Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
May 28, 2015

Posts in "2014 Midterm Elections"

May 22, 2015

Moderate Democrats Get Leadership’s Ear on 2016 Messaging

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Israel has a tough road ahead in crafting a party message everyone can get behind (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There’s some good news for the moderate House Democrats who believe they’ve been marginalized in discussions on party messaging: Leadership might be starting to listen.

On Thursday morning, New Democrat Coalition Chairman Ron Kind of Wisconsin met privately with Democratic Policy and Communications Committee Chairman Steve Israel of New York, both lawmakers confirmed to CQ Roll Call.
Full story

April 19, 2015

McCarthy Uses Bully Pulpit to Spotlight California Drought

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

McCarthy has made the California drought a priority in Washington. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Legislation targeting arcane water rules is not typically the stuff of legacy building for high-profile political figures.

But for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, shepherding through Congress a bill aimed at easing the water shortage in his home state — while taking down some federal regulations conservatives contend contributed to the crisis — would be a personal triumph years in the making. Full story

March 6, 2015

Van Hollen’s Exit Changes House Democratic Leadership Landscape

UNITED STATES - JUNE 17: Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., participates in the National Press Club Newsmaker Program with Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, on "future federal budget priorities and methods to achieve them" at the National Press Club in Washington on Tuesday, June 17, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Van Hollen’s Senate bid will have serious ramifications for House Democrats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 10:20 a.m. Monday | Ambitious House Democrats looking to position themselves as future caucus leaders thought they’d face stiff competition from Rep. Chris Van Hollen.

But with the Maryland Democrat, Budget Committee ranking member and former two-term Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman now saying he’ll run for Senate, the field has changed. Full story

March 3, 2015

Centrist New Democrats Want Bigger Role in Party’s Message

Kind, D-Wisc., speaks during the bipartisan news conference outside of the Capitol to unveil "a major proposal aimed at modernizing America's regulatory system to reduce compliance costs, encourage growth and innovation, and improve national competitiveness" on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Kind said the centrist group wants a bigger role in helping to shape Democrats’ message. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Members of the New Democrat Coalition have struggled for years to make their centrist message heard in the larger, and distinctly more left-leaning, House Democratic Caucus.

The 46 self-described “moderate” and “pro-growth” House members in the coalition say they agree with the rest of their caucus on “90 percent of the issues” — it’s the remaining 10 percent that’s harder to summarize. Full story

February 11, 2015

Lawmakers Push Longshot Bid to Rewrite Voting Rights Act

Sensenbrenner, R-Wisc., prepares to testify during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "From Selma to Shelby County: Working Together to Restore the Protections of the Voting Rights Act" on Wednesday, July 17, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sensenbrenner seeks more Republican support for a revived Voting Rights Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner fell short in his 2014 efforts to convince GOP leadership to take up his Voting Rights Amendment Act, but the Wisconsin Republican is ready to take another stab at passing a rewrite of the historic law.

But there’s little indication this year will be any different.

Full story

February 10, 2015

Aide Brings ‘Quirky’ Background to Chief of Staff Ranks

Brophy rides his bicycle in Colorado. (Courtesy Greg Brophy Campaign website)

Brophy rides his bicycle in Colorado. (Courtesy Greg Brophy Campaign website)

Barely a month into his new position as chief of staff to freshman Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., Greg Brophy opted, understandably, against sitting down with a reporter who was writing a story about him.

“I no longer do press interviews,” Brophy told CQ Roll Call. “I get to be quirky all by myself.” Full story

February 3, 2015

Why 3 House Republicans Voted Against Repealing Obamacare (Updated)

UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 19: Rep.-elect John

Katko and two other Republicans bucked party leadership to vote against the Affordable Care Act repeal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 7:27 p.m. | House Republican leaders gave their freshmen members a political gift Tuesday: The chance to vote “yes” on a symbolic bill to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

For three new Republican representatives, however, the repeal vote was an opportunity to vote “no.” Full story

January 29, 2015

Obama Fires Up House Democrats (Updated)

US President Barack Obama delivers the State of The Union address on January 20, 2015, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC.  Credit: Mandel Ngan / Pool Copyright ©2015 Agence France Presse Photos

Obama told Democrats to take credit for the improving economy (Mandel Ngan/AFP File Photo)

Updated 10:55 p.m. | PHILADELPHIA — A fiery President Barack Obama addressed House Democrats Thursday night, saying while there’s more work to do in restoring the economy, Democrats can’t be shy about what they’ve already accomplished.

