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July 8, 2015

Posts by Matt Fuller

June 11, 2015

Democrats Weigh Sinking the Trade Deal With TAA (Video)

Kind, D-Wisc., speaks during the House New Democrat Coalition news conference to unveil a policy agenda "aimed at creating a new era of American prosperity" on Wednesday, March 4, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Kind, who supports the trade deal, says reports of dissension among Democrats are overblown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats described the situation as “fluid,” but for advocates of the package of trade bills backed by the president and a fragile bipartisan coalition of House members, it was more like “dire.”

House Democrats emerged from a meeting with Obama administration leaders Thursday afternoon with more questions than answers on how members will proceed on Trade Promotion Authority — and few predictions of if or how the impasse would be broken.

“My colleagues are angry birds right now,” said Rep. Sam Farr, D-Calif., who as of this morning says he will vote for TPA. Full story

Pragmatist Tom Cole on Legislative Success, Working the Press

Cole. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Compromise is not a dirty word for Cole. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Tom Cole may not make the decisions for House Republicans, but he’s often the one explaining them.

Credit is due to any lawmaker constantly willing — eager, even — to talk to reporters. Love him or hate him — and there are plenty lawmakers from both parties who privately express frustration with his seemingly outsized influence in the media — Cole has emerged in recent years as a fixture for the Capitol Hill press. Full story

June 10, 2015

Medicare Dispute Could Derail Friday Trade Votes

aul Ryan, R-Wisc., speaks with reporters as he leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Wednesday, June 10, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ryan remains confident about the trade deal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A lingering dispute over language regarding Medicare cuts could delay House Republican leaders’ plan to put a package of four trade bills related to Trade Promotion Authority on the floor Friday.

Democrats are balking at the Medicare language embedded in the Trade Adjustment Assistance bill, which would help retrain American workers displaced by trade agreements. It’s one part of the trade package supported by President Barack Obama and most Republicans, as well as a crucial handful of pro-trade Democrats. Full story

Trade Bills Filed With Rules; Possible Votes Friday (Updated)

Ryan and other potential GOP House chairmen will have to seek a waiver if they want to keep their gavels while seeking another office. 014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Ryan and House Republican leaders sound like they’ve got the votes for Trade Promotion Authority. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated: 1:49 p.m. | House Republican leaders early Wednesday filed a package of trade bills with the Rules Committee, putting the gears in motion for the most anticipated floor showdowns of the legislative session so far.

Though nothing is set in stone, lawmakers who support Trade Promotion Authority are growing increasingly confident they have the votes to bring the measure to the floor on Friday.

The Rules Committee is set to meet Wednesday afternoon to establish parameters for floor debate on a TPA, along with two related bills which would clear the way for President Barack Obama to negotiate a controversial, 12-nation Pacific trade deal.

Full story

June 9, 2015

TPA Could Be Litmus Vote for Possible Pelosi Successor

Wasserman Schultz, D-Fl., at a Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Forcehearing on the comprehensive steps that Congress can take to reduce gun violence - while also respecting the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. (Photo By Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Wasserman Schultz and other ambitious House Democrats will have to weigh the potential cost of voting for Trade Promotion Authority. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: 4:46 p.m. | There’s no guarantee this is Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s last term in office but should she retire in 2016, House Democrats will be using plenty of metrics to pick her successor — and the upcoming trade vote could be one of them.

Trade Promotion Authority — the vote could come as soon as this week — has support from President Barack Obama, most Republicans and a handful of pro-trade congressional Democrats. On the other is a largely united, and increasingly fiercely opposed, Democratic Caucus.

And Democrats with an eye for the top spot seem to know it.

Full story

June 3, 2015

‘Fast-Track’ Trade Vote in Flux, but Backers Are Confident

Tiberi, R-Ohio, Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., and Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., speak to reporters about the Trade Priorities and Accountability Act on Wednesday, May 20, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

From left, Tiberi, McMorris Rodgers, Salmon and Noem speak to reporters about trade last month. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As the House prepares to take up “fast-track” legislation as early as next week, Republicans and Democrats are engaging in a vote-counting game that’s making the Trade Promotion Authority package look like a bigger lift than it really is.

The TPA vote, which would clear the way for a 12-nation Pacific trade deal — a key second-term goal for President Barack Obama — has been painted as a down-to-the-wire, every-vote-counts test of clout for the White House and for Republican leaders, who have forged an unusual alliance with the president in backing the deal. Full story

May 28, 2015

Obamacare Lawsuit Judge Sharply Questions Justice Lawyer

Jonathan Turley Obamacare lawsuit John Boehner

Turley argued the House’s case for standing to sue the administration over Obamacare. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If her combativeness Thursday was any indication, federal District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer could surprise legal experts who believed Speaker John A. Boehner’s Obamacare lawsuit was doomed.

After roughly an hour and a half of oral arguments, the judge who will determine whether the House lawsuit against President Barack Obama’s delay of the employer mandate can go forward reported she had “no idea” which way she would rule. Full story

May 27, 2015

Democrats Urge End to Detention of Immigrant Families

Immigration reform activists chant as leave the office of Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, after protesting GOP attacks on DACA and DAPA on Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. Protesters planned on staging take overs of 40 Congressional offices as part of the protest. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Immigration activists rally outside congressional offices earlier this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With thousands of undocumented immigrants still seeking asylum from Central American countries, 136 House Democrats sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson Wednesday calling on the Obama administration to end family detention.

