Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 27, 2015

Posts by Niels Lesniewski

48 Posts

November 23, 2015

Republicans to Pentagon: Consult Lawyers Before Following Obama on Gitmo

UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 22: Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., attends a House Select Committee on Benghazi in Longworth Building featuring testimony by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, October 22 2015. The 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, took the lives of four Americans including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Pompeo is behind a letter to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A group of House Republicans wants uniformed military leaders to consult with attorneys before carrying out executive orders from President Barack Obama related to closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

“The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) contemplates that with respect to enlisted personnel and officers in the United States armed forces, when an order given by one’s superiors comes into conflict with the laws of this nation, the latter prevail. We believe that in our democracy — in which governance is undertaken, in the words of Founding Father John Adams, by ‘…a government of laws, and not of men…’ – that understanding necessarily applies equally to orders given by the Commander-in-Chief,” writes the group of 16 House members who are all military veterans.

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November 18, 2015

Congress Scrambles for Response to Refugees, Paris Attacks

Ryan speaks Tuesday before signing the defense policy bill. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Ryan speaks Tuesday before signing the defense policy bill. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Top Republican leaders in Congress called for a “pause” in allowing Syrian refugees to enter the United States, as lawmakers in both chambers scrambled for a response to the Paris terrorist attacks.

A House task force released a bill Tuesday directed at the vetting of refugees from Syria and Iraq, where Islamic State extremists have found safe havens.  While Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called for a halt to the refugee program, the House legislation instead seeks to enhance the certification process for these refugees.

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November 4, 2015

When All Politics Is Really Local

Simmons is back in local government. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Simmons is back in local government. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sometimes life after Congress means retiring to a life of consulting, but sometimes it means you end up back in local government.

The town hall in Stonington, Conn., is in no way as ornate as the U.S. Capitol, but the newly elected first selectman is a former member of the House.

Full story

November 3, 2015

2016 Conventions Spur Extended House Recess

Members will hardly be on Capitol Hill at all next summer. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Members will hardly be on Capitol Hill at all next summer. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In 2016, August recess will feel like forever.

According to the House calendar released Tuesday, members will spend only a few weeks of summer next year on Capitol Hill, thanks to the Republican and Democratic national conventions taking place in July. Full story

October 27, 2015

Can Paul Ryan Keep the Manure Out of the House Barn?

paul ryan budget

Ryan walks through Statuary Hall to Boehner’s office on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 7:10 p.m. | Rep. Paul D. Ryan may agree with his conservative colleagues about the way the budget deal was cooked up — it “stinks,” he told NBC News — but its passage sets the speaker-in-waiting up to tackle the multitude of challenges ahead.

The budget agreement should give the new speaker some breathing space to foster an environment of empowering committees and members, at least until the beginning of December. Full story

Corralling the Votes for Budget Deal

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 10:27 a.m. | Even before Tuesday morning’s GOP conference meeting to sell the bipartisan budget agreement got underway, Rep. Tom Cole and others were already making their pitch.

The Oklahoma Republican and longtime ally of retiring Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, had a message particularly for what he called “the vote no, hope yes crowd” of House Republicans who would want to see a big deal go through without having to use their individual cards to vote in favor of it.

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October 26, 2015

Members Wait for Big Budget, Debt Details

Rogers, center, says there are concerns about policy riders in budget deal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rogers says there are concerns about policy riders. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans on both sides of the Capitol emerged from separate conference meetings Monday night intrigued but noncommittal about the prospects of a big budget and debt-limit deal that would ease fiscal pressure going forward.

House Republicans are set to huddle again Tuesday to delve into the details of the leadership-level agreement, which members said were not presented to them Monday evening. Full story

Big Budget Deal Could Clean Out Boehner’s Barn

McConnell, left, and Boehner are trying to work out a budget deal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

McConnell, left, and Boehner are trying to work out a budget deal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:26 p.m. | Speaker John A. Boehner’s effort to “clean the barn” before leaving Congress is gaining momentum, with the four corners of congressional leadership and the White House hoping for a budget and debt limit deal.

The Republican from Ohio does not want to leave a crisis behind for Ways and Means Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., who is expected to be elected as the new speaker on Thursday.

Full story

October 25, 2015

Ryan Staffing Up for Speaker’s Office

paul ryan

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

If he’s elected speaker Thursday, Paul D. Ryan plans to name David Hoppe — a man best known around the Capitol for his Senate experience — to be his chief of staff.

Hoppe is a lobbyist who has worked as a chief of staff on both sides of the Rotunda. Most notably, Hoppe has worked under senators including Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi and Minority Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona. Like his new boss, Hoppe is a die-hard Green Bay Packers fan and fellow shareholder. Full story

October 21, 2015

Democrats Predict Same Pitfalls for a Speaker Ryan

paul ryan

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has laid out his terms and is now running for speaker of the House. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats on both sides of the Rotunda see Paul D. Ryan as a reliable legislator, but someone likely to face the same pitfalls as his predecessor if elected speaker.

As the Wisconsin Republican spent Wednesday reaching out to the various factions of the House GOP conference, Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., said in a brief interview there were many aspects of Ryan’s background he feels “good about.” Full story

Senate Democrats Demand RNC Pay for Benghazi Probe

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 23: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the September 11th attacks against the U.S. mission in Benghazi on  Wednesday morning, January 23, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Clinton testified during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the Benghazi attacks on Jan. 23, 2013. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Democrats want the Republican National Committee to pick up the tab for the House investigation into the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

“We write today to demand that the Republican National Committee reimburse the federal taxpayer for the costs incurred by the Select Committee on Benghazi. Over the past several weeks, several House Republicans have made clear what many observers have suspected all along: that the Select Committee has conducted a political inquisition aimed at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,” the four top Senate Democrats wrote.

Full story

October 18, 2015

Pelosi: Democrats ‘Open’ to Helping GOP Elect Speaker

Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi suggested Democrats could have a path to take back the House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi signaled Saturday there could be “an openness” among at least some House Democrats to voting for a Republican speaker on the floor — and she suggested the GOP turmoil could help put Democrats back in charge come 2017.

“I think in our caucus there is interest and support. There’s an openness to a bipartisan approach to this,” Pelosi said in an interview at the Texas Tribune Festival.

Full story

October 15, 2015

Lew to Boehner: U.S. Runs Out of Cash in 19 Days

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 25: Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, holds a news conference on Friday, Sept. 25, 2015, to discuss his decision to resign his position as Speaker and leave Congress at the end of October. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call/Pool)

Boehner (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: 1:08 p.m. | In a new letter to Speaker John A. Boehner, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew has moved up slightly the timetable for action on raising the debt limit. Full story

October 14, 2015

Team Boehner: Debt Ceiling Deal ‘Certainly Possible’

UNITED STATES - JULY 23: Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, arrives to hold his weekly on-camera media availability in the Capitol on Thursday, July 23, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner wants to “clean the barn” before he resigns. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

John A. Boehner has said he wants to “clean the barn” of some unfinished legislative business before he steps down, and on Wednesday the speaker’s team confirmed that could include a deal to avoid a financial default by the federal government.

“The speaker has made it clear that he wants to solve some outstanding issues before he leaves,” a Boehner aide told CQ Roll Call. “No decisions have been made, but a resolution on the debt ceiling is certainly possible.” Full story

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

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