His remarks, delivered in the ballroom of a Sheraton hotel on the second evening of the House Democratic retreat, were tailored to the caucus’s new strategy: Focus the party’s message on growing the middle class and take full credit for the nation’s economic recovery of the past six years.
Full story

Democrats Unite Around Middle-Class Message, Israel Says

Israel, D-N.Y., chairman of the DCCC, speaks at the National Press Club's Newsmaker series on how Rep. Paul Ryan's, R-Wis., budget will effect the midterm elections. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Israel says Democrats are behind the new “middle class” focus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

PHILADELPHIA — House Democrats are united around a new messaging strategy for the 2016 cycle, according to Rep. Steve Israel of New York.

“Middle class, middle class and middle class,” the chairman of a newly created Democratic Policy and Communication Committee told reporters on Thursday morning. Full story

January 28, 2015

White House Helping Democrats Shape Message to Middle Class

Kind, D-Wisc., speaks during the bipartisan news conference outside of the Capitol to unveil "a major proposal aimed at modernizing America's regulatory system to reduce compliance costs, encourage growth and innovation, and improve national competitiveness" on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Kind is one of the Democrats championing more “aspirational” messaging. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The same day House Democrats are set to go to their annual issues conference in Philadelphia to discuss messaging for the 2016 election cycle, among other things, the caucus’s new messaging group held its inaugural meeting on Capitol Hill.

The newly minted, 16-member Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, which was tailored specifically to be led by recent Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel of New York, heard Wednesday morning from David Simas, the White House director of the Office of Political Strategy and Outreach. Full story

January 27, 2015

House Democrats Brace for Potentially Tense Retreat

elosi, D-Calif., arrives for her weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center, January 22, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Pelosi’s Democrats head to Philadelphia looking for unity. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The official theme of the House Democrats’ annual “issues conference” this week is “Grow America’s Economy, Grow American Paychecks.”

But the three-day retreat in Philadelphia, which kicks off Wednesday afternoon, could be a test of whether leaders and rank-and-file members can return to Washington, D.C., having found some common ground. Full story

January 22, 2015

Democrats to Complete Survey to Help Leadership With Messaging

Israel, D-N.Y., chairman of the DCCC, speaks at the National Press Club's Newsmaker series on how Rep. Paul Ryan's, R-Wis., budget will effect the midterm elections. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Israel is asking Democrats what they think should have been done differently in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With members still divided on what went wrong for the party in the 2014 midterm elections, the House Democrat in charge of honing messaging for the next two years is trying to build consensus around a revised communication strategy.

Rep. Steve Israel of New York, the two-term chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee who was selected by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to run a new “Democratic Policy and Communications Committee,” is asking every member to fill out a seven-part survey in advance of the caucus’ scheduled retreat next week in Philadelphia. Full story

January 12, 2015

Democrats Shocked by Giffords Aide’s Decision to Join McSally Staff

martha mcsally

Barber, center, and Giffords, right, attend an event in the Capitol Visitor Center to dedicate the Gabe Zimmerman Meeting Room to a staffer of Giffords who was killed in the 2011 Tucson shootings that also injured Giffords and Barber. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

C.J. Karamargin isn’t the first congressional staffer to cross the partisan aisle, but some Democrats are shocked this former staffer to Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is working for the new Republican congresswoman in Arizona’s 2nd District.

On Jan. 9, in a hiring coup, freshman GOP Rep. Martha E. McSally announced Karamargin as her new district director. Karamargin was communications director for Giffords at the time of the Tucson shootings before handling media relations for Pima Community College. The timing of the hiring — just one day after the four-year anniversary of the Tucson tragedy — also gnawed at still-raw wounds among Giffords’ allies. Full story

January 8, 2015

The Real Reason Some Members Voted Against Boehner

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, leaves the news conference following the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the Capitol on Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Some of the 25 Republicans who bucked Boehner on Tuesday feared that a vote for the Ohio Republican could hurt them in their districts. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For many of the 25 House Republicans who broke ranks in the speaker election Tuesday, voting against John A. Boehner was a reflection of a long-simmering dissatisfaction with the Ohio Republican.

But for some other members, it may have just been about political survival. Full story

January 7, 2015

Gwen Graham Makes a Mark on First Day in Congress

Graham is a Florida Democrat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Graham, right, sits with her father, left, on swearing-in day. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As former Florida Sen. Bob Graham watched his daughter, an incoming House Democrat, shake hands with an endless line of visitors Tuesday morning, he peeked out of her corner office window in Longworth at the briskly falling snow and marveled at the symmetry to his own political career.

Thirty-six years earlier, in a scene captured on the front page of the Miami Herald, a 15-year-old Gwen Graham stood with her father on a frigid outdoor stage in Tallahassee at his first inauguration as governor. It snowed that day as well. Full story

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