan to Disrupt Scalise Fundraiser

Progressive groups say they will continue to press the House GOP to remove Scalise from leadership. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Progressive groups say they will continue to press the House GOP to remove Scalise from leadership. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Activists plan to protest a private fundraising event for House Majority Whip Steve Scalise Tuesday afternoon, trying to keep pressure on the Louisiana Republican weeks after the revelation that he addressed a meeting of white supremacists in 2002.

“We’re trying to protest racism in the system,” said Pete Haviland-Eduah of Million Hoodies, one of the groups that will organize outside the Capitol Hill Club. “This is a congressman that has known ties to a racist [organization]. We want to make it well known to leaders in both parties that the people are not supporting of this.” Full story

December 30, 2014

Boehner Commends Grimm for Announcing Resignation (Updated)

Grimm's resignation to become effective Jan. 5. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Grimm’s resignation to become effective Jan. 5. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:21 p.m. | Rep. Michael G. Grimm’s quiet announcement late Monday night that he would resign his congressional seat pleased House GOP leadership.

The New York Republican, who pleaded guilty to tax evasion last week, made an “honorable decision,” House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a brief, two-sentence statement Tuesday morning.

“I know it was made with the best interests of his constituents and the institution in mind, and I appreciate his years of service in the House,” Boehner stated, responding to Grimm’s announcement that he would step down from Congress, effective Jan. 5 — one day before the 114th Congress is scheduled to commence.

Under the terms of a plea agreement, Grimm is set to be sentenced by a federal judge on June 8 for causing the filing of a false and fraudulent tax return. He pleaded guilty on Dec. 23 to the one charge of a 20-count indictment, and said, at the time, he would not step down.

Despite the vow, Democratic insiders had been urging former Rep. Michael E. McMahon, D-N.Y., to consider running for the seat. McMahon confirmed to CQ Roll Call last week that he was not ruling out a bid.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will determine the date of the special election to fill Grimm’s seat. According to the NYS Board of Elections, Cuomo can set the special election for any time. However, the election must take place within 70-80 days of when Cuomo issues a proclamation announcing a special election date.

In a statement released by his office, Grimm said he was making the decision to step down after “much thought and prayer.”

“This decision is made with a heavy heart, as I have enjoyed a very special relationship and closeness with my constituents, whom I care about deeply,” he said. “The events which led to this day did not break my spirit, nor the will of the voters. However, I do not believe that I can continue to be 100% effective in the next Congress, and therefore, out of respect for the Office and the people I so proudly represent, it is time for me to start the next chapter of my life.”

Grimm also thanked his constituents for their “love and support” over the past few difficult months.

Bridget Bowman contributed to this report. 

This post was updated to clarify the special election process in New York State.


Ex-Congressman Considers Seeking Grimm’s Seat

Rep. Michael Grimm Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion (Updated)

Pelosi: Boehner Has to Oust Michael Grimm (Updated)

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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

By Hannah Hess Posted at 10:47 a.m.
Ethics, John Boehner

August 29, 2014

Funeral Services Set for Wife of Maryland Congressman

Harris, left, and his late wife, Sylvia 'Cookie' Harris. (Photo courtesy of Harris' office.)

Harris, left, and his late wife. (Photo courtesy of the congressman’s office.)

In lieu of flowers, Rep. Andy Harris and his family are asking for donations to a Baltimore, Md., pregnancy center in memory of Sylvia ‘Cookie’ Harris.

The Maryland Republican’s wife, who unexpectedly died Thursday, was a dedicated anti-abortion advocate and a board member of the Pregnancy Center North, where she regularly volunteered. The 57-year-old mother of five and grandmother to two also served as director of special events for Maryland Right to Life.

Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 5:10 p.m.
Page 1 of 2

Sign In

Forgot password?



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

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...