Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 13, 2015

Posts by Niels Lesniewski

34 Posts

October 1, 2015

A Tale of Two Republicans: McCarthy and McConnell

Can McCarthy and McConnell get along? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Can McCarthy and McConnell get along? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy knows one way to remain popular with conservatives is to trash the Senate, even if it is led by Republicans. But the California Republican, the front-runner to be the next speaker, will have to work with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to advance mutual interests.

The two men know each other, but they aren’t particularly close. That’s in part because of how quickly McCarthy has moved up the House ranks — going from majority whip to majority leader to the cusp of the speakership in a little more than a year. Full story

September 25, 2015

After Sentencing 2 to Death, Former Judge Reflects on Pope, Capital Punishment

Gohmert, R-Texas, takes his seat for the House Judiciary Committee hearing on "Examining the Adequacy and Enforcement of Our Nation's Immigration Laws" on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Gohmert, R-Texas, says the death penalty is appropriate in some cases. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When Pope Francis called for the death penalty to be abolished Thursday, there was at least one person in the audience who had condemned convicted criminals to death.

“Having been a judge in Texas who handled capital murder cases, I had come to a conclusion that there were some cases … where that was appropriate, and I still think that way,” Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert said in an interview while passing through the Capitol basement after the historic address to Congress.

Full story

September 8, 2015

House Republican Tells Senate to Go ‘Nuclear’ Over the Iran Deal

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the Iran deal disapproval now facing a real filibuster threat in the Senate, a call has come from across the Capitol for the Senate to go nuclear.

Rep. Steven Palazzo, a Republican from Mississippi, has written to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., encouraging the leader to effectively change the Senate’s rules with a simple majority to allow just 51 senators to overcome procedural hurdles and get legislation disapproving the international agreement with Iran to President Barack Obama’s desk, forcing a veto.

Full story

August 19, 2015

Louis Stokes, First Black Appropriator, Dies at 90

Stokes died Tuesday night after battling cancer. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Stokes died Tuesday night after battling cancer. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Cleveland-area congressman who was chairman of the House select committee that investigated the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., passed away late Tuesday at the age of 90.

Rep. Louis Stokes, D-Ohio, served in the House for three full decades, retiring in 1999. He was notable on Capitol Hill for serving as chairman of the Ethics Committee, as well as chairman and ranking Democrat on the old Veterans’ Affairs-Housing and Urban Development appropriations subcommittee, which drafted one of the two largest domestic discretionary spending bills.

Full story

July 22, 2015

House GOP Leaders Frosty on Senate Highway Bill

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner is cool to the bill, and so are some Democrats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As the Senate continues to work through a long-term highway bill, House Republicans and Democrats seem increasingly united on one thing: They’re not exactly enthusiastic about the legislation.

On Wednesday morning, Speaker John A. Boehner seemed less than eager to take up the Senate six-year highway bill. Full story

June 18, 2015

Boehner Poaches New Press Secretary From the Senate

Schillinger, right, is departing Barrasso's office to work for the Speaker. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Schillinger, right, is leaving Barrasso’s Senate office to work for Boehner, replacing Steel. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A longtime Senate spokeswoman is going back across the Rotunda to serve as press secretary for Speaker John A. Boehner.

Emily Schillinger, who has led the press operation for the Senate Republican Policy Committee as its communications director, will take the position vacated when Michael Steel left the Ohio Republican to work for now-presidential candidate Jeb Bush’s political action committee. Schillinger also has been serving as communications director to the RPC chairman, John Barrasso of Wyoming.

Full story

June 16, 2015

How Republicans Could Get Obama Trade Promotion Authority (Video)

House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions in his office. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions could set up a vote on TPA this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republican leaders are mulling their options for forcing a vote on Trade Promotion Authority while saving reconsideration of Trade Adjustment Assistance for another day.

The Rules Committee could meet this week to establish parameters for floor consideration of TPA that, if approved, clears the way for President Barack Obama to negotiate a 12-nation Pacific trade deal. Full story

March 2, 2015

DHS Funding Battle Reveals a Republican House Divided

Boehner has to figure out a path forward to avoid a DHS shutdown. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congress returns this week facing yet another Department of Homeland Security funding deadline — but the appropriations squabble has suddenly become overshadowed by an increasingly bitter internal fight among House Republicans for the soul of the party.

House conservatives sank the GOP leadership’s plan for a three-week continuing resolution for DHS while an appeals court rules on an injunction blocking the administration from implementing the president’s executive action on immigration — but the victory was short-lived. The Senate sent over a one-week CR. The House passed it. And, with just minutes to spare before a lapse in appropriations at DHS, President Barack Obama signed the bill.

Now, with a House and Senate seemingly out of sync, and with a House GOP that’s becoming more splintered by the day, Republican leaders are squaring off this week for a battle that could set the tone for the rest of the 114th Congress.

