Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 1, 2014

Posts by JM Rieger

26 Posts

July 29, 2014

Watch Live: Director of Citizenship and Immigration Services Testifies Before House Committee

The House Judiciary Committee holds a 10 a.m. oversight hearing questioning Leon Rodriguez, the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, who was sworn in on July 9.

July 16, 2014

Watch Live: House Rules Committee Hearing on Proposed Lawsuit of President Barack Obama

The House Rules Committee holds a hearing on initiating a House lawsuit against President Barack Obama over failing to enforce the Affordable Care Act.

The hearing begins at 10 a.m. and you can watch live below:

June 26, 2014

Luis Gutiérrez: House GOP Role in Immigration Overhaul Is ‘Over’ (Video)

Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez, D-Ill., slammed Republicans on the floor Wednesday, renewing calls for the House of Representatives to take action to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws nearly one year after the Senate passed bipartisan immigration legislation.

“Republicans have failed America, and failed themselves,” he said.

Gutiérrez’s comments came after Speaker John A. Boehner’s announcement Tuesday of a GOP task force to address the crisis of illegal immigrant children surging across the southern border.

“I gave you the warning three months ago, and now I have no other choice; you’re done,” Gutiérrez said, addressing House Republicans. “Your chance to play a role in how immigration and deportation policies are carried out this year is over.”

Full story

Boehner: ‘We’ll See’ If Export-Import Bank Authorized Before Deadline (Video)

Speaker John A. Boehner again declined to commit to a reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank at his weekly news conference Wednesday, telling reporters “we’ll see” when asked if the House would “sort through” the issue prior to the Sept. 30 deadline to reauthorize the Bank’s lending authority.

“There’s a big debate going on in our conference, and we’re just going to have to sort our way through this. My job is to help facilitate the sorting through of this so that we can get to an outcome.”

Full story

June 11, 2014

Hagel: President Made Final Decision on Bergdahl Swap (Video)

hagel 035 030514 445x298 Hagel: President Made Final Decision on Bergdahl Swap (Video)

Hagel testified that the final decision on the Bergdahl swap rested with Obama. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, testifying Wednesday before the House Armed Services Committee, told lawmakers that the Obama administration could have done a better job communicating with Congress on the decision to trade five Taliban prisoners for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

“Wars are messy, and they’re full of imperfect choices,” Hagel told the panel in his opening remarks. But he defended the White House decision to make the trade without notifying Congress, and he made it clear the decision came from the top.

Full story

Watch Live: House Armed Services Hearing on Bowe Bergdahl Exchange

The House Armed Services Committee holds a hearing Wednesday on President Barack Obama’s decision to exchange five Taliban prisoners from Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Department of Defense General Counsel Stephen Preston will testify about the swap.

The hearing, “The May 31, 2014 Transfer of Five Senior Taliban Detainees,” begins at 10 a.m.

May 30, 2014

Boehner: Shinseki’s Resignation ‘Really Changes Nothing’ (Video)

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Following the resignation Friday morning of Veterans’ Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, criticized President Barack Obama again for not doing more to solve problems surrounding the scheduling system and waiting lists at the Phoenix VA Health Care System.

“[Shinseki's] resignation, though, does not absolve the president of his responsibility to step in and make things right for our veterans,” Boehner said during a Friday afternoon news conference. “Business as usual cannot continue. And until the president outlines a vision and an effective plan for addressing the broad dysfunction at the VA, today’s announcement really changes nothing. One personnel change cannot be used as an excuse to paper over a systemic problem.”

Full story

May 22, 2014

Foreign Affairs Chairman Urges White House to Increase Aid to Combat Boko Haram (Video)

royce 174 042513 445x296 Foreign Affairs Chairman Urges White House to Increase Aid to Combat Boko Haram (Video)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Despite ongoing concerns about the Nigerian military’s shaky record on human rights, House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce said Wednesday the U.S. needs to step up aid to the central African country’s armed forces — even if it means waiving the “Leahy Law,” a 1998 act designed to prevent American assistance being given to human rights abusers.

The California Republican said President Barack Obama has the power to waive the Leahy Law, an amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act, in “extraordinary circumstances.”

“U.S. forces are well positioned to advise and assist,” Royce said Wednesday. “If some U.S. laws would hinder such assistance, the administration should use its waiver authority under these extraordinary circumstances.”

Full story

May 21, 2014

Watch Live: House Foreign Affairs Hearing on Boko Haram

The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday on the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, which kidnapped more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls in April. The hearing, “Boko Haram, The Growing Threat to Schoolgirls, Nigeria, and Beyond,” begins at 9:45 a.m.

Read more about the Senate’s response to the Nigerian terror group.

May 7, 2014

House Rules Committee Hearing on Benghazi Select Committee (Live Video)

05.07.14 Rules Benghazi 330x219 House Rules Committee Hearing on Benghazi Select Committee (Live Video)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Rules Committee holds a hearing on establishing a special committee to investigate the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

You can watch the hearing, which begins at 2 p.m. today, below:

 

Related: 

Democrats Split on Benghazi Panel, GOP Full Speed Ahead

Benghazi Panel Will Have 7 Republicans, 5 Democrats

Benghazi Committee: Democrats Warn Boehner About Partisan Makeup

Reid Says There Will Be No Senate Committee to Investigate Benghazi (Video) 

DNC Chairwoman: Benghazi Committe a ‘Political Ploy’

April 29, 2014

Rangel: Tea Party Does Not ‘Believe the Union Won’ Civil War (Video)

rangel013 020414 Rangel: Tea Party Does Not Believe the Union Won Civil War (Video)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

 

During the Congressional Black Caucus’ special order hour on the House floor Monday night, Rep. Charles B. Rangel hammered the tea party not only for embracing the Confederate flag, but also for hating President Barack Obama “as much as their [Dixiecrat] predecessors probably hated Abe Lincoln.”

