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February 1, 2015

Posts in "2014 Midterm Elections"

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

December 30, 2014

Kevin McCarthy, Ben Ray Luján Among Capitol Hill’s Big Winners in 2014

 House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., participates in the press conference announcing House GOP leadership for upcoming session of Congress on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McCarthy was one of 2014’s big winners. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Not every member of Congress had an A+ year.

Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., became the first majority leader in decades to go down in a primary; Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., only barely avoided being explicitly implicated for campaign finance fraud.

Full story

December 22, 2014

Reports: Indicted Congressman Expected to Plead Guilty to Tax Evasion

Grimm said he'd step down if found guilty, but does that campaign promise cover a plea deal? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Grimm said he’d step down if found guilty, but would that earlier promise cover a plea deal? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Michael G. Grimm, R-N.Y., is expected to plead guilty in court to at least one of the 20 felony counts lodged against him, local news outlets reported Monday.

CQ Roll Call did not immediately hear back from Grimm spokesmen or attorneys for confirmation, with one of his lawyers, Miami-based Daniel Rashbaum, saying, “We have no comment at this time.” Full story

December 19, 2014

The Friday Before Christmas, a Quieter House

pitol grounds crew workers prepare the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree on Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in preparation for the lighting ceremony scheduled for Dec. 2nd. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) Copyright © 2014 CQ Roll Call, Inc.

It was the week before Christmas, and things were quiet all through the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Incoming Rep. Barry Loudermilk said he was surprised anybody at all was on Capitol Hill on Dec. 19, the last Friday before Christmas.

The Georgia Republican, who had returned to the gift shop in the Longworth House Office Building hoping to retrieve some misplaced paperwork, told CQ Roll Call he was only around to do a bit of housekeeping in advance of the first day of the 114th Congress in January. Full story

November 17, 2014

With New House Democratic Leadership Team, Pelosi Looks Out for Her Own

Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., speaks at an event with House Democrats on "promoting affordable education as part of House Democrats' 'Middle Class Jumpstart' agenda," in the Capitol Visitor Center, July 25, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Edwards continues her climb up the Democratic Party leadership ladder. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

At a surprise press conference Monday, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi introduced the appointed members of a reconfigured leadership team.

The California Democrat’s top lieutenants in the 114th Congress will overwhelmingly include familiar faces in new roles, a signal that she will continue a practice of rewarding and empowering her allies as needs shift within the caucus.

A clear sign of that tradition comes with the re-appointment of Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., as co-chairwoman of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.

At one point, Steering and Policy leadership positions were supposed to come with term limits, but DeLauro has kept her seat at the table for years past her would-be expiration date. Pelosi described DeLauro, a close friend, as a “lioness” and “an institution” who will stay at Steering and Policy “by popular demand.” Full story

Saying Farewell to Retiring Obscure Caucus Members

Pastor, seen here in 2008 with then-Rep. Ben Chandler, was always a behind-the-scenes kind of guy.

Pastor, left, seen here in 2008 with then-Rep. Ben Chandler, is a member of the Obscure Caucus because he’s always been a behind-the-scenes kind of guy. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

At least two lawmakers are disappearing from the CQ Roll Call Obscure Caucus after the 113th Congress wraps at the end of this year — and you may not have noticed them at all.

Both are men who have mostly dodged the spotlight, assuming a low-key approach to their terms in federal office that favors building their reputations at work with their colleagues, little or no tweeting and distance from cable-news pundits.

As our team noted when last publishing this list, inclusion in the caucus isn’t meant as mockery or criticism. Members tend to climb the ranks while putting their heads down and focusing on parochial concerns or constituent services. Just because they’re not inclined to grab C-SPAN cameras and wink to fans back home after wins on the House floor like an overzealous soccer star doesn’t mean they haven’t made an impact.

To be considered, lawmakers must have served at least two full terms and have kept the self-promotion to a minimum. Senators aren’t included.

These are the Obscure Caucus veterans who are retiring.

Full story

High Stakes for Pelosi, Party With Energy and Commerce Fight

Eshoo and Pallone are locked in a race for the Energy and Commerce ranking member slot. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Eshoo and Pallone are locked in a race for the Energy and Commerce ranking member slot. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 11:50 a.m. | It started as a race to choose the next ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee; it could ultimately end as a referendum on the status quo.

When House Democrats finally settle the score this week, their choice between Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey and Anna G. Eshoo of California could send a strong message about how deeply members still hew to the seniority system.

And in a caucus growing increasingly antsy over the stasis at the leadership table, this ranking member election could be the closest thing to an up-or-down vote on Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi that members get for the next two years.

Pelosi, who has repeatedly endorsed her close friend Eshoo, is expected to run unopposed for a sixth full term as the House’s top Democrat.

Lawmakers will not say so publicly, but many of them think that if Eshoo loses, it will be because she became a casualty of greater frustrations within the caucus.

The fight sparked by California Democrat Henry A. Waxman’s retirement announcement in January became so dramatic because there was never a clear front-runner or an easy choice. Stakeholders agree Pallone and Eshoo’s policy positions are nearly identical, and their legislative records are unblemished.

So members were forced to consider other factors: Who called them first to ask for their vote? Who gave them money in a tough re-election bid? Who has always been their friend? Full story

November 13, 2014

Pelosi Defiant: ‘When Was the Last Time You Asked Mitch McConnell’ if He’s Too Old? (Video)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In her first public remarks since Election Day last week, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi defended her decision to run to keep her post atop the House Democratic Caucus, and doesn’t sound likely to relinquish it anytime soon.

“I don’t understand why this question should even come up,” the California Democrat said at a press conference Thursday. “I’m here as long as the members want me to be here.

Pelosi suggested that she wasn’t, as many expect, looking to serve one more term as minority leader before retiring in 2016 — when, colleagues hope, Hillary Rodham Clinton will be elected president.

“I’m not here on a schedule,” Pelosi said, “except for a mission to get a job done.”

She also hinted that there was implicit sexism in the constant rhetoric of “will she or won’t she.”

“When was the last time you asked Mitch McConnell … ‘aren’t you getting a little old, Mitch?'” said Pelosi of the Republican senator from Kentucky. Full story

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