After the massive influx of unaccompanied minors and mothers with children last summer, the DHS renewed the mass detention of immigrant families — individuals who had previously not been held while waiting for immigration courts to process their asylum claims. But with many of those families still awaiting final decisions on whether they can stay in the United States, Democrats are expressing concern over the “jail-like facilities.”

Full story

Patriot Act Renewal Has Lawmakers on Both Sides on Edge

Amash, R-Mich., heads to the House floor for votes on Thursday, April 23, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) Copyright © 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc.

Amash was in the Capitol Tuesday, “keeping an eye on the House.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With most lawmakers out of town and controversial Patriot Act provisions set to expire in just days, national security hawks in the House and Senate hope Congress can magically pull an agreement out of a hat.

That possibility — a quick and dirty patch, cobbled together and quietly passed during recess, despite earlier assurances from House leaders that wouldn’t happen — had some skeptics on the other side of the issue concerned enough to stick close to the Capitol this week.

Full story

May 21, 2015

Quid Pro Nope: Boehner, Cantwell and the Ex-Im Bank (Video)

Hensarling, R-Texas, left, and Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, listen 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)

Hensarling, left, is working to kill the bank, but Boehner isn’t saying much. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The only commitment Speaker John A. Boehner is making on the Export-Import Bank is this: If the Senate is able to pass a bill on the export credit agency’s future, there will be an “open amendment debate.”

The Export-Import Bank charter is set to expire on June 30, and conservatives are expressing increased optimism that the 81-year-old federal bank’s charter will lapse. More to the point, and perhaps more importantly, GOP leaders are increasingly sounding open to letting the bank die.

Full story

Could Conservatives Push TPA Over the Finish Line?

As the House inches closer to a vote on the long-awaited Trade Promotion Authority bill, conservatives who have traditionally been hard-liners in their opposition to deals with the White House are taking a softer approach.

While many on the right are still hedging their position on the TPA, there appears to be some conservative support for the trade process legislation. And with congressional Democrats increasingly taking a firmer line against the TPA, which would give expedited consideration to the Trans-Pacific Partnership under negotiation with 11 other countries, conservatives could be the key to getting the TPA over the finish line.

Full story

May 19, 2015

House Freedom Caucus Lines Up Opposition to Export-Import Bank

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 10: Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, speaks with reporters after his presentations at the Heritage Action for America's Conservative Policy Summit  in Washington on Monday, Feb. 10, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Jordan thinks Boehner will keep his word on the Ex-Im bank. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The room where the House Freedom Caucus frequently convenes is really too small for a group of 30-some-odd congressmen. It’s certainly too small for a meeting with more than a dozen speakers and 20 reporters. But, on Tuesday, the oddly shaped room on the fourth floor of the Cannon House Office Building was the site of the conservative group’s first news conference — and the HFC might have finally found an issue they can make a name for themselves on: the Export-Import Bank.

“In the mission statement for the House Freedom Caucus, we have this: ‘The goal of the House Freedom Caucus is to give voice to countless Americans who feel that Washington does not represent them,'” the chairman of the HFC, Jim Jordan of Ohio, said. “One big reason so many Americans think this town has forgotten them is because they see big corporations cozy up to big government to get special deals with their hard earned tax dollars.”

“And in 40 days,” Jordan said, referring to the expiration of the bank’s charter next month, “we have a chance to start to change that. In 40 days, we have a chance not to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.” Full story

May 18, 2015

Amid Calls for Resignation, Guinta Refuses to Answer Questions (Audio)

Guinta, R-N.H., arrives outside of the Capitol Hill Hotel during check-in for incoming freshmen members of Congress, November 12, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Guinta isn’t backing down. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There are plenty of questions surrounding Rep. Frank Guinta’s agreement to repay more than $350,000 in improper campaign contributions, but the embattled New Hampshire Republican isn’t answering any of them — at least not meaningfully.

CQ Roll Call caught up with Guinta Monday evening as he walked to House votes. And despite a number of lingering issues associated with his alleged violation of Federal Election Commission rules in 2009 and 2010 — Was the money he loaned to his campaign, as he still contends, actually his? If so, what is Guinta apologizing for? — the New Hampshire Republican would not go off-script when asked about his agreement to pay a $15,000 penalty to the FEC and repay $355,000 to his parents, who gave him $381,000 in 10 checks between June 2009 and September 2010.

Full story

May 15, 2015

Breaking Down the House Defense Bill Vote

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)

Smith is the ranking Democrat on Armed Services, but said he couldn’t support the GOP’s defense spending bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After clearing an amendment hurdle Thursday that looked like it could jeopardize passage, the House easily passed the National Defense Authorization Act Friday, 269-151.

It was a strong vote, with 41 Democrats joining 228 Republicans to pass the annual defense authorization measure. But it was closer than it’s been in years, with 143 Democrats and eight Republicans saying “no” to a bill with issues both parochial and perennial. Full story

May 14, 2015

Steel Exit: Boehner Has ‘Awfully Big Loafers to Fill’

UNITED STATES - JULY 15 2014: Michael Steel, spokesman for Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is pictured at the RNC, July 15, 2014 (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Steel, center, is leaving Boehner’s office to work for Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The departure of Speaker John A. Boehner’s longtime press secretary Michael Steel raises plenty of questions. Is this another sign Boehner is done at the end of this term? What does it mean for Boehnerland? What skills does Steel bring to the team that will work to elect Jeb Bush as the next president?

Perhaps the most pressing question is simply this: Who will replace him?

Full story

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