“[In] some parts of the United States of America they don’t believe that the Union won. The reason I come to that conclusion is that … I have never seen so many Confederate flags that represent groups that are proud of the fact that they call themselves the Tea Party,” the New York Democrat said during his 10-minute floor speech, referring to an event he attended with President Ulysses S. Grant’s great-great-grandson. “They’re from that part of the country that the states owned slaves.”

 

 

Rangel, the second most senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus, has pushed the White House to do more to combat poverty and inequality. The Senate recently passed an extension of unemployment benefits and there are new signs  the House may take up legislation on an immigration overhaul.

April 10, 2014

Boehner Hammers Obama Administration Over Benghazi, IRS (Video)

Speaker John A. Boehner had a few things to say Thursday morning.

During his weekly press conference, which lasted just over 6 minutes, Boehner criticized former director of the Exempt Organizations Division of the IRS, Lois G. Lerner, and knocked Democrats for playing politics rather than working with Republicans to create jobs. But Boehner most notably and vociferously went after the Obama administration for putting up roadblocks to answers on Benghazi, Fast and Furious and the IRS scandal.

The Ohio Republican also addressed the recent kissing controversy surrounding Louisiana Republican Vance McAllister, saying he had spoken to the freshman Congressman and expects all members to be held to the highest ethical standards.

Boehner said Republicans were “trying to build a consensus” on an Obamacare replacement bill, and were waiting for Democrats to offer an unemployment extension that was paid for and would address the economic problems in the United States.

Boehner’s press conference turned into an outburst, however, when he fielded a question from Fox News’s Chad Pergram regarding Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s intimation that he had been treated unfairly because of his race.

Watch the full press conference below:

Boehner Says Unemployment Extension Is Up to White House (Video) (Updated)

boehner 197 022714 445x296 Boehner Says Unemployment Extension Is Up to White House (Video) (Updated)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 2:20 p.m. | Speaker John A. Boehner said Thursday it’s up to the White House to make a new proposal before he’ll consider an unemployment benefits extension, as the House left town for two weeks without acting on a bipartisan Senate bill.

The Senate’s passage of an unemployment benefits extension earlier this week doesn’t change the House’s stand on the issue, the Ohio Republican said Thursday morning.

Boehner said he had made it clear to the president in December that an unemployment insurance extension would “have to be paid for and would have to include things that would help get our economy moving.”

“They have not put forward anything with regard to how we would create more jobs,” Boehner said. “And so the ball’s still in their court.” Full story

April 9, 2014

Holder Testifies Before House Judiciary: What You Missed (Video) (Updated)

Marijuana, accusations of perjury, election integrity and asparagus were the range of topics covered in Tuesday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing.  Attorney General Eric Holder testified before the committee in a hearing designed for oversight on the Department of Justice. Holder and members of the committee had some tense exchanges as congressmen tried to nail down the attorney general on specific enforcement of laws. Check out Roll Call’s top moments below:

As Hannah Hess reported, Holder was asked by members from both sides of the aisle about the current marijuana laws and if the Obama administration has any plans to change how they classify drug offenses:

Holder also said the DOJ won’t scale back marijuana punishments by rescheduling the drug, as House Democrats have been pushing President Barack Obama to do, saying he was “satisfied” with what the department is doing.

“The notion that somehow we have retreated from our enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act with regard to marijuana is not accurate,” Holder told the House Judiciary Committee. He reiterated a DOJ memo laying out eight areas of priority for pot prosecutions, including marketing to minors, driving under the influence and criminal cartels.

“That’s not inconsistent with, I think, the way in which the Justice Department was acting before,” Holder continued in response to a question from Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C. “We remain committed to enforcement of marijuana laws that would involve those eight factors,” he added.

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., asked Holder if he was planning to investigate Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper for alleged perjury. As Roll Call previously reported, Holder declined to confirm or deny that the director was under investigation:

“Director Clapper’s perjury in my opinion has been covered extensively,” the Wisconsin Republican said. “In light of this, are you willing to discuss whether or not the Justice Department is investigating Director Clapper for his statements before the Senate?

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. refused to say whether the DOJ was conducting an investigation.

“I’m really not in a position to confirm whether the department is investigating any particular matter, but we are reviewing the material that you and other members of the committee have provided to us, and I can assure you that we will take any action that is appropriate,” Holder said.

Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-VA., started off the hearing saying he was “concerned” about directives issued by the Department of Justice about the President’s ability to determine which laws to prosecute. “I am concerned about some of the decisions and some of the directives that have been issued by you and others in the Department of Justice,” Goodlatte said. “Is it your view that there is any limit to the president’s prosecutorial discretion?”

Holder said that the discretion must be done in a “constitutional way” and added that there is a “vast amount of discretion.”

“…[D]iscretion has to be used in an appropriate way so that you’re acting consistent with the aims of the statute,” Holder said. “But at the same time, making sure that you are acting in a way that’s consistent with our values, consistent with the Constitution and protecting the American people.”

Representative Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and the Attorney General had a very tense exchange during the hearing. The two have a long history of tense committee banter and Holder took the chance to remind the Texas Republican of their previous history when he ended their Tuesday exchange with, “good luck with your asparagus.”

Watch the full hearing below and visit Roll Call’s YouTube page for previous hearings and full weekly leadership pressers.

By Meredith Dake and JM Rieger Posted at 12:11 p.m.
Oversight
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