Full story

February 28, 2015

How an Obscure Rule Could Give Boehner a Way Out of DHS Mess (Updated)

John Boehner DHS funding homeland security House rules

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 5:57 p.m. | A provision tucked deep in the House rule book could provide a way out of the Homeland Security funding mess for Speaker John A. Boehner — without the Ohio Republican actually having to do anything.

With rumblings about a full-scale revolt from within the ranks should Boehner put a funding bill on the floor that doesn’t explicitly block implementation of President Barack Obama’s immigration executive actions, there was talk Friday night from senior House Democratic aides of Republicans having found a face-saving procedural gambit that would ultimately end in full funding for Department of Homeland Security for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Full story

February 26, 2015

GOP Leadership Floats 3 More Weeks of DHS Funding (Video)

House Republican leadership plans to move forward with another stopgap spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security, in a move sure to draw additional criticism from Democrats.

Rep. Darrell Issa said he supports a three-week clean continuing resolution for DHS funding, and he suggested that’s the plan leaders will move forward with. Issa said Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, proposed such a plan to the conference during a special meeting Thursday afternoon.

Full story

February 10, 2015

House Says, Senate Says: GOP Split on Next DHS Move (Updated)

McCarthy said it's up to the Senate. Cornyn suggests it's up to the House.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McCarthy said it’s up to the Senate. Cornyn suggests it’s up to the House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:28 p.m. | When it comes to Department of Homeland Security funding, the ball is still in the Senate’s court, according to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

“A hundred senators got elected to say they wanted to solve problems,” McCarthy told a small group of reporters Tuesday morning. “They didn’t get elected to say, ‘we’ll wait and see what the House does.’ They should show us where they stand.” Full story

December 29, 2014

What Scalise and Vitter Told Roll Call About David Duke in 1999

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Back in 1999, Roll Call interviewed white supremacist leader David Duke about the possibility he would seek the House seat vacated by the resignation of Republican Rep. Bob Livingston. As part of that report, reporter John Mercurio also talked to up-and-coming Louisiana politicians, current Sen. David Vitter and current House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.

“I honestly think his 15 minutes of fame have come and gone,” said state Rep. David Vitter (R), a wealthy Metairie attorney who holds Duke’s old seat in the state House and is “seriously considering” a Congressional bid. “When he’s competed in a field with real conservatives, real Republicans, Duke has not done well at all.”

Another potential candidate, state Rep. Steve Scalise (R), said he embraces many of the same “conservative” views as Duke, but is far more viable.

“The novelty of David Duke has worn off,” said Scalise. “The voters in this district are smart enough to realize that they need to get behind someone who not only believes in the issues they care about, but also can get elected. Duke has proven that he can’t get elected, and that’s the first and most important thing.”

Full story

December 2, 2014

Sources: Senate, House Republicans Set Joint Retreat in Pennsylvania

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McMorris Rodgers announced a joint retreat for Capitol Hill Republicans, according to sources. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House and Senate Republicans expect to hold a joint retreat early in the next Congress in Hershey, Pennsylvania, sources in both chambers said Tuesday. Full story

November 14, 2014

Next Congress to Formally Convene on Jan. 6, 2015

Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, received the gavel from Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on the first day of the 113th Congress. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, received the gavel from Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on the first day of the 113th Congress. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Mark your calendars: The 114th Congress is planning to convene just a few days late.

The House on Friday agreed to a joint resolution setting the convening date for Jan. 6, 2015, which is three days after the date specified in the Constitution. The change, which must also be endorsed by the Senate and signed into law by President Barack Obama, comes as no surprise since next Jan. 3 falls on a Saturday.

Full story

October 29, 2014

Boehner, White House Spar Over ‘Chickenshit’ Comment

Netanyahu addressed Congress in 2011. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Cal File Photo)

Netanyahu addressed Congress in 2011. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The reported description of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “chickenshit” by a senior administration official has set off a rhetorical exchange between Speaker John A. Boehner and the White House.

That unnamed official was quoted by The Atlantic as having said, “The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickenshit.”

“I am tired of the administration’s apology tour.  The president sets the tone for his administration. He either condones the profanity and disrespect used by the most senior members of his administration, or he does not,” Boehner said in a statement Wednesday. “It is time for him to get his house in order and tell the people that can’t muster professionalism that it is time to move on.”

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that Boehner has had previous “salty” word choices of his own.

“It’s an interesting observation by the speaker of the House who, you all know, has a penchant for using some pretty salty language himself. So, it’s a little rich to have a lecture about profanity from the speaker of the House,” Earnest said, referring to reported comments Boehner made about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., during the fiscal cliff battle.

Full story

Page 1 of 